Perched on a hillside overlooking the sea, Kōbe (神戸) is one of Japan's most attractive cities. It's also one of the country's most cosmopolitan places, having served as a maritime gateway to Kansai from the earliest days of trade with China. One of Kōbe's best features is its relatively small size – most of the sights can be reached on foot from the main train stations. And this is the main appeal of Kōbe: rather than a collection of sights, Kōbe is a city that is best enjoyed by casual wandering, enjoying the neighbourhoods and stopping in the many good restaurants and cafes as the whim strikes you. The most pleasant neighbourhoods to explore are Kitano, Chinatown and, after dark, the bustling area around Sannomiya Station.