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att. Travel - Dramatic Osaka/Kansai - Kobe
att. Travel - Dramatic Osaka/Kansai - Kobe
You are here: att.JAPAN > Travel Guide > Dramatic Osaka/Kansai - Kobe
att.JAPAN Issue 58, December 2011

Dramatic Osaka/Kansai - Kobe

The Great Hanshin Earthquake hit Kobe on January 17th, 1995. Despite the extensive damage by the earthquake, Kobe has achieved significant reconstruction. Walk around beautiful Kobe with its wonderful mountain and ocean views.

 

 Sannomiya/Motomachi/Former Foreign Settlement/Nankinmachi (Chinatown)

Sannomiya is a transportation hub in Kobe. Piazza Kobe, a shopping mall underneath the elevated JR railway tracks between Sannomiya and Motomachi, includes boutiques, shoe stores, and many other stores for leading fashion trends. Motomachi, where in the past there was a foreign settlement nearby, has many luxurious stores. The retro buildings in the Former Foreign settlement were built in the early 20th century, for the opening of Hyogo Port in 1868. They have been renovated and now are fashionable boutiques and cafes. Nankinmachi is filled with Chinese restaurants, variety shops, and Chinese grocery stores. It is fun to walk around this area while eating a buta-man (steamed pork bun).

 

 Meriken Park/Harborland

On the way to the port is Meriken Park. It includes exhibition facilities such as the Kobe Maritime Museum and Kawasaki Good Times World, as well as Kobe Port Tower, a symbol of Kobe. Harbor cruises are available and Harborland has a commercial complex called Mosaic with a variety of facilities.

 

 Kitano Ijinkan-gai/Shin-Kobe

Tor Road, located north of Motomachi Station, has the various stores that create the "Kobe" brand. Higashimon-gai, the area around Ikuta Shrine, has many nice bars and restaurants. North along Nakayamate-dori Street leads to the quiet Kitano area. Foreign people began living in this area at the end of the 19th century, and ijinkan (Western-style buildings for foreign residents) were built at that time. There are currently about 30 ijinkan remaining, including the famous Weathercock House and other unique residences. Passing through Kitano Ijinkan-gai, leads to Shin-Kobe Oriental Avenue. This northern Kobe landmark features a shopping mall, a theater, and a hotel. Just off Shin-Kobe Oriental Avenue is the new ropeway station. A 10-minute ride takes you to Kobe Nunobiki Herb Gardens on Mount Rokko. The park has about 75,000 herb plants of 200 kinds among the many clusters of seasonal flowers dotted throughout the garden. If you have time, go on foot up to the top of Mount Rokko (about 3 hours).

 

 Rokko/Maya/Arima Onsen

Take the cable car or ropeway to the top of Mount Rokko and Mount Maya. Enjoy hiking with great views of Mount Rokko Pasture and charming alpine plants. Behind Mount Rokko is Arima Onsen. Relax and enjoy the Japanese atmosphere in this historical hot springs, about 40 minutes by train from Sannomiya Station.

 

 Nada-Gogo

The coastal area of Osaka Bay, including the Nada and Higashi-nada wards in Kobe City and Nishinomiya City, is called Nada-Gogo (literally, five villages of the Nada area). This area has prospered as a Japanese sake producing region with its renowned high-quality rice and high-quality mineral water (miya mizu) perfect for sake production and convenient transport from the port. There are many facilities for sake production including both white plaster wall breweries and red brick breweries. Sakura Masamune Memorial Museum Sakuraen exhibits sake brewing tools from the 400 years of Sakura Masamune brewing and 300 years in the brewing business, and old sake bottle labels. The museum also has Japanese restaurants and shops.

HAT Kobe near JR Nada Station has the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake Memorial Disaster Reduction and Human Renovation Institution that "aims to hand down to future generations precious lessons learned from the disaster, contribute to reducing damage by earthquakes all over the world, and send messages to the world regarding the preciousness of life and the importance of cooperation among people."

 

 Night scene/Gourmet foods

Kobe, on the ocean and surrounded by mountains, has many so-called "ten-million dollar night views." Amazing night views can be seen from Tenrandai observatory on Mount Rokko, Kikuseidai observatory on Mount Maya, Venus Bridge on Mount Suwa, Kobe Nunobiki Ropeway, Observation Deck at Kobe Airport, Meriken Park, and Harborland.

Kobe beef is world famous and speaks for itself but not as well-known but very tasty is soba-meshi, a unique B-kyu gurume (B-class gourmet) dish of a mixture of fried noodles and fried rice. There are also many nice cake shops throughout the city.

 


The City Loop Bus is a convenient way to get around to the main tourist spots in the center of the city. Enjoy the many delightful aspects of the City of Kobe! 

 

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

At 5:46 a.m. on January 17, 1995, a huge M7.3 earthquake that centered in northern Awaji Island, Hyogo Prefecture, occurred. This Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake caused massive damage to the area around Kobe City and southern Hyogo Prefecture, and shocked people around the whole world as well as in Japan.

As a consequence, the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake has occupied an important position in Japanese initiatives to prepare for natural disasters. The Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake Memorial Disaster Reduction and Human Renovation Institution (DRI) has been gathering and exhibiting experiences and lessons learned from the earthquake to the world in order to help mitigate disaster damages.

You can view exhibits of the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake and other disasters including earthquakes as well as exhibits about disaster prevention and disaster mitigation in the future.

At 1.17 Theater a film recreating the moment when the earthquake occurred is presented, and in watching it you will experience the earthquake's tremendous power and devastation by means of a large screen using dynamic audio-visual effects (7 minutes). The images in which buildings, houses, highways and other structures violently trembled and collapsed are very shocking. At the Great Earthquake Hall, a film including documentary images is screened (15 minutes). The film shows the recovery and reconstruction process. Through this film, you will realize how catastrophic the earthquake was and be moved by how people have been helping each other and striving valiantly to recover their lives. The voices are in Japanese but you can use a simultaneous interpretation device for free (Japanese, English, Chinese and Korean are available.)

Materials related to the earthquake disaster, which were offered by the victims, are also displayed. If you want to get more information on the displayed materials, you can use a handy device. Input the number of the displayed material into the device, and you can get detailed explanations by both text and voice (Japanese, English, Chinese and Korean are available).

A list of emergency items is given for free, so it is helpful to check necessary disaster-related items for your home and family according to the checklist (Japanese and English).

At present, exhibits relating to the Great East Japan Earthquake that occurred on March 11, 2011 and wreaked enormous damage by the quake-following tsunami are being held.

Natural disasters can occur anywhere at any time, causing tremendous damage. Visiting this informative facility is sure to be useful. Why not stop by when you visit the Kansai region?

Business hours
9:30 - 17:30 (admission until: 16:30)
9:30 - 19:00 on Fridays and Saturdays (admission until: 18:00)

Closed
Monday (following day if Monday is a public holiday)
Dec. 31 and Jan. 1

Admission fee
Adults ¥600
College students ¥450
High school students ¥300
Junior high students and under: Free

Access
[By train]
From Iwaya Station or Kasuganomichi Station on Hanshin Railway: about 10 minutes on foot
From the Southern Exit of JR Nada Station: about 12 minutes on foot
[From Kobe Airport]
From Kobe Airport Station to Sannomiya Station: about 18 minutes by Port Liner
From Sannomiya Station, transfer to train as indicated.

 

 Maps
Japan Railway Map PDF 414 KB

 Links
Osaka Convention & Tourism Bureau

Kobe Convention & Visitors Association
Sakai Tourism & Convention Bureau
City of Kyoto and Kyoto Tourism Council


 

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