After a week in Kyoto, I headed down to Kobe to spend a few days. In reality, the three major towns of Kyoto, Kobe and Osaka all make up a gigantic metropolis and there is precious little countryside between them.
Kobe is a very pretty city, narrowly laid out between mountains to the north and Osaka Bay to the south. Some of you may remember that Kobe was hit hard by the Great Hanshin earthquake in 1995. This was one of the worst earthquakes in 20th century Japan, killing 6,500 people. It was a 6.9 magnitude and centered almost directly under the city of Kobe.
Kobe is a major port city in Japan and the quake fundamentally shut down the harbor. It was imperative of the city leaders to devise a plan to reconstruct the waterfront and let commerce commence. The city is very proud of the fact that they were able to rebuilt the harbor in just two years. Here are some photos of Meriken Park at the harbor, where all the rebuilding commemoration is located.