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Kobe is a port city in Japan. It is located within the Hyogo Prefecture. The city is in the Kansai Region. The city is located on the south of the prefecture. The city is easily accessible to most domestic and international destinations by land, sea or air. From Tokyo it takes an hour and 20 minutes by plane and 2 hours 50 minutes by the Shinkansen Bullet Train.

Remote parts of Japan and even neighboring countries such as Korea and mainland china are only two hours away by air. The population of this city is 1,528,948 with a land mass of 550 square kilometers. The city flower is the Hydrangea and the city tree is the Camellia Sasanqua.

Looking at the total gross municipal product by industry the tertiary industries exceed 70% of all the economy. These industries include areas such as wholesaling, retailing and services have grown much faster than secondary industry or factor production. Secondary industries account for 30% of the economy and primary industry only accounts for 1% of the total gross product. Farming is not a very popular industry in this area.


In 1868 the port of Hyogo was one of the first opened up to Western countries. Since then the area was known as a cosmopolitan area with many foreign residence. The city was founded as it is known today on April 1, 1889 and became under city ordinance on September 1, 1956. Kobe is closely tied to the Ikuta Shrine. The name of the city was derived from Kanbe, an archaic name for those who supported the shrine.

During World War II, Kobe was bombed by B-29 bombers on March 17, 1945 killing 8,841 people and destroying over 20% of Kobe's urban area. This incident inspired the book (and subsequent film) Grave of the Fireflies. On March 18, 1975 the city council passed an ordinance banning vessels carrying nuclear weapons from the port. This prevented any U.S. warships from entering the port. This was called the Kobe Formula.

On January 17, 1995 an earthquake killed 6,433 people and over 300,000 were made homeless. It destroyed the Hanshin Expressway and many other parts of the city. The city holds an annual event called the Luminarie. Before the earthquake, the city was Japan's busiest port.

Points of Interest

  • Arima Hot Springs According to legend, the gods bathed themselves here. Arima offers different accommodations and is famous for its two styles of hit springs; Gold Hot Springs which is named for its color and with its iron and sodium content and the Silver Hot Springs, whose clear water contains radium and carbonic acid. This water is said to cure all illnesses. This area is located high in the mountains and are treated to the unique nature of each season. The cherry blossoms of spring and the multi-hued changing leaves of autumn are very beautiful.
  • Suma Aqua Life Park features a collection of 20,000 marine organisms with about 500 species. Sharks and Rays swim in the artificial currents of a 1,200-ton capacity water tank. There is a great dolphin show, children's amusement area, a sea otter house and the Amazon house are just some of the exhibits that can be enjoyed.

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