Hyogo Kobe City

Getting a Feel for the Cosmopolitan City of Kobe (beyond the guidebooks) : The Kitano District!

Kobe city, The Kitano District.

Since the 1970s, districts such as Kazamidori no Yakata, an area of foreign residences, have increased in popularity. They are sightseeing areas that are always featured in guidebooks. Of course, the Ijinkan (old foreign residences) are lovely, but the area also boats a fine collection of other buildings befitting a cosmopolitan city!



I’d like to bring your attention to a variety of religious facilities.


Following a signpost that says “Mosque” (回教寺院), you turn east at a crossroads, and the first mosque built in Japan appears in front of your eyes. Its geometrical design topped with a crescent moon will capture your eye.



This is a synagogue. A man wearing a kippah (male headwear traditional in Judaism) came out of the building…



In Kitano, there is a Jain temple (branch of Hinduism), a Catholic church, a non-Japanese school established by the Church of England, a Protestant church, and of course, Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples, too. Having this many different religious establishments within walking distance of each other must be a rarity.


The pure white Jain temple.


Since the port was opened in 1868 (3rd year of the Keiou era), Kobe has continued to interact with foreign countries and has developed into a cosmopolitan city that represents the whole of Japan. At the same time, the places essential to the lives of non-Japanese, such as religious institutions, schools, restaurants and clubs for foreigners have been long established.



Kitano is also known as the most fashionable area in Kobe where restaurants, cafes, select shops and general stores are lined up. If you get tired of walking… or even if you are not tired, when you see a lovely cafe, don’t hesitate to have a cup of tea.



Even the police box, built to match the atmosphere of the Kitano district, is somehow adorable – I took a photo before I even noticed.



When you come to Kobe and to the Kitano district, check out the buildings that are not on the Ijinkan list!

Access to the Kitano district:

On foot: Around 12-minutes walk from JR Sannomiya station and Hankyu Railway Sannomiya station, or around 12-minutes walk from JR Shinkobe station

By bus: Get off at any of the following bus stops on the City Loop Bus:  “Kitanokoubou no machi”, “Kitanosaka” or “Kitano Ijinkan”

Setouchi Finder Photo-writer: Madoka Hori



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Written by

Madoka Hori

Madoka Hori

Madoka Hori / Photo-writer Entrepreneurial translator/writer living in Hyogo. As a licensed English tour guide, she occasionally takes tourists to beautiful destinations such as Kobe, Himeji, Okayama, Kyoto, and Osaka and her clients have never got lost so far. On Setouchi Finder, as one of the original team members, she enjoys taking photos and sharing her favorite hidden gems. Private Photo Blog http://riderv328.tumblr.com Twitter https://twitter.com/Riderv328


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