Luminarie & Nanjing-machi (Kobe Chinatown)
Trip Start Jul 26, 2008
48Trip End May 17, 2013
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On the 17th of January 1995, I was waiting for a Shinkansen super limited express or bullet train for Tokyo at Nagoya Station, but it didn't come on time. The announce said that it was delayed because of the earthquake, but I didn't expect such a huge earthquake hit Kobe at that time. Although almost 15 years have passed since the earthquake, I had not known the damage caused by the disaster enough before I visited Kobe this time
Our tourist bus left Nagoya at 11 in the morning and arrived at Kobe Pier No.1 Parking Lot at 2 in the afternoon. Thanks to New Meishin Express way, it took only 3 hours to get there from Nagoya. The parking lot accommodates 300 tourist buses, but only 50 buses were parked on the day. Anyway, we had 5 hour free time in Kobe. So we headed for Port of Kobe Earthquake Memorial Park, which is a part of Meriken Park. (Meriken comes from "American" in Japanese accents.) There is a preserved remnant from the earthquake with some pictures and educational videos. Unfortunately, the spot is very small, but Kobe definitely has a clear message which should be sent to the world as Hiroshima, although the disasters of the two cities are different. Luminarie is a beautiful lighting-up event, but it has a meaning which it seems likely to be missed out on, while the visitors are admiring it.
The next destination was Chinatown. Honestly, the chinatown was more than expected. I have visited about 10 chinatowns except some towns in China. (Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh, Yokohama, Adelaide, Perth, Melbourne, Sydney) and Kobe Chinatown was the most enjoyable. There were a lot of food stalls on the streets and Chinese lanterns displayed around the town
We are supposed to visit Disater Reduction Human Renovation Institution or Kobe Earthquake Memorial Museum. However, my mom got tired from walking, so I went there on my own. According to Japan-guide.com, the rate of the museum is "outstanding". In my opinion, it was one of the best museums I have ever visited. It is a must-see, if you speak Japanese, because there is a disadvantage in understanding the exhibitions for non-Japanese speakers, although an English speaking guide (free of charge) is supposed to be helpful. Actually he was really enthusiastic and informative to me as well. In addition, I was almost in tears when I watched the film with a story of one of the victims. Disappointingly, visitors were only a few. Luminarie started after the earthquake and now it is nation-famous with a lot of tourists. On the other hand, the museum was built not to forget the earthquake, but very few tourists visit it. Photographing is prohibited in the museum, check out the outline of the museum in the website.
Disaster Reduction Human Renovation Institution website.
It has some pictures from the inside of the museum. The museum seems to be useful for evacuation training programs and research on seismology.
My mom and I had an appointment to see each other in Nanjing-machi Square at half past 5, although I was a little bit late