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.

Opened since 1992 as a cultural hub connecting the city and the sea, Kobe Harbourland features a wide array of commercial, shopping and entertainment facilities. Kobe Mosaic Mall is part of Umie, a large shopping complex which consists of 3 blocks of shopping arcades: South mall, North mall and Mosaic mall. Locating right by the waterfront, Mosaic Mall offers the best harbour view of Kobe from both the wooden open deck and ferris wheel, popular shops and dining options. Here are some of the highlights.

Kobe Beef is probably the most well known Japanese beef around the world. So if you have a chance to visit Kansai region, make sure you stop by Kobe and try the original teppanyaki beef. Established since 1945, Steak Misono was the first teppanyaki steak restaurant to introduce bite size steak cooked on iron plate that suits the taste of Japanese who use chopsticks and eat rice. Teppanyaki steak has become popular domestically and now well known internationally. Over 70 years, Steak Misonon has 5 restaurants in Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto and Kobe. The restaurant was the first and remains one of the best for teppanyaki Kobe beef today.

Mount Rokko in Kobe Japan is one of the most popular and easiest getaway from Kobe city. The spectacular night view is one of the best in Japan and certainly one of the major attractions in Kobe city. If you come here during the day, there are various things you may see and experience.

The Rokko-Shidare Observatory near the Terrace Garden of Mt. Rokko is unique in every way. It looks like an outdoor artwork at a glance: a irregular see through mesh with a wooden stem. The Observatory is designed by Mr. Hiroshi Sambuichi, an award-winning architect who advocates “details of earth” when designing his projects. His famous work is the “Inujima Seirensho Art Museum” which he brought a 100-year-old copper smelter back to life as an art museum and designed a natural cooling system for the venue. Mt Rokko is about the nature and spectacular scenery. As an observatory, the Rokko-Shidare is designed as “giant tree” using real Yoshino cypress wood from Nara Prefecture, Japan. The massive “shade” is a mesh like canopy through which you will see the sky. Looking far, a spectacular view of Kobe city and the ocean is right in front of you. As you walk up into the observatory, you will feel and see different aspects of the nature of Mt. Rokko.

Rokko Mountain is a range of mountains in Hyogo Prefecture, close to Osaka, Kobe city and accessible by cable car from Arima Onsen, offering a convenient and nice getaway from the busy city life. While surrounded by nature with the highest peak at 931 meters, the National Park area is well designed with several scenic spots, attractions, shopping and dining facilities.

Spring is one of the best seasons to visit Japan because it is simply beautiful every where. While many people would go for the park or castles where most of the cherry trees were, children may find it boring to just walk around parks or castles.

Locating up on the hill of the foreign residence area back in the old days in Kobe city center, Kitano Tenman Shrine stands out as a traditional structure in an area filled with European-style houses. The Kitano Tanman Shrine is one of the major Shinto Shrines where people make wishes particularly for “Success in Examinations”. Kitano Tenman Shrine worships Sugawara no Michizane (菅原道真)who was a scholar, poet and politician during the Heian Period (794-1185) of Japan. He is highly regarded as an excellent poet and now revered as the God of Academics in Shinto, or commonly known as Tenman-Tenjin (天滿天神). He was a high-ranking government official but got demoted and exiled to Daizaifu in Fukuoka Japan where he passed away. The Kitano Tenmangu in Koyoto was the first and remain the main shrine built over 1,000 years ago to worship this enshrined “God of Academics”. The second most popular Tenman Shrine is the Daizaifu Tenmangu which was built over his grave in Fukuoka Japan. Many students and parents come to make wishes before the examination periods. Today, more than 12,000…

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