Once the busiest port in Japan, this attractive city was devastated by an earthquake in 1995 and even after rebuilding never regained its maritime dominance. Nevertheless, its ultra-modern Harborland, crowned by the Kobe Port Tower offers a warm welcome to the Kansai district of Japan. Kansai is ruled by a trio of Japan’s most important cities: Kobe, Osaka and Kyoto. One of the first cities in Japan opened to trade, Kobe has a cosmopolitan air that includes a venerable Chinatown and a section of 19th-Century Western-style buildings in the Kitano neighborhood. The city’s history began in the 3rd-Century with construction of the Ikuta Shrine. Many visitors ascend looming Mt. Rokko via the Shinkobe Ropeway, for panoramic views over the city and the glass-domed Nunobiki Herb Garden on the slopes. The Arima Onsen hot springs right in Kobe is one of Japan, most famous spas.