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Most people only know about Kobe thanks to the famous beef, but this city of 1.5 million people is one of the most beautiful and most international in Japan. The fifth largest city in Japan is home to an estimated 44,000 foreigners from more than 120 different countries, and with a position sandwiched between the mountains and the sea, it’s incredibly beautiful.

In 1995, Kobe was devastated by an earthquake that leveled entire blocks and took the lives of more than 6,000 people. Today, it’s hard to imagine you’re even in the same city. It’s a compact city that’s easily navigable on foot, and while you won’t find as many big ticket attractions as in Tokyo or Kyoto, you will find a very livable city with one of Japan’s best food scenes and a thriving nightlife.

At the end of the day, most people still come here for the beef, and for good reason. The city is filled with local and international steakhouses, all grilling up the tender, fat-marbled beef, though it comes at a steep price. If you want to sample Kobe beef while in Kobe, but your Japanese skills aren’t great, your best bet is to head to one of the major hotels where nearly all the restaurants will have English menus.

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