TOUR OF KOBE BETWEEN THE PAST AND THE PRESENT
In this tour, you will visit popular tourist destinations in Kobe.
The history of the Kitano foreigners’ houses (Kitano Ijin-kan) began in 1868 when Kobe city opened its port to foreign countries. The whole Bluff, including the Yamamoto street in Kitano town, attracted the foreigners at an early time as the residential section with a fine view from the southern gentle slope. A foreign architect who lived in Kobe designed the standard western buildings to construct the foreigners’ houses, which creates the high level and the tasteful exoticism of those houses. Nowadays still remain about 30 foreigners’ houses. The area of the Yamamoto St. in Kitano town is designated as the first preservation district for groups of the important historic buildings in the classification of the port town in 1980.
Famous as a symbol of Kobe, the Kobe Port Tower is a 108m-high landmark tower located in Meriken Park. The world’s first building to feature a pipe structure, it was nicknamed the Steel Tower Beauty as a result of its unique structure and shape, reminiscent of an elongated Japanese drum, and was awarded a prize by the Architectural Institute of Japan in 1963.
Meriken Park is a nice waterfront park in Kobe's port area. Built on an outcropping of reclaimed land, the park is covered in grassy lawn and open courtyards dotted with a collection of modern art installations and fountains. It is home to some of the city's more iconic contemporary architecture such as the red Kobe Port Tower. The park was devastated by the 1995 Great Hanshin Earthquake, but has now become a popular spot for locals and tourists again.
What we will see
• Kitano Ijinkan district
• Victorian-style European houses (ijinkan)
• Meriken park
• Kobe Port Tower
What we will do
• Comfortably seated on our coach, we leave the port of Kobe behind us to reach the charming Kitano Ijinkan district, which dates back to the second half of the 1800s.
• We walk along the winding roads that embrace the entire cosmopolitan soul of Kobe - thirty western-style houses (ijikan) dot the district on the city’s hills, a magnificently-preserved testimony of a time when the city of Kobe was Japan’s only opening to the world.
• We admire the seductive panoramas along the southern coast which charmed the first foreign traders and diplomats responsible for the establishment of this Victorian enclave. European cafés, Catholic churches and a synagogue can still be found there to this day.
• We then head to Meriken park, a pleasant seafront garden in the harbour area. Created on a reclaimed area, it is an attractive lawn dotted with fountains and modern art installations.
• Inside the park, we can admire the Kobe Port Tower, a cylinder surrounded by a red pipe structure in the shape of a traditional Japanese drum. This tower, 108 metres tall, has become an icon on the Kobe’s skyline and an attraction for tourists from all over the world.
What you need to know
• Itinerary sequence may vary. • The length of the coach transfer depends on the itinerary. • We recommend that you book early because only a limited number of places are available. • Traffic jams are to be expected during tourist season. • Money cannot be exchanged in the port, we recommend buying Japanese currency beforehand. • Visibility during the tour is subject to weather conditions. • Comfortable shoes with a low heel are recommended. • A special Christmas market is held on December 25th.
There is limited availability of English-language guides.