Hyōgo Prefecture has coastlines on two seas. To the north, the Sea of Japan, and to the south, the Seto Inland Sea, and most of its population reside on the southern coast. Due to this, it’s no surprise that agriculture, forestry, and fisheries are the main pulls of Hyōgo’s economy. The prefecture contains a variety of communities ranging from rural villages to large cosmopolitan cities, with some isolated islands thrown in for good measure. It is another prefecture that is blessed with an abundance of natural beauty with twenty percent of the total land in the prefecture being designated as natural parks in 2008. Various leisure activities such as hiking, swimming, skiing, and bathing in natural hot springs can be enjoyed while you’re here. Due to the region's vast size, the climate varies greatly, and it’s often referred to as “Japan in miniature” due to its diversity! Hyōgo is steeped in a rich history and home to one of the biggest and best-preserved feudal-era castles in Japan. Himeji Castle is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Himeji and is also known as White Heron Castle due to its elegant tall, white appearance. Other cultural and historical highlights include Engyoji Temple, Takeda Castle Ruins, and taking the cable car up Mount Rokko to admire the panoramic views of Osaka Bay and Kobe City.
Its capital, Kobe, is famed for its prized melt-in-your-mouth beef that is of the highest quality in the world. Kobe was one of the first to be opened to international forging trade in the 19th century resulting in some of their local dishes being internationally influenced and it is home to one of Japan’s three Chinatowns. There’s plenty more to indulge in than simply beef while visiting the prefecture. The highest rate of tea and bread consumption in all of Japan is actually in Kobe. As the prefecture has two seas, seafood is a big part of their diets. Akashiyaki is the rumored forefather of takoyaki, which are balls of a light egg batter with pieces of octopus in the center doused in a dashi broth, and they make the perfect snack. ikanago (sand eel) is also popular along with taimeshi (steamed sea bream with rice). However, like every prefecture throughout Japan, they also have their own version of yakisoba along with some of the best Chinese food in Japan thanks to its large population of Chinese immigrants.