Japanís Cosmopolitan Port City
Hit by a devastating earthquake on 17 January 1995 which destroyed much of the city, Kobe is nonetheless on its way to recovery. Since then, most of the buildings have been restored and much of the businesses have now gone into full gear again.

Since the 12th Century, Kobe has been one of Japanís most important port city. Kobe is the port-of-call for many international cruise liners. Known more for its harbour than sightseeing, Kobe is nonetheless extremely popular among visitors as they can enjoy the numerous shops, restaurants and exciting nightlife. Kobe is also a popular backdrop for weddings because of its romantic harbour views.

Kobe is a fascinating city and has a natural setting in nearby Mount Rokko. Come to Kobe and discover for yourself the beautiful port city.

Japan is probably the last places in the world you would expect to see Gothic and Victorian mansions. But in Kitano, youíll not only see a collection of them, you can even step inside and find out how the Europeans lived
in the 19th Century. These houses, referred to as Ijinkan in Kobe, are rare Japan. For many years, Japan was largely closed to Western traders. Only in Kobe were these traders allowed to live and conduct trade.

Visit Eikoku-kan (English House). This house was constructed in 1907 by an Englishman, J E Baker. Admission is Y300 (S$3.84) and it is open daily from 8.30am to 5pm.

The most elaborate of all the Ijinkan is Kazami Dori no Yakata (Weathercock House) and it has even been listed by Japanese historians as an important cultural property. Another interesting house to visit is Choueke Yashiki (Choueke Mansion). The mansion was built in 1889. Though it is still inhabited, the amicable Mrs Choueke is more than delighted to show you her treasures which include a large number of Namban woodblock prints. Just knock on the door and asked to be let in.

Minatogawa Shrine
North of Kobe Station is a shrine dedicated to Masashige Kusunoki, a 14th Century war hero. It is visited by many locals. In the shrine, you can view artefacts belonging to Kusunoki.

Kobe City Museum
Well worth a visit is Kobe City Museum where you can find out all you need to know about this city and its history. On display are three entire rooms from a turn-of-the-century Western House and a massive collection of memorabilia from the old days, including a scale model of the foreign concession. A must-view is the collection of Namban artworks, including prints, screens and paintings by Japanese artists (late 16th to 18th Century).

Admission is Y200 (S$2.56). The museum is open from 9am to 5pm, Tuesdays to Sundays.

Lamp Museum
A delightful trip to make is to the Lamp Museum where more than 500 antique lamps of every conceivable size and shape are exhibited. The collection is housed in an elegant Western-style house. Admission is Y300 (S$3.84).

Suwayama Park
Suwayama Park is a thickly-wooded hill park where locals like to go for a stroll. Nearby is a double loop footway bridge called Venus Bridge. From here, you can get a view of the city and the port. It is a favourite spot for local couples as well as tourists.

Arima Onsen (Arima Spa)
Arima Onsen is one of the oldest spas in the nation. The waters of Arima Spa are said to be extremely effective in the treatment of digestive ailments and skin diseases. After a soak in the warm waters, you can visit nearby Zuihoji Park for a pleasant walk, and Onsen Shrine,
dedicated to the priests who first discovered the Spa.