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Harborland Guide

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Introduction to Harborland

Introduction to Harborland. Click on the number of each site for details.

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1. Ball Machine Din Don

When you pass through the west gate of Canal Garden, this enormous installation is right before you.
The name Din Don was chosen from about 10,000 entries in a naming contest in 1993. The work's ceaseless movement and the cheerful sound of the balls charms adults and children alike.


2. Soten Tower

This 8-meter-high stylized giraffe is a well-known meeting spot at the entrance to the Culmeni shopping plaza. Entitled Soten Tower, this sculpture was awarded the Kobe Mayor's Prize at the Seventh Kobe Concrete Sculpture Exhibition. It was relocated to its current site from a green lawn in 1996. It's rumored that if you meet someone in front of the sculpture, you'll fall in love.


3. The Elvis Presley statue

The Elvis Presley statue was erected in Harajuku, Tokyo. This was in 1987, ten years after his death. It has soothed the souls of all his fans.
In August 2009, the statue was moved to Harborland which turned into a new "sacred spot" for the fans and many of them visit the place everyday.
You can also enjoy listening to Elvis' songs that are played every 10, 30 and 50 minutes after the hour (11:30 - 20:50).


4. Gaslight (Kobe Gaslight Street)

These gas lanterns help forge Harborland's romantic, timeless ambiance. The lights come in many shapes: Some look like sailors' caps; others resemble flower petals.

*** Kobe Gaslight Street Illumination ***

In December every year, approximately 80 zelkova trees lining the 350-meter-long Keyaki Street, the main street of Kobe Harborland, are lit up with some 80,000 white bulbs. (Night-time photo)


5. Brick Warehouses

These two late-19th-century brick warehouses face the sea in Kobe Harborland, as they have done for more than a century. Once they stored cargo from the holds of ships from around the world; today they're home to a variety of popular restaurants and are a noted sightseeing destination.


6. Pedestrian bridge (Hanekko)

Pedestrian bridge docked above the stream in the event square (Hanekko Hiroba) in Harborland's central plaza. Hanekko was the first Japanese bridge to employ a style of construction often seen in Europe, in which both wings can be lifted up to allow ships to pass. At night some 1,700 light bulbs illuminate the entire bridge in a fantastic display, but the daytime sight has its own charm.


7. Humorous Display

These amusing mannequins were placed here to enhance onlookers' seaside viewing pleasure when Kobe Harborland opened in April 1991. They were damaged by the Great Kobe Earthquake and typhoons, but were repaired and put back on display in September 2006. Dressed in helmets and work uniforms, these popular, lifelike figures, busy with building repair and roof painting. are often mistaken for actual workmen.


8. Harbor Walk

Wooden oceanside walkway from the brick warehouses to the old Kobe Harbor signal tower. Equipped with gas lanterns and benches, Harbor Walk offers up the sights, sounds and aromas of the sea.


9. The old Kobe Harbor signal tower
(Old Shinko No. 5 Pier Signal Tower)

The 46.3-meter-high signal tower at the edge of Harbor Walk was built in 1921 at the No. 4 pier of the new harbor to guide ships to and from the harbor. In those days, it was recognized as the top signal tower in the Asia. It ended this function in March 1990. Two years later it was moved to its current location to serve as a prized reminder of the unique history of Kobe Harbor. It flies flags representing Kobe and prayers for a safe voyage.


10. Mosaic Watch Tower

First built in 1914, this watch tower was originally used for observation of cargo ships entering the harbor. It has been repositioned at this Mosaic site.


11. Love's Post Box

This classical green post box is in perfect harmony with the district's evocative gas lanterns and harbor scenery. It was set here, with cooperation from the Central Kobe Post Office, to mark the 15th anniversary of Kobe Harborland. A commemorative plate affixed to this ""Love's Post Box"" explains that in March 2007 an NPO for regional revitalization, noting the frequence of marriage proposals and lovers' appeals at this popular site, recognized Kobe Harborland as a hallowed spot for romance.

Many people wish to share in the romance of this spot and express their true emotions by sending love letters and mementos of their trip from this post box. Couples are often seen posing for photos before it, in the hope that it will play cupid for their love.


12. Takahama Quay

The history of the Takahama Quay traces back to the 17th century. In the Meiji Period the Takahama Pier and Quay first gained renown as a modern harbor gateway flanked by rows of brick warehouses.


13. Stone monument marking Meiji emperor's Kobe guesthouse

This stone monument marks the site where the Meiji Emperor's stately guesthouse once stood. Today only this stone remains of the emperor's compound.