Monday, February 20th, 2023

Sannomiya to Myohoji (via the Old Foreign Settlement)

Photograph looking down on two people walking through the old foreign settlement in Kobe, Japan.

It started as a joke. 

"I'll walk to Sannomiya," sounded like I was about to undertake an epic hike across Kobe. It's the main transport and shopping hub, a sort of "city center" if you will. Then I checked a map. 9km and under 2 hours.

Detour time.

When Japan came out of its period of isolation, Kobe was one of the major ports used by foreigners. While the locals lived down by the waterfront, the various Europeans preferred the cooler mountain air. Hence the Old Foreign Settlement - or just Foreigner Town.

As well as running into a lovely family struggling to take a photo (I will help people out if they look like they need it) I also bagged a rather lovely painting off an elderly gentleman hard at work with easel and brush.

This route put me on a line with the foot of the mountains, and added a few more kilometres to the walk. I made things worse for myself when I reached an intersection and decided to go straight instead of right. Right went up the hills and 2km later I'd be back home.

Straight on was another 4km and lunch.

Maybe I'm a sucker for punishment, but I clocked up 17km over nearly 4 hours, including pausing for shots here and there.


My name is Ross Hori

I'm a freelance writer, designer and photographer. By day I create articles, features and reports. At night I take photos and write fiction. Find out more.