Kobe is the sixth-largest city in Japan and the capital city of Hyōgo Prefecture, also often ranked as the best place for expatriates to live in Japan. It is located on the southern side of the main island of Honshū, on the north shore of Osaka Bay and about 30 km (19 mi) west of Osaka. With a population around 1.5 million, the city is part of the Keihanshin metropolitan area along with Osaka and Kyoto.
A port in what would become Kōbe was established as a concession to western powers in 1868, during the time when Japan was opening to the western world. Nagasaki and Yokohama had already begun serving foreign ships nine years earlier. Today, a synagogue, Japan's first mosque, Japan's first Sikh temple, a Chinatown, and European architecture mark Kōbe as a place where foreigners and foreign culture first arrived in Japan. The city is the point of origin and namesake of Kobe beef, as well as the site of one of Japan's most famous hot spring resorts, Arima Onsen.