Useful information about Hyogo
General Information about Hyogo Prefecture
Hyogo is a prefecture in the Kansai region of Japan, with a population of around 5.47 million people and an area of 8,396 km2. It is known for having the highest number of irrigation ponds in Japan. It consists of 29 cities and 12 towns, which reflects the prefecture's municipal reorganization and consolidation.
There are 372 train stations in Hyogo Prefecture, some of the most important being Shin-Kobe Station, Amagasaki Station, Himeji Station, and Sannomiya Station. Shin-Kobe Station is located in the northern part of Kobe City (the prefectural capital) and is a major stop on the Shinkansen. The south side of the station features many hotels and tourist facilities, while the north side faces the foot of the nature-rich Rokko mountains. Amagasaki Station is a major terminal station that is served by many train lines, and is often used by people traveling to Osaka or Kyoto. The area around the station features government offices, small-scale shopping centers and restaurants. Himeji Station is the main station of Himeji City, and is the largest station in Hyogo in terms of size. It is served by the Shinkansen and three other railway lines. Sannomiya Station is a terminal station located in the heart of Kobe City, and is the busiest station in the prefecture in terms of passenger traffic.
Besides the metropolitan areas, Hyogo also consists of large rural areas in the northern part, as well as Awaji Island in the Seto Inland Sea. Access to these areas is quite convenient from the urban centers, with many trains and buses interconnecting the prefecture.
Every region in Hyogo Prefecture has its own specialty products. Hyogo is the largest producer of tenobe (handmade) somen and refined sake in Japan.
Foreign Residents in Hyogo Prefecture
As of December 2019, there were 115,681 foreign residents living in Hyogo Prefecture, with the vast majority living in Kobe City (more than twice the number living in Amagasaki City which comes second). By nationality, Korean nationals are the most in number, with a population of 38,516. Next come Chinese with 24,496 residents, followed by Vietnamese, Filipinos, Brazilians, Americans, Taiwanese, Nepalese, Indonesians, Indians, and Thai nationals. For all nationalities, the population is mostly concentrated in Kobe City, but there is also a significant number of Vietnamese in Himeji City, indicating the presence of a Vietnamese community
Data source: Hyogo Prefectural Government "Foreign Resident Population in Hyogo Prefecture by Municipality" (published December 2019)
Popular Residential Areas in Hyogo Prefecture
One popular residential area in Hyogo for foreigners is the Nishinomiya-Kitaguchi Station area in Nishinomiya City. From this area, it only takes 15 minutes by train to get to downtown Umeda in Osaka City, and access to other parts of Hyogo is quite convenient as well.
The Sannomiya area in Kobe City is another popular area to live in. It is located near Kobe and Sannomiya Station which are served by many train lines, providing easy access to other areas. It also features many commercial centers, as well as places like the Kitano Ijinkan-Gai (an area of historical foreign residences) and the Nankin-Machi Chinatown which give the location an international color.
Ashiya City is another sought-after area for housing. It has convenient access to other areas, with many residents commuting to Kobe or Kyoto for work. It is also home to one of the most affluent residential areas in Japan, a place you should consider if you want to live in luxury.
Transportation in Hyogo Prefecture
Hyogo has an extensive public transportation network that interconnects every area in the prefecture. Major railway lines in the prefecture include the Sanyo Shinkansen, the JR Kobe Line (Tokaido Main Line), the Sanyo Main Line, the Fukuchiyama Line, and other JR lines. There are also many private railway operators such as Hankyu, Hanshin, and the Kobe New Transit which provide transport within and outside the prefecture.
The Sanyo Shinkansen is a continuation of the Tokaido Shinkansen that connects Tokyo, Nagoya, and Shin-Osaka, and is used by many passengers every day. It runs from Shin-Osaka to Hakata, stopping on the way at Shin-Kobe in Hyogo Prefecture. The JR Kobe Line is a portion of the Tokaido Main Line that connects Osaka and Himeji, and is one of the most important railway lines in the Kansai region.
Hankyu Railway operates several lines including the Kobe Line (connects Umeda in Osaka and Sannomiya in Kobe) and the Takarazuka Line (connects Umeda and Takarazuka). Similarly, the Hanshin Railway Main Line also connects the city centers of Osaka and Kobe. Kobe New Transit operates an automated guideway transit that connects Sannomiya to Port Island and Kobe Airport.
Hyogo also has a network of buses that supports the transportation needs of its residents. Some of the major bus operators include the Kobe Municipal Transportation Bureau, Hankyu Bus, Hanshin Bus, and Shinki Bus. They offer a wide range of bus routes, most of which connect central Kobe to other areas in and out of Hyogo Prefecture.
Expressways also play an important part in the transportation of Hyogo. Some of the most important routes include the Sanyo Expressway, the Meishin Expressway (connects Nagoya and Kobe with an interchange at Amagasaki) and the Shin-Meishin Expressway (currently connects Takatsuki and Kobe with an interchange at Takarazuka).
Recommended Sightseeing Spots in Hyogo Prefecture
As the largest prefecture in the Kansai region, Hyogo has countless sightseeing spots that attract tourists from both Japan and overseas. One of the most famous spots is the beautiful Himeji Castle, known for its brilliant white walls and elegant form. This castle has been designated a World Heritage Site.
The port city of Kobe also has plenty to offer. The Kobe Harborland is a popular shopping and dining district located along the coast. Sannomiya and Motomachi, two of Kobe's downtown districts, both feature a wide variety of shops and entertainment facilities.
If you love hot springs, you should visit Arima Onsen and Kinosaki Onsen. One way to enjoy them is to get an onsen pass that allows you to visit the different hot spring facilities in the area. Both hot spring areas are easily accessible by public transportation.