28 April 2008

Kansai Day 3, 16 Dec 07 - Kobe, Hyogo

Day 3 was the highlight and main reason why we were in Kansai for this trip. I just had to bring hubby to experience the beauty of Kobe Luminarie.

Kobe Luminarie (神戸ルミナリエ) is a light festival held in Kobe every December. It began in 1995 in commemoration of the Great Hanshin earthquake. Spectacular hand-painted lights are kept up for about two weeks and only turned on for a few hours each evening. Major streets in the vicinity are closed to auto traffic during these hours to allow pedestrians to fill the streets and enjoy the lights.
I was in Kansai back in 2003 during a homestay programme and my host family brought me to Kobe Luminarie. I was awe-struck and promised to myself there and then that I would be back with hubby one day.
After checking out of Dotonbori Hotel in Osaka, we took a train to Kobe and roamed around Kobe Motomachi as it was still too early to check into our hotel for the night.
Due to Western influence, many quaint cafes and patisseries can be found in Kobe. How could I miss the opportunity to try desserts made from quality confectionery products from renown places like Hokkaido?

I always dreamt of relaxing in a nice cafe and enjoying a yummy slice of Strawberry Shortcake over a pot of aromatic Earl Grey but hadn't had chance so-far. Finally fulfilled my little dream here in Kobe, wish I could do this more often.
After my fill of yummy cakes, we strolled towards the direction of our hotel while window-shopping. Passed by this roadside store that seemed quite popular among the locals. The yabetsuyaki looked and tasted like Okonomiyaki (pan-fried batter cake and various ingredients like cabbage, noodle, egg) but it think it was a lighter version? Didn't matter as it was yummy :d~~~

Our hotel for the night was the b Kobe, 10 minutes walk from Sannomiya Station (subway). The room was surprising rather spacious (based on Japan standard) and value-for-money as well.

After resting for a bit, we decided to make our way to the Luminarie site at around 5.30pm as I was hoping to catch the 'opening' of the lightings at 6pm. I was so wrong! Being a weekend and second last day of Luminarie 2007 (6 to 17 Dec 07), there was a huge crowd and we had to search for the tail-end as a lot of streets were barricaded to prevent people from jumping queue. We followed the crowd and slowly snaked through streets after streets not knowing where we were heading. Although it was huge turnout, everyone was patient and moved in an orderly manner. We took almost 2 hours to reach the start of the Luminarie site. Nevertheless it was an interesting experience as we rarely had chance to walk in the streets in the winter cold with several thousand people of different nationalities, all towards a a common destination. It turned out that a whooping 518,000 people turned up for Luminarie on 16 Dec itself. Next time we should avoid a weekend.No regrets for the long wait as we were greeted with breathtaking lighting. It was a sight to behold with angelic music in the background. As we walked through the lighting structures, I was really touched and glad that I had hubby with me to share the moment this time.
Short video clip of the Luminarie entrance.
After 2 hours of 'crawling' in the streets, we were famished and were quickly lured by the food aromas drifting in the air from the Luminarie food carnival. There was a large selection of favourite 'hawker foods' of Japan. We love hawker-style carnivals like this! Everything looked absolutely delicious.

We definitely had to eat the Kobe beef kebab since Kobe beef is famous for its tender and succulent texture. Ramen, grilled squid, stews... we tried a bit of everything till we were too full to go on. Everything was mouth-watering delicious; food taste good during winter, don't they? As I was writing this, my mind drifted to the winter night of 16 Dec 2007. Hubby was thinking about re-visiting Luminarie this year-end. Sounds tempting.
Travel resources

No comments:

Post a Comment