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
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
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
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
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.