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Rising from the Rubble.

Kobe. Last visit March 2009.


Kobe In Spring.


We have stayed in Kobe twice. The first time was when we bought a Japan Rail Pass and used Kobe as a base from which to explore: Kyoto, Nara, Osaka, Himeji and Hiroshima. The second time we had again purchased a rail pass and spent a couple of nights in Kobe exploring Kurashiki and Okayama, before moving to Kochi and exploring a bit of Shikoku Island. We both really like Kobe for a number of reasons. It is quieter than staying in Kyoto or Osaka and cheaper. It is also less crowded. We were able to find a hotel close to the Shin Kobe station which made it a convenient base for travelling. On our walk back to our hotel from the station each evening we passed an area devoted to beer dispensing machines. Perfect!!

Kobe In Spring.

Kobe has a few interesting sights in its own right, but is not a particularly touristy town. It is a real place where Japanese people get on with their daily lives. Sometimes I like to escape touristic places with their noise and crowds and queues. Kobe has some good places to eat and we've had several enjoyable meals there at grill restaurants and noodle restaurants.

Kobe is the capital of Hyogo Prefecture. It is a port city situated between the sea and the Rokko mountain range. As a port city, Kobe was one of the first areas of Japan to be opened to foreign trade in the 19th century when most of Japan was still closed to the outside world. Other parts of Japan which were open to foreign trade at that time were: Yokohama, Nagasaki, Hakodate and Niigata.

In 1995, Kobe was struck by the devastating Great Hanshin­ Awaji Earthquake. This horrific event killed over 5000 people and destroyed tens of thousands of buildings. Today the city has been completely rebuilt, with just a few deliberate reminders of this horrendous catastrophe.


Kitano­cho or the Kitano area is located close to Shin Kobe Station. If you were standing in the station facing the sea, this area would be on your right. In the second half of the 19th century when the Port of Kobe was first opened up to foreign trade, Kitano was the area where many wealthy foreign merchants and diplomats lived. Many attractive European style mansions have survived in this area and are open to the public nowadays as museums, cafes, or shops. Poorer foreigners lived closer to the port area, but not much of their former dwellings remain. I loved the old buildings in this area and I also loved the statues of musicians which were dotted around everywhere. The whole place has a lovely relaxed arty atmosphere about it, making it a pleasure to visit.

Kitano area.

Kitano area.

Kitano area.

Kitano area.

Kobe's Ropeway or cable­car.

Also located near Shin Kobe Station is the Shin­ Kobe Ropeway. A ropeway is the term the Japanese use for what I would call a cable ­car. The Shin ­Kobe Ropeway takes people up the Rokko Mountain to an observation deck and the Nunobiki Herb Garden. You can buy a ticket which includes entrance to the herb garden. From the top of the cable ­car there are wonderful views over Kobe and out across the sea. We also noticed a little statue donated to the people of Kobe by the people of El Salvador in commiseration for their devastating earthquake; an experience the El Salvadorians sadly shared and understood. We also enjoyed wandering around the Nunobiki Herb Garden with its colourful plants. Due to lack of time we took the cable ­car both up and down the mountain, but it is possible to walk back down. We went up the cable car during the day and enjoyed spectacular day time views. I believe the night time view is also lovely though we did not see it.

Herb Garden.

Herb Garden.

Herb Garden.

Cable Car.

Herb Garden.

Cable Car.

Nunobiki Waterfall

Behind Shin­Kobe Station there is a path which will take you up the Rokko Mountain. If you follow it all the way you can walk to the cable car stations and Nunobiki Herb Garden, but we just followed it for around 10 or 15 minutes to see the lovely 43m tall Nunobiki waterfall. A pleasant and easy walk.

Nunobiki Waterfall.

Meriken Park.

Meriken Park is located in Kobe's port area. It contains some examples of modern art including a giant fish statue. It is also home to the Kobe Port Tower.

Meriken Park.

Meriken Park.

Maritime Museum.

This park was one of the areas devastated by the 1995 Great Hanshin Earthquake. I found the park's memorial to the many victims who were killed in this earthquake very touching. As a memorial they have retained an area that was severely damaged by the earthquake with the ground and lamp posts and walls twisted and tilted at crazy angles.


Near Meriken Park also on the seafront is Harbourland. Harborland is a shopping and entertainment district located on the waterfront in Kobe's port area. It has many cafes, restaurants and shops. There are two shopping centres in Harbourland: Mosaic and Canal Garden. Mosaic has fashion boutiques and a wide range of pleasant restaurants overlooking the sea. Mosaic also has an amusement park with a large ferris wheel. Canal Garden has a Hankyu department store, an electronics shop and family fashion outlets. This area is beautifully lit up at night and is quite atmospheric.



Posted by irenevt 05:35 Archived in Japan Tagged kobe

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The spring blossoms are lovely.

by Beausoleil

Japan in spring is wonderful. I would strongly recommend visiting during this time.

by irenevt

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