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Kyu-kyoryuchi (Former Foreign Settlement)

Kyu-Kyoryuchi (Former Foreign Settlement)Map of Kyu-kyoryuchiKyu-kyoryuchi means Former Foreign Settlement in English.
When Kobe port was opened as an international port in 1868 after long national isolation, the foreign settlement was constructed.

It was the area facing Kobe Port on the south side of current JR Line. The east end was current the street "Flower Road" and the west end was the street "Meriken Road".
It is about 700 meters from east to west and about 400-600 meters from north to south.
Now this district is one of the central areas in Kobe, and has many office buildings.

This settlement was designed by British civil engineers, and 126 blocks in the district were sold for Western foreigners at auction.
And this settlement had exterritoriality.
Overseas Chinese who came from China in the same time were not allowed to live in this settlement.
So they made a chinatown out of the settlement, and it is the Nankinmachi.
The Western foreigners built many office buildings immediately, and they had done business in Japan.

This settlement was returned back to Japan government in 1899.
Japanese businessmen also used this district and this area became the central business district in Kobe.

But after the beginning of World War II, most of the foreigners had returned back to their countries.
In 1945, about 70 percents of the buildings in this settlement were destroyed by air raids.
After the war, modern buildings had been built.

The remaining original buildings had gotten older.
But Kobe city decided to preserve these buildings as cultural properties, "Kyu-Kyoryuchi" became a historic area in Kobe.

In January 1995, the Great Hanshin Earthquake struck Kobe.
Many historic buildings had been destroyed.
With the restoration of Kobe city, 16 old buildings has been restored.

When we walk around this district, we feel the atmosphare of old Europern town.
Sophistcated cafes and shops are dotted in this district.

Main buildings in Kyu-kyoryuchi

  • Shosen-Mitsui Building (#5, 1922) /1/
  • Kaigan Building (#3, 1918) /2/
  • Kobe City Museum (#13, 1935) /3/
  • Former US Consulate General (#15, 1881) /4/
  • Daimaru Department Store (#38, 1929) /5/

How to get to here

By railroad

Get off at San'nomiya station or Motomachi station on JR, Hankyu, and Hanshin Lines.
About some minutes from there.

Shosen-Mitsui Building
Kaigan Building
Kobe City Museum
Former US Consulate General
Daimaru Department Store
Cafe in Daimaru
Monument of the birthplace of Japanese Navy A retro phone booth
A gas lamp Illuminated buildings
Kobe Luminarie at Higashi-Yuenchi park (2008)

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Spots in Kobe city and Hyogo Prefecture

Nankinmachi Chinatown
Meriken park
Kitano area
Mount Rokko
Arima onsen
Nada sake breweries
Akashi-kaikyo Bridge

Himeji Castle
Kinosaki onsen
Nojima Fault