Kobe, a lovely port city of near 1.5 million inhabitants situated in Hyogo
Prefecture, is located just west of, and between, Osaka and Okayama. Kobe is the main port for the Kansai region (Osaka, Kyoto,
Nara, Kobe) and suffered a devastating and unusual (unusual in that earthquakes do not usually strike this area of Japan) earthquake
in 1996 (The Great Hanshin Earthquake).
The city of Kobe consists of eight wards (ku in the Japanese language): Chuou-ku, Hyogo-ku, Kita-ku, Nada-ku, Nagata-ku, Nishi-ku, and Tarumi-ku. Kobe Island and Rokko Island are the two main islands with significant housing developments.
The city is divided by the Rokko Mountain Range which is situated just south and the Seihokushin area which encompasses
the western and northern portions of the city and the area where construction of large-scale housing projects are taking place. Kobe offers
many incredible views, drawing comparisions to San Francisco and is well-noted for having debately the best-tasting drinking water in Japan.
Having established a long history as an international port, known previously as the "Port of Hyogo", as far back as the 8th century, Kobe
opened its doors to trade with China, India and other Asian countries and prospered. The city incorporated in 1889 with a population of 134,000
but grew to 1 million by 1939, as industries continued to move into the area due in part to Kobe's established domestic transportation
Expatriate housing for families is priced in the neighborhood of 400,000 ~ 1.2 million yen (around US$3,200~$10,000 ) for the most part, which will include a parking space for one motor vehicle. Expatriates without families can find apartments for less than that (expat transferees usually live in apartments no less than Yen 250,000 per month (around US$2,100). Obviously the further one travels from the city's center the less the price per square meter. Prices in Osaka tend to be less per square meter but most foreigners prefer to live in Kobe.
Sites to see in Kobe include the Shin-Kobe Ropeway,
a cable car which ascends up a part of Rokkyo Mountain above the city's port offering fascinating views, Kobe Harbor Land and the Sannomiya area
for shopping, as well as the neighborhoods of Kitano, which has a Euro-American atmosphere due to the winding streets and houses which were
built for foreigners, and good cafes and restaurants abound in the area.
Osaka has a long history as an important
city to Japan's industry and culture. Now a city of almost 2.5 million residents in
an area encompassing 85.4 square miles.
In the early years Osaka became an important hub for trading and cultural exchanges
with the Chinese and Korea. Eventually it became the largest economic city in Japan
connected with international trading during the Edo era.
Attractions in the Kansai region, which encompasses Kobe, Osaka,
Nara (most likely
the first capital), and Kyoto,
well worth its reputation as the cultural center of Japan, are numerous!
A stop in Nara must include Todaiji Temple, which houses one of Japan's Daibutsu or large Buddha statute. The one in Nara is the world's
largest gilded bronze Buddha at 15 meters (49 feet) in height. Watch out for the pesky (and smelly!) deer who want to be fed on the
Attractions in Osaka include
Universal Studios Japan,
Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan, one of the largest
in the world; Osaka's shopping district which includes Den-den Town, the electronics district; Tenjinbashi-Suji; and
Shinabashisuji and Shitennoji Temple. Kansai International Airport is located at the edge of the city.
Kobe City Info - Provides info useful for tourists and those new to the port city including info on hotels, facilities, and events; photos; and useful links.
Feel Kobe - Kobe Convention & Visitors Association website provides a variety of info about Kobe.
Hyogo Prefecture - Kobe is this prefecture's largest city and Himeji Castle, a designated world cultural heritage site, is situated here.
Osaka Prefecture - One of the most important regions in Japan in terms of manufacturing and production.
Osaka - City of around 2.6 million inhabitants; content in English, Chinese, Korean and French.
Kobe Convention & Visitors Association - Content includes information about facilities, access, accommodations, and services provided.
Osaka Convention & Tourism Bureau - Content in English, Chinese and Korean provides info about events, accommodation, access, and more.
JR West (West Japan Railway Company) - Osaka-based operator of railways and hotels. Links to sites in English, Korean and Chinese.
Kobe Regatta & Athletic Club (KR&AC) - A sports and social membership club founded in 1870 by Alexander Cameron Sim along with 31 other sports enthusiasts.
Canadian Academy - K-12 international school with dormitory facilities located in Kobe.
Marist Brothers International School - Established in 1951, located in Suma (Kobe) and very close to the JR and Sanyo railway lines.
Osaka International School - The only English-language-based, pre-kindergarten~12th grade, coeducational college-preparatory school in Osaka.
Houses of Worship
Archdiocese of Osaka - Site offers details of the Archdiocese of Osaka and Tamatsukuri Church located in Chuo Ward, Osaka.
Kobe Church of Alliance - Info about various churches in Kobe.
Kobe Union Church - International Christian congregation in Kobe.
Hope Chapel Osaka - An international bilingual church near Yotsubashi Station in Nishi-ku.
J-House - International church located in Osaka's Kita-ku.
Mustard Seed Christian Church - Bilingual church located in Osaka's Kita-ku which loves God and loves people and where everyone is welcome.
Sakai International Bible Church - Totally bilingual church holding services in Sakai-shi.
Suita Bible Gospel Church - Non-denominational church located just outside of Osaka in Suita.
Asahi Shimbun - Offers Japan news, features from the New York Times and updates from the Silicon Valley via the San Jose Mercury News.
Daily Yomiuri - English-language version of the Yomiuri Shimbun, one of the largest-circulated newspapers in the world. News, weather, foreign exchange rates, features, and other content.
FM Cocolo - Japan's first multi-lingual FM radio station (FM 76.5), based in Osaka. Site offers a programming guide and information about various programs.
Japan Times - Site content includes updated news, business information, editorials, art and culture features, in addition to other information.
Kyoto Shimbun - Provides information about events, and culture, essays about life in Kyoto district, and various photos of festivals and other events.
Mainichi Daily News
American Consulate General Osaka-Kobe, Japan - Situated in Kita-ku, Osaka. Site provides info about services provided.
Click onto the links below for living guides specifically related to Yokohama, Nagoya, and Tokyo. We will be adding guides for other
Japan cities in due course.
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