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Kobe Private Tour

KOBE PRIVATE VEHICLE TOUR

From the mountains to the sea, indulge in all Kobe has to offer...

From ¥59,000/group (~US$536)
Private Vehicle 8 Hours (approx.) Up to 9 People

Introduction to Our Private Kobe Tour

Looking for a stress-free way to explore all that Kobe has to offer? Look no further than our Kobe private tour. Our experienced and knowledgeable guide will pick you up in a comfortable private vehicle and take you on a personalized journey through the city's most famous sights, from hot springs to gardens and bustling commercial areas. And if you're a fan of sake, you'll love our tour of the sake brewery area. Of course, no trip to Kobe would be complete without indulging in some Kobe Beef, and we can arrange a delicious lunch featuring this world-renowned delicacy. Plus, if you're staying in Osaka, we also offer Kobe tours that depart from there (browse our Osaka tours). With our Kobe private tour, you'll have the flexibility and freedom to explore at your own pace while benefiting from the insights and recommendations of our local guide. Book your tour today and get ready to experience the best of Kobe!

Historic Landmarks

The hot springs at Arima Onsen have been therapeutically used for centuries by those looking to regain their youth or just for general rejuvenation - and in the old days, it wasn’t all that easy to get there!

Professional Guide

Real English, real skills, and great personalities. Our guides have the knowledge and expertise to provide you with interesting, fun, and memorable tours.

Fully Narrated Tour

Our tours never leave you to wonder about on your own. Your guide stays with you the whole time, unless, for example, you want a bit of time to roam a garden or have lunch on your own.

Easy Access

This tour starts at your hotel or the port. Doesn't get much easier than that!

Does this look like fun? Book tickets today!

Kobe Private Tour Overview

Explore the best of Kobe with our private tour! Skip the crowds and enjoy the convenience of a private vehicle to see the region's most noteworthy sights. You'll ride the historic Rokko Cable Car, soak in Arima Onsen's famous hot springs, visit two beautiful gardens, explore Kobe's high-end shopping districts, stroll through the vibrant Chinatown, and even visit a sake distillery. At Arima Onsen, relax in the "Golden Spring" or "Silver Spring" and try their famous sake manju. Choose between Kobe's Botanical Garden or Sorakuen for a serene garden experience. In the flats, we'll show you Kobe's high-end shopping districts and can arrange a Kobe Beef lunch. We'll also visit the earthquake memorial and a sake production house to better understand sake making. Our tour is flexible, so pick and choose the spots you like. With pick-up from your hotel or the Port of Kobe, our experienced guide will show you the best of Kobe. Don't miss out on this unique and unforgettable experience! Any questions? Don’t hesitate to contact us.

Up we go!

After collecting you from your hotel or the Port of Kobe, we’ll drive to the base of Mt. Rokko and get you settled on to the Rokko Cable Car. This historic “funicular” service started in 1932, allowing high society types to escape the summer heat of the coastal flats for the cooler mountain environment above. Your guide will be waiting for you at the top, but before getting back in the car, you’ll check out the observation deck for the expansive views swinging wide from Osaka, across the bay, all the way to central Kobe. There’s a chance the clouds will have their say at this high elevation, but let’s hope for the best! From this point in the tour there are some options, but Arima Onsen is highly recommended. It’s hands down the region’s most renowned natural hot springs. There’s also a quaint little town surrounding Arima’s hot spring soaking facilities, so for those too modest to reveal their bodies (baths are enjoyed in separate male and female areas, with nothing more than a small towel to cover key parts of your body), there’s adjacent shopping and even a free hot spring foot bath to, well, dip your toes into. Regardless, all seasons are lovely up at Arima Onsen. There’s the “Golden Spring” and the “Silver Spring”, and both are said to hold rejuvenating properties. No promises on getting younger, but your skin will feel smoother after! Be sure to try out one of their sake manju (a little Japanese sweet dumpling) while up there. On a Kobe private tour, visiting Arima Onsen is a highlight, but in no way the end all. We’ve got two beautiful gardens for you to choose from. Kobe’s Botanical Garden is an expansive and beautiful, nestled in the mountains above Kobe. As the name implies, this is more a botanical garden than a traditional Japanese garden. Closer to central Kobe, Sorakuen, is where classic Japanese garden design can be enjoyed. The vagaries of history resulted in this garden having a 19th century Western influence, which makes for an intriguing twist. Both gardens are lovely options, and if you’re a serious garden person, both can be visited.

Kobe on the more urbane side

Beautiful as Kobe’s natural areas are, there’s also great city stuff to see in the flats. If shopping is your bag, we’d be happy to introduce Kobe’s higher-end take on the scene. Feeling beefy and looking for a Kobe Beef lunch? That arrangement can also easily be made for you. To be honest, Kobe’s Chinatown is generally more entertaining for Japanese domestic visitors doing a Kobe private tour than it is for international guests, but we’re happy to give you a walkabout as it is anyway next to the covered shopping streets in the central city area. Just a five minute drive away is a vivid memorial to the earthquake that hit Kobe’s in 1995, killing over five thousand people. Part of the shore has been left as it was to keep the memories alive authentically..

Come learn how the Japanese rice wine “sake” is made

Kobe has for centuries been a major sake producing area. The shoreline location plus the benefit of easy access to nearby good rice and water, enables companies like Hakutsuru to be strong producers. If you’re interested in a deeper understanding about this very Japanese rice wine, a restored sake production house at Hakutsuru has explanations that explain the process in simple terms with life size exhibits. Naturally, there’s free sake tasting on site too! We’ve got options, so pick and choose the spots you like. What better a way to enjoy your day amongst the gems of Kobe’s scenic spots?

Does this look like fun? Book tickets today!

Itinerary

RIde up this historic funicular to the top, at 493m. From there, gaze out at Osaka, Osaka Bay, and all the things from there to central Kobe (as long as the weather cooperates!). Plan on about 45 minutes for all this.

Justifiably famous, Arima Onsen’s healing waters are said to be the region’s best. Soak in one of the historic bath houses, or just soak your weary feet in the outdoors bath area. Later, explore the quaint surrounding shopping and food area for a few minutes, if you like.

This is where our tour options diverge. If you are enamored by the mountains, we’ll have lunch up there and also take you to Kobe’s lovely Botanical Gardens. Here you’ll enjoy detaching from the business of the city below and surround yourself in nature. The grounds are large, and we can easily spend more or less time here at the gardens, as you prefer.

For those looking for a more classic Japanese garden experience, we head to Sorakuen. The meandering paths and well manicured trees make for a very pleasant and relaxing stroll. 

Plan on spending around 45 minutes at either garden, though this will vary depending on how into gardens you are..

Here’s where that Kobe Beef lunch is if you like, or we can eat somewhere else nearby. After this, we have options including shopping, Chinatown, and the moving 1995 Hanshin Earthquake Memorial in the port area. This stop only applies to our Central Kobe tour option. Including lunch, this will all take about two hours, or it can be less if you prefer.

Your Kobe Private Tour allows you to easily get around by private car, so If you’ve ever wondered how “sake” (pronounced “sah-kay”) is produced, this will be a stop right up your alley. Hakutsuru is right up near the top of Japan’s largest producers, and inside their restored sake brewery you’ll find a 1920s era re-creation of how sake was produced, as well as displays and videos showing how modernity has improved upon the process. Free tasting is also part of the deal! 45 minutes or less here.

Historic and Cultural Landmarks

The hot springs at Arima Onsen have been therapeutically used for centuries by those looking to regain their youth or just for general rejuvenation - and in the old days, it wasn’t all that easy to get there! Outside of the Arima Onsen area, most of our other stops are not exceedingly historical, but are culturally relevant without a doubt. For over 150 years, Western influence has been particularly strong in this part of Japan.

Easy Access

We’ll pick you up at your Kobe lodging or at Kobe port. That’s pretty simple, right?

Know Before You Go

There are a couple of things we’d like to let you know about before you book..

  • Please come wearing comfortable shoes suitable for walking. It’s a car tour, but especially in cases where we go to the Botanical Garden, there will be a reasonable bit of walking. If you want to avoid walking, just let us know (in advance, if possible) and we will plan accordingly.
  • Best to bring a couple towels for your hot springs visit. One should be a roughly medium length washcloth (perhaps the one hanging off a bar next to your hotel room’s bathroom sink?), and one more for drying off your body afterwards. If you prefer (or forget), you can always buy or rent towels at the hot spring facility itself.
  • Arima Onsen, and even more so the lookout from the top of Mt. Rokko, can often be easily 4°C (~7°F) cooler than the flats from which we came below. Once in awhile, there is even a bit of snow! Please dress appropriately for the weather.

Inclusions:

  • Hotel or Port of Kobe pickup and drop-off
  • All vehicle costs
  • All guide costs

Exclusions:

  • Lunch, and any other food and drink costs that may come up
  • Attraction admissions and your cable car fee. In total, 1,000 yen/person for the cable car and garden stop, plus around 700 yen/person to go in the hot springs (if you choose to do so) is a good amount to have in mind.
  • Pickup outside Kobe City. For cruise passengers, the Port of Kobe is included as a free pickup, but if you are located further out, please let us know and we will quote additional fees.

Options:

  • Additional time is available at 5,000 yen/hour (including vehicle usage). If there’s something special you’d like to see or do, just let us know and we’ll do our best to craft a perfect custom day.

Our Tour Guides

We've got around a dozen guides at your service. Here we showcase a few of our most active ones.

Kevin

We think it's important that everyone who works for Pinpoint Traveler is an active guide too, even the owner. Kevin's been in Japan thirteen years, but spent the first ten in the corporate world. Now he shares his love for Japan outside the confines of the office.

Shoji

Born in Japan, but moved to Canada when he was still quite young, Shoji is back and ready to share is passion for Japan with you. His main dominion is Osaka and on down to Koya-san and Wakayama, but he's such a popular guy that we often send him even further afield by request.

Mardi

Mardi's our Kyoto guide-in-chief, and her love for the city is infectious. She's got an uncanny ability for giving people just the right amount of information while still ensuring the tour stays light and fun. Be it temples and shrines, gardens, or nightlife, Mardi's your gal.

Dan

Dan is a Spaniard, so of course his Spanish is native level, but his English is fantastic as well. He's got a warm personality and consistently makes our guests feel like they've made a new friend within minutes of meeting him. He also knows Osaka and Kyoto like no one's business!

Levy

With nearly twenty years in Osaka, Levy's got this place WIRED. He's a major samurai and history aficionado, and in addition to knowing all the top sights like a true pro, he knows Osaka's nightlife better than (dare we say it!) the vast majority of Japanese who call Osaka home. Levy's originally from Israel, and runs tours in Hebrew too.

Suzie

Suzie is Japan born and raised, and we can't recommend her enough for tours in Tokyo and Yokohama. Our prior guests frequently say nicer things about Suzie than any of our own mothers have said about us! The consummate pro, she's not just got all the info, but also an uncanny knack for knowing what to show our guests.

Not profiled here are guides who speak Spanish (Kyoto, in addition to Dan in Osaka), French (Osaka, Kyoto, Tokyo), and German (Kyoto and Tokyo).

Pickup Point

We'll pick you up at any hotel in central Kobe or at the Port of Kobe.

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