I have been to Kobe before. For my first blog post of Kobe and other ports in Japan, see September-October 2010. I also did a land trip to Japan in October 2011 and you will see posts for that trip which include Kyoto, Nara and Osaka, all cities within a short train ride from Kobe. We arrived eight hours early as we were outrunning a tropical storm heading to the Philippines. It gave us almost an entire extra day in port. I investigated the idea of going to Himeji to see the castle but it is under a massive reconstruction, so I set off to walk around parts of town that I had not seen before, namely, the Ikuta shrine and the shopping areas of Motomachi, about 1km in length, and Nanchinmachi (Chinatown.) It was a public holiday in Japan, Family Day, so there was a lot of activity on the streets. At the Ikuta Shrine there was a traditional Shinto wedding in progress and in addition to a couple of photos of the shrine, I got one of the photographers taking the family wedding photo. You will note that many of the women are wearing traditional kimonos. I saw quite a few kimono stores in the shopping malls (photo.) Chinatown was also busy and I got a photo of holiday makers enjoying the tasty food from the many food stands along the streets. Lastly, I have a photo of the food hall in the Daimaru department Store showing treats for Halloween. Food Halls in Japanese stores are something to behold as everything is packaged so beautifully.
On our second day, I set off to tour the Sorakuen Garden, Kanteibyo Chinese Temple, Kobe City Museum and the Flower Clock. The Museum was closed but I saw the others. The Garden was small but quite nicely laid out. It was raining and the rain enhanced the atmosphere in the gardens (photos). The Chrysanthemum Festival is coming up and gardeners were busy setting out plants. Some were in bloom (photo). The Kanteibyo Chinese Temple was small but well maintained (photo). I could hear someone inside throwing joss sticks to have her fortune told. The flower clock was quite pretty (photo). It actually works and behind it, completely out of place, is a west coast Indian totem pole set up to commemorate Seattle becoming a sister city of Kobe (photo.)
We are sailing on schedule but Typhoon Wipha is in our path so our next port, intended to be Naha, Okinawa, has been changed to Nagasaki. This and other posts from Japan are delayed because Japan does not permit the use of ship internet while within 12 miles of the shore are while docked.