How to Get to Kobe
As a stop on the San’yo Shinkansen line along with local and regional lines, Kobe can be accessed via multiple stations and a range of services. On this page you will find the following information:
Kobe can be enjoyed as a day-trip from nearby or Osaka or as an overnight or multi-day visit. One of Japan’s most important and historic port cities, Kobe is proud of its maritime past. One of the first ports to open to foreigners following the Meiji Restoration of the 19th century, Kobe’s story blends Japanese and international influences including the historic Kitancho and Nankinmachi districts, along with the Nada district – one of Japan’s most highly-acclaimed ‘sake’ localities. For more about just what’s waiting for you in Kobe, see our ’15 Things to Do Around Kobe & Where to Stay’ page.
The following information is intended for international visitors, most of whom will have a Japan Rail (JR) Pass. For that reason, this page focuses on train travel and only uses buses in the absence of a good option to use the train network. Most but not all services are covered by the full JR Pass. Let’s start with the obvious question:
WHERE IS KOBE?
Kobe is a port city located around 35km / 40 minutes drive to the west of Osaka. The two cities are connected by the San’yo Shinkansen running from Shin-Osaka Station to Shin-Kobe Station – taking only 12 minutes, there are frequent services everyday – or rapid and local services running from Osaka Station to JR Sannomiya Station – taking between 20 to 40 minutes, depending on which you choose. As such, Kobe can be enjoyed as a day-trip from Osaka or by staying overnight to enjoy the city’s many attractions. When coming from further away including Kyoto, Nagoya and Tokyo, Kobe is just as easy to reach thanks to the Tokaido Shinkansen line – which runs from Tokyo Station via Nagoya, Kyoto and other major stations – connecting to the San’yo Shinkansen line at Shin-Osaka Station, with many direct services running onto Shin-Kobe meaning that passengers do not need to transfer trains.
HOW TO GET TO KOBE
In this section you will find information how to reach Kobe from the following starting points:
We endeavour to keep this information as up-to-date as possible and in recognition that most international visitors will be using the train network to move around Japan, most directions are for using the trains. If there is alternative option i.e. express or local bus, that is notably faster or economical, we also include that information.
FROM OSAKA / between 12 to 40 minutes
Reaching Kobe from Osaka is quick and easy. The San’yo Shinkansen runs from Shin-Osaka Station to Shin-Kobe Station – 12 minutes / JPY1520 – with frequent services throughout the day. Alternatively, rapid and local services run from Osaka Station to JR Sannomiya Station in Kobe, taking 20 to 40 minutes / JPY410.
FROM KANSAI AIRPORT / 95 minutes
The easiest way to reach Kobe by train from Kansai International Airport is to take the JR Kansai Airport Rapid Service to Osaka Station – 65 minutes – and then switch to the JR Special Rapid Service bound for JR Sannomiya Station – a total journey of 95 minutes / JPY1740. Alternatively, you can take train services from the airport to Shiniamiya Station and then transfer to services to Osaka Station and then onto JR Sannomiya Station in Kobe, or go via Namba and Umeda Stations in Osaka. Each route takes around 95 minutes and costs roughly the same therefore, in terms of ease and only having to transfer services once at Osaka Station, we suggest following the first recommendation.
FROM HIMEJI / between 15 to 40 minutes
Himeji Station is another stop on the San’yo Shinkansen line, making it quick and easy to reach Kobe from there. Regular services throughout the day run between Himieji and Shin-Kobe, taking 15 to 25 minutes / JPY2750. Alternatively, rapid services running on a standard rail line take around 35 minutes / JPY990 to reach Kobe Station and 40 minutes / JPY990 to reach JR Sannomiya Station from Himeji.
FROM HIROSHIMA / between 70 to 110 minutes
From Hiroshima Station, services on the San’yo Shinkansen line take between 70 to 110 minutes (depending on which service you choose) / JPY9670. There are regular services throughout the day.
FROM KYOTO / 25 minutes
Kyoto Station is a stop on the Tokaido Shinkansen line, allowing travelers to use direct services from Kyoto to Shin-Kobe Station. Regular services run throughout the day, connecting the two stations in around 25 minutes / JPY2860.
FROM NAGOYA / between 60 to 75 minutes
Nagoya Station is also a stop on the Tokaido Shinaknsen line. Services from Nagoya run regularly throughout the day, taking around 60 to 75 minutes / JPY7470 to reach Shin-Kobe Station.
FROM TOKYO / between 160 to 200 minutes
As the terminus of the Tokaido Shinkansen line, Tokyo Station is a convenient starting point from where to reach Kobe. Frequent services depart Tokyo throughout the day, taking 160 to 200 minutes / JPY14,420 to reach Shin-Kobe Station.
FROM NARITA AIRPORT / approx. 230 minutes
From Narita Airport, you can take either the Narita Express (NEX) to Tokyo Station or the Keisei Skyliner to Nippori and switch to a local line to reach Tokyo Station. Once there, transfer to a shinkansen service bound for Shin-Kobe. The total journey takes around 230 minutes and costs around JPY17,000 – noting that while the NEX and shinkansen services are covered by the JR Pass, the Keisei Skyliner is not.
FROM HANEDA AIRPORT / approx. 200 minutes
From Haneda Airport, take the Keikyu Main / Airport Line Rapid service to Shinagawa Station – a journey of only 15 minutes – and then switch to the shinkansen bound for Shin-Kobe Station – a total journey time of around 200 minutes / JPY14,720.
FROM NAGANO / approx. 260 to 270 minutes
When heading to Kobe from Nagano Station, you can do so via Nagoya or Tokyo. To do so via Nagoya, take the Limited Express ‘Shinano’ service from Nagano to Nagoya Station and switch to a shinkansen service bound for Shin-Kobe Station – a total journey time of around 260 minutes / JPY12,310. Alternatively, to do so via Tokyo, take the Hokuriku Shinkansen from Nagano to Tokyo Station and switch shinkansen services to one bound for Shin-Kobe – approx. 270 minutes / JPY20,030.
FROM KANAZAWA / approx. 180 to 190 minutes
From Kanazawa Station, take the Limited Express ‘Thunderbird’ service to Kyoto Station, and once at Kyoto, switch to a shinkansen service bound for Shin-Kobe – a total journey of 180 to 190 minutes / JPY8470.
15 THINGS TO DO AROUND KOBE & WHERE TO STAY
Sitting on Osaka Bay and within easy reach of its larger neighbour, Kobe is often overlooked by international visitors as they move from the more popular destinations of Osaka and Hiroshima. Those who do head to Kobe discover a vibrant city, much of which can be explored on-foot including its historic districts of Kitanocho and Nankinmachi, the modern bay and harbour district, or a little further afield, and the ‘sake’ district of Nada. Our ’15 Things to Do Around Kobe & Where to Stay’ page has some great suggestions of what’s on offer there and the best areas to stay including accommodation listings.
PLAN YOUR VISIT TO JAPAN
Heading to Kobe using the rail system is quick, easy and comfortable. Unfathomable in its size and efficiency, moving around the country by train opens-up all regions of Japan for exploration. Our ‘Plan Your Visit’ page has everything you need to know about visiting Japan – from tips on the best time to travel, times to avoid, entering and exiting the country, money matters, staying connected, accommodation, staying safe and healthy and plenty more to ensure that you get the most out of your time here.