In 1995, one of history's most costly natural disasters struck Kobe in the form of a devastating earthquake, but nature's foibles haven't dampened the spirit of this bayside port city. Sweet sake practically springs from the mountainsides, where busy breweries bottle this beloved Japanese rice wine. Along the bay, ferris wheels spin beside busy malls, movie theatres, and night-lit trees. From the city, a cable car travels 2,500 feet up Mt. Rokko for sweeping views. Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines line the many mountains, and Osaka is a short visit away.