A Little About Kobe-shi

So I thought i might go a little into the details of the city where I shall be living for the next couple years…….

Kobe is the capital of Hyogo Prefecture and Japan’s fifth largest city. And although Kobe-shi is right on the other end of the country from Tokyo, there are many other notable cities right around the corner (figuratively) that I cant wait to explore!!! Notably including Kyoto, Osaka, Nara, Himeji and Okayama!

So if you have ever heard of Kobe before (the city, not the dude who annoyingly comes up every single time I try to google Kobe) it would probably be due to the acclaimed Kobe beef that is raised according to strict tradition in Hyogo. The meat is generally considered to be a delicacy, renowned for its flavour, tenderness, and fatty, well-marbled texture. I suspect I shall be noming an awful lot of it in the coming months and It looks something like this .

The other thing Kobe is famous in the international community for is the Great Hanshin Earthquake that struck Kobe in January 1995, killing more than 6,400 people and destroying much of the city. In the years since, Kobe has risen from the ashes with few signs of the destruction in its past.

Kobe has served Japan as one of Japan’s most important port town for centuries due to the calm waters of the Seto Inland Sea and was one of the first ports to begin accepting foreign traders in 1868 following Japan’s 200 years of isolation during the Edo period. Here is the official Kobe-shi Flag.

JET placed in Kobe generally live in 3 suburban locations: Gakuen Toshi, Hanayama, and Port Island.  Luckily it seems that I will be placed in Gakuen Toshi (学園都市), which is located in the western ward Nishi-ku (西区) of Kobe. It’s a university district which lies on the Seishin-Yamate Subway line, and is only 25 minutes on the train  away from Sannomiya (三宮) (the centre of Kobe).

Apparently JET’s placed in this area live in the same building complexes in either 1DK or 2DK rooms, and one of the best parts of being placed in Kobe is that the BOE pays for half your rent and I am told to expect between ¥30,000~38,000/month (Subsidized from between \50,000~70,000) with no key or deposit money required, sweet huh!

I will be based at a JHC (as most Kobe JET’s are) which is only about 5km from my apartment, another added bonus being that the BOE also pays for my transportation expenses to and from work!!!

Equally famous is Kobe’s wonderful nightlife, crammed into a small, navigable, and rather intimate quarter of neon lights, cozy bars, lively pubs, and sophisticated nightclubs. I have been told that there is a place near Sannomiya Station called The Hub which is the general JET favourite meeting place on a Friday night to plan the evenings misadventures. As you can see its a city that’s certainly on the pretty side of things ^_____^

9 thoughts on “A Little About Kobe-shi

  1. I totally understand the issues with Google. I was in Tome, and Google kept thinking I meant “to me” (and then when I tried the actual town I was in, it thought I meant another city).

    It sounds like you’ve got a pretty sweet deal with housing, as well as location.

    • Hahaha nice to hear my conundrum is not an isolated incident, did all your friends and family back home pronounce it “tomb”??
      I am yet to find another Australian who doesn’t think the place is pronounced “koh-bey” XD

  2. The Hub is a place for foreign residents of Kobe (JETs, study abroad students, English teachers in other positions, etc) to gather. Consider yourself EXTREMELY lucky to be able to socialize with other foreigners in the area. It’s a luxury us rural-JETs don’t get. As a result we tend to be fairly isolated while city JETs get to talk with other people in English on a regular basis and develop a lot of really close friendships over the years. Also Sannomiya is a great area for shopping and hanging out in general. You’re lucky you’re that close.

    Also definitely visit Harborland at night! It’s gorgeous when lit up like that. There’s a ferris wheel there too that you can go up in and see the night view even better.

    I’m so jealous! Living in rural Japan has been a really good experience for me, but if I am to ever move back to Japan, my one condition is it MUST be a city of considerable size; there’s so much more going on in the expat community, or going on in general that it’s totally worth being where a lot of things are happening (even if it’s slightly more expensive to live there).

    • To be honest I feel like I have won the JET Program lottery, like honestly I cant think of a better placement then Gakuen Toshi, Kobe! I nostalgically look back to the day when I decided I wanted to one day live in Japan when I was still in highschool and the fact that its all really happening just seems like a dream!!

      See I wasn’t really fussed where I got placed, although I know deep down I will be much more comfortable in a largish city like Kobe. I feel like I will be missing out on being put out of my comfort zone and experiencing many of the unique opportunities that being the token gaijin in the deep inaka would offer.

      I just don’t want to be caught up living in a gaijin ghetto where I don’t get the chance to interact with the local community as improving my nihon-go is one of my main priories. But again not complaining at least I will be able to explore many places without the need or expenses of a car!! ^_^

      • First of all, you will likely have MORE chances of improving your nihongo in a city by socializing with people your own age. The only people I have to practice on here are the elderly, and my teachers at school (which are way too busy all the time). There’s basically no one my age (26) out in the inaka, except for people who are married and have like 3 kids already. Obviously, people will families are too busy to go out to dinner with you or have some drinks (not like there’s even a place to go have drinks on my island). It’s good to want to get out and meet the locals, and I highly encourage it, but you’ll also really appreciate having an expat support group when homesickness or frustration at living in a foreign culture hits.

        And yes, by being placed in Kobe-shi, you certainly did win the lottery. The only thing better might be getting placed in Osaka or Kyoto, but those are all pretty much equivalent anyway. I’d consider yourself extremely lucky if you were even just an hour away, but no, you’re there!

        Good luck and keep us posted on your transitioning!

  3. Ahhhhhhh wow you have just blown my mind, my thought process was wayyyy off, I guess that’s the difference in the insight you have before you leave and a couple weeks after arrival hey :p

    SporadicHappiness just thank you so much! You have have done wonders for my confidence regarding my circumstances in the coming weeks =)

    With my DSLR and laptop at side I’ll be sure document all the misadventures that come my way!!

    • I found the JET wiki very helpful in the beginning

      Honestly though most of my insight I got from talking to current JET’s in forums. As I met people there who put me onto my prefectual CIR’s who were more than helpful.
      In this regard the officials and ITIL are your friends.
      I was lucky that I was placed in Kobe-shi where there are something like 120 JET’s so the information available was plentiful, If your in the inaka you might not be so fortunate. You could also try looking at some JET blogs as most tend to post something regarding their housing at one point or another.


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