Kobe - Japan
Everything you Need to Know about Kobe
Kobe, the capital of Hyogo Prefecture, has a long history of welcoming outsiders to its shores, being one of the first ports in Japan to open to trade in 1868 after two centuries of isolation. The results of this open-door policy remain today in its historic foreign settlement area that was once home to European traders, with many of the old mansions lovingly restored and serving as mini-museums or shops. Kobe is still a diverse city, with one of the country's largest foreign populations, a bustling Chinatown, and numerous restaurants serving cuisines from all over the world.
Still a vibrant port city, Kobe's charms are both in its man-made wonders -- such as the Kobe Port Tower, Port and Rokko islands built up in major land reclamation projects, and the world's longest suspension bridge, the Akashi Kaikyo -- and its natural surroundings. Cable cars, ropeways and extensive trail networks make the Rokko mountains at the back of the city easy to access and explore.
Kobe's resilience in rebuilding from its massive January 1995 earthquake is an inspiration as well as a learning experience, with museums and memorials dedicated to remembering the victims and providing information on disaster preparedness. Remarkably, hardly a trace of the earthquake's destruction exists today, a testament to the spirit of the people of Kobe.