From the japan Collection
Day four was initially planned to be a day trip to Osaka but since Osaka activities were mostly outdoors, we decided to visit Kobe instead. We didn't have much planned for Kobe, other than eating delicious meats as per the famed 'Kobe Beef'. Unfortunately, it was pouring rain outside so we were rather limited in our options.
We found ourselves back in Kyoto Station and somehow managed to end up in some underground shopping and eating center under the station. We ate a quick lunch and headed towards the trains. We thought we should get reserved tickets for our train since Google Maps was telling us it was going to be an hour long ride (but that was actually the local train!). We went to the ticket counter and said we wanted to travel to Kobe we then got put on the bullet train which would only take 27 minutes! The only difference was that we would instead be going to the Shin-Kobe station. The Shin-Kobe station is a bit north of the local train stations so if you want to get down into the city you would need to walk like 30 minutes extra or transfer to a subway or bus.
Regardless this didn't matter for us because we knew where we were headed, the Kobe Oji Zoo (神戸市立王子動物園) to see Red Pandas in person. Turns out we made a huge mistake as it was pouring rain and we ended up walking for a long time to get to the zoo. In hindsight we should have just hopped on a bus to the zoo instead of walking 30 minutes to get there at the exact moment the rain reached its heaviest.
We reached the zoo with our clothes soaked to the core. But all of those feelings melted away when we realized the zoo was completely empty and we had absolute free reign of the place. A lot of the zoo is consumed outside but since it was raining, many of the animals had been moved to their inside enclosures.
We got to see Tam Tam, the giant panda while he was eating bamboo. A koala that was being played with by a zookeeper for a photo op. Red pandas who were soaked and occasionally did a lap outside. Sea otters who could care less that it was raining. The only negative was the the feeling we got when we visited the bear paddock. Instead of having the bears outside, they were locked up in cages no bigger than a jail cell. We witnessed one bear clawing at the ground endlessly.
When the zoo closed we met up with Jarques and Tina for what we came to Kobe for. Some Kobe beef. Jarques found Koushiya (仔牛屋) and it was exactly what we were looking for. We got our own private dining room and spent the next two hours in grilling up the best meat we have ever tasted in our lives.