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—  Designated city  —
神戸市 · Kobe[1]
Kobe Night View from Kikuseidai of Mt. Maya


Location of Kobe in Hyōgo
Kobe is located in Japan
Coordinates: 34°41′N 135°12′E / 34.683°N 135.2°E / 34.683; 135.2
Country Japan
Prefecture Hyōgo
 - Mayor Tatsuo Yada
 - Total 552.80 km2 (213.4 sq mi)
(Nov 1, 2008)
 - Density 2,768/km2 (7,169.1/sq mi)
City Symbols
 - Tree Camellia sasanqua
 - Flower Hydrangea
Website City of Kobe
Phone number 078-331-8181

6-5-1 Kano-chō, Chūō-ku, Kōbe-shi, Hyōgo-ken

Kobe (神戸市 Kōbe-shi?) is the sixth-largest city in Japan and is the capital city of Hyōgo Prefecture on the southern side of the main island of Honshū, approximately 500 km (310.69 mi) west of Tokyo. Kobe is a prominent port city with a population of about 1.5 million. The city is located in the Kansai region of Japan and is part of the Keihanshin (京阪神 Keihanshin?) metropolitan area along with Osaka and Kyoto. Keihanshin in turn is part of the Taiheiyō Belt, a megalopolis. Kobe is classified as one of Japan's seventeen designated cities.

Known by the name Ōwada Anchorage (大輪田泊 Ōwada-no-tomari?), the earliest written records regarding the region come from the Nihon Shoki, which describes the founding of the Ikuta Shrine by Empress Jingū in 201 AD[2][3] For most of its history the area was never a single political entity, even during the Tokugawa Period, when the port was controlled directly by the Tokugawa Shogunate. Kobe did not exist in its current form until its founding in 1889. Its name comes from "kanbe" (神戸?), an archaic title for supporters of the city's Ikuta Shrine.[4][5] Kobe became one of Japan's designated cities in 1956.

Kobe was one of the cities to open for trade with the West following the end of the policy of seclusion and has since been known as a cosmopolitan port city. While the 1995 Great Hanshin Earthquake diminished much of Kobe's prominence as a port city, it remains Japan's fourth busiest container port.[6] Companies headquartered in Kobe include ASICS, Kawasaki Heavy Industries, and Kobe Steel, as well as over 100 international corporations with Asia or Japan headquarters in the city such as Procter & Gamble, Boehringer-Ingelheim and Nestlé.[7][8] The city is the point of origin and namesake of Kobe beef as well as the site of one of Japan's most famous hot spring resorts, Arima Onsen.



Origins to the Meiji Era

Tools found in western Kobe demonstrate that the area was populated at least from the Jōmon period.[9] The natural geography of the area, particularly of Wada Cape in Hyōgo-ku, led to the development of a port, which would remain the economic center of the city.[10] Some of the earliest written documents mentioning the region include the Nihon Shoki, which describes the founding of the Ikuta Shrine by Empress Jingū in 201 A.D.[2]

During the Nara and Heian periods, the port was known by the name Ōwada Anchorage (大輪田泊 Ōwada-no-tomari?) and was one of the ports from which imperial embassies to China were dispatched.[3][9] The city was briefly the capital of Japan in 1180 when Taira no Kiyomori moved his grandson Emperor Antoku to Fukuhara in present-day Hyōgo-ku.[9] The Emperor returned to Kyoto after about five months.[3] Shortly thereafter in 1184, the Taira fortress in Hyōgo-ku and the nearby Ikuta Shrine became the sites of the Genpei War battle of Ichi-no-Tani between the Taira and Minamoto clans. The Minamoto prevailed, pushing the Taira further.

As the port grew during the Kamakura period, it became an important hub for trade with China and other countries. In the 13th century, the city came to be known by the name Hyōgo Port (兵庫津 Hyōgo-tsu?).[10] During this time, Hyōgo Port along with northern Osaka composed the province of Settsu. Later, during the Edo period, the eastern parts of present-day Kobe came under the jurisdiction of the Amagasaki Domain and the western parts under that of the Akashi Domain, while the center was controlled directly by the Tokugawa shogunate.[11][12] It was not until the abolition of the han system in 1871 and the establishment of the current prefecture system that the area became politically distinct.

Hyōgo Port was opened to foreign trade by the government of the Bakufu at the same time as Osaka on 1 January 1868, just before the advent of the Boshin war and the Meiji restoration.[13] The region has since been identified with the West, and many foreign residences from the period remain in Kobe's Kitano area.[14]

Modern era

Kobe, as it is known today, was founded on April 1, 1889, and was designated on September 1, 1956 by government ordinance. The history of the city is closely tied to that of the Ikuta Shrine, and the name "Kobe" derives from "kanbe" (神戸 kanbe?), an archaic name for those who supported the shrine.[4][5]

During World War II, Kobe was bombed with incendiary bombs by B-29 bombers on March 17, 1945, causing the death of 8,841 residents and destroying 21% of Kobe's urban area (see Bombing of Kobe in World War II). It is this incident that inspired the well-known Studio Ghibli film Grave of the Fireflies and the book by Akiyuki Nosaka on which it was based.

Following continuous pressure from citizens, on March 18, 1975, the Kobe City Council passed an ordinance banning vessels carrying nuclear weapons from Kobe Port. This effectively prevented any U.S. warships from entering the port, policy being not to disclose whether any warship is carrying nuclear weapons. This nonproliferation policy has been termed the "Kobe Formula".[16][17]

On January 17, 1995 an earthquake measuring at 7.3 on the Richter magnitude scale occurred at 5:46 am JST near the city. Nearly 4,600 people in the city were killed, 212,443 were made homeless, and large parts of the port facilities and other parts of the city were destroyed.[18][19] The earthquake destroyed portions of the Hanshin Expressway, an elevated freeway that dramatically toppled over. In Japan, the earthquake is known as the Great Hanshin Earthquake (or the Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake). To commemorate Kobe's recovery from the 1995 quake, the city holds an event every December called the Luminarie, where the city center is decorated with illuminated metal archways.

Kobe Port was Japan's busiest port and one of Asia's top ports until the Great Hanshin Earthquake.[20] Kobe has since dropped to the fourth in Japan and thirty-eighth busiest container port worldwide (as of 2005).[6]


Wedged in between the coast and the mountains, the city of Kobe is long and narrow. To the east is the city of Ashiya, while the city of Akashi lies to its west. Other adjacent cities include Takarazuka and Nishinomiya to the east and Sanda and Miki to the north.

The landmark of the port area is the red steel Port Tower. A giant ferris wheel sits in nearby Harborland, a notable tourist promenade. Two artificial islands, Port Island and Rokkō Island, have been constructed to give the city room to expand.

Away from the seaside at the heart of Kobe lie the Motomachi and Sannomiya districts as well as Kobe's Chinatown, Nankinmachi, all well-known retail areas. A multitude of train lines cross the city from east to west. The main transport hub is Sannomiya Station, with the eponymous Kobe Station located to the west and the Shinkansen Shin-Kobe Station to the north.

Mount Rokkō overlooks Kobe at an elevation of 931 meters. During the autumn season, it is famous for the rich change in colors of its forests.


Wards of Kobe.

Kobe has nine wards (ku):

  • 1. Nishi-ku: The westernmost area of Kobe, Nishi-ku overlooks the city of Akashi and is the site of Kobe Gakuin University. This ward has the largest population with 247,000 residents.[21]
  • 2. Kita-ku: Kita-ku is the largest ward by area and contains the Rokko Mountain Range, including Mount Rokko and Mount Maya. The area is well known for its rugged landscape and hiking trails. The onsen resort town of Arima also lies within Kita-ku.
  • 3. Tarumi-ku: Tarumi-ku is a mostly residential area. The longest suspension bridge in the world, the Akashi-Kaikyo Bridge, extends from Maiko in Tarumi-ku to Awaji Island to the south. A relatively new addition to Kobe, Tarumi-ku was not a part of the city until 1946.
  • 4. Suma-ku: Suma-ku is the site of Suma beach, attracting visitors during the summer months.
  • 5. Nagata-ku : Nagata-ku is the site of Nagata Shrine, one of the three "Great Shrines" in Kobe.
  • 6. Hyōgo-ku: At various times known as Ōwada Anchorage or Hyōgo Port, this area is the historical heart of the city. Shinkaichi in Hyogo-ku was once the commercial center of Kobe, but was heavily damaged during World War II, and since Hyogo-ku has lost much of its former prominence.
  • 7. Chūō-ku: Chūō (中央?) literally means "center", and as such Chūō-ku is the commercial and entertainment center of Kobe. Sannomiya along with Motomachi and Harborland make up the main entertainment areas in Kobe. Chūō-ku also includes Kobe City Hall and Hyōgo prefectural government offices. Port Island as well as Kobe Airport lie in the southern part of this ward.
  • 8. Nada-ku: Nada-ku is the site of Kobe's Oji Zoo and Kobe University. Nada is also well-known for its sake. Along with Fushimi in Kyoto, it accounts for 45% of Japan's sake production.[22]
  • 9. Higashinada-ku: The easternmost area of Kobe, Higashinada-ku borders the city of Ashiya. The man-made island of Rokko makes up the southern part of this ward.


As of September 2007, Kobe has a population of 1,530,295 making up 658,876 households. This is an increase of 1,347 persons or approximately 0.1 percent over the previous year. The population density is approximately 2,768 persons per square kilometre, while there are about 90.2 males to every 100 females.[23] About thirteen percent of the population are between the ages of 0 and 14, sixty-seven percent are between 15 and 64, and twenty percent are over the age of 65.[24]

Approximately 44,000 registered foreign nationals live in Kobe. The four most common nationalities are Korean (22,237), Chinese (12,516), Vietnamese (1,301), and American (1,280).[24]


Kobe is the busiest port in the Kansai region.

Kobe is both an important port and manufacturing center within the Hanshin Industrial Region. Kobe is the busiest container port in the region, surpassing even Osaka, and the fourth busiest in Japan.[25]

As of 2004, the city's total real GDP was ¥6.3 trillion, which amounts to thirty-four percent of the GDP for Hyōgo Prefecture and approximately eight percent for the whole Kansai region.[26][27] Per capita income for the year was approximately ¥2.7 million.[26] Broken down by sector, about one percent of those employed work in the primary sector (agriculture, fishing and mining), twenty-one percent work in the secondary sector (manufacturing and industry), and seventy-eight percent work in the service sector.[24]

The value of manufactured goods produced and exported from Kobe for 2004 was ¥2.5 trillion. The four largest sectors in terms of value of goods produced are small appliances, food products, transportation equipment, and communication equipment making up over fifty percent of Kobe's manufactured goods. In terms of numbers of employees, food products, small appliances, and transportation equipment make up the three largest sectors.[28]

Major companies and institutes

Japanese companies which have their headquarters in Kobe include ASICS, a shoe manufacturer; Daiei, a department store chain; Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Kawasaki Shipbuilding Co., Mitsubishi Motors, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (ship manufacturer), Mitsubishi Electric, Kobe Steel, Sumitomo Rubber Industries and TOA Corporation. Other companies include the confectionery manufacturers Konigs-Krone and Morozoff Ltd., Sun Television Japan and UCC Ueshima Coffee Co.

There are over 100 international corporations with East-Asia or Japan headquarters in Kobe. Of these, twenty-four are from China, eighteen from the United States, and nine from Switzerland.[7] Some prominent corporations include Eli Lilly and Company, Nestlé, Procter & Gamble,[29] Tempur-Pedic, Boehringer-Ingelheim, and Toys "R" Us.

Kobe is the site of a number of research institutes, such as the RIKEN Kobe Institute Center for developmental biology and medical imaging techniques,[30] the National Institute of Information and Communications Technology Kobe Advanced ICT Research Center,[31] the National Research Institute for Earth Science and Disaster Prevention,[32] and the Asian Disaster Reduction Center.[33]

International organizations include the WHO Centre for Health Development, an intergovernmental agency forming part of the World Health Organization. The Consulate-General of Panama in Kobe is located on the eighth floor of the Moriyama Building in Chūō-ku, Kobe.[34]


The Akashi-Kaikyo Bridge extends from Kobe to Awaji Island.


Sannomiya Station is the main commuter hub in Kobe, serving as the transfer point for the three major intercity rail lines (see external map). The JR Kobe Line connects Kobe to Osaka and Himeji while both the Hankyu Kobe Line and the Hanshin Main Line run from Kobe to Umeda Station in Osaka. In addition, Kobe Municipal Subway provides access to the Sanyō Shinkansen at Shin-Kobe Station. Sanyō Electric Railway trains from Himeji reach Sannomiya via the Kobe Rapid Railway.

Other rail lines in Kobe include Kobe Electric Railway which runs north to Sanda and Arima Onsen. Hokushin Kyuko Railway connects Shin-Kobe Station to Tanigami Station on the Kobe Electric Railway. Kobe New Transit runs two lines, the Port Island Line from Sannomiya to Kobe Airport and the Rokko Island Line from JR Sumiyoshi Station to Rokko Island.

Over Mount Rokkō, the city has two funicular lines and three aerial lifts as well, namely Maya Cablecar, Rokkō Cable Line, Rokkō Arima Ropeway, Maya Ropeway, and Shin-Kobe Ropeway.

Road and air

Kobe is a hub in a number of expressways, including the Meishin Expressway (Nagoya - Kobe) and the Hanshin Expressway (Osaka - Kobe).[35] Other expressways include the Sanyō Expressway (Kobe - Yamaguchi) and the Chūgoku Expressway (Osaka - Yamaguchi). The Kobe-Awaji-Naruto Expressway runs from Kobe to Naruto via Awaji Island and includes the Akashi-Kaikyo Bridge, the longest suspension bridge in the world.

Osaka International Airport in nearby Itami and Kobe Airport, built on a reclaimed island south of Port Island, offer mainly domestic flights, while Kansai International Airport in Osaka is the main international hub in the area.


Kobe University main building.

The city of Kobe directly administers 169 elementary and 83 middle schools, with enrollments of approximately 80,200 and 36,000 students, respectively.[36] If the city's four private elementary schools and fourteen private middle schools are included, these figures jump to a total 82,000 elementary school students and 42,300 junior high students enrolled for the 2006 school year.[24][37][38]

Kobe also directly controls seven of the city's twenty-eight full-time public high schools, while the remainder are administered by the Hyogo Prefectural Board of Education.[36][39] In addition, twenty-five high schools are run privately within the city.[40] The total enrollment for high schools in 2006 was 43,400.[24]

Kobe is home to eighteen public and private universities, including Kobe University and Konan University, and eight junior colleges. Students enrolled for 2006 reached 67,000 and 4,100, respectively.[24]


Weathercock House, one of the many foreign residences of the Kitano area of Kobe

Kobe is most famous for its Kobe beef and Arima Onsen (or "hot springs"). Notable buildings include the Ikuta Shrine as well as the Kobe Port Tower. It is well known for the night view of the city, from mountains such as Mount Rokkō, and Mount Maya as well as the coast. Kobe is also known for having a somewhat exotic atmosphere by Japanese standards, which is mainly as a result of its history as a port city.

The city is also widely associated with cosmopolitanism and fashion, encapsulated in the Japanese phrase, "If you can't go to Paris, go to Kobe."[41] The biannual fashion event Kobe Fashion Week, centered around the Kobe Collection is held in Kobe.[42] The jazz festival "Kobe Jazz Street" has been held every October at jazz clubs and hotels since 1981.[43]

Kobe is the site of Japan's first golf course, Kobe Golf Club, established by Arthur Hasketh Groom in 1903,[44] and Japan's first mosque, Kobe Mosque, built in 1935.[45] The city also hosts the Kobe Regatta & Athletic Club, founded in 1870 by Alexander Cameron Sim,[46] a prominent foreign cemetery, and a number of Western-style residences from the 19th century, in the Kitano area.

Most of the 1957 romantic drama Sayonara takes place in Kobe and the city is also the setting of the Studio Ghibli film Grave of the Fireflies.


Club Sport League Venue Established
Kobe Steel Kobelco Steelers Rugby Top League Kobe Wing Stadium 1928
Hanshin Tigers Baseball Central League Hanshin Kōshien Stadium 1935
Orix Buffaloes Baseball Pacific League Skymark Stadium
Osaka Dome
Kobe 9 Cruise Baseball Kansai Independent Baseball League Skymark Stadium 2008
Vissel Kobe Football J. League Home's Stadium Kobe
Kobe Universiade Memorial Stadium
INAC Leonessa Football L. League Kakogawa Sports Stadium 2001
Deução Kobe Futsal F. League World Hall 1993

In 1991, Kobe played as hosts for the ABC Championship 1991, which was the Men's Asian Basketball Championship. It served as a qualifier for the 1992 Summer Olympics Basketball Tournament.

International relations

Twin towns — Sister cities

Kobe has six sister cities and a number of other affiliations.[47] They are:

Sister ports

Kobes Sister ports are:


Other city affiliations:



  1. ^ Kobe's official English name
  2. ^ a b Ikuta Shrine official website - "History of Ikuta Shrine" (Japanese)
  3. ^ a b c Kobe City Info - "History", retrieved February 2, 2007
  4. ^ a b Nagasaki University - "Ikuta Shrine", retrieved February 3, 2007
  5. ^ a b Entry for 「神戸(かんべ)」. Kōjien, fifth edition, 1998, [ISBN 4-00-080111-2]
  6. ^ a b American Association of Port Authorities - "World Port Rankings 2006", retrieved April 15, 2008
  7. ^ a b "Number of foreign corporations with headquarters in Kobe passes 100." (Japanese) in Nikkei Net, retrieved from on July 3, 2007.
  8. ^ Hyogo-Kobe Investment Guide - "List of Foreign Enterprises and Examples", retrieved February 8, 2007
  9. ^ a b c City of Kobe - "Kobe's History" (Japanese), retrieved October 22, 2007.
  10. ^ a b Hyogo International Tourism Guide - "Hyogo-tsu", retrieved February 2, 2007
  11. ^ City of Kobe - "Old Kobe" (Japanese), retrieved February 16, 2007
  12. ^ City of Ashiya - "An Outline History of Ashiya", retrieved February 16, 2007
  13. ^ The Cambridge History of Japan p.304
  14. ^ Japan Reference - "Kobe", retrieved February 2, 2007
  15. ^ From the NYPL Digital Library
  16. ^ Kobe City Council - "Resolution on the Rejection of the Visit of Nuclear-Armed Warships into Kobe Port", 18 March 1975, retrieved February 16, 2007
  17. ^ Kamimura, Naoki. "Japanese Civil Society and U.S.-Japan Security Relations in the 1990s". retrieved from International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War on February 2, 2007
  18. ^ The Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake Statistics and Restoration Progress (Jan. 2008), retrieved April 14, 2008
  19. ^ Great Hanshin Earthquake Restoration, retrieved April 14, 2008
  20. ^ Maruhon Business News - Port Conditions in Japan, retrieved January 23, 2007
  21. ^ City of Kobe - "Population by Ward" (Japanese), retrieved July 25, 2007
  22. ^ Kansai Window - "Japan's number one sake production", retrieved February 6, 2007
  23. ^ City of Kobe - "Estimated Population of Kobe", retrieved October 2, 2007
  24. ^ a b c d e f City of Kobe - "Statistical Summary of Kobe", retrieved July 25, 2007
  25. ^ American Association of Port Authorities - "World Port Rankings 2005", retrieved July 3, 2007
  26. ^ a b Hyogo Industrial Advancement Center - "Industry Tendencies in Various Areas of Hyogo Prefecture" (Japanese), retrieved July 3, 2007
  27. ^ Cabinet Office, Government of Japan - "2004 Prefectural Economy Survey" (Japanese), retrieved July 3, 2007
  28. ^ Kobe City Report on Census of Manufacturers, 2004 (Japanese), retrieved March 30, 2007
  29. ^ "P&G Locations." Procter & Gamble. Accessed on November 14, 2008.
  30. ^ RIKEN Center for Developmental Biology RIKEN Kobe Institute, retrieved June 26, 2007
  31. ^ National Institute of Information and Communications Technology Kobe Advanced ICT Research Center, retrieved June 26, 2007
  32. ^ National Research Institute for Earth Science and Disaster Prevention, retrieved June 12, 2007
  33. ^ Asian Disaster Reduction Center, retrieved June 12, 2007
  34. ^ "List of Consulates in Kansai Area." Creation Core Higashi Osaka. Retrieved on January 15, 2009.
  35. ^ Hyogo-Kobe Investment Guide - "Domestic Access", retrieved February 15, 2007
  36. ^ a b City of Kobe - "Number of municipal schools and students" (Japanese), retrieved July 2, 2007
  37. ^ Hyogo Prefectural Government - "Private elementary schools" (Japanese), retrieved July 2, 2007
  38. ^ Hyogo Prefectural Government - "Private middle schools" (Japanese), retrieved July 2, 2007
  39. ^ Hyogo Prefectural Board of Education - "Hyogo prefectural public schools at a glance" (Japanese), retrieved July 2, 2007
  40. ^ Hyogo Prefectural Government - "Private high schools" (Japanese), retrieved July 2, 2007
  41. ^ Hassan, Sally. (April 9, 1989). "Where Japan Opened a Door To the West". New York Times., retrieved from New York Times Website on February 7, 2007.
  42. ^ Kobe Collection Official Website (Japanese), retrieved February 27, 2007
  43. ^ Kobe Jazz Street, retrieved March 12, 2007
  44. ^ Golf Club Atlas - "Gliding Past Fuji - C.H. Alison in Japan", retrieved February 7, 2007
  45. ^ Penn, M. "Islam in Japan," Harvard Asia Quarterly Vol. 10, No. 1, Winter 2006, retrieved February 15, 2007
  46. ^ Kobe Regatta and Athletic Club - "a distinguished history", retrieved February 7, 2007
  47. ^ "Sister City, Friendly City, Friendship & Cooperation City" (in Japanese). © 2007-2009 City of Kobe. Retrieved 2009-07-14. 
  48. ^ "Twin cities of Riga". Riga City Council. Retrieved 2009-07-27. 
  49. ^ "Barcelona internacional - Ciutats agermanades" (in Spanish). © 2006-2009 Ajuntament de Barcelona.,4022,229724149_257215678_1,00.html. Retrieved 2009-07-13. 
  50. ^ AUICK Associate Cities - Faisalabad

External links

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Kōbe (神戸) [1] is one of Japan's underappreciated cities. A cosmopolitan port city with an international flavor, hemmed in by Mt. Rokko, it constantly comes up number one in expatriate rankings of the best place to live in Japan.

Port of Kobe
Port of Kobe


A port in what would become Kōbe was established as a concession to western powers in 1868, during the time when Japan was opening to the world. Nagasaki and Yokohama had already begun serving foreign ships nine years earlier. Today, a synagogue, a Chinatown, and European architecture mark Kōbe as a place where foreigners and foreign culture first arrived in Japan.

On January 17, 1995 an earthquake measuring 7.3 on the Richter Scale occurred at 5:46AM JST near the city. The quake killed 6,433, made 300,000 homeless and destroyed large parts of the port facilities and other parts of the city. It was one of the most costly natural disasters in modern history. The earthquake notably destroyed the Hanshin Expressway, an elevated freeway which dramatically toppled over: within Japan, the earthquake is known as the Great Hanshin Earthquake (or the Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake). In the last 10 years, the city has recovered completely, but lost huge portions of its ship traffic.

Kōbe's core, and central business district, surrounds Sannomiya station, rather than Kobe Station. Sannomiya station has a tourist information office well-stocked with area maps. The Japanese characters for Sannomiya station on Japan Railways (三ノ宮) differ from the Sannomiya station on other railways (三宮).

Get in

By plane

Kobe Airport (神戸空港, UKB) [2], built on reclaimed land in front of the harbor, opened in February of 2006. The airport handles domestic flights only: both Japan Airlines (JAL) and All Nippon Airways (ANA) have flights to Kobe from Tokyo Haneda, Sapporo, Sendai, Okinawa, and Kagoshima. ANA also offers service from Niigata, while JAL has flights from Kumamoto. A new low-cost airline, Skymark [3], is offering cheap flights to and from Tokyo.

From Kobe Airport, the Port Liner light rail runs about every 10 minutes, reaching Sannomiya in less than 20 minutes (¥320) for easy connections to the Japan Rail (JR), Hanshin, Hankyu and subway lines. From there, a small trip on the subway will link you to the Shin-Kobe bullet train station (¥200). If coming from Sannomiya to the airport, be sure to board a train marked "Kobe Airport", as some head to the Kita Futo branch line instead.

The nearest international airport is Kansai International Airport. The fastest way to get there is on the Kaijo Access [4] high-speed ferry from Kobe Airport, which runs every 45 minutes or so, taking 29 minutes one-way (¥1500). However, if coming from central Kobe, it's nearly as fast and less of a hassle to take the Airport Limousine bus. Airport buses cost ¥2000, and the run to Sannomiya takes 65 to 75 minutes depending on whether the bus travels directly to Sannomiya or stops first on Rokko Island. Alternatively, the JR Rapid Express connecting at Osaka about as fast and more dependable. By JR, the ride costs ¥2410 and lasts 90 minutes, taking the Kanku Kaisoku (関空快速) rapid to Osaka station and changing there to the Shin-kaisoku (新快速 - Special Rapid) that runs to both Sannomiya and Kobe stations.

Finally, if you land at Itami Airport in Osaka, airport buses run to Sannomiya in 40 minutes and cost ¥1020.

By train

The nearest station on Japan's high-speed shinkansen network is at Shin-Kobe station. From Tokyo station, Shin-Kobe is 2 hours, 50 minutes away via Nozomi (¥14670); 3 hours and 20 minutes via Hikari (¥14270; no charge with the Japan Rail Pass). From Shin-Kobe station, take the Seishin Yamate subway line one stop to Sannomiya (¥200). If you are traveling light you can walk as well.

From Osaka, there are several ways to arrive in Sannomiya:

  • Trains on the Hankyu and Hanshin private lines depart respectively from Hankyu-Umeda and Hanshin-Umeda stations. The Tokkyu (特急) express takes roughly half an hour to reach Sannomiya (¥310).
  • Hanshin trains also operate to Kobe from Namba station. Kaisoku Kyuko (快速急行) trains depart every 20 minutes, reaching Sannomiya in 45 minutes at a cost of ¥400. In some instances you may have to change trains at Amagasaki.
  • The best option via JR is to take the Shin-kaisoku (新快速 - Special Rapid) or Kaisoku (快速 - Rapid) service that departs from JR Osaka station, running to Sannomiya in 20 and 26 minutes, respectively (¥390, no charge with the Japan Rail Pass).

From Kyoto, Sannomiya is 50 minutes away from the main train station via Shin-kaisoku (¥1050; no charge with the Japan Rail Pass). You can also make the run to the area in 30 minutes via bullet train, but it is more expensive, and if you have the rail pass, you can only take one train every hour without changing trains (the Hikari that runs through to Okayama).

From the central area of Kyoto (near Gion and the shopping district), you can reach Sannomiya in 70 minutes via Hankyu limited express, changing once at Juso station (¥600). Hankyu trains depart from the Kawaramachi and Karasuma stations.

Kintetsu trains run from the historical city of Nara to Sannomiya station on the Hanshin line via Namba. Direct trains leave every 20 minutes, reaching Sannomiya in 75 minutes at a cost of ¥940.

By bus

Traveling to Kobe by bus can result in significant savings when compared to train fares.

The JR Bus Group (Japanese Website) is a major operator of the routes from the Tokyo area to Kansai. Buses operate via the Tomei Expressway (to/from Tokyo Station) or the Chuo Expressway (to/from Shinjuku Station).

Other bus companies offer trips between Tokyo and Kobe, but it should be pointed out that seat reservations for JR Buses can be made in train stations at the same "Midori-no-Madoguchi" ticket windows used to reserve seats on trains.

The following services are available: (Current as of January, 2009)

Daytime buses from Tokyo

Daytime buses only run as far as Osaka Station; there are multiple departures daily to Osaka from Tokyo and Shinjuku stations. You can then take a regular JR train from Osaka to Sannomiya. Expect the bus ride to be approximately 8 1/2 hours to Osaka, and the train ride 20 minutes by shin-kaisoku from Osaka to Sannomiya, for a total of ¥6540 (compared to ¥9030 if taking all local trains).

Nighttime buses from Tokyo

The nighttime bus service from Tokyo to Kansai is called Dream. This route name has several variants.

  • The Seishun Dream Kobe makes two round-trip runs on the Tomei Exprssway from Tokyo station. Both runs stop at the Sannomiya Bus Terminal and Kobe Station. The first southbound bus leaves Tokyo at 9:20PM and makes a pick-up stop at Shinjuku Station (10:00PM) before running directly to Kobe. The second bus leaves Tokyo at 10:30PM and runs via Kyoto Station. The return buses leave Kobe station at 9:40PM (via Kyoto Station) and 10:10PM (discharging at Shinjuku en-route). ¥5000 each way. The bus offers 4-across seating (2x2) with limited amenities.
  • The Dream Kobe makes two round-trip runs on the Tomei Expressway from Tokyo Station. Both runs stop at the Sannomiya Bus Terminal and Kobe Station. The first southbound bus leaves Tokyo at 10:10PM and runs via Osaka Station. The second bus leaves Tokyo at 10:40PM and makes a pick-up stop at Shinjuku Station (11:20PM) before running directly to Kobe. The return buses leave Kobe station at 9:10PM (discharging at Shinjuku en-route) and 9:50PM (via Osaka Station). ¥8690 each way; ¥1000 discount on most departures if ticket is purchased 5 days in advance. The bus offers wider, comfortable 3-across seating (1x1x1) and offers more amenities such as blankets.

Note that the Japan Rail Pass is not valid on the Tokyo-Kobe bus route. As with taking a daytime service, you can take an overnight bus to Osaka (covered under the pass) and then transfer to train service for the final leg of the journey.

Other bus operators

Another bus provider on the Tokyo-Kobe route is 123bus [5]. An advantage over the JR Buses is that the 123bus website offers bus descriptions and booking services in English. However, many services from this company do not allow you to carry large luggage (e.g. suitcases) with you. It is best to confirm with the company whether or not there will be space for luggage before making your booking.

By boat

A number of ferry services are available from Kobe, including routes to:

  • Takamatsu: Jumbo Ferry, 078-327-3111. 3 1/2 hours; ¥1,800.
  • Kitakyushu: Hankyu Ferry, 078-857-1211 [6]. 12 hours; ¥7,400+.
  • Oita: Diamond Ferry, 078-857-9525. 12 hours; ¥8,800+. Also stops at Matsuyama.
  • Beppu: Kansai Kisen, 06-6572-5181 [7]. 12 hours; ¥8,800+. Also stops at Matsuyama.
  • Okinawa: Maruei Ferry, 078-857-3901. 3 days; ¥18,800+. Also stops at Miyazaki.
  • Shanghai: Japan-China Ferry, 078-321-5791 (Japan) or 021-6326-4357 (China). 45 hours; ¥20,000+.
  • Tianjin: China Express Line, 03-3537-3107 (Japan) or 022-2420-5777 (China) [8]. 50 hours; ¥22,000+.

Get around

By train

If you are planning to travel beyond city limits you might want to consider using the tickets from Surutto Kansai. For use in West of Japan include Kobe ,there are some other useful tickets: A rechargeable smart card, ICOCA, is used on rail, subway and bus networks in Kansai area,Okayama,Hiroshima,Nagoya (Kintetsu) and Tokyo (JR East). These cards are available at vending machines at these rail stations, and cost 2000 yen, which includes a 500 yen deposit that will be refunded when the card is returned at JR West Station.

The Hankyu (阪急), Hanshin (阪神) and JR lines cross Kōbe in a west-east direction, and provide the cheapest and fastest way to travel across town. Each of these three lines have their own station located around the busy central Sannomiya shopping district and each provide access to different points of interest.

For visitors with a Japan Rail Pass, JR will be of the most use. Shin-kaisoku (新快速 - Special Rapid) trains stop at both Sannomiya and Kōbe stations and provide the best way to travel west towards Akashi and Himeji or east towards Kyoto and Osaka. Boarding a Futsu (普通 - Local) from either Sannomiya or Kōbe stations will allow you to easy access to Motomachi (for Nankin-machi and Meriken-park) Nada (for the sake brewing district and museums) Rokkomichi (for buses to Mt. Rokko) and Sumiyoshi (for the Rokko Liner to Rokko Island).

The Hankyu and Hanshin lines are of less use to tourists but you may be forced to use them to visit certain sights. Koshien Stadium, home of the baseball team the Hanshin Tigers, is easily accessible from Hanshin Koshien Station and both lines provide service to Shinkaichi for transfer to the private Kobe Dentetsu line and access to the famed Arima Onsen hot-spring district.

By subway

Kōbe has two subway lines. The Kaigan Line runs along along the coast, and the Yamate-Seishin Line runs toward the mountains. Both are more expensive than ordinary trains and unlikely to be of use for the traveler, except when connecting to Shin-Kōbe, the station located north of the city where the Sanyo Shinkansen stops. The small jaunt between Shin-Kobe and Sannomiya costs ¥200. If you want to explore Kobe, there is a one-day-pass for both lines (1日乗車券; Ichinichijoshaken), costing ¥800 (kids: ¥400) or subway plus bus for ¥1000 (¥500).

North of Shin-Kobe station, the Yamate subway runs over the Hokushin Express Line. Trains run 7.5 km under ground and terminate at Tanigami Station, from which you can transfer to the Shintetsu Arima Line for Arima-guchi Station and Arima Onsen.

By light rail

The automated Port Liner links Sannomiya to the reclaimed port district south of the city, and continues over the Kobe Sky Bridge to Kobe Airport. Likewise, the Rokko Liner links the Rokko Island area to JR Sumiyoshi station.

By bus

Kobe has a comprehensive city bus system, which is often your best choice when travelling to areas located north of the city, away from the predominately east-west running train and subway lines. Schedules and boarding locations can be obtained from the tourist information office below JR and Hankyu Sannomiya stations.

The city also operates a loop-line tourist bus that travels around scenic spots and famous tourist locations in Kobe including the Kitano Ijinkan streets, Nankin-machi and Meriken Park. These distinctive old-fashioned green buses can be boarded are 15 stops between the Shin-Kobe area and Harborland and cost 250 yen for a single loop or 650 yen for a day pass. Boarding locations are indicated by green and red signs on the side of the road. Buses run at 15-20 minute intervals and one loop takes approximately 70 minutes.

By ropeway

Kobe has several ropeways that travel up Mount Rokko. One that is near a major station is the Shin-Kobe Ropeway, a 5-minute walk from Shin-Kobe station. The ropeway, reputed to have one of Kobe's best scenic views, runs up to the Nunobiki Herb Park. Adults ¥550 one-way, ¥1000 round-trip. Combination tickets are also sold which include the Nunobiki Herb Park (see below).

On foot

Kōbe is thin in the north-south direction, but long in the west-east direction. Since much of it is built on a hill, a reasonable itinerary is to take the bus up the hill, and walk down.If you get lost, find the mountains or the harbour. The mountains are on the north, and the harbour’s on the south.

German house, Ijinkan
German house, Ijinkan

Kobe's main attraction for the Japanese is its concentration of Western-style houses, some dating back to the days when Kobe was opened for foreign trade in 1868. Europeans who grew up in similar scenery may find them less fascinating.

  • Ijinkan (異人館) (walking distance from either Sannomiya or Shin-Kobe stations) Kōbe's number-one attraction is the Ijinkan or Barbarian Houses. These are 19th-century residences of Kobe's foreign traders, clustered in the Kitano area.
  • Kyu-kyoryuchi (旧居留地), near Motomachi station (Hanshin Line or JR Line). This is where foreign consulates and trading companies built their offices. Several 19th-century buildings have been converted into restaurants and shops. Notable buildings include Chartered Square, once the Chartered Bank branch and the 15th Building (十五番館), once the American consulate. The area is also packed full of high-fashion boutiques like Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Prada and Fendi.
  • Meriken Park (メリケンパーク) near the harborfront has a poignant memorial to the devastating Hanshin Earthquake in 1995, which killed 6,433 people. Kobe Tower nearby is the unofficial symbol of the city and offers a viewing pavilion (¥600).
  • Fruit Flower Park(フルーツ・フラワーパーク), 35 min by bus from Sannomiya, Open daily is 10 AM to 6 PM (except on holidays). Phone: 078-954-1000. This park is surrounded by a lot of flowers and greenery. Many people hold their wedding ceremonies here every year. In spring, the park becomes even more beautiful as about 10,000 tulips bloom. The Hotel Fruit Flower is near the park, which is visited by many families.
  • Chinatown (南京町 nankinmachi) was the original settlement of Chinese merchants. Today, it is rather touristy though it offfers some "Japanised" versions of Chinese food such as pork buns (豚饅頭 buta-manjū). Its architecture is still rather pleasant though.
  • Takenaka Carpentry Tools Museum (竹中大工道具館), (3 blocks North of JR Motomachi station. 1 block west from Coop store. A 10 minute walk.), (078)242-0216, [9]. 9:30-16:30. A very nice exploration of hand carpentry tools, from the stone axes of Jomon age to the Western influenced tools of yesterday. Hands on exhibits and English language descriptions make this a pleasant place to spend the afternoon. 300 yen.  edit
Nunobiki Herb Garden
Nunobiki Herb Garden
  • Nunobiki Herb Park (布引ハーブ園) is a 40-acre garden located on Mount Rokko. It is accessible by the Shin-Kobe Ropeway, located near Shin-Kobe station. It features over 200 varieties of herbs, as well as greenhouses, exhibitions, and a restaurant. Admission for adults, which includes the round-trip ride on the Ropeway, is ¥1200.

Kōbe is a well-known center of sake production and many sake breweries are in the Nada (灘) area, and have tours or museums open to the public. You can pick up a map of the sake breweries at the tourist information office in Sannomiya.

  • Sawa-no-Tsuru Museum (沢の鶴資料館) (10-minute walk from Hanshin Ōishi station 大石駅). 078-882-7788. Open daily 10 AM to 4 PM, closed Weds. This museum is probably the best of the bunch, with an informative multi-level exhibit partly labeled in English, and a well-stocked gift shop. Free entry, but no free sake.
  • Hakutsuru Sake Brewery Museum (walking distance from Hankyu Mikage station 御影駅 or Sumiyoshi station 住吉駅), 078-822-8907. Open daily 9:30 AM to 4:30 PM, closed Mon. This museum is located inside a former brewery, and features traditional tools, dioramas and English-language videos to explain the sake-making processes. At the end, you can sample some sake, which is non-pasteurized, presumably because it doesn't have to travel far from the factory. Write your name on a piece of paper provided by the guard and return that at the end. Free entry, free sake.
  • Hamafukutsuru-Ginjo Brewery and Shop Open daily 10 AM to 5 PM, closed Mon. 078-411-0492. Reportedly, Hamafukutsuru offers factory tours, rather than just a museum.
Osaka Bay at night
Osaka Bay at night
  • Mt. Rokko (六甲山 Rokko-san) and its Rock Garden, the first an easy cable car trip for suitable romantic evenings, the second a light day's hiking with an excellent view. The view over the glittering expanse of Osaka Bay is canonized as one of the Three Great Night Views.
  • Kobe Collection (神戸コレクション). [10] Fashion event. Held Twice a year (Aug-Sep, Feb-Mar) in Kobe since 2002. Popular with young women.
  • Kobe Jazz Street (神戸ジャズストリート). [11] Famous Jazz event in Japan. Held every October at jazz bars and hotels in Kobe since 1981.
  • Chicken George [12] One of the most famous place with live music in Japan. Near Sannomiya station.
  • Nunobiki Falls [13] is one of three of Japan's most important waterfalls. A 15 minute walk up Mt. Rokko from Shin Kobe station.


Kōbe's shopping is clustered around the Sannomiya train station and the Center-Gai shopping arcade leading off from it. Many of the unassuming little cafes and specialty shops in the arcade in fact have histories tracing back well over a hundred years.

Piazza Kōbe (ピアザ神戸) and Motokō Town (モトコータウン) are the two names of essentially one long arcade where all manner of second-hand goods are sold. These stores are underneath the JR lines, running from Sannomiya station, past Motomachi Station, to Kōbe Station. Motoko sells a variety of things such as books, clothes, shoes, accessories, knives, lighters, toys...... You can get heaps of things.

  • Harbor Land (adjacent to Kobe station). This is a modern shopping and dining area, developed on the edge of the Kobe Bay.
  • MOSAIC. Kobe’s playground. There are restaurants, bars, a movie theatre, a shopping market, an amusement arcade and a little amusement park. Harbour cruises are offered, some of which go as far as the Akashi-Kaikyo Bridge.
  • Random Walk [14] (Center-Gai shopping arcade close to Motomachi station). 078-332-9200. Open daily 10 AM to 8 PM. Wide selection of english books and magazines. No japanese books!
  • Junkudo (7th floor of the big DAIEI building in front of Sannomiya station). 078-252-0777. Open daily 10 AM to 9 PM. Huge bookstore with big selection of english books and magazines.
  • Junkudo (5th floor of JR Sumiyoshi station). Open daily 10 AM to 9 PM. Huge bookstore.
The famed Kobe beef: finger-licking good, budget-busting expensive
The famed Kobe beef: finger-licking good, budget-busting expensive

Kobe has a large number of restaurants offering international cuisine.

Kōbe is known worldwide for its Kobe beef, exquisitely marbled, very fatty and very expensive beef. Recommended for a splurge, but expect to pay close to ¥10,000 per head. At the opposite end of the culinary spectrum is sobameshi (そば飯), a concoction of fried rice and noodles mixed together, which is cheap, filling and pretty much unique to Kobe.

Nankinmachi (walking distance from Sannomiya station). Cheap eats can be found in Kōbe's Chinatown.

  • Sky Buffet, [15]. It’s a little bit hard to find (several blocks south of Sannomiya Station, but it’s the tallest building one street over on your left), but at 24 floors up, the view is quite impressive especially at night and definitely worth the troubles of finding it. The food’s a reasonably good mix of cultures and well priced.
  • Alain Chapel, [16]. It’s a branch of Alain Chapel (France,Lyons. a 3 stars restaurant).Kobe Portpia Hotel 31 floor.
  • Grill Ippei (グリル一平). Specializes in yōshoku, or Japanized Western dishes. Specialities include Ebi furai (breaded shrimp), kaki furai (breaded oyster), hamburger steaks and tonkatsu (pork cutlets). There are several branches near Sannomiya station, Motomachi station and elsewhere.
  • Gaen Shuga, 2-8-7 Sakaemachi-dori, Chuo-ku, Kobe-shi, Hyogo 650-0023 (Head west from the main square in Chinatown and turn left at the first street and Gaen will be on the left next to Kung Lung (the big Bruce Lee)), (078) 331-8828, [17]. 11:30-3:00 5:00-9:30. Delicious Cantonese and Hong Kong cuisine prepared by genuine Chinese chefs. An English menu is available. You can get a dish like fried rice for under ¥1000 or a set menu with several dishes including soup and dessert for slightly more. You can also ask the proprietor to prepare a special banquet menu for you that includes delicacies like shark's fin soup and fresh abalone. There is a printable coupon from the website!  edit


Kōbe's specialty are tachinomiya, literally stand-and-drink bars.

  • New Muenchen Kobe Taishikan (ニューミュンヘン神戸大使館), Sannomiya-cho, 2-chome, 5-18 (on Ikuta Road a block south of Center-Gai, about 3 blocks south of the JR tracks, under 10 min. by foot from either Hankyu, Hanshin, or JR Sannomiya station), tel. 078-391-3656, [18]. Open 11:00 am to 11:00 pm, lunch hours are 11:00 am to 2:00 pm. A long-time Sapporo Beer brewpub and restaurant newly rebuilt after the Great Hanshin Earthquake in 1995 that serves seasonal brews and dishes as well as the timeless favorites of German and Japanese beer halls. Bar service on ground floor, table service on higher floors. Capacity 540. Beers range around ¥550-950, food ranges around ¥750-1500.
  • Sone, 1-24-10 Nakayamate-dori (in Kitano just north of Sannomiya station), tel. 078-221-2055, [19]. Not only an excellent place to relax with a drink, Sone also happens to be one of the best jazz clubs in Kansai.
  • Pizza Kitchen (PK), 1-12-4 Nakayamate-dori (at the intersection with Kitano-zaka, just north of Sannomiya station), tel. 078-333-0350, beer 600 yen, pizza 1000 yen, free wireless internet access for customers.


Kōbe has a wide variety of accommodation, ranging from love hotels near Shin-Kobe to luxury hotels by the waterfront. If you don't find hotel, you can move try near the JR Osaka Station 21 min. away, 390 yen.(From JR Sannomiya station.) If you're looking for cheaper alternatives, ask at the tourist information office in Sannomiya station (they speak English). There is a youth hostel and a nice little backpackers hostel for 2,500 yen (dormitory).

  • Kobe Harborland New Otani, 1-3-5 Higashi-kawasaki-cho, Chuo-ku, tel. 078-360-1111, [20]. A member of the prestigious New Otani chain. While not quite swanky as its Tokyo flagship, the location near JR Kōbe station is good and internet rates can be had for around ¥10,000 a night (plus taxes).
  • Hotel Tor Road, 3-1-19 Nakayamate-dori, Chuo-ku, tel. 078-391-6691, fax 078-391-6570, e-mail Convenient location in the heart of Kobe's main shopping and dining area between Sannomiya and Motomachi train stations. New Muenchen Tor Road beer cellar right next door. Singles ¥7500-9000, doubles/twins ¥15,000-19,000.
  • Kobe Bay Sheraton, 2-13 Koyocho-naka , Higashinada-ku, tel. 078-857-7000,or 1-800-325-3535 (from U.S. only), [21]. The location is in Rokko-island near Island-center station (Rokko Liner Line).35,000 Yen (But other stay plans available).
  • Kobe Kur Haus (神戸クアハウス), 3-10-15 Ninomiya-chou , Chuo-ku, tel. 078-222-3755. Near Sannomiya station (Hankyu,Hanshin,JR Line) for 8 minutes. It is hot spa and capsule-type hotel (tube hotel). It has a floor exclusive use for women.3,300 to 4,600 yen.
  • Ninomiya Ryokan (二宮旅館), 1-10-6 Kotonoo-chou , Chuo-ku. Near Sannomiya station (Hankyu,Hanshin,JR Line) for 6 minutes.single 4,000 yen.

(Near Sannomiya Station,there are several hotels like this.)

  • Kobe Kitano hotel (神戸北野ホテル), 3-3-20 Yamamoto-dori , Chuo-ku. Near Sannomiya station (Hankyu,Hanshin,JR Line) for 15 minutes.Twin room From 26,250 yen, [22]. It's owner and chef was a cook at Le Relais Bernard Loiseau (a restaurant in France, Michelin 3 stars restaurant),this hotel's plan include dinner and breakfast. In Kitano-area.
  • Arima Onsen, a hot-spring town located on the other side of Mt. Rokko
  • Nishinomiya, Situated between Kobe and Osaka, Mount Kabutoyama makes a nice getaway from the hustle and bustle of the city.
  • Takarazuka, Famous for its all-female dance troup, the Takarazuka Revue
  • Osaka, If Kobe wasn't enough to satisfy your shopping needs, Osaka will certainly fulfill your needs
  • Kyoto, the true cultural capital of Japan
  • Awaji Island, Connects to the Akashi Kaikyo Bridge, the world's longest suspension bridge, 10 km far to the West. (10 minutes by train.)
  • Himeji, a nice city with Japan's most beautiful well-preserved castle, is a 30 minute train ride away.
  • Okayama, a beautiful city, home to one of the top three gardens in Japan and the birthplace of the famous Momotaro tale
  • Kurashiki, a charming stroll through old Japan, lined with local shops and museums
Routes through Kobe
HiroshimaOkayama ← Nishi-Akashi ←  W noframe E  Shin-OsakaEND
← END ←  W noframe E  KyotoOsaka
OkayamaHarima  W noframe E  → END →
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Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

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See also Kōbe



Alternative spellings


From Japanese 神戸 (こうべ, Kōbe).

Proper noun



Kobe or Kōbe

  1. A city in Honshū, Japan, capital of Hyōgo prefecture.


Simple English

For the basketball player, see Kobe Bryant.

Kobe (Japanese: 神戸市; -shi) is the capital of Hyogo prefecture and an important port city in the Kansai district of Western Japan. It is situated between the country's financial capital Osaka and Kyoto. Its population is around 1.53 million as of 2008.



Kobe is next to the Seto Inland Sea. Its northern part, including Rokko mountain, is hilly. From Rokko district in its southern area through Rokko mountain to Arima Spa a ropeway runs. Trains including Shinkansen, highways and roads run along the Sea. Kobe port serves it. Many cargos and tankers use the port. A ship carries people between Shanghai and Kobe periodically.



On January 17, 1995 a very powerful earthquake hit the city. Earthquakes are more common in other parts of Japan, but not in Kansai so this earthquake was a surprise for everyone. 6,434 people were killed in Kobe and its neighboring cities, and many more were injured. Many buildings were destroyed.


Kobe was founded in 1868 as a port for serving foreign ships. In those day not every port in Japan was opened to the foreigners. Many foreigners lived in Kobe; westerners, Chinese, Jewish and Indian. Kobe is one of cities in Japan where China town is situated. People can find a Sinagogue and many Christian churches too. In the same way as Yokohama Kobe has been a place from where foreign culture was introduced into Japan.

Early history

Already in the late 12th century powerful leader Taira no Kiyomori moved the capital of Japan from Kyoto to Fukuwara, nowadays Fukuwara district of Japan. He planned for it to serve as a trade and political center of Japan. Kiyomori relied his political influence on the trade between Japan and China. But his plan failed and Kobe stayed a small village during a long time.

Later history

The area of Kobe was expanded and today it includes Mount Maya, Sumaura Park, Sumaike park with a good spa and the famous Arima spa. Arima spa is one of oldest spas in Japan, whose earliest record is found already in Nihonshoki. Kobe is also famous for its Kobe beef, a very expensive meat delicacy.


The northern area of Kobe is an industrial area. There are many factories. Sake production in Nada district has been known from the Edo period. Nagata district in the southwest area of Kobe was a center of shoe production in Japan but production suffered because of destruction caused by the Earthquake.

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