I can only speak for the Kobe waterfront, which I found to be lovely, albeit touristy. It's very clean and comfortable, and there are plenty of shops and restaurants. I also loved seeing the statues of the cute Anpanman along the street.
This is the 6th largest city in Japan on Osaka Bay. We arrived by ship and were able to walk to the train station to get to Osaka.
Kobe Harborland, a premier commercial and sightseeing destination on the site of the former Japan National Railways Minatogawa Cargo Station,
Kobe as long been an international port city in Japan, and as such, has more international influences in business, foreigners, and variety of cultural influences than your average Japanese City. This goes back hundred of years. My mother always told me about the foreign influences in KObe, having grown up just a few cite away. The City itself has a dramatic setting, right on the coast on one side, and the rising mountain ranges on the other, making for interesting vistas. The city and the surrounding area was devastated by the big earthquake in the late 1980s, which killed 6,000 people. But at least in infrastructure, the city has recovered, although the memories of the shock still linger.