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4th tour PRA 2018, Autumn Leaves at Zuihoji Temple

You may have oft heard that Japan has four seasons. Of course many other countries do too, but the sudden (and oh-so-brief) burst of autumn splendor between the sweltering island summer and freezing dry winter is like an oasis of optical bliss. No wonder, then, that we would take our PR Ambassadors to see the fantastic fall foliage in one of the best autumnal sightseeing spots in Kobe: Zuihoji Park in the Arima Onsen hot springs area.

Thirteen of our ambassadors took many gorgeous photos of the stunning leaves in Zuihoji Park. They participated in an outdoor tea ceremony, in which they were able to enjoy delightful traditional Japanese snacks and learn the special way of turning the teacup before drinking the matcha green tea. The tea was suuuper bitter (no simple syrup or milk like you’d get at the coffee shop), but the intense sweetness of the confection paired well with it.

Our ambassadors also had the chance to take a photo together with geisha and interact with the locals while nibbling on oden and other winter stall food. Though to be honest, lovable local canine celebrity Tomi-kun became the center of attention and stole just about everyone’s hearts (and camera time <3).

Afterwards, they visited the Arima Toys & Automata Museum, which features multiple floors of elaborately handcrafted toys. In anticipation of Christmas, the museum was tastefully decorated in colorful lights and trees that gave the visit a more festive air.

To finish up the tour, we set our ambassadors loose on the town to explore more of the Arima area.

Check out the tour video below:

For more information:
Come admire the leaves in Zuihoji Park yourself!
Geisha Café (Japanese site only)
Visit the Arima Toys & Automata Museum and feel like a child again!

Some places to take an affordable dip:
Kin no Yu
Gin no Yu
Kanpo no Yu (Japanese site only)

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Kobe PR Ambassadors

When you think of Kobe, is the first thing that comes to mind the world famous Kobe Beef?

Or is it the baseball player, Kobe Bryant?

A lot of people around the world don’t know that Kobe is actually a thriving, dynamic, and achingly beautiful city in Japan, just next to its bigger and more famous neighbour, Osaka.

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3rd tour PRA 2018, Kande Farm Village

When you hear “Kobe”, you think of a bustling city with Kobe beef around every corner, right? But Kobe also has a diverse agricultural industry that includes rice, fruits, and vegetables!

Eleven of our PR Ambassadors went to Kande Village on October 14, the day of our third official PR Ambassador Tour in 2018. They gained an appreciation of how much work goes into farming by harvesting rice plants with traditional sickles and digging (giant) sweet potatoes out of the ground. And of course they got the chance to appreciate the fresh flavors of food straight from a farm by eating warm, handmade rice balls for lunch…and peeling mikans (mandarin oranges) they picked themselves at the orchard for dessert! *drool*

For more information:
Visit the Harvest Kobe Urban Agritourism site to learn more about what tasty tours you can go on!
And if you know Japanese (or have a helpful Japanese-fluent friend), you can contact Kande Farm Village directly for information about the farms and facilities (including a farm-to-fork lunch buffet) in the area!

Picture Gallery

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2nd tour PRA 2018, Akashi Kaikyo Bridge

Have you heard of the Akashi Kaikyo Bridge? Connecting Awaji Island and Kobe as part of the Honshu-Shikoku Highway, the bridge stretches 3,911 meters and holds the title of longest suspension bridge in the world (and seventh-tallest!). On September 2, the day of the second official PR Ambassador Tour of 2018, twelve of our lovely PR Ambassadors visted this bridge 20 years after its completion.

For more information:
Visit the Akashi Kaikyo BRIDGE EXHIBITION CENTER (Japanese site) to learn about its history and construction!
Make a reservation to go on the Bridge World Tour (Japanese/English site) yourself!

Picture Gallery

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1st tour PRA 2018, Mt. Rokko Hike

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We enjoyed Mt. Rokko that is national park in May! It was so relaxing weekend with beautiful weather. The guides from Mt. Rokko cable car and tourism company, they gave us great experiences at alpine botanical garden, musical box museum, garden terrace, and so on. It was great, thank you so much!!

Gagaku at Ikuta Shrine

Have you heard of Gagaku? It is a type of music  that was originally brought to Japan from the Chinese continent, and is known to be the oldest surviving music in Japan.
The Kobe PR Ambassadors were lucky to be invited to a special performance at Ikuta Shrine on Monday 12th March 2018, which included not just music, but dancing too.
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Applications now closed for 2018-2019

Applications are now closed for the 2018-2019 Kobe PR Ambassador scheme! Thank you to all those of you who applied. We had a great response and are now working on screening the applications.

Here is how things will play out:

Application schedule (Tentative)
・Thursday February 1st 2018, 9:00am until Wednesday February 28th 2018, 5:00pm: Application period
・Early March 2018: Application form screening
・Mid March 2018: Interviews
*We will get in contact with applicants who pass the application form screening to arrange an interview.
・Early April 2018: Final selection and notifications
・Late April 2018: Appointment Ceremony
*The Appointment Ceremony is planned to take place on a weekday in late April.
*Schedule is subject to change

As always, please follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to see the latest news!

#MyKobeSeasons photo contest winners

Over 500 public photos were uploaded to the #MyKobeSeasons photo contest with a seasonal tag. With so many entries it was very hard to decide the winners, but the Kobe PR Ambassadors have voted and the results are in! Congratulations to all the winners, who will receive some great Kobe prizes.

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Visit the winners’ accounts:
Spring Gold Silver (1) Silver (2)
Summer Gold Silver (1) Silver (2)
Autumn Gold Silver (1) Silver (2)
Winter Gold Silver (1) Silver (2)

Look out for more chances to get involved in the Kobe PR Ambassador scheme, or even apply to become a Kobe PR Ambassador yourself!

Kobe “Hassha Meguri” eight shrines tour

Kobe is well known as an international, modern city that offers a look into real Japanese daily life for those who visit. However, it is less well known that the city is home to historical shrines that are hundreds of years old (and in the case of Ikuta Shrine, over a thousand years old).

You may know that Kobe’s central area Sannomiya is named after Sannomiya Shrine, and that Sannomiya 三宮 is literally “Three shrine”. But did you know that there is also Ichinomiya (One shrine), Ninomiya (Two shrine)… all the way to Hachinomiya (Eight shrine)? On Saturday December 2nd 2017, the Kobe PR Ambassadors went on a tour to visit them all.

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The names of deities enshrined in each shrine

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A Beginner’s Guide to Kobe Food Culture (& A Brief History for How It Got That Way)

When people first arrive in Kobe they commonly believe they’ll eat a lot of sushi and lose a lot of weight. Neither, it turns out, happens for most. Kobe has one of the most diverse, imaginative, and deletable food cultures in the world where both washoku (和食) (Japanese Cuisine) and yōshuku (洋食) (Foreign Cuisine) have been utterly mastered. You will become spoiled by the experience of dining in Kobe so badly that you may never want to return home again because they do so many things so well.

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