Kobe’s Earthquake memorial

Carrying on with our exploration of Kobe we stumble across a veritable cornucopia of cute road work signs. How boring and mundane our traffic cones look now!!

Sadly Kobe is better known for the tragedy that befell many of its inhabitants in 1995 when a huge earthquake wracked the city and surrounding areas.

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The Great Hanshin earthquake  or Kobe earthquake, occurred on January 17, 1995 in the southern part of Hyōgo Prefecture, Japan, known as Hanshin.

It measured 6.9 and tremors lasted for approximately 20 seconds. Damage was extremely widespread and severe.

Nearly 400,000 buildings were irreparably damaged as well as numerous elevated road and rail bridges, and 120 of the 150 quays in the port of Kobe.

Up to 6,434 people died and about 4,600 of them were from Kobe.

It was Japan’s worst earthquake in the 20th century after the Great Kantō earthquake in 1923, which claimed more than 105,000 lives.

At Meriken Park you can see for yourselves some of the preserved damage at the Earthquake Memorial Park near the port of Kobe.

Here lampposts lean at impossible angles and you can still see how the ground was violently ripped apart.

This visit has since acquired a more personal resonance as we were in Kos in July of this year when an earthquake of the same magnitude occurred.

It was a truly terrifying experience but thankfully the death toll was far lower. However tragically two people did lose their lives in Kos town.

It was a sobering reminder of the power of mother nature and the transient nature of our existence on this beautiful, but dangerous, planet.

Then we pop to the port to see the Kobe Port Tower which was designed by the Nikken Sekkei Company and completed in 1963.

It’s also home to the maritime museum and some unusual boats.

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