When it comes to eating in Kobe, the most obvious choice is Kobe beef. But did you know there are many other must-try food in Kobe, Japan? Many of these famous Kobe foods are affordable and can be found in the touristy areas like Sannomiya Center Gai Shopping Street, Motomachidori and Nankinmachi.
In this post, I put together a list of the best food in Kobe and where you should try these local specialties. So if you are spending a few days in Kobe and need some food ideas, follow my Kobe Food Guide and find out where and what to eat in Kobe for your upcoming trip.
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Tips for eating in Kobe, Japan
Before trying some of the best food in Kobe, take a look at my post on everything you need to know before going to Japan. I included a lot of travel information, including how to get around Japan and other travel tips.
Plus, I have a post on all the best things to do in Kobe if you only have one day.
For now, check out these tips for eating in Kobe:
- Some popular restaurants have a queue. The wait is not as long as the restaurant queues in Tokyo but the famous places really draw a crowd. So be prepared to wait a bit.
- Most places accept cash only, especially the small local restaurants, ramen noodle places and gyoza restaurants.
- Bring your credit card. Some restaurants accept credit card as payment especially for teppanyaki restaurants.
- Check the hours of operation when you are eating in Kobe. Some restaurants are open for lunch only. Some are open for both lunch and dinner but breaks in between.
- Download Google Translate, an app that can translate Japanese to English. Some restaurants have Japanese-only menus, but most seem to have English menus.
- Tipping is not required in Japan.
Best Food in Kobe Japan: 8 must-try food
Besides Kobe beef, which is the obvious choice, there are many unique food in Kobe that you should try.
In this post, I listed all the famous Kobe food and where to find them in the city. Also, I included the hours of operation, and Google Maps links to each Kobe restaurant and food outlet so you can easily find them.
Here is a quick summary of 8 famous Kobe food:
Summary: 8 Famous Kobe Food
- Kobe Beef – a type of Wagyu beef from Tajima black cattle raised only in Hyogo Prefecture
- Akashiyaki – small round egg dumplings with octopus
- Misodare Gyoza – pan-fried dumplings with miso sauce
- Sobameshi – chopped yakisoba and rice stir-fried together and topped with beef tendons.
- Takomeshi – octopus rice
- Korokke – Japanese croquette
- Chuka Ryori – Japanese adaptation of Chinese food.
- Taimeishi – sea bream rice
What and Where to Eat in Kobe Japan
1. Kobe Beef
What is Kobe Beef: a type of Wagyu beef from Tajima black cattle raised only in Hyogo Prefecture. The beef is characterized by thin stripes of fat in its fine-grained meat. The cooked beef is super tender and melts in your mouth. There are different ways of eating Kobe Beef, including sukiyaki, shabu-shabu, sashimi, sushi, or it can be eaten as a steak.
Where to eat Kobe Beef in Kobe:
- Steakland Kobe (11am-9pm) – a touristy teppanyaki restaurant where chef cooks Wagyu beef steak on a hot skillet in front of you.
- Wakkoqu (11:45am-9pm; closed Tuesdays) – a pricier teppanyaki restaurant that also offers different cuts of beef and a cooking show.
- Tor Road Steak Aoyama (12-9pm; closed Wednesdays) – a small teppanyaki restaurant.
- Aka Noren (11:30am-3pm and 5-10pm) – they have Wagyu Hitsumabushi (thin slices of beef in lacquer rice bowl) and Wagyu Sukiyaki set lunches. Or try steak fillet, Wagyu beef cutlet from their a la carte menu.
What is Akashiyaki: Originated in Akashi, these small round egg dumplings are simliar to takoyaki (octopus balls) in Osaka, but the batter for akashiyaki is lighter, softer and eggier. Dip the akashiyaki in a dashi broth and enjoy.
Where to eat Akashiyaki in Kobe:
- Takoan (12-2:30pm and 5-10:30pm) – a set meal includes 10 akashiyaki, takomeshi, pickled vegetable and yuzu octopus.
- Tachibana (11am-6:30pm; closed Thursdays) – one order has 10 akashiyaki. Perfect lunch spot.
- Akashiyaki Tsukasa (6pm-2am; closed Sundays) – get akashiyaki and oden (Japanese fish cake stew) from this small restaurant.
- Mitsuha (11am-8pm; closed Wednesdays) – get akashiyaki and kushikatsu (skewered and deep-fried food) at restaurant on Motomachidori.
3. Misodare Gyoza
What is Misodare Gyoza: it means “miso sauce dumplings”. The dish was first created by the owner of Ganso-Gyozaen, who spent time in Manchuria in Northeast China. He started to eat dumplings with miso because he missed the flavour of Japan. When he returned to Japan, this style of gyoza was born and many places adopted the same flavour profile for eating gyoza.
To make the dipping sauce, mix 2 parts vinegar, 1 part soy sauce and miso sauce. Add chilli oil if you want some heat.
Where to eat Misodare Gyoza in Kobe:
- Ganso-Gyozaen (11:45am-3pm & 5-8:30pm; closed Mondays) – misodare gyoza originated here. Get pan-fried, boiled, fried or in soup gyoza. And try their jajangmyeon (spicy mixed noodles).
- Hyōtan (11am-11pm) – two locations in Kobe serving pan-fried dumplings. 7 dumplings per serving, so order 1 or 2 orders. English menu available.
- Akaman (12:30-8pm Saturday to Tuesday; 2-8pm Thursdays and Fridays) – two locations in Kobe. Similar to Hyōtan, one serving has 7 dumplings. They recommend ordering two servings.
- Gyoza Daigaku (11:30am-1:50pm & 5-8:40pm Wednesday to Sunday) – this small dumpling restaurant in Chinatown has similar setup for ordering. A serving has 7 dumplings. You can order two orders or order a set meal which includes rice and soup. Use Google Translate to translate the simple menu on the wall.
What is Sobameshi: Chopped yakisoba and rice stir-fried together and topped with different ingredients. In Kobe, beef tendons (Bokkake suji sobameshi) is a popular choice. The cheap and cheerful dish originated in Nagata Ward in Kobe City in 1950s and is one of Kobe’s most famous dishes.
Where to eat Sobameshi in Kobe:
- Hakusan Okonomiyaki (11am-9pm; closed Tuesdays) – the okonomiyaki restaurant offers many types of sobameshi, okonomiyaki and more. I ordered the scallop sobameshi. They cooked it inside the kitchen and served it on the hot skillet at my table.
- 長田TANKU筋 (11am-9 pm; closed Tuesdays) – they have many types of sobameshi, okonomiyaki, modernyaki and sobayaki. Use Google Translate to translate the menu. The restaurant is actually at the basement level and all the way at the end of the hallway on the right.
- Okonomiyaki restaurants in Kobe – many okonomiyaki restaurants around the city offer variations of this Kobe classic food.
What is Takomeshi: it means “octopus rice”. The local rice dish is cooked with small pieces of dried octopus. When the octopus is cooked, it has a firm texture and is super flavourful.
Where to eat Takomeshi in Kobe:
- Takoan (12-2:30pm and 5-10:30pm) – akasiyaki is the main dish but the octopus rice side dish is just as delicious.
- Cooked food section at department stores – I found octopus onigiri at the B1 level at Daimaru department store.
- Izakaya restaurants in Kobe – many of them serve rice with octopus in a claypot.
What is Korokke: Japanese croquette, a breaded and deep-fried patty filled with mashed potatoes and other local ingredients. The most popular croquette ingredient in Kobe is Wagyu beef, of course.
Where to eat Korokke in Kobe:
- Moriyasho Ten (10:30am-7:30pm) – the famous butcher shop near the east end of Motomachidori. Try the classic Wagyu potato croquette. They also sell minced meat culter, pork fillet culet, Wagyu beef culet and other fried snacks.
- Kobe Croquette (11am-6pm) – they have different types of fried croquettes and fried cutlets.
7. Chuka Ryori
What is Chuka Ryori: Chinese cuisine in Japan where the flavours of the two cultures mixes together seamlessly. Nankinmachi is one of the three Chinatowns in Japan (along with Yokohama and Nagasaki) where you can find all kinds of chuka ryori, including gyoza, mapo tofu, chashu, ramen and etc.
Where to eat Chuka Ryori in Kobe:
- Rōshōki (10am-6:30pm; closed Mondays) – buy 6 or 10 steamed pork buns to-go. They have two locations where both are within the central square. They have been around since 1915 and is probably the most popular Chinese food vendor in Nankinmachi.
- Yunyun (11am-6pm) – they sell various Chinese and Taiwanese food but their most popular item on the menu is the Shanghai-style dumplings (fried xiao long bao).
- Kobe Chinatown – try delicious street food on the main street in Nankinmachi or pop into one of the restaurants for authentic Chinese food.
What is Taimeshi: Japanese rice dish where the rice is cooked in a flavourful dashi broth, sake, soy sauce and bonito and the taste of sea bream is subtly infused into the rice.
Where to eat Taimeshi in Kobe:
- Izakaya restaurants in Kobe – taimeshi is part of the regular a la carte menu or seasonal menu.
- Kutsurogiya in Arima (11am-3pm & 5-7:30pm; closed Tuesdays) – serving different seafood kamameshi (rice cooked in an iron pot) including red snapper, salmon, octopus and mountain vegetables. It comes with sashimi, side dishes and a local dessert. And best of all, you can enjoy your meal in a traditional tatami room in a Japanese house. English menu available.
Which must-eat food in Kobe are you most excited to try?
If you are staying in Kobe for a few days, you can easily try many of these local specialties. And best of all, eating in Kobe is very affordable and easily accessible.
So the big question is – which of these Kobe food are you interested in trying? Let me know in the comments.
Thank you for reading my Kobe Food Guide
You might also like these other posts on solo travel in Japan and food around the world:
Introduction to Japan
- Solo Travel to Japan: 17 best cities for solo travellers
- Things I wish I knew before going to Japan
- 11 Off-the-beaten-path places in Japan
- Japanese Food Culture: 11 must-try food
- One month in Japan: from Tokyo to Hiroshima
- Kyoto 2-day itinerary
- Uji day trip from Kyoto
- Nara day trip from Kyoto or Osaka
- 2-day Osaka itinerary
- Where and What to Eat in Osaka, Japan
- Osaka to Kobe day trip: 1-day itinerary
- Himeji day trip from Osaka
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