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Exploring Western Architecture in Kitano

For a recent meeting, I had the privilege of heading out to Kobe in Hyogo Prefecture and spending the day in Kitano. Kitano is a city known for its historic Western-style homes, many of which were built in the late 19th and early 20th centuries when the Port of Kobe opened up the region to greater international trade.

Strolling through the charming streets and hills at the base of Rokko mountain, you can take in the gorgeous and distinct architecture of mansions that used to belong to wealthy foreign merchants -- some of which have served as the consulate for their respective countries. You can find homes reminiscent of traditional French, Dutch, English and Italian estates, each packed with their own treasures. For a fee you can tour the homes for a look back in time. They're full of well cared for antiques and even gift shops.

Kitano is a city I hope to return to again soon to continue exploring these historic properties. The area also features a variety of restaurants offering a range of cuisines as well as plenty of shopping. Be sure to pick up some pudding cake to take home as your omiyage.

Easily accessible from Sannomiya or Shin-Kobe Stations, you can also get to Kitano on the Shinkansen.

Read more about my adventures in Japan on my blog, www.100tacks.com!

by Petra

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