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Kobe City, Your Next Muslim-Friendly Travel Destination in Japan
Nestled between mountains and the sea, the vibrant Kobe City in Hyogo Prefecture is a hub of diversity and cultural significance in Japan.
With a rich history as a port city dating back to the 8th century and becoming a major stop along the Tokaido road, which connected Tokyo and Kyoto during the Edo period, Kobe city is known for its unique blend of history, commerce, and tourism.
The city has become increasingly Muslim-friendly in recent years. With a growing number of halal restaurants, prayer rooms, and the presence of the historical Kobe Mosque, Kobe should be on your list of next travel destinations.
Today we explore the city with the guide from Muslim-Friendly Map issued by Kobe’s Tourism Bureau!
Promoting Muslim-Friendly Kobe With A Travel Guidebook Introducing Kobe Mosque and Halal Kobe Beef!
Must-See Sights in Kobe
Kobe offers unique charms of the combination between Japanese culture and international influence, which you can truly experience through must-see sights that can’t be missed.
Mariken Park (Be Kobe monument)
Mariken Park, home to the famous BE KOBE monument, offers a stunning view of the city’s skyline and is the home of the city’s contemporary architecture such as the red Kobe Port Tower and the Kobe Maritime Museum. During spring, you can find people doing hanami under the blooming cherry blossom trees.
The park is a popular destination for both tourists and locals alike, with a variety of recreational activities available.
Kitano is a charming district located in the heart of Kobe at the foot of Mt. Rokko, known for its unique blend of Western and Japanese cultures, as well as its well-preserved historical buildings that date back to the late 19th century. The area was once home to many foreign merchants and diplomats when the five ports of Japan, including Kobe Port, are open internationally. As a result, it has a rich cultural heritage that reflects its international history.
The architecture in Kitano is a blend of various styles, including Victorian, Gothic, and Japanese, creating a distinct atmosphere that is not found elsewhere in Japan. In addition to its architecture, Kitano is also known for its museums, art galleries, and shops selling a variety of unique souvenirs and handicrafts.
Popular Cherry Blossom Spots
Ikuta River Park is a park located along the Ikuta River to the south of Shin-Kobe Station on the Shinkansen line, it will be the first cherry blossom spot you enjoy once landing in the city by Shinkansen!
It is colored pink in spring with around 150 cherry blossom trees stretching over the riverside. When the cherry blossoms are in full bloom, the Ikuta River Cherry Blossom Festival is held and the surrounding cherry trees are illuminated at night.
In addition to its expansive areas for leisurely walks, hanami, and relaxation, the park is a favorite destination among families for its diverse range of playground equipment.
Sumaura Park is best known for its amazing 3,200 cherry blossoms that you can enjoy together with the panoramic sea view. The road is steep as you are hiking up, surrounded by cherry blossom trees on both your left and right.
There is Sumaura Sanjo Yuen Park at the mountain top where you can reach both hiking and ropeway, which offers panoramic views of Kobe City, the Awaji island, and Akashi area with a variety of family-friendly attractions.
Oji Zoo Park
Oji Zoo Park is a popular attraction, as the home to a wide variety of animals and making it a must-visit destination for families and animal lovers alike. In addition to its animal exhibits, Oji Zoo Park is also known for its beautiful cherry blossom trees.
During the spring, the park comes alive with color as the cherry blossom trees bloom, creating a stunning sight where visitors can stroll through the park’s many cherry blossom-lined paths and enjoy a picnic under the blooming trees.
Must-Have Halal Kobe Beef
Kobe is known for its culinary offerings, including the world-famous Kobe beef. This high-grade, marbled beef is raised and slaughtered in the region and is known for its delicate flavor and tenderness. You can choose how well done you’d like it cooked.
These restaurants offer halal Kobe beef you shouldn’t miss when visiting Kobe!
The Originator of Teppanyaki Steak Misono Kobe Main Store
Teppanyaki Steak Misono Kobe Main Store is a restaurant that is famous for being Japan’s first teppanyaki steak house, opened their doors in 1945 right after World War 2. The restaurant has now taken it to the next level by being the first teppanyaki steak house that serves halal Kobe beef.
The Kobe beef is prepared on a specialized halal iron plate using halal tableware, kitchen utensils, and seasonings. They offer a halal Kobe beef course meal that includes a variety of appetizers, such as scallops and salads, as well as grilled vegetables and local sweet onions that can be enjoyed with halal soy sauce. The main dish consists of deliciously grilled halal Kobe beef with crunchy garlic chips, followed by a fruit dessert.
When you visit, you’ll be seated at a table that has a teppan (iron plate) where a professional chef will cook your Kobe beef right in front of you, a unique experience that you won’t forget!
Tsuki Usagi is a popular restaurant offering halal Kobe Beef close to the Sannomiya station. There are table seat, counter seats, and terrace seat that allows you to enjoy the meals with the beautiful city view. They use exclusive kitchen tools and tableware as well as halal seasonings in providing halal courses.
The halal Kobe beef course at Tsuki Usagi comes in three variations; steak course, hobayaki course (grilled with magnolia leaf), and yakiniku (BBQ) course, which includes crunchy tempura (consisting of fried vegetables and shrimp), soup (with master’s handmade tofu, boiled oyster, and seasonal vegetable), rice/miso soup (garlic rice for steak course), fresh sashimi, dessert, and of course, the main halal Kobe beef.
The restaurant is open for dinner from 17:00 to 24:00, but they also accept customers for lunch if any reservations.
Kobe Beef Steak SAKURA
Kobe Beef Steak Sakura is a halal restaurant with an exceptional dining experience. As soon as you step into the restaurant, you can feel the essence of Japanese culture with its concept of “Wa”, with a stylish and spacious interior adorned with cherry blossoms and a golden dragon screen that adds to its unique ambiance.
The restaurant prides itself on serving only the highest quality of halal Kobe beef grilled right in front of you which impresses foodies and beef enthusiasts alike. They are using not only halal-certified Kobe beef but also halal seasonings with halal-exclusive kitchenware and tableware. Also, they are using a special sheet and aluminum tray above the iron plate in grilling and cutting halal meat.
They have halal course menus offering halal Kobe beef sirloin steak, rib eye steak, round steak, and halal wagyu beef sirloin steak, also a la carte which you can choose if you want to enjoy single-item meat. The course menu consists of a salad and grilled vegetables, rice, miso soup, and Japanese matcha with halal-certified matcha Baumkuchen as dessert.
Must-Visit Mosques and Prayer Room
Kobe Mosque is a beautiful mosque located in the heart of Kobe city which was established in 1935, making it one of the oldest mosques in Japan. The mosque’s stunning architecture features intricate Islamic geometric patterns and calligraphy, which make it a popular destination for tourists and locals alike, with a spacious and comfortable prayer hall.
Note: no photography is allowed inside the mosque.
Hyogo Mosque is a place you can go to pray once arriving Kobe. It’s only a 10-minute walk from Shin-Kobe station on the Shinkansen Line. If you visit in spring, you can see the beautiful cherry blossoms blooming along the Ikuta River on the way to the mosque.
Hyogo Mosque is operated and managed by an Islamic Education Institute, JAN Foundation. The prayer room is on the first floor for men and on the third floor for women (the women’s entrance is from the side of the building). The second floor is for a preschool class. Across the road in front of the mosque, there is a halal shop where you can buy a variety of halal foods.
Kamomeria prayer space
Kamomeria Terminal is a bustling and modern port located in Kobe, Japan that serves as a departure point for ferries and cruise ships traveling to various destinations. However, even if you’re not traveling by sea, you can still visit the terminal to enjoy the sea view and the refreshing breeze.
Located in the heart of the popular shopping spot Harbor Land and the sightseeing destination of Meriken Park, the terminal also offers a spacious room that can be used for prayer. Although it is technically a first-aid room, it has ample space, a sink for ablution, and prayer mats, making it suitable for prayer.
If you’d like to use the room, simply head to the Information counter, and the staff will guide you to it. The prayer room is available from 8:30 am to 8:30 pm on weekdays and 8:15 am to 9:00 pm on weekends.