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att. Travel - Kobe
att. Travel - Kobe
You are here: att.JAPAN > Travel Guide > Kobe
att.JAPAN Issue 15, March 2004

Kobe

MapRich in history, one of the first harbor cities in Japan to open after open trade from isolation. For centuries, fpreign influence has shaped its unique atmosphere that can be seen today.

 Prologue
The Kansai Region is located on the west of Japan's main island. Kansai is represented by three cities: Osaka, Kyoto and Kobe. Kobe is the westernmost city of these three.
ten million-dollar night city lightsKobe, historically a port town, rouses adoration from most Japanese people. Kobe, being surrounded by ocean and mountains, offers an attractive view. There is also the "ten million-dollar night city lights." There is an exotic atmosphere created by hilly streets, antique Western architecture, and mysterious churches. Fashionable boutiques, restaurants that serve tastes from all over world, and delicious tea and cake, are just a few attractions in this sophisticated town. They surely mesmerize tourists from all over.
Kobe has almost completely recovered from the disastrous earthquake of 1995, to become an even more active city than what it was before the catastrophe. Domestic access to Kobe is relatively easy. There is the shinkansen (bullet train), travel by air, or the open road.

 Kitano
Kitano is a hillside town that overlooks the ocean. Kitano Ijinkan-gai (town of immigrant houses) originated after Meiji Era Kobe opened its harbors. Western immigrants then made their residence upon this hill so they could look down on the sea and long for their homes far away. While exploring ijinkan, stop by classy boutiques and restaurants.
Although the area is large, there isn't any transportation, so you have to basically tour on foot. There are numerous steep hills, and the trip is a bit vigorous - wear comfortable shoes.

Kazamidori-no-YakataKazamidori-no-yakata
This is a symbol of Kintano - its trademark, a weathercock (kazami-dori) standing atop its three-sided spire roof. Kazamidori-no-yakata was built in 1909 for G. Thomas, a German trader, and is the only brick constructed immigrant building in existence in Kitano. This building is a harmony of art nouveau and the stateliness of traditional German style. Aspects, such as the ceilings in each room being different in design, attest to the intricacy of the building.

Moegi-no-Yakata
This was a house built in 1903 for H. Sharp, an American consul in Kobe. It is characterized by its yellow-green exterior walls. You can look out over the ocean from the ground-level open veranda on the southern side of the building.

Line-no-Yakata
Built in 1915, this was Drewell's mansion. It was named "Line-no-Yakata" (Line Mansion), for its beautiful horizontal strips of wood panel. It has typical Meiji-era architectural features common in other ijinkans that can be seen in its outer walls, Venetian shutters and bay windows. Inside the mansion is a teahouse run by Juchheim.

Syueke-TeiSyueke-Tei
Built in 1896, Syueke-Tei is a foreign house of Gothic undertones. It is still the residency of the Syueke family. A.N. Hansel, an English architect in Kobe from 1988 until he returned to Great Britain in 1919, built it for himself. The building's charm is in the harmony of its colonial-style with its simple, Victorian interior.

Honke Dutch-kan
This is the residency of a Meiji-era Dutch Trader, Helion. There is a windmill in the garden, and spring brings tulips into full bloom. Visitors can try on Dutch attire for free.

Kaori-no-Yakata Dutch-kan
Built around 1918, this building was the old Dutch Consulate General. Its green windowsills, Venetian shutters, and steep slanted rooftops are nostalgic. Inside the house is a self-playing piano from about 200 years ago. There is a room where you can try making your very own perfume.

Kobe-Kaikyo-Jiin
Built in the tenth year of the Showa era, this is the first Islamic mosque in Japan. It has an oriental atmosphere.

Nishimura Coffee
This is one of the most popular cafe in Kobe. You can drink and enjoy the delicious aroma of coffee carefully brewed with miyamizu (temple water) of Nada. Nada is an area famous for Sake.

Kobe Harbor Land Meriken Park / Kobe Harbor Land
Meriken Park and Kobe Harbor Land symbolize Kobe's waterfront area. Meriken Dock is a landing port that was built for overseas cargo in 1868 (Meiji 1) in the aftermath of opening port from isolation, and came to be the origin of today's Kobe port. Meriken Park is an open park facing the harbor, between the dock and central pier. Complete harmony exists between ocean and town.
Kobe Harbor Land has become a familiar place - a landmark of the Kobe waterfront area. You can see the red Port Tower with green mountains in the background. Kobe Harbor Land offers large-scale shopping centers, cinemas, and an amusement park. It is a popular site for couples and families to enjoy. You can take a nice walk on the promenade between Meriken Park and Kobe Harbor Land.

 Kobe Port Tower
Another landmark of Kobe is the red, 108-meter tall, drum-shape Kobe Port Tower. The tower's viewing platform offers a panoramic view of Osaka Bay in the south and the Rokko Mountains in the north.

 MOSAIC
Enjoy eating, amusement and fashion shopping at MOSAIC, located closest to the sea in Kobe Harbor Land. MOSAIC is an open mall with 90 facilities, including all kinds of restaurants, variety shops, import shops, cinemas and game arcades. Sunshine breaks into its wide, open space.
MOSAIC Garden is an amusement park that includes a 50 meter high Giant Ferris Wheel. The merry-go-round is also fun. Atop the wheel you can see Kobe city all aglow, the Rokko-san Mountains in the day, and the Seto Inland Sea at night.

 Sannomiya / Motomachi / Kyu-Kyoryuchi / Nankinmachi
Sannomiya, a main entry point, is Kobe's busiest downtown area. At Sannomiya Station, you can ride JR, Hankyu, Hanshin, the municipal subway lines and the Port Liner. There are many complexes, boutiques and underground shopping arcades along Flower Road, which runs from Shinkobe in the north to Sannomiya in the south. You can go shop and dine in Sannomiya. Kobe-gyu (Kobe beef) is famous countrywide. Great Kobe beef restaurants can be found throughout the area, with dishes from juicy beefsteak, to shabushabu, marbled beef sliced and boiled with vegetables.
Around Motomachi and Kyu-Kyoryuchi is an area that first absorbed Western culture just after the historical opening of port in the Meiji Era.
A shopping street has developed here in Motomachi since then. Motomachi was a town along Saigoku-kaido Street in Edo Era. Today Motomachi is a 1.2-kilometer shopping street including both old relic shops and new shops alike.
Kyu-Kyoryuchi was a "reservation" where foreigners lived when the port first opened. Classic western style buildings made of stone remain, and they and create a classic atmosphere. Buildings originally built for consulates and business firms now serve as cafes and boutiques.
NankinmachiNankinmachi's history goes back to 1868. Only five nations of people (Americans, British, Dutch, Russians and French) were allowed to live in this reservation built and regulated by the Japan- U.S. Friendship Commercial Treaty in 1858, before port open; while other settlements for other nationals were limited to an area from Ikuta-gawa river to Uji-gawa river. Nankinmachi and Kitanocho are two of the better known of such settlements. Chinese began making their life in Nankinmachi, a convenient location for trade.
Nankinmachi has one of the biggest Chinatowns in western Japan. There are 100 shops - restaurants, variety shops, and food shops along a 400 meter street spanning from east to west. An Oriental atmosphere is ever present after passing through the two-storied gate, aligned to the east, west, and south. The famous butaman (steamed bread with pork) shops and Cantonese restaurants always draw lengthy lines of customers on the weekend. Take a look inside any of these stores; they are all bustling with business.

 Kokashita-Shotengai (Shopping Center Underneath)
This two-kilometer shopping center under the elevated tracks of the JR Line from Sannomiya Station to Kobe station has its origins in Yamiichi Barrack black markets that came to rise just after the war. Shoe shops, miscellaneous merchants, and cloth stores tightly line a narrow street that passes through. Old dining rooms and barbers also remain. Most stores can be described as unique or maniac.

 Excursion to Nada
Nada Gogo is a town famous for sake brewing that has a 600 year history. It spreads from Nishinomiya to Nada, reaching into the southern seashore from Route 43. Nada Gogo has its roots in as a town of sake brewing since the middle Edo Era. Traditional grand brewing houses dotting the town have lots of atmosphere. Strolling along narrow alleys surrounded by browned paneled walls brings the scent of sake as if coming from every direction.
Nada Gogo (the five Go) is so named after the fire breweries, Sai Go, Mikage Go, Uozaki Go, Nishinomiya Go and Imazu Go. They are located between Hanshin Uozaki and Oishi Stations. Take a tour of some breweries and taste some sake.
Why is Nada Sake So Delicious? Sake is made from rice, rice malt, and water. Miyamizu, is a special subsoil water under Nishinomiya, and was proved to be just right for sake brewing toward the end of Edo era. It has been used for sake ever since. The area displays other ideal conditions. Yamadanishiki, is a rice brand known as the king for brewing. It is produced in Hyogo prefecture. The traditional work of a toji, or a master brewer in this Tanba, Hyogo Prefecture has been passed down for ages. This is where many great tojis were born. In such ideal conditions, Nada tojis produce delicious sake with sincerity. It is famous nationwide.

 Maps
Japan Railway Map PDF 414 KB
Kobe Sannomiya PDF 96 KB
Kobe Station PDF 346 KB
Kobe Subway Map PDF 147 KB

 Links
Kobe Convention & Visitors Association
Hyogo Tourism Association

You are here: att.JAPAN > Travel Guide > Kobe

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