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A Side of Kobe You Didn’t Know 6: Where to eat out

Lately, it seems there are more and more non-Japanese people who are worrying about their first trips to Japan on Facebook, writing things like, “I wonder if I’ll be able to eat anything in Japan… willI I be able to survive in Japan without eating those famous Japanese foods?” As an international student, you may have worried about this yourself.

In this article, we’ll share some cafés and other shops in Kobe, that sell not only Japanese foods, but also foreign products.

Cafés & Restaurants
In Japan, there isn’t a strong culture of inviting people over to eat at your own. It’s typical to spend time with your friends or coworkers outside of the house, frequently at cafés or restaurants. In Kobe, you can eat food from many different countries. You’ll find Vietnamese, Mongolian, Thai, Russian, Turkish, Spanish, Mexican, Chinese, and Chilean restaurants scattered all over town.

Around noon, many shops offer lunch menus at prices lower than the usual. At a mid-range café, 1,000 yen should be plenty!

In addition, you don’t need to be worried about your Japanese languages abilities! Menus generally have photos of the food, so you should be able to order with ease. Some shops also have examples of their food laid out at their entrances, so you’ll be able to tell not only what the ingredients are, but how much food to expect. Many Japanese and Western-style restaurants alike also offer English language menus.

Looks tasty, doesn’t it? But this is just a model!

Grocery & Convenience Stores
In Japan, it’s easy to go shopping by yourself, too. There are three main types of stores where you can buy cooking ingredients: supermarkets (AEON, KOHYO, Daiei, Coop, LIFE, etc.), green grocers (shops selling fruits and vegetables), and convenience stores (shops selling food and drinks, cosmetics, stationary, and other daily necessities; open 24 hours a day), etc.

The convenience stores scattered around the city also offer free wifi, so you’ll be able to connect easily–another convenience! You will need to complete a simple sign-up, though.

If you’re looking to eat foreign foods, you can find foods from all over the world at shops lke PRO FOODS, KALDI COFFEE FARM, Seiji Ishii, PORCOBACIO, KOBE GROCERS, and more, so be sure to take a look!

In supermarkets as well as imported food stores, you can buy lots of pre-cooked foods as well. They’re all delicious, and when I head out to work, I’m always buying a soup I can zap in the microwave and eat right away. Prepping food like this is really convenient if cooking is bothersome or not your forté, don’t you think? 🙂

Food & Drink Prices in Kobe City

International Bars
For people who want to meet a variety of people, and not just foreigners, I reccomend the liveliness of international bars. Music and game events are often held there, and you can enjoy the activities in addition to eating tasty food as you get to know foreign and Japanese people! A lot of the staff at these international bars can speak English, too.

I particularly like an international bar that’s a ten minute walk from Sannomiya Station, and I go there often. Depending on the day, they have free parties and events. You can find event announcements on the bars’ websites, so be sure to check them out!

For Vegetarians & Vegans
People like me, who can’t eat certain foods, have a lot of dining options in Kobe. There are lots of restaurants that cater to vegans and vegetarians, and even at regular restaurants you can find foods without meat or fish.

If there aren’t many foods you can’t eat, the cooks can often remove the ingredient you cant eat from the dish. But be careful: even if it doesn’t appear to have meat or fish in it, Japanese dashi broth often contains fish extracts!

You can buy vegetarian foods at the import shops above (PRO FOODS, etc.). Kobe is also the first place in Japan where a mosque was built. The Kobe Muslim Mosque, built in 1953, is famous. Because of this, there are also shops that sell Halal foods.

You can enjoy delicious food at Yidaki Cafe, a vegan café near Motomachi Station.

Recommended Unique Flavors of Kobe
When you think of “Kobe,” what food comes to mind first? I’m pretty sure it’s Kobe beef. It’s the highest grade of beef in the world, and its internationally famous. If you have a chance to try this Kobe original, please give it a taste!

Kobe sweets are another famous item used to introduce the city. In the Meiji Period (1868-1912), the international port of Kobe was a doorway to the world, and many foreign people came and brought the flavors of foreign sweets with them. Western sweets took root, and Kobe is often thought of as a famous brand for sweets.

Why not try some unique Kobe flavors yourself?