Last updated on September 23rd, 2023
Here is the complete transport guide on how to get to Kobe with various transport pass to save you some money. We will also explain the transport options for getting to Kobe from Osaka, Kyoto, and even Tokyo!
Located in Hyogo prefecture, Kobe is a beautiful port city with a mix of both Western and Japanese elements in the Kansai region. The city is located close to Osaka and Kyoto, making Kobe a popular day trip destination when visiting the Kansai region.
Thanks to Japan’s excellent rail connections, it is easy to get to Kobe from many of Kansai’s major cities and even Tokyo. Depending on the departure place, there are multiple train lines connecting with Kobe. Travelers can get to Kobe by train to explore the city easily.
In this Kobe transport guide article, we will explain how to reach Kobe from Osaka and Kyoto. Depending on your schedule or budget, the travaler can choose which train line you want to use with transport pass options. Also, we will share how to get around Kobe when visiting the city.
How To Get To Kobe
Take note that Kobe’s busiest railway station is not Kobe Station but Sannomiya Station at the city center. If you are planning for visiting Kobe, we recommended starting at the central station, Sannomiya station. This station is the main railway terminal of Kobe and is served by many railway lines including JR, Hankyu, and Hanshin Railway.
The JR train will stop at JR Sannomiya station (三宮駅), while Hanshin and Hankyu Railway’s stations will stop at Kobe-Sannomiya station (神戸三宮駅). The station’s name is slightly different, but there are within the same station. While the shinkansen (bullet train) will stop at Shin-Kobe Station. It is one station away from Kobe-Sannomiya, and the transfer usually takes only 2 minutes.
From Tokyo to Kobe
Frequent Shinkansen travels between Tokyo and Kobe by the JR Tokaido/Sanyo Shinkansen in just under three hours. The regular one-way fare from Tokyo to Shin-Kobe is ¥14,420 for a non-reserved seat or around ¥15,000 for a reserved seat. The journey is covered by JR Pass for Hikari trains, but not on Nozomi trains.
Once you at Shin-Kobe station, a short subway ride will take you to Sannomiya Station in 2 minutes.
From Osaka to Kobe
If you are getting to Kobe from Osaka, you can access to Kobe by JR line, Hanshin Railway, and Hankyu Railway from Umeda or Namba. The travel time is about 15 to 45 minutes.
Here is the transportation options:
- Shinkansen: Hikari trains depart every hour from Shin-Osaka to Shin-Kobe Station by Tokaido-San’yo line. From Shin-Kobe, transfer to JR Sannomiya station in 2 minutes. The journey takes about 15 minutes, and costs ¥2,860.
- JR Local Line: Trains depart from JR Osaka Station to JR Sannomiya Station on the JR Kobe Line Rapid Train. The journey takes 25 minutes and costs ¥410 one way.
- Hanshin Line: Trains depart from Osaka-Umeda Station or Osaka-Namba Station to Kobe-Sannomiya Station. The journey takes about 32 minutes at ¥320 and 45 minutes respectively.
- Hankyu Kobe Line: Trains depart from Osaka-Umeda Station to Kobe-Sannomiya Station. The journey takes 25 minutes and costs ¥320 one way.
Pro Tips: We recommended getting the Hanshin Train Pass if you are planning to travel between Osaka and Kobe.
From Kyoto to Kobe
If you are getting to Kobe from Kyoto, here is the transportation options:
- Shinkansen: The fastest option where Hikari trains depart every hour from Kyoto Station to Shin-Kobe Station by Tokaido-San’yo line. From Shin-Kobe, transfer to JR Sannomiya station in 2 minutes. The whole journey takes about 30 minutes, and costs ¥2,860.
- JR Local Train: Special rapid train from Kyoto Station to Sannomiya Station on the JR Kyoto Line Special Rapid. The journey takes 50 minutes and costs ¥1,100 one way.
- Hankyu Railway: Limited express train departs from Kyoto-Kawaramachi Station to Kobe-Sannomiya Station, with one transfer at Juso or Umeda. The journey takes about an hour and costs ¥630.
Pro Tips: From Kyoto to Kobe, JR train is the fastest and without transfer required. But it is also more expensive compared with Hankyu Railway.
Money Saving Transport Pass
There are various transportation option is available for getting to Kobe within the Kansai area. The coverage area also varied depending on which pass you choose.
JR: Shinkansen and Local JR Trains
In fact, the JR train is not so convenient and more expensive when choosing the best transport system to Kobe. But this is also a good deal if you plan for a trip to Kobe with the existing pass. If you have the Japan Rail Pass, the journey from Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka to Kobe by Shinkansen and JR trains is completely covered. Again, take note that Nozomi trains are not covered by JR Pass.
Transport Pass that can use the Shinkansen and JR local trains when getting to Kobe:
- Nationwide: Japan Rail Pass (JR Pass)
- Regional: Kansai WIDE Area Pass, Kansai Hiroshima Area Pass, and Sanyo Sanin Area Pass.
Transport Pass that can use the JR local trains when getting to Kobe:
Kansai Thru Pass
Kansai Thru Pass: This pass does not cover any JR lines but it covers Hanshin, Hankyu, and Kobe subway. Note that cablecar to the Mt Rokko cannot be used with this pass. Unless you are using the Kansai Thru Pass for visiting other areas, else this pass will not be worth it if you are using it for the trip to Kobe only.
Please refer to the official website for more coverage information.
Hanshin Tourist Pass
Hanshin Tourist Pass: The pass covers only Hanshin Railway. But you can make a trip from either Umeda or Namba to Kobe. The price is only ¥500 and it is way cheaper than a round trip single fare. Best choice for travelers from Osaka to Kobe, and only visit the Kobe downtown area.
Hankyu Tourist Pass
Hankyu Tourist Pass: The pass covers only Hankyu Railway, and best choice for travelers from Kyoto to Kobe, who only visit the Kobe downtown area. The price is ¥700 for 1 day and ¥1,200 for 2 days. This rail pass is way cheaper than a round trip single fare. If you are from Osaka to Kobe and plan to use the Hanshin train for a round trip, a single-fare ticket will be cheaper.
Overall: The Best Way to Get to Kobe
All in all, we hope you have an overall on how to get to Kobe. There are many train systems to help you to access Kobe from Osaka, Kyoto, and even Tokyo. And the best part is there are many transport passes available to help you get to Kobe. Don’t get overwhelmed by multiple train services it is much easier compared to bustling cities such as Tokyo and Osaka.
Lastly, traveling to Kobe and other interesting places in the Kansai region? If you are interested, please read about our visit to Kyoto, Osaka, Nara, Uji, and Kobe.
Related Kobe travel Stories:
Kyoto and Osaka Travel Stories:
- 15 Things To Do and Eat for 3 Days in Kyoto
- Where to Stay in Kyoto
- Things to do in Osaka: Ultimate Travel Guide Blog
- Osaka Amazing Pass Itinerary: A Travel Guide Blog
- Where to Stay in Osaka: Namba or Umeda
Best Day trip from Kyoto or Osaka:
How to travel to Osaka, Kyoto & Nara: