Whether looking to entertain on the first date or to have a memorable Valentine’s evening with a long-term partner, Kobe has plenty of fun and romantic places to choose from if you’re looking to go on a date. From going for a nice meal to heading somewhere to enjoy the beautiful views that the city has to offer, we list the pick of the bunch for those occasions when there might be a little bit of love in the air.
Visit the world’s most beautiful Starbucks
If you want something to break the ice on a first date – then a chat over a coffee is always a good idea. Starbucks might not sound like the most romantic venue to take someone on a date, but then the Starbucks in Kobe is not your standard coffee outlet. It’s even been called “the world’s most beautiful Starbucks.” Situated in Kitano, the building is a beautiful European-style construction recognized as a Cultural Heritage site. Decked out with art, antiques and leather sofas, it has a touch of class if you’re looking to impress. You can enjoy a pleasant walk up Kitano-zaka hill on the way there too.
Website: Starbucks Kobe Kitano Ijinkan
Take a stroll over Akashi Kaikyo Bridge
Situated between the mountains and Osaka Bay, Kobe has no shortage of beauty spots where you can soak up the atmosphere on a sunny evening with a partner. One of the most spectacular is the Akashi Kaikyo Bridge. The longest suspension bridge in the world, it spans nearly 4000m and links Kobe City with Awaji Island. You can marvel at this amazing architecture and enjoy fantastic panoramic views from the top. If you have time, you can also visit the nearby Bridge Exhibition Centre and Maiko Marine Promenade.
Sample some Kobe beef in a local steakhouse
Kobe beef is the city’s signature dish. It comes from the wagyu cattle in Hyogo Prefecture and is renowned for its melt-in-the-mouth taste. If you’re looking for a restaurant date, this could be a winner. The beef is served as shabu-shabu (dipped in broth), sashimi (raw), sukiyaki (hotpot) and steak. There are many excellent local restaurants to choose from, including Wakkoqu, Meriken Hatoba, and Kokubu. Just check that your date is not vegetarian first!
Website for Wakkoqu: http://www.wakkoqu.com/english/index.html
Website for Meriken Hatoba: https://ichibankobe.com/localinfomation/hatoba/
Website for Kokubu: https://tabelog.com/en/hyogo/A2801/A280101/28000254/
Gaze at the stars from the City Hall Observatory
If you want to take things up a notch concerning romance, all you have to do is look up towards the sky. Kobe has one of the best night views in Japan and plenty of vantage points to indulge in a spot of stargazing. One of the best is on the 24th floor of the Kobe City Hall. This observatory area is free, open until 10:00 p.m. each night and has a cafe and restaurant.
Have some fun at the Kobe Animal Kingdom
If you fancy something a bit different, Kobe has many activities, sports and exciting places to visit on offer. One good option for a daytime date is the Kobe Animal Kingdom, which is a large theme park containing animals, rare birds, and exotic plants. Events and performances run daily, including bird displays and feeding the capybara. There are a restaurant and shops on site too.
Indulge yourself in a romantic cruise
For an extraordinary time, the two of you can enjoy a romantic cruise around Kobe Bay on Luminous 2, one of the biggest cruise ships in Japan. You can choose from three cruises: Osaka Bay cruise (available from 12:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. or 4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.); Kobe Airport cruise (5:00 p.m. – 6:20 p.m.); or Akashi Strait cruise (7:00 p.m. – 9:20 p.m.). All three cruises come with meal options, or you can choose to spend some romantic time on deck.