On the opposite side of Osaka than Kyoto, is the old port city of Kobe. Many might remember the Great Hanshin Earthquake of 1995, which destroyed areas of the city and toppled sections of its elevated highway. Nowadays, it is still a busy port city with modern buildings and towers surrounding its metropolitan centre. The waterfront is a trendy area of boutiques, fancy restaurants and a ferris wheel.
But perhaps Kobe is most famous for its contribution to the world’s culinary elite; Kobe beef.
Specifically referring to cuts of beef from the Tajima strain of wagyu cattle raised in the local area, this delicacy is world renowned for its well-marbled texture. And anyone who enjoys steak will know that this special fatty marbling ensures a tender, juicy, melt-in-your-mouth extravaganza for the tastebuds.
Whether these special cows are raised listening to classical music or fed some magical grain is anyone’s guess. Many around the world attempt to raise their wagyu cattle to replicate the “Kobe style”, so they can market it as Kobe beef. We scoured for the REAL thing. And we settled on Wakkoqu Restaurant in Kobe (near Shin-Kobe Station).
Prepared teppanyaki style, our chef sliced and diced in front of us. While our steak was being prepared, we tucked into some delicious entrees.
It was pretty pricy, but was it worth it?
To walk it off, we headed up towards the Rokko mountain range that wedges Kobe in between the sea. The Kitano-cho district is a rich, European influenced area where foreign merchants and diplomats settled after the Port of Kobe was opened to foreign trade in the second half of the 19th century.
Many of the former mansions, known as ijinkan, are now open as museums. However it was nice just to wander the narrow streets and steep steps, popping into a few little boutiques on our way.
Visited 23rd to 28th March 2014.