Monday, April 07, 2014

Kobe: Harbor and Meriken Park

Meriken Park is a nice waterfront park near the Kobe Port. 
The name "Meriken" is a Meiji era rendition of "American" in reference to the port of delivery for foreign goods, mostly American. 

The icon of Kobe Port and Kobe city, the bright red Kobe Port Tower is also located in the Meriken Park. 
The tower is 108 meters tall and was built in 1963. Observation decks on three of the top floors provide 360 degree views of Kobe city and the port area. Restaurants and a rotating cafe occupy two floors. 

Next to the Kobe Port Tower is the Kobe Maritime Museum.
The building has an interesting white steel framework structure in reference to sails. Half the building showcases shipping and the history of Kobe Port. The Kawasaki Good Time World, a corporate museum featuring the history and products of Kawasaki Heavy Industries.
Some historic boats are also exhibited on the grounds around the museum. 
A Memorial to victims of the Great Hanshin Earthquake of 1995 is located on one end of the park. 
Various visuals and pictures explain the extent and recovery of Kobe from one of Japan's biggest disasters. 
A small section of the damaged waterfront has been retained as a reminder of the earthquake's destructive power. 
Sculptures and statues are also spread out across the park. 




Close to the Meriken park is Kobe Harborland, a shopping and entertainment district along the waterfront. 
The spot is popular among tourists as well as locals. The area is especially lively and spectacular in the evenings.
Mosaic, Umie and Canal Garden are popular shopping complexes which house many boutique shops as well as major brand stores. 

The Kobe Anpanman Museum is located at one end of Mosaic. 

A Ferris Wheel and a small amusement park are also located next to it.
The Ferris Wheel is lit up in a variety of coloured lights in the evening. 


Few restaurants are housed in renovated 19th century brick warehouses from the old 
dockyard.

Some more vintage style buildings housing restaurants.

The entire area has many similarities to Yokohama's Minato Mirai area.    

Walking paths and promenades surround the shopping area. 
Sightseeing cruises depart from the Naka Tottei Chuo terminal, taking visitors around Kobe Bay and even towards the Akashi Kaikyo Bridge.  

The Kobe Okura Hotel, the Kobe Port Tower and the cruise ship have become an icon of the city today. 

They are even featured o Kobe's creative manhole covers !

At night when the lights come on, the area looks spectacular. 
A statue of Elvis Presley on the way to the Motomachi station.

Meriken Park is a 10 minute walk from Motomachi station. The City Loop Bus stops outside the Kobe Port Tower and also near Mosaic.

Fees, closing days and timings vary for each facility.

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