Both cities are close to Kyoto and Osaka and if you’re using the Japan Rail Pass you can get there in about 30 mins on the bullet train.
Nara is most famous for its deer which roam the parks and streets freely. You can purchase crackers to feed them but beware, they can surround you! They have even learned to bow to ask for crackers.Most are very docile and will let you pat them but beware in Autumn when it’s mating season, the males will regularly start fighting. Nara was a capital of Japan and is an incredibly old town. Some of the temples here are the centuries old and Todaji Temple, a major attraction, holds the second largest buddha in the world inside, the structure itself is the largest wooden building in Japan.
Kobe is famous for its beef which cost hundreds of dollars, but it’s also considered by Japanese people to be a very pretty town. Right next to the train station is the Ropeway. It gives amazing views of the city and is apparently a must at night time. At the top of the Ropeway is the Kobe Herb Gardens. There is a perfume museum next to the rose garden, a greenhouse and beautiful flower, herb and vegetable gardens you can walk through. There is a restaurant that uses the produce from the gardens in their meals. The gift shop stocks wonderful flower infused gifts such as rosehip bath salts, lavender pastries and rose and rosehip cookies.
Past the greenhouse is a cafe that offers an impressive selection of herbal teas and delicious flower-flavoured foods and a stunning view of the mountains. We had the fresh raspberry and rose syrup parfait which was served with a slice of chamomile cake. Amazing! Japan is crazy about it’s parfaits and this was definitely my favourite one! When you leave the cafe you’ll come across an outdoor herbal foot bath on the terrace. Simply put 100 yen ($0.8 USD/$1.10AUD) in a box and pick up a fresh towel. Roll up your pants and enjoy the rejuvenating hot spring that looks out over the mountains and city!
Both cities are easily accessible and are the perfect day trip!