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HomeMoreTravelHyogo: Landmark Kobe Port Tower reopens to visitors after major renovations

Hyogo: Landmark Kobe Port Tower reopens to visitors after major renovations

The Yomiuri Shimbun
A ribbon-cutting ceremony will be held at the foot of the reopened Kobe Port Tower on April 26.

KOBE — The landmark Kobe Port Tower has reopened after extensive renovations.

The building, which was closed for two years and seven months, attracts many visitors, both locals and tourists, who enjoy the view from the newly built roof terrace and walk around the renovated interior.

The Kobe Port Tower was built by the Kobe Municipal Government on a pier in the Port of Kobe and opened on November 21, 1963 to commemorate the 90th anniversary of the port’s opening.

0601JIF Kobe map WEB
The Japan News

The inspiration for the construction came from a tower in the port of Rotterdam in the Netherlands, which impressed then-mayor Chujiro Haraguchi and gave him the idea to build such a symbolic tower.

The 108-meter-high tower has a striking design with 32 red steel tubes and resembles a Japanese tsuzumi drum.

The structure was also built to suggest the image of a huge rattan chair, and is often referred to as the ‘Beauty Queen Tower’ because of its beautiful curves. The nighttime illumination of the tower brought color to the harbour.

tower ue
The Yomiuri Shimbun
A bird’s eye view of the Kobe Port Tower in Kobe

The tower survived the strong tremors of the Great Hanshin Earthquake in 1995. Although there was damage to the water supply, drainage pipes and other components, it reopened about three months after the earthquake.

In total, more than 25 million people have visited the tower since it opened. However, in recent years the number of visitors has fallen to around 300,000 per year, less than half of what it was at its peak.

Kobe Waterfront Development, the tower’s management organization, closed it in September 2021 and spent the next 2.5 years renovating the aging tower.

The total renovation costs of ¥3.4 billion were paid by the municipal government. To make it more earthquake resistant, the organization installed vibration absorption systems in two locations, one on the roof and one on the middle floor.

New roof terrace

On the upper floors of the tower, which visitors must pay to enter, a new café-bar has opened on a slowly rotating floor. Lower levels, which are free to enter, have restaurants, shops selling limited edition products and other facilities.

tower shita
The Yomiuri Shimbun
People look at the steel framework of the Kobe Port Tower from a cafe on the ground floor.

The roof, which was previously closed, is now open to visitors. It is located about 100 meters above the ground and is surrounded by glass panes, so visitors can feel the breeze from the ocean while enjoying 360-degree views of Kobe Harbor and the Rokko Mountains.

tawer okujo
Yomiuri Shimbun Photos
Visitors will observe a 360-degree view of Kobe and the surrounding area from the roof terrace on April 23.

At the tower’s reopening ceremony on April 26, Kobe Mayor Kizo Hisamoto said, “I hope many people will visit the new facility even more with love for Kobe and feel the charm of this city.”

The tower is open from 9am to 11pm. To promote night tourism, opening hours have been extended by two hours compared to before the renovation. To enter the observation floor, including the roof terrace, visitors must purchase tickets for a specific date and time. The entrance fee to the observation and roof terraces is ¥1,200 for adults and ¥500 for primary and secondary school students. Admission is free for toddlers.



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