Kitano Cho Kobe Reviews
Kitano cho historical houses of Kobe Sep 26, 2010
Kitano-cho came to fame soon after the Japanese signed the Treaty of Amity and Commerce in 1858, which opened up the port for foreign trade. Soon after an influx of foreign diplomats, traders, scholars and engineers came to Kobe, having no place to live they set out to the base of Mount Rokko forming the town of Kitano-cho, a 15 minute walk from down town Kobe.
In the early 1900's the foreigners built their first houses, there are currently around 20 Victorian or Gothic style homes. There was no finer home built than the house built for German, Godfrey Thomas
The Godfrey Thomas house is known has the weather cock house with it's weathercock perched above the roof it never could tell the actual direction of the wind but it spun around in circles. The weather cock now never moves. The house is the only red brick home in the area other houses were built mainly of wood.
Outside of the house is an open rotunda where painters now sit and paint pictures of the famous houses for around 5000-15000yen (50-150$). The bronze statue of a musician playing on the saxophone represents the place where jazz first gained a foothold in Japan
Another place of interest in Kitano-cho is the Uroko house it first opened it's doors to the public in 1905 has a place for rich foreigners to stay. What's special about the Uroko house is the slabs of slate that covers the building forming a rough exterior that reminds the Japanese of the fishes scales(Uroko)
The house now still has all it's original furniture and decor. The decor on display is the Meissen pocelain and Tiffany glass.Above on the second floor, the bay windows offers superb panoramic views of Kobe and the bay. Interesting piece that the house has is a sled featuring 2 carved dragons. It left me thinking why would they have the need for a sled as there would be very little snow in this area.
The Uroko house has actually been divided in half, the other half is home to a small art museum featuring work by Matisse,Buffet, Trayon,Georges Roualt and the largest collection of art by Kobe native Massaru Horie.
Outside in the Uroko garden don't forget to rub the nose of the bronzed wild boar that is supposed to bring you good fortune.
Kitano-cho is a charming little area featuring winding steets of wedding venues, fine dining including Michelin star restaurants and small antique shops on any fine day the streets are filled with mainly Japanese tourists.
Part of the Things to do and see in Osaka - Kansai travel blog
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