Kitano-cho

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Kitano-cho (k쒬, Kitanochō) is a city district at the foot of the Rokko mountain range where many foreign merchants and diplomats settled after the Port of Kobe was opened to foreign trade in the second half of the 19th century. More than a dozen of the former mansions, known as Ijinkan, remain in the area and are open to the public as museums.

Most of the houses charge an admission fee between 550 to 750 yen, while combination tickets are available to see multiple houses. The entire district is pleasant to walk through and offers a variety of cafes, restaurants and boutiques, making it a favorite among young Japanese couples.

Below is an list of some of the more interesting houses:

England House
Open: 9:00 to 18:00 (until 17:00 October to March)
Closed: No closing days
Admission: 750 yen (also available as part of a combination ticket)
The England house was built in 1907 and displays antique furniture and household items of the time period. The house has two ornately carved bars (which are open for business on Sundays and holidays from 17:00 to 25:00). The second floor houses a collection of Sherlock Holmes memorabilia including a replica of Sherlock Holmes' room.

Yokan Nagaya (France House)
Open: 9:00 to 18:00 (until 17:00 October to March)
Closed: No closing days
Admission: 550 yen (also available as part of a combination ticket)
The Yokan Nagaya was originally built in 1904 as an apartment catering to foreigners. It is furnished in ornate French furniture and artwork and includes a few examples of antique brand goods such as a stained glass Tiffany lamp and a set of Louis Vuitton trunks.

Ben's House
Open: 9:00 to 18:00 (until 17:00 October to March)
Closed: No closing days
Admission: 550 yen (also available as part of a combination ticket)
Ben's House was built in 1902 and is one of the district's oldest Western style buildings. It is the former home of Englishman Ben Allison, an avid hunter and world traveler, and the house is filled with stuffed animals, including tigers, a moose, a polar bear and other trophies collected from around the world.

Platon Decorative Arts Museum (Italian House)
Open: 9:30 to 17:00
Closed: No closing days
Admission: 700 yen
The Platon Decorative Arts Museum, otherwise known as the Italian House, is a foreigner's former residence built in the 1910s whose living and bed rooms, kitchens and servant quarters are filled with an overwhelming amount of household goods, artwork and ornaments. The house also features a small outdoor cafe serving Italian cuisine.

Former Chinese Consulate
Open: 9:00 to 18:00 (until 17:00 October to March)
Closed: No closing days
Admission: 550 yen (also available as part of a combination ticket)
The Former Chinese Consulate was built in the late Meiji Period. Although generally Western, the architecture of the building has some distinctly Chinese elements, and the inside is furnished with Chinese-style furniture and household items. On display are various art pieces, some of which date back several centuries.

Kitano Foreigners Association
Open: 9:00 to 18:00 (until 17:00 October to March)
Closed: No closing days
Admission: 550 yen (also available as part of a combination ticket)
The Kitano Foreigners Association was a members-only social club frequented by the foreign residents who moved to Kobe after the port was opened up to international trade in 1868. This former residence, built in the late Meiji Period, reproduces the salon, featuring a bar, lounge and old-style kitchen complete with a wood-burning hearth.

Yamate Hachibankan
Open: 9:00 to 18:00 (until 17:00 October to March)
Closed: No closing days
Admission: 550 yen (also available as part of a combination ticket)
Yamate Hachibankan is a Tudor-style mansion built in the late Meiji Period. It exhibits various sculptures and other artwork by Rodin, Bourdelle and Renoir, as well as collections of Buddhist relics and African tribal figures.

Uroko House and Uroko Museum
Open: 9:00 to 18:00 (until 17:00 October to March)
Closed: No closing days
Admission: 1050 yen (also available as part of a combination ticket)
The Uroko House is named after fish scales because of its overlapping shingled siding. Inside you will find a collection of antique furniture and household items in one part of the house and a small museum with paintings by Russian modern artists in the other. There are also nice views over Kobe from the museum's top floor.

Dutch Museum and Fragrance House
Open: 9:00 to 18:00 (until 17:00 January and February)
Closed: No closing days
Admission: 700 yen (also available as part of a combination ticket)
The Dutch Museum once served as the residence of the Dutch Consul General, and now displays Dutch furniture and household items from past decades. Part of the house is devoted to fragrances, including a gift shop selling scented soaps and perfumes and a workshop where visitors can make their own original perfumes.

Get There and Around

Kitano-cho is about a 10 to 15 minute walk from either Sannomiya or Shin-Kobe Stations.

How to get to and around Kobe

Hours and Fees

Various combination tickets for different sets of houses are available which include entry to 2-9 houses and range in cost from 500 to 3500 yen. The combination tickets are available at participating houses and ticket desks around the district.

Last updated: November 5, 2014
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