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Japan: Hyogo (Kobe Port Tower / 神戸ポートタワ)

Most visitors to Kobe are immediately drawn to the most striking feature of the city’s skyline, the Kobe Port Tower. Completed in 1963, the hyperboloid lattice structure stands at approximately 354 feet high and offers a spectacular view of the bay area and its surroundings. Kobe is one of Japan’s busiest ports and there are always interesting things to see along the waterfront.

The Kobe Port Tower is the first tower in the world consisting of a pipe structure. It resembles a Japanese drum, is painted a burnt orange and is illuminated each night, making for a very interesting piece of architecture. The tower’s observation deck is located at the 295 foot level and on a clear days visitors can glimpse views of Osaka, Mount Rokko and the Kansai International Airport from its large windows. The structure stands in Meriken Park and is not far from the Kobe Maritime Museum.

Designed by the Nikken Sekkei Company, the tower’s unique structure allowed it to survive the Great Hanshin Earthquake of 1995. There is a rotating cafe on the observation deck level, which provides diners with a 360 degree view of the city below. If you are so inclined to bring home a little souvenir, there is a gift shop, which can satisfy your needs.

The tower is open to the public seven days a week between the hours of 9:00 AM and 9:00 PM (March through November) and 9:00 AM to 7:00 PM (December through February). There is a nominal admission charge of ¥600 for visitors that are high school aged and older. Elementary school and junior high school students are admitted for ¥300. You can access the Kobe Port Tower from the JR Kobe or Hanshin Railway, exit Motomachi Station. From that point, your destination is a mere 15 minutes on foot.

Address:          Hatoba-cho, Chuo-ku, Kobe City, Hyogo

Web page:       http://www.kobe-meriken.or.jp/port-tower/

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