Kobe: Hyogo’s Port City

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Kobe: Hyogo’s Port City
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Tags: destinationshistoricalsiteshyogokansaimuseumsshopping

Kobe is one of Japan’s first international port centres back in 1868. Since then, many Westerners came to live in Kobe and simultaneously penetrating their culture into the Japanese. Western influence can be seen in most houses in the Kitano area. Located in Hyogo Prefecture, Kobe is famous for its excellent quality of beef which is definitely a must-try! In total, there are 1.5 million people living in the city.

Kobe Tower.

In 1995, Kobe faced a major earthquake known as the Great Hanshin Earthquake which took its toll on over 6,000 lives. The event was marked as one of Japan’s most terrible earthquakes with the magnitude on 6.9 meters. As a result, over 400,000 buildings were badly damaged including the highways and bridges. Based on the high number of deaths and damages, the Great Hanshin Earthquake is an epitome of any tragic events.

The aftermath of the Great Hanshin Earthquake. Image Source: Far East Fling.

Other than that, Kobe has massive facilities to cater the Muslim travellers’ needs in terms of prayer spaces and Halal food. Check out the list of Halal/Muslim-friendly restaurants in Hyogo Prefecture here.

Let’s take a trip down to Kobe to visit some of their interesting places!

The Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake Memorial Disaster Reduction and Human Renovation Institution

An institute cum a memorial museum commemorates the Great Hanshin Earthquake tragedy in 1995. The museum was opened in 2002 and it aims to give awareness about disasters prevention such as an earthquake. Visitors can view the actual images of the aftermath of the earthquake, read testimonies from the event’s survivors and a documentary of the earthquake which was very devastating to watch even for a second.

Some of the pictures taken during the tragedy. Image Source: Digital Space.

The Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake Memorial Disaster Reduction and Human Renovation Institution

Address: 1-5-2 Wakinohama Kaigandori, Chuo, Kobe 651-0073, Hyogo Prefecture

Operating Hours: 9:30AM-5:30PM

Admission Fee: ¥600 (Adults aged 23 and above), ¥450 (Adults aged 19 to 22), ¥300 (Seniors aged 70 and above), Free (Children aged 18 and below)

Contact Number: 078 286 5050

Closest Train Station: Iwaya Station

Website: http://www.dri.ne.jp/en

Kobe Luminarie

If you plan to visit Kobe in December, make sure you attend Kobe’s biggest annual event, Kobe Luminarie. This illumination event is held to pay tribute to the Great Hanshin Earthquake. They will light up thousands of multi-coloured lights for almost two weeks, during the evening. Most main roads will be closed to allow pedestrians roaming around the event area. The theme for each year differs from one another which what makes the event very unique. Annually, Kobe Luminarie will attract more than 3 million visitors.

One of the lit ups structure. Image Source: Kobe Travel Coocan.

Kobe Luminarie

Event Period: 6th December – 15th December 2019

Venue: Higashi Yuenchi Park

Website: http://kobe-luminarie.jp

Kitano Ijinkan

Ever since Kobe became one of Japan’s international port, some of the foreign traders migrated to Kobe and started building houses featuring Western’s architecture. To visit these historical houses, you can go to Kitano-cho, located at the foothills of Mount Rokko. The entire street is filled with quaint café and shops in which you are recommended to go. Here, most of the attractions are situated a stone throw’s away, which means you can easily go to one place to another by simply walking.

Most popular Western’s house in Kitano-cho is known as the Weathercock House.

Weathercock House. Image Source: Kosublog.

This brown brick house was built by a German merchant, Thomas Gottfried when he first came to Kobe. The house was named Weathercock House because there is a rooster decoration on top of the roof that shows the direction of the wind. If you are interested to see what’s inside the house, most of the rooms were decorated in medieval-like stuff where the furniture is mostly dark and woody.

Uroko House. Image Source: Kobe Ijinkan.

Next is the Uroko House and Uroko Museum. It is also known as House of Scales because of the fish’s scales façade as seen on the exterior part of the house. The house displays an exquisite collection of glassware, porcelains and paintings. Outside on the small garden, lies a statue of a wild boar. It is said that if you rub its snout, you will be blessed with good luck.

Apart from these two, you should also visit 30 other Western houses around the area namely, France, Italian, Dutch museum and others.

One of the most beautiful Starbucks in Japan is nestled here in Kitano, Kobe. This Starbucks store was built in a 1907 ‘s old house and has two floors. What makes it so special is that the inside of the store is also inspired by the Western’s influence, similar to the Kitano’s foreign houses.

Kobe’s renowned Starbucks. Image Source: Kobe Finder.

Shin-Kobe Ropeway

To take in the beautiful landscape of Kobe’s metropolitan view, go on a cable car trip on Shin-Kobe Ropeway. The car will take you from Shin-Kobe Station to Nunobiki Herb Gardens. You will also see a 43 meters tall Nunobiki Waterfall on your way up. As you reached the top on the observation deck, there is a resting area filled with café and souvenir shops. Then, you can explore the herb garden and the waterfall in which you can walk down to the Shin-Kobe Station through a hiking trail. Overall, this place will not disappoint you as it has the best view of Kobe city.

Aerial view of Kobe city. Image Source: Tokyo Creative.

Shin-Kobe Ropeway

Address: 1-4-3 Kitanocho, Chuo-ku, Kobe City, Hyogo Prefecture 650-0002 Japan

Operating Hours (Summer): 9:30AM-9:00PM (Ropeway), 10:00AM-8:30PM (Herbs Garden)

Admission Fee: Roundtrip – ¥1500 (Adults aged 16 and above), ¥750 (Children aged 15 to 7), Free (Children aged 6 and below).

One-way Trip – ¥950 yen (Adults aged 16 and above), ¥480 ((Children aged 15 to 7), Free (Children aged 6 and below).

Roundtrip (after 5:00PM) – ¥900 (Adults aged 16 and above), ¥550 (Children aged 15 to 7).

Contact Number: +81 78-271-1160

Starting Point: Shin-Kobe Station

Website: http://www.kobeherb.com

Kobe Harborland

For a spectacular night view of the city, we recommend you to go to the Harborland. You can see Kobe’s landmarks, Kobe Tower from here. You can do some shopping at Umie, a shopping mall with three main complexes; Mosaic, North Mall and South Mall. In addition, you can visit one of Anpanman’s Museum, sightseeing at the 19th century old brick warehouses which have been converted into retail shops, ride Kobe’s Ferris wheel to get another 360 degrees view of the city and enjoy a brisk walk by the waterfronts.

A night view of the Harborland. Image Source: Japan Info.

Kobe Harborland

Address: 1-3 Higashikawasakicho, Chuo Ward, Kobe, Hyogo 650-0044, Japan

Operating Hours: 10:00AM-9:00PM

Admission Fee: Free

Contact Number: +81 78-360-3639

Closest Train Station: JR Kobe Station

Website: https://www.harborland.co.jp/


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