Kitano Meister Garden was first built as Kobe city primary school in the foreign residence’s area in 1908. An extension of the Eastern Block was built in 1931, featuring 3 storeys and arched corridors. There were 1,400 students at its peak, dropped to 1,142 after the wars, and continued to decline as the population decreases. This did not just happen to this particular school. It was a general phenomenon. Over the past decades, many schools were closed and merged.
In 1995, the 6.9 on moment magnitude scale Great Hanshin earthquake (or Kobe earthquake) has badly damaged the Northern Block of the school but the Eastern Block miraculously survived the earthquake with only minor damage. It is considered a lucky building but the school was eventually closed down in 1996.
In 1998, the venue was opened again as Kitano Meister Garden, turning the classrooms into workshops and shops where people can enjoy learning in this unique building. Today, it becomes a popular tourist spot, attracting more than 1,000,000 visitors every year.