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Article written by Ed Whalley
Kobe is a fantastic place to visit for the day. Rich with culture, history, and fun stuff to do, I would spend the day and night here if you have the time.
Kobe is one of the main ports of Japan, and historically it was probably the biggest and most significant/important. As a result, it has a lot of European, American and Asian cultural influence. It has one of Japan's most famous Chinatowns, and if you walk around Kitano ijinkan, you will really feel like you’re in Europe or America due to the houses and historic buildings there, which once housed the industrial Americans and Europeans who first came to Japan to conduct business and trade.
A slightly ironic name as Nanking/Nanjing is the name of the city where the Japanese imperial army in the second world war committed the most atrocious war crimes. But let’s not talk about that. The actual Chinatown is great fun as you can eat amazing authentic Chinese food. Nankinmachi is actually very old (founded in 1868), so you get many generations of Chinese living and working and sharing their food tips in the neighbourhood. This is a result of the fact that Kobe was one of the biggest ports in Asia throughout the 20th century. Have a stroll around the neighbourhood and see what yummy Chinese food you can find.
Kobe Harbourland is an entertainment area in the Kobe bay. It has a large Ferris wheel, a fun shopping and restaurants complex called ‘Mosaic’ and you can stroll around in the evening and watch the sun go down across the bay. It’s actually a very pretty area with all the lights at night and definitely worth a visit. Just opposite and in full view is Meriken Park.
Meriken Park is an ‘island’ similar to Harbour island, right opposite Harbour Island. The main attraction is Kobe Port Tower, but another interesting attraction is the remains of the Kobe earthquake as a memorial. A small 5 meter by 20-meter area has been preserved in it’s damaged state as a reminder of the awful destructiveness of the Kobe earthquake. You can also take some photos of Harbour island at night.
Preserved damaged area which has been kept in its damaged state since the Kobe earthquake in 1995 as a memorial.
A Japanese military or rather.. self defence force Submarine docking for repairs and restocking, just by Harbour Island
Kitano-chō is a historical district/Neighbourhood of the town. It is the best example of how Kobe was a really powerful and important gateway to Japan during the late Meiji Period onwards. It is really interesting walking around, as you do feel like you’re in either America or somewhere in Mediterranean Europe as there are large foreign houses which remain as tourist attractions and in some cases, actual residences. The word ‘Ijinkan’ basically means foreign mansions, and they were the former residences of the powerful industrialists who settled in Kobe when the port opened in the late 19th century.
You can get that great view over Kobe from Kitano Tenman Shrine