Originally Posted by Alter
Hey Horns, Sorry I missed this earlier. Yep, I live in Kobe and office is in Osaka...and frequently vist Kyoto.
Tough call to say which would be better for you...on the surface most Japanese cities are fairly similar. Could you be more specific about your interests? Feel free to pm if preferred.
Kobe has an easy to walk around downtown area (around Motomachi/Sannomiya station) with ample shopping malls and underground shopping areas. Kobe is well-known as a "fashionable" city so the clothing options are excellent. For sightseeing, there isn't too much going on...the world's longest extension bridge is kind of cool if you like that kind of thing...and there is a nice path from there along the seaside leading to an "outlet" mall. A nice morning or afternoon activity. There is also a particularly nice castle in Himeji but it is around an hour west of Kobe...and it is under some construction at the moment.
Osaka could be an option too. Just around the Osaka station area, called Umeda, are many many places to eat and shop. But nothing that you couldn't find in Tokyo.
But...given all of the above, I think I would still opt for Kyoto. There are just so many places to visit there. In one day you can see an amazing temple, eat some great food (traditional or modern) and shop.
I have some more specific recs for hotels and restaurants in all three cities so let me know if that would be helpful too.
Thanks Alter. I think that my wife would enjoy the shopping in Kobe if it is a hot-spot for clothing and design. I, on the other hand, would love to have access to clothing there was a chance that they could fit me but I think that's doubtful. Otherwise I am in love with craftsmanship in whatever form it manifests itself.
Kobe is a large sake brewing city - is it worth it to visit those places? And any places to eat "land toro" aka Kobe beef would be greatly appreciated!
We are definitely staying in Kyoto for two days, which is a longer period of time than you might think considering that we have already seen all the temples and palaces.
What about other places that are on the way from Fukuoka to Tokyo that aren't even on my radar?