Kobe is perched on a hillside facing the sea, while nestled in the shadows of Mountain Rokko and overlooking the Osaka Bay. The former maritime gateway is located just 30 minutes west of Osaka and is one of the most beautiful cities in Japan. Apart from a picturesque harbor, Kobe also teems with a great many historic sights, including some of Japan’s oldest shrines. What’s interesting is that it is a compact city, and perfectly designed for walking around. So, after a long day of sauntering around, staying at excellent hotels in Kobe, Japan will certainly go a long way in helping you relax. However, one of the top things to do in Kobe is to visit the famous hot spring town Arima Onsen, which is 20 minutes away. It is something of a modern treasure in Kobe and is home to many famous ryokans (traditional Japanese inns).
Even though Kobe is a walking city, there are many neighborhoods that you could choose to live in while visiting the city. Central Kobe, a.k.a. Sannomiya is famous for its entertainment and shopping. Fashionable Kitano is dotted with historic 19th/20th century residences and trendy bars and restaurants. Motomachi and Chinatown are lively traditional districts where once can delve right into the culture of the city. Finally, the charming Port Kobe houses one of the best sights of the city, the spiraling Kobe Port Tower. And of course, who can forget Kobe’s most spectacular attraction, the Akashi Kaikyo Bridge?
Obviously, Kobe is as modern and hi-tech as it is culturally vibrant. So, here’s listing the 11 best hotels in Kobe, Japan for a comfy stay and a memorable holiday.
There’s a lot of charm in staying at Kobe’s oldest hotel, the Oriental Hotel, which has been around for more than a century. The effortlessly elegant hotel blends luxury and a down-to-earth charm beautifully and is an absolute pleasure to stay at.
What makes the Oriental Hotel special is that it retains the touch of glamour of the bygone era and amps up the experience with contemporary comforts. The hotel offers an array of rooms, ranging from Regular ones to the thoroughly luxe Executive levels. For the most indulgence, head to the topmost suites that are truly lavish in their design as well as amenities, apart from featuring jaw-dropping views. That being said, all rooms are furnished beautifully and have turn-downs services.
Apart from the exemplary accommodations, the hotel also boasts a small but well-equipped gym, a spa, as well as the choicest selection of excellent restaurants. Furthermore, a special mention goes to its steakhouse, the Medium Rare, the steak house, which serves perfectly-prepared the world-famous Kobe beef.
Arima Hot Spring Ryokan Hanamusubi
One of the best onsen hotels in Kobe is the Ryokan Hanamusubi, which lies in the mountain town of Arima Onsen. Hop on to the famed ropeway of Mt. Rokko to get to this lovely ryokan, which lies is also a mere 20-minute drive away from Kobe.
Hanamusubi beautifully melds traditional Japanese living aspects with modern conveniences to create a comfortable ambiance. Shoji paper screens, tatami-straw mat floors, and low futons blend nicely with DVD players, flat-screen TVs, and modern bathrooms with bathtubs.
Even though its a ryokan at heart, its facilities are modern for the comfort of the travelers. The lounges with views of the lovely Japanese-style gardens inspire a feeling of utmost calmness and tranquility. What’s more, the staff serves a world-class traditional kaiseki dinner too. The best part of this ryokan is definitely the onsens, which are both private and semi-private in nature. They’re simple yet elegant and contain natural minerals that have regenerative and healing properties. Their location is private and yet its decor and setup inspire harmony with nature.
Travelers looking for a quiet and peaceful hideaway in Kobe needn’t look further than the tranquil, ten-room ryokan that is Arimasansoh Goshobessho. The fabulous ryokan is located in the scenic town of Arima Onsen around 20 minutes north of Kobe.
The ryokan is the perfect combination of traditional Japanese culture and contemporary living. The stylish and spacious villas feature high ceilings, warm wood floors, and Japanese woodwork. Modern additions include DVD player, flatscreen TV, and free Wi-Fi, along with a lavish ensuite bathroom. Moreover, the rooms lie along a merrily gushing stream and even have terraces with views of the forest.
A gushing stream running through and cutesy stone paths at Goshobessho make for a very pretty picture. Apart from that, the ryokan boasts a top-notch service. Guests can enjoy delicious French breakfasts whipped up from locally sourced ingredients in the comfort of the dining room. While dinner is usually in the formal kaiseki style, the hearty breakfast includes Western choices as well. There’s even an intime spa where a massage or aromatherapy treatment is just the perfect way to end a long day. What’s more, there’s even fishing, horse-riding, and tennis activities. However, its the lovely onsens that are perfect for relaxation and make Goshobessho a top ryokan to stay at.
Kobe Kitano Hotel
Enjoy a superb first-class stay at the Kobe Kitano Hotel, which enjoys an excellent downtown location and is close to many of the city’s attractions. The hotel is helmed by the well-known Japanese hospitality brand Kitano and is one of the most classic hotels you can stay at in Kobe.
The fine red-brick building with the courtyard and interior garden screams French lifestyle and is part of an important chapter in Japanese history. On the inside, the space boasts classic and elegant British interiors. The hotel is especially known for the Ash restaurant that specializes in French cuisine. Moreover, guests can enjoy a European-style continental breakfast at the on-site Café Igrek, as well as order for salon/in-room massages as well.
When it comes to the rooms, each of them is cozy to boot with gorgeous pastel colors and distinctive décor. What’s more, they’re also equipped with a slew of mod-cons and modish ensuite bathrooms and make for a very comfy stay.
Arima Hot Spring Ryokan Kotori
Stylish and modern interiors blending with traditional Japanese hospitality offerings are the mainstays throughout the elegant and charming Ryokan Kotori. The ryokan is easily one of the best value ryokan hotels in Kobe.
Rooms feature a modern take on traditional Japanese designs with tatami-mat floors, trendy futon seating, and muted color palettes. What’s more, the seating areas feature tables and chairs handcrafted by Japanese artisans. If you’re looking for sheer indulgence, do book the room which has a private onsen attached. Lesser number of rooms translates to a limited number of guests, making Ryokan Kotori feel serene and tranquil.
Even though it’s a value ryokan, Kotori doesn’t skimp on amenities. Apart from the onsen that’s on-site, guests also have access to a second hot-spring onsen nearby. All this, coupled with the ryokan’s lip-smacking kaiseki menu makes staying here a steal deal.
Spa Terrace Shisui
The luxuriously charming Spa Terrace Shisui is one of the more excellent ryokan hotels in Arima Onsen, Kobe. Apart from having the standard onsen that Arima ryokans usually have, Spa terrace even has a fabulous outdoor swimming pool on the property!
The ryokan’s perks and amenities also go beyond that of a traditional ryokan. The wonderful spa center features a gamut of facial treatments and massages that feel like heaven after a long day of walking around Kobe. The common spaces are elegant while being minimalistic at the same time. One-of-a-kind design elements like carved Akamatsu wooden room dividers and lighting fixtures lend the space a unique vibe. Dinner is a delectable and hearty spread with both western and Japanese items, as is breakfast.
With just 14 guestrooms, this Kobe ryokan is one of the most serene and calm places you could stay at. Apart from traditional local design elements, the rooms feature seating areas, flatscreen TVs, and other mod-cons for staying comfortable.
Hotel La Suite Kobe Harborland
The luxurious Hotel La Suite Kobe Harborland sits right on the picturesque Kobe Harbor overlooking the stunning waters of Osaka Bay. For those looking for glamorous accommodation in Kobe, this is the hotel you want to stay at.
When you walk into the front door, rich decor complemented by stunning crystal chandeliers will take your breath away. A spoiling spa is wonderful for some R&R. Likewise, the hotel has not one but two dazzling restaurants serving French and Japanese cuisines with menus from top-tier chefs. Additionally, breakfast is a grand affair as well, complete with Japanese and Western varieties, and luscious pastries and breads. In fact, the breakfast items here are so popular that the hotel spun off its own bakery known as Le Pan Kobe Kitano. What’s more, the bar-lounge with a selection of single malt whiskeys and live jazz is where you’ll feel like being every evening. Finally, as you stroll through the palatial gardens, you’ll feel nothing less than royalty.
Moreover, guests will feel equally pampered by the pleasurefully done up rooms with soft hues, chandeliers, and floor-to-ceiling windows offering striking panoramas of Kobe. The rooms relax all five senses with cushy beds, atmospheric music, brocade upholstery, private terraces, and in-room jacuzzis with ocean views.
In the heart of Arima Onsen in Kobe, Japan, Negiya Ryofukaku is probably one of the best traditional-style hotels you can stay at. The ryokan not only offers gorgeous panoramic views of the surrounding countryside but also excellent accommodation that you’ll find nowhere else. The hotel has been around since the mid-1900s, making it operative for more than 160 years!
A traditional Japanese heritage structure houses the Neigay Ryofukaku, whose design and offerings are akin to stepping back in time. The hotel’s restaurant serves both a kaiseki spread for lunch/dinner as well as tea ceremony dishes, making for an authentic ryokan experience. Moreover, two kinds of hot spring onsens, transparent/brown, can be enjoyed by the guests for some R&R and beauty. With the hotel surrounded by old forests of flaming red maple trees, the environs make for the ideal place to unwind and relax.
When it comes to accommodations, the ryokan has 27 rooms done up in traditional Japanese style. They feature everything from tatami-mat floors and futon beds to exposed wood and shoji paper screens. Contemporary living comforts include fridges, electric kettles, and a flatscreen TV, along with an attached toilet. Bathroom facilities, however, are shared.
Those looking for a lavish yet comfortable place that lets you unwind away from the bustle of the city will love the Hotel Wakamizu. The hotel not only boasts both Japanese and modern-style rooms but even has an onsen on the property! What’s more, it is located a quick 40-minute drive away from Kobe and is also within walking distance of the Tankarazuka Train Station.
Both Western and Japanese-style rooms at Wakamizu offer tatami-mat floors and mod-cons like flatscreen TVs and fridges, but the furnishings are different. Western rooms are decked out in comfy and fluffy beds, separate seating areas, and elegant marble-clad bathrooms. Japanese rooms have low-slung futon beds, just like in traditional ryokans. The icing on the cake is that guests can enjoy traditional kaiseki meals within the room itself.
Apart from the rooms, the hotel’s amenities are utterly contemporary in their offerings. The all-day dining menu at the Sumire lobby lounge is for foodies, while the on-site Japanese restaurant serves delish seasonal local fare. Plus, the Salon de Wakamizu is a great place for a nightcap. The onsen area of the hotel offers both natural as well as open-air spring baths. Finally, guests can also enjoy in-room massages after long working or exploring days.
Hotel Okura Kobe
Hotel Okura Kobe rises 35 stories over the city’s famed Meriken Park and is easily one of the most luxurious hotels in Kobe. Perhaps the best part of Hotel Okura is its fabulous location right on the waterfront and overlooking the azure waters of the Osaka Bay. Also, it is a stone’s throw from important waterfront attractions like the Motomachi shopping area and Kobe Port Tower. In fact, it even offers a free shuttle service from the travel hub that is Sannomiya Station.
On the inside, Hotel Okura is utterly modern in its offerings. Contemporary and comfortable rooms boast a host of mod-cons, bathtub-filled plush bathrooms, and fabulous views of the city from its windows. As a matter of fact, rooms were designed by the same person who designed the interiors for the British royal family!
Okura’s amenities are equally lavish. Six restaurants offer a gamut of cuisines, but the best is the rooftop French restaurant that offers stunning views of Osaka Bay. An up-to-the-minute health club is great for fitness freaks, while the sauna rooms and the indoor pool are the perfect places to unwind. What’s more, the hotel even has a seasonal outdoor pool that overlooks the gorgeous Japanese gardens.
Arima Onsen Tosen Goshobo
If you want to stay in a living slice of Japanese history, you’d do well to choose the Ryokan Tosen Goshobo, which is the oldest of the hot springs at Arima Onsen. Lying next to the Taki River, it dates back to the 12th century, having been around for more than eight centuries!
20 traditional Japanese-styled rooms at Tosen Goshobo make this a very intimate and cozy place to stay. The rooms are decked out with tatami-mat floors, low-slung futon bedding, and shoji paper screens. Modern touches include a minibar and plush bathing facilities, which are shared. Moreover, the staff even serves a delish kaiseki dinner in the room, just like how it is done at a ryokan. Furthermore, even the breakfast is Japanese-style, with Kobe staples like black bean tofu and beef.
The best feature of the ryokan is the private outdoor hot-spring baths with fresh spring water lying in a sheltered annex on-site. Relaxation rules the roost at this ryokan, which has a seating area where savor the zen atmosphere with a cup of green tea. What’s more, guests can even opt to have a relaxing in-room massage after a long day of exploring Kobe. Wrapping up the list of offerings is a lovely library-salon.
Recommended Restaurants / Bars/ Food Tours in Kobe:
- Kobe Eat Like a Local Tour: Nothing says more about the city’s soul than its food, and this wonderful tour takes you on a gastronomic joyride of Kobe’s best food, people, and places.
- Nishimura: This mid-20th-century cafe is famous for its 20 different coffee blends. It is somewhat of a Kobe landmark and is housed in a gorgeous German-style house. It’s also one of the first places in the country to serve popular versions of coffee like lattes and cappuccinos.
Recommended Activities In Kobe:
- Kobe Half-Day Tour: This customized tour of Kobe takes you to some of its best attractions, including Japan’s oldest shrine and the spectacular Mt. Rokko.
- Kobe Highlights with Sake Tasting: This leisurely full-day tour of Kobe takes you to visit its best sights while stopping for some delish sake tasting at one of Japan’s best sake breweries.