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Kobe is the capital city of Hyōgo Prefecture and a prominent port city in Japan with a population of about 1.4 million. The city is located in the Kansai region of Japan and is part of the Osaka-Kobe-Kyoto metropolitan area. Kobe is classified as one of Japan's seventeen designated cities.
Originally known by the name Ōwada Anchorage, earliest written records regarding the region come from the Nihon Shoki, which describes the founding of the Ikuta Shrine by Empress Jingū in 201 A.D. For most of its history the area was never a single political entity, even during the Tokugawa Period, when the port was controlled directly by the Tokugawa Shogunate. Kobe did not exist in its current form until its founding in 1889. Its name comes from "kanbe", an archaic title for supporters of the city's Ikuta Shrine Kobe became one of Japan's designated cities in 1956.
Kobe was one of the first cities to open for trade with the West following the end of the policy of seclusion and has since been known as a cosmopolitan port city. While the 1995 Great Hanshin Earthquake diminished much of Kobe's prominence as a port city, it remains Japan's fourth busiest container port. Companies headquartered in Kobe include ASICS, Kawasaki Heavy Industries, and Kobe Steel, as well as over 100 international corporations with Asia or Japan headquarters in the city such as Procter & Gamble and Nestlé.
The city is the point of origin and namesake of Kobe beef as well as the site of one of Japan's most famous hot spring resorts, Arima Onsen.
Education: Kobe is home to eighteen public and private universities, including Kobe University and Konan University, and eight junior colleges. Students enrolled for 2006 reached 67,000 and 4,100, respectively.
Kobe is famous for its Kobe beef and Arima Onsen (hot springs), while notable buildings include the Ikuta Shrine as well as the Kobe Port Tower. It is well known for the night view of the city, from the mountains (like Mount Rokkō, Mount Maya and so on) as well as the coast. Kobe is also known for having a somewhat exotic atmosphere by Japanese standards, which is mainly a result of its history as a port city.
The city is also widely associated with cosmopolitanism and fashion, encapsulated in the Japanese phrase, "If you can't go to Paris, go to Kobe." The biannual fashion event Kobe Collection is held in Kobe. The jazz festival "Kobe Jazz Street" has been held every October at jazz clubs and hotels since 1981.
Kobe is the site of Japan's first golf course, Kobe Golf Club, established by Arthur Hasketh Groom in 1903, and Japan's first mosque, Kobe Mosque, built in 1935. The city also hosts the Kobe Regatta & Athletic Club, founded in 1870 by Alexander Cameron Sim, a prominent foreign cemetery, and a number of Western-style residences from the 19th century.
Most of the 1957 romantic drama Sayonara takes place in Kobe.. Kobe is also the setting of the Studio Ghibli film Grave of the Fireflies.
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