The Kobe Luminarie is held every winter from early December for two weeks.
“Luminarie is the plural form of Italian word “luminaria” that stands for Illumination with miniature bulbs.
It began eleven months after the Kobe Earthquake in 1995 with the hope to give courage and greatly inspire the people of Kobe. Because there was a strong desire for continuation after its conclusion, it became an annual event symbolizing the hope of Kobe citizens.
The birth of Nankinmachi is said to have begun with the opening of the Kobe port in 1867. At that time there were already a number of overseas living in the south area of Motomachi, and this caused businesses such as tailor shops, pork shops, Chinese medicine shops and restaurants to appear nearby.
In the beginning of the 20th century, customers from all over Japan began coming to Nankinmachi for the wide range of products causing people to say, “you can find anything at Nankinmachi.” Conditions suffered afterward with the bombing of Kobe during World War II and the subsequent destruction; however, in the 1980’s, there was a Nankinmachi revival with the area being given a Chinese motif that can be seen today. The prosperity in the area has recovered due to the Chinese New Year’s and Spring Welcoming festivals that have been increasingly gaining popularity nationwide.
Cruises originating from Kobe Harbor offer spectacular views of Kobe with the towering mountain range of Mt. Rokko overlooking the Seto Inland Sea and extending along the coast like a folding screen. With its beautiful scenery, Kobe, a prosperous port city that served as a gateway to Kyushu and Mainland China almost 1000 years before, developed as a harbor for international trade after the Meiji Restoration and was a site for foreign settlements. Today, Kobe maintains its international atmosphere with many exotic sightseeing places teeming with multi-cultures from other countries. A variety of cruises are available from Kobe Harbor ranging in length from 30 minutes to more than 2 hours. Those taking the Akashi Kaikyo Bridge dinner cruise will be impressed with the incredible night view that appears like a glittering white pearl necklace floating on the dark sea.
To the immediate left of Arima Onsen Station, there is a shop called Kirakuya that utilizes the restored 1st floor of a ryokan building built in the 1930’s. The shop sells Japanese knick-knacks along with cloth items dyed using the mineral water from Arima’s golden bath. Visitors can enjoy an old-time atmosphere at the Kirakuya tearoom.
With a history spanning 1300 years, Arima Onsen retains the time-honored ways of the past. Shops with traditional crafts such as those selling Arima doll pens and traditional baskets stand next to shops with storefronts baking soda crackers. Aligned together with these shops are various essential shops for daily living such as meat and flower shops.