With a nationally famous baseball team, two coasts on two different seas, and a high-class type of beef named after its capital, Hyogo is a prefecture of many talents. When travelling the Kansai area, Hyogo should definitely be a must-see on your itinerary.
Originally part of 5 other provinces, Hyogo is now one of Kansai’s major prefectures with a large steel production industry, and a bustling port known as Kobe. After the 1995 Earthquake that struck the Kansai area, centered in Hyogo, Kobe was restructured and modernized into the powerhouse that it is today. About a thousand years ago, the Emperor lived in Hyogo for about 5 months too!
There is also a huge sports culture surrounding baseball on the high school and professional levels. The nationally famous Koshien stadium is in Kobe, where the Japanese High School Baseball Championship (Known as, of course, Koshien) is held. It also holds the national American College American Football championships as well. Ever heard of Hanshin Tigers? Their hometown is Hyogo, and their home stadium? Koshien, of course. If you’re a fan of Baseball, or Football, or even Rugby, Kobe is a point of interest.
Want to get your grub on? Hyogo is definitely the place, especially if you are in to foods that you wouldn’t find outside of Japan. Oden, Sobameshi, Akashiyaki, and Butaman are all foods from Hyogo that are also popular all around Japan. Oden and Butaman are especially delicious on those cold winter nights, when you want to warm up with a filling meal. And of course, we can’t forget about the king of beefs: Kobe Beef.
And of course, the sights. Himeji Castle, Japan’s most frequently visited castle, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and is in Himeji, Hyogo. If you’re into onsen, Kinosaki Onsen is a Onsen town lined with places to stay and public bath houses, and is one of Japan’s most famous onsen destinations. The Takeda castle ruins are also known as “The Castle in the Sky”, and is especially beautiful when there are clouds surrounding it.
Hyogo, while not as famous as Osaka or Kyoto, is still one of the major tourist destinations of the Kansai Area. Culturally, gastronomically, and economically, it is a unique and interesting prefecture.
While it is possible to enjoy Hyogo to its fullest in any season, some seasons in particular have great opportunities for the interested traveler. For instance, blooming Sakura trees near Himeji castle in the spring is quite a sight to behold.
Here’s a recommended three-day tour for your first trip to Hyogo that covers most of the top local attractions.
Hyogo is very accessible from most prefectures in Kansai, especially Osaka. Train, bus, or plane, most options for travel should take no less than 2 to 3 hours.
Hyogo is the birthplace of what many consider the soulfoods of Japan, as well as the birthplace of one of the highest quality meats in the world.