Kobe Bund and the Former Foreign Settlement 神戶旧居留地

The Kobe Bund 海岸どり

The Kobe Bund 海岸どり

The Former Foreign Settlement, or Kyu-Kyoryuchi 旧居留地 lies at the very heart of Kobe City, and is also where the city began its history as a major port in Japan.  The Foreign Settlement was established post-1868, when Japan was forced to open Kobe (known to the foreigners as Hyogo) up as one of the 7 original Japanese treaty ports.  Foreigners were allowed to establish residences and trade their wares in this strictly demarcated zone.

Today, the Former Foreign Settlement still retains more than a dozen buildings from the Treaty-Port era, and makes for a rather pleasant stroll. There are two sections to the settlement – the first is the Kobe Bund 海岸どり itself, which used to sit on the water, but due to successive land reclamation, no longer does.  There are only four buildings from the Treaty Port era that survive on the Bund, but they provide a good sense of how it would have looked like.

Just behind the bund, is the foreign settlement proper, and this gallery takes the reader through a handful of the buildings that still survive.  Most of them have been repurposed and put to a new use altogether, but the area surprisingly still retains its identity as the financial and trading core of the city.

To the East of the Former Foreign Settlement, we pay a visit to the Kobe Customs House and some remaining buildings in the vicinity.

Finally, as a means of transitioning into the next post on the Kitano Ijinkan District, we take a short trek up north, slightly off the Former Foreign Settlement to visit a couple of churches and the spectacular Meiji-era Hyogo Prefecture Guesthouse, once Government offices.

The first of the four remaining buildings on the Bund - the Kobe Yusen Building 神戸郵船ビル.  The Kobe Yusen is a mailboat  / shipping company.

The first of the four remaining buildings on the Bund – the Kobe Yusen Building 神戸郵船ビル. The Kobe Yusen is a mailboat / shipping company.

The second building on the Bund - the Kaigan Building 海岸ビル. Note that stunning addition of a ten-floor contemporary tower on the original colonial-era structure.

The second building on the Bund – the Kaigan Building 海岸ビル. Note that stunning addition of a ten-floor contemporary tower on the original colonial-era structure.

The third building on the Bund is the Shosen Mitsui Building 商船三井ビル.  The Shosen Mitsui is another major shipping company.

The third building on the Bund is the Shosen Mitsui Building 商船三井ビル. The Shosen Mitsui is another major shipping company.

A view of the old and new, juxtaposed on the Bund.

A view of the old and new, juxtaposed on the Bund.

The final remaining building on the Bund is the former Chartered Bank Building, which is a restaurant today.

The final remaining building on the Bund is the former Chartered Bank Building, which is a restaurant today.

Further along the Bund sits the former Kobe Club.

Further along the Bund sits the former Kobe Club.

Moving behind the Bund, we have the former US Consulate Building, the oldest building in the Former Foreign Settlement. Today it is a restaurant.

Moving behind the Bund, we have the former US Consulate Building, the oldest building in the Former Foreign Settlement. Today it is a restaurant.

The Foreign Settlement No. 38 Building is owned by Daimaru, just behind it.

The Foreign Settlement No. 38 Building is owned by Daimaru, just behind it.

Treaty-port era building.

Treaty-port era building.

Another treaty-port era building.

Another treaty-port era building.

The Kobe Sumitomo 住友Bank Building.

The Kobe Sumitomo 住友Bank Building.

The Kobe City Museum.

The Kobe City Museum.

Daimaru - one of Japan's oldest departmental stores.

Daimaru – one of Japan’s oldest departmental stores.

The Shinkoboeki Building sits near the Customs House.

The Shinkoboeki Building sits near the Customs House.

Kobe Design and Creative Centre, across from the Customs House.

Kobe Design and Creative Centre, across from the Customs House.

The Kobe Customs House is a museum today.

The Kobe Customs House is a museum today.

Colonial edifice en route to the Hyogo Prefecture Guesthouse.

Colonial edifice en route to the Hyogo Prefecture Guesthouse.

Kobe Union Church

Kobe Union Church

Christchurch Kobe

Christchurch Kobe

The Hyogo Prefecture Guesthouse, erected in 1902 in a French Renaissance style.

The Hyogo Prefecture Guesthouse, erected in 1902 in a French Renaissance style.

About Kennie Ting

I am a wandering cityophile and pattern-finder who is pathologically incapable of staying in one place for any long period of time. When I do, I see the place from different perspectives, obsessive-compulsively.
Gallery | This entry was posted in Art & Architecture, Cities & Regions, Japan, Landmarks & History, Photography, Travel & Mobility and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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