Saturday, September 30th, 2023

Visiting Kobe Sannomiya? Look up!

Photograph of an upper walkway in an industrial retail structure

Sannomiya’s Central Street is worth a visit. It’s the main shopping mall in Kobe, and the start of an almost continuous 2km long undercover walkway.

However, it isn’t a purpose-built mall. Instead it has the feel of a regular street with a canopy installed. That gives it a lot of irregular buildings on either side. Some of these are just a couple of floors, others have five or more. Then there’s the basement level.

Most of the time they’re self-contained. So if you’re in the top-floor bookshop on one side of the street and want to go to the model shops on the other, you must go down to ground level, walk across, and back up.

Which is a pain.

Photograph of an upper walkway with wooden furniture to add some style and comfort
Although it’s a walkway, there’s enough space for places to sit – alone or with friends.

Except in a couple of places, there are bridges tying the two sides together. Look up and you might spot them. They look like suspended catwalks, as chaotic as the canopy above. Until a while ago they were plain and boring, functional passageways rarely used.

Recently, someone decided to give them a little character. Wooden furniture and detail added to the space to create places to sit and relax with a coffee. Or a laptop.

Photograph looking down on a few shops.
If you stop outside and Miyako and look up across the street, you’ll see the walkway.

I might be tempted to pop along with a takeaway coffee and watch the world go by.

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.