ESL Travel Blogger – Vanessa in Japan Part 3

Two weeks in Japan have now passed, and they went by too fast! I have some very good news though: I confirmed my A-1 Japanese beginner level and I’m very proud of it! I can now express myself in Japanese and understand a bit of it – it’s a big progression 🙂 This immersive experience in the language while staying with a host family is absolutely unique and incredible. During my language stay in Kobe, I became much closer to my Japanese family and met amazing people. To close these incredible 2 weeks, here’s a recap of what I loved about Japan and especially about Kobe and its surroundings:

My favourites in Kobe:

  • Merikien Park and the view of the ocean
  • The lively area of Sannomiya
  • The kawaii photo booths and other crazy Japanese games
  • The snacks with cream filling (delicious… you should try them asap!!!)
  • Okonomiyaki (kind of savoury crèpes) and Kobe beef
  • The stunning Ikuta Jinka temple
  • The activities organised by Lexis Japan, to have a full Japanese experience: tea ceremony, calligraphy, temples guided tours, visit to a saké factory, sushi class, approach to Japanese culture
  • And of course, learning Japanese at Lexis Japan is the best way to have a special experience with an amazing educational team (especially Mio, who made my 2 weeks absolutely great!)


The secret spots that I discovered thanks to Mio and her team during my language stay in Kobe are the following:

  • The Kobe City Hall for it’s unique view of the city
  • The Venus Bridge for a night view
  • The Akaishi Kakyo Bridge – the world’s longest bridge!
  • A secret gastronomic restaurant in Sannomiya, where you can see another side of the Japanese cuisine


My favourites in the Kansai region:

  • The crazy KitKat flavours (melon, matcha tea, wasabi, cheesecake…)
  • The very traditional Kyoto (1h from Kobe), with its beautiful temples (my top 3: Fushimi Inari Teisha, Kinkaku-ji, Kenninji)
  • Japanese women wearing kimonos make you want to wear them as well! Then you realise how difficult it is to fit and wear them.
  • The city of Nara (1h30 from Kobe) for its Great Buddha temple and the free roaming deer that you can feed and pet
  • The crazy city of Osaka (30-45mins from Kobe) for its grandiose aspect


What surprised me:

  • Rice and tea almost in every meal
  • Japanese bathrooms
  • Sleeping on a futon bed: this is a good reason to go back to Europe, as it’s hard to adapt to that!
  • The plastic food presentations in front of each restaurant
  • The cleanliness and organisation of trains and metro
  • The kindness of Japanese people, who are always very respectful and helpful
  • The fact that speaking and understanding Japanese didn’t take me that long


My least favourites:

  • Owl bars: don’t go! I didn’t know that animals were attached (it’s basically hell, for birds that are supposed to fly!) and I’m still very shocked by this experience. I hated it and I still can’t believe that these kinds of things are tolerated.
  • “Mochi”: made of rice cake and very… slimy! But you should try it anyway, because it’s very traditional.


If I could, I would totally go again on a language stay in Kobe! Japan is an amazing country and spending some time there to learn the language and live with the locals is a unique experience. Go for it!

Kobe awaits!

  • Stephan Jech

    thanks for the sharing of your experience Vanessa 😀 As I also planned a 3-4 days stay in Kobe next year while traveling around, I now have a few things I can explore 😀 thank you for that^^

    • esl-blogger

      Hey Stephan,
      We’re glad that you liked Vanessa’s stories about Japan and we’re sure that you are going to enjoy your experience in this fascinating country just as much as she did! 😉 Make sure to visit Kyoto and Nara as well, if you can. You won’t regret it!
      All the best,
      Ramona from ESL