Kobe, city of earthquakes

14 08 2009

We were told that we had to leave the house by 7.30am so we got up early and had porridge for breakfast and headed out.

We took the subway to the JR station then caught a train to Kobe. We arrived in Kobe a few minutes before the tourist centre opened so we waited to collect a map and get directions to the Earthquake museum.

We caught a train to the museum and wandered around on the tour. There were videos, movies, simulations, models and lots of photos and written materials about the massive earthquake (“the Great Hanshin Earthquake”) that hit Kobe in January 1995. About 6000 people died in this earthquake and huge amounts of damage done to buildings, bridges, railway lines and other infrastructure like water and electricity. The first time Benno came to Japan on his school trip was a few months after the earthquake and the shinkansen lines had only just been repaired.

After the museum we caught the train back to the station and went to the only veg restaurant in Kobe, Modernark pharm. It was a very popular place and they had great food, including burgers, curries, raspberry soymilk lassi, soy latte, sesame shortbread and cakes.

After lunch we caught a train to halfway between Osaka and Kobe and visited the Tezuka Osamu manga museum. Osamu Tezuka was a famous manga artist and drew comics such as Kimba the white lion (from which Disney stole the Lion King plot) and Astro Boy.

We caught the train back to Osaka and went to dinner at a french vegetarian restaurant far away from the city. We caught 2 train lines to get to the station, then had to find a bus to go out along the highway. We weren’t sure where to get off but the bus driver helped us and eventually we found the restaurant. We had vegan ome-rice (omelet rice, a japanese favourite) made with yuba or tofu skin, and risotto. Then we had mango sherbet for dessert. It was already getting late so we found the bus stop, caught a bus back to the station and then a train back to Osaka and then subway back to our host’s apartment.