Region
Kansai
Island
Honshu
Largest City
Kobe
Population
5,550,742

Hyogo

A model slice of Japan

Touted as ‘a Japan in miniature’, Hyogo is one of Japan’s most diverse prefectures.

A broad slice of land crossing the width of Honshu, Hyogo is bordered by seas above and below with mountains in the middle. Varying climates offer outdoor activities all year round, from seaside sunbathing to skiing and onsen. Awaji island is the mythical birthplace of Japan while the towering, all-white Himeji castle is Hyogo’s historical icon. Fast forward to the 21st century and the major port city of Kobe – a multicultural revelation and home of famed Kobe beef.

Awaji Island

Legendary Awaji Island is less than two hours from Osaka via the longest suspension bridge in the world, the Akashi Kaikyo.

Most of Hyogo’s population are huddled around Osaka Bay in the Kobe and Hanshin areas. Kobe is the cosmopolitan capital city of Hyogo and makes a fun base for exploring the rest of the prefecture or as a quick stopover on a tour of the Kansai region, with lots of modern shops, restaurants and bars catering to the city’s international population. It’s also the place to splurge on Kobe’s world famous wagyu beef, a melt-in-the-mouth marvel of legendary status – cows are supposedly raised on a diet of beer and daily massages.

Kobe Beef

You can practically taste the shiatsu.

Along the Seto Inland coast between Kobe and Okayama, Himeji Castle, nicknamed the ‘White Heron’, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of Japan’s most spectacular castles. It’s especially photogenic during cherry blossom season.

Towards the Sea of Japan, the Tajima region is filled with historical hot springs. Kinosaki is a traditional, canal-lined onsen town where you can don a yukata (cotton robe) and stroll around in wooden sandals dipping into the different public baths. Yumura hot spring has been around for more than 1000 years with a central fountain that gushes water at a slightly scalding 98ºC.

Takarazuka Revue

Catch a show with the Takarazuka all-female theater troupe. Photo taken from the official website.

Hyogo is big on cultural entertainment; from the intangible arts of the Awaji Puppet Theater to the all-female theater troupe of the Takarazuka Revue, to the quasi-religious Koshien National High School baseball finals, there’s plenty to keep you distracted while you’re there.

Places to visit

Kinosaki-onsen

Kinosaki Onsen

If you’re in search of a genuinely authentic onsen experience, Kinosaki should be your next getaway.

Tezuka Osamu Museum

Discover the life and works of the Walt Disney of Japan.


Kobe

Sophisticated follower of fashion.

Takenohama Beach

Hidden in Hyogo: A secluded beach just down the way from a famous onsen.


Nunobiki Waterfalls

A hike filled with massive falls and a view of Kobe City — not too far from the station.

Kobe Fruit & Flower Park

So much more than peaches and pansies.


Kitano Ijinkan

What was it like to be a foreigner in old-world Japan? Check out Japan's most well preserved 'foreign settlement quarter,' in Kobe.

Kobe Mosaic

Handmade goods, local sweets and snacks as well as numerous souvenir shops can be found dotted around the venue’s four floors.


Arima Onsen

A historic onsen mecca with hot springs with ‘gold’ and ‘silver’ waters that will transform your stay into vaca-therapy.

Hanshin Koshien Stadium

Catch some local baseball fervor at the oldest baseball stadium in Japan.


5 Famous Foods You’ll Find in Hyogo

Osaka certainly doesn’t have the monopoly when it comes to quality cuisine in the Kansai area. Welcome to Hyogo Prefecture — where Kobe beef isn't the only thing on the menu.

Nishimura Coffee, Kobe

A dash of history with your coffee, sir? Enjoy a delicious cup of coffee at the first coffee shop in Japan to serve black coffee.


Mt. Maya

Mount Maya

Experience the 10-million-dollar panoramic view of Kobe.

Takedao Train Tracks Trail

A little hard to find, but worth going out of your way for the tranquil and unique hiking experience in Hyogo.


Sone Jazz Bar

The big daddy of Kobe’s jazz scene: An iconic jazz bar in the heart of Kobe, with live performances every night.

Asahi Soft Drinks Factory Tour

Despite the unfortunate lack of “Oompa Loompas” there is a certain magic to seeing how your favorite soft drinks are made.


Takasago Lantern Festival

Japan in color: A night of 10,000 stars.

Nada no Kenka Fighting Festival

Nada no Kenka Fighting Festival

Scantily clad men in an epic battle.

Other Destinations in Kansai

Amanohashidate or Bridge to Heaven in Kyoto Prefecture

Kyoto

Break the tourist mould and head outside of the city to uncover the rest of what Kyoto has to offer.

Maruyama rice terraces at sunset, Mie prefecture

Mie

The first signs of human habitation on Mie can be traced back 10,000 years and that’s only one of this ancient prefecture’s historical claims to fame.

Cherry blossoms among the Yoshino mountains in Nara prefecture

Nara

Nara prefecture is where you’ll find the immemorial tombs of Japan’s early rulers, its first Buddhist temple and the headquarters of the sacred Shugendo mountain religion.

Osaka, Japan skyline at Osaka Castle Park, Osaka Prefecture

Osaka

Japan's second smallest prefecture is the economic and commercial hub of the Kansai region, driven by it's kaleidoscopic capital city Osaka.

Lake Biwa in Shiga Prefecture

Shiga

Shiga prefecture is so full of scenic views you’ll feel as though you’ve tripped and fallen into a postcard.

Nachi, Japan at the pagoda of Seigantoji and Nachi no Taki waterfall, Wakayama Prefecture

Wakayama

Wakayama prefecture is the spectacular, spiritual heart of Japan.