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5th tour PRA 2018, Chinese New Year & a Night Cruise

On Saturday, February 9, we took the Kobe PR Ambassadors out on a fun, festive evening to highlight the 3-day weekend.

First, we took a walk through “Nankinmachi”, Kobe’s Chinatown and one of the only few Chinatowns in Japan. When Japan ended its 300-year closed border policy in 1868, Kobe became one of the first port cities to be opened for foreign trade, welcoming merchants from all over Europe and Asia. A number of Chinese merchants were allowed to settle in what is now Nankinmachi, and the district is celebrating its 150th anniversary since the first residents immigrated from southern China.

Nankinmachi celebrated the Lunar New Year this weekend, so in addition to the usual paper lanterns and food stalls, there were festive decorations, exciting performances, and entertaining people in costume. Our PR Ambassadors wound their way through the large crowds (as to be expected from a festival!), and tried not to get too distracted by the mouthwatering smells of pork buns and sesame seed doughnuts. They watched a lion dance and then had the rare opportunity to talk to the performers backstage. They also prayed for good fortune for the new year.

We then made our way west to the Harborland area for a special cruise on the Royal Princess. Daylight fell as the small cruise ship left the harbor, and we could see lights from the shops and hotels on the waterfront twinkling awake. As day gave way to night, and the pink of dusk shifted to indigo twilight and then finally inky blackness, thousands of lights lining the coastline glittered like diamonds. Our ship glided over obsidian-smooth waters as we circled the bay, and we were greeted by the warm welcome of the “Welcome to Kobe” sign and the stunning presence of Kobe Port Tower gleaming like a red beacon in the night.

Kobe’s famous 10-million-dollar night view is gorgeous not only from the mountaintops, but from the sea too! <3 <3 <3

Visit Nankinmachi!

Go on a mini cruise around the bay!–> Official Site

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Apply to be a Kobe PR Ambassador!

Applications are now open for 2019-2020 Kobe PR Ambassadors!
We are looking for 25 non-Japanese people who love living and working/studying in Kobe and want to contribute to promoting the city. If you love living and hanging out in Kobe, posting on social media, and meeting new people, we want to hear from you!

Through the Kobe PR Ambassador scheme, PR Ambassadors (PRAs) receive unique opportunities to experience different parts of the city and share those experiences with their loved ones, acquaintances, and online followers. For an idea of what they do, check out the Blog and 2018-2019 sections of this site to see what tours we’ve taken the Kobe PRAs on, and then swing by our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts to see what kinds of posts the PR Ambassadors make day-to-day.

If this sounds like it’s for you, read the following guidelines on how to join!

REQUIREMENTS

Applicants to Kobe PRA must meet the following requirements:

  • Non-Japanese foreigner
  • Living, working, or studying in Kobe
  • Active user of social media
  • Passionate about Kobe City

BENEFITS

Those chosen to join Kobe PRA will receive the following benefits:

  • Attend official tours
  • Community involvement
  • Invitations & tickets to events
  • Great resume builder

CRITERIA

Applicants who apply to Kobe PRA will be selected by the following criteria:

  • Frequent, public posts
  • Quality of content
  • Number of followers
  • Fun, open-minded personality

HOW TO APPLY

Read the guidelines, and if you agree to them, apply through the Google Form linked at the bottom of the page. Please note that at the end of the application, you will be asked to submit the following:

1) A copy of both sides of your Residence Card
2) A photo of yourself in .jpg format
*Please note, if you are appointed as a Kobe PR Ambassador, you will be asked to make any posts you create for the Kobe PR Ambassador scheme public

By applying to the Kobe PR Ambassador Scheme, it is considered that you have read and agree to the contents of this webpage and the Guidelines, which you must read here before applying.

Application Schedule (Tentative):

・Thursday, January 24th 2019, 9:00am until Thursday,  February 21st 2019, 5:00pm: Application period
・End of February 2019: Application form screening
・Early March 2019: Interviews
*We will get in contact with applicants who pass the application form screening to arrange an interview.
・End of March 2019: Final selection and notifications
・April 2019: Appointment Ceremony
*The Appointment Ceremony is planned to take place on a weekday in late April.
*Schedule is subject to change

Application Process
A strict application form screening process will take place, and candidates who pass this stage will be invited to an interview (in English) at City Hall. Please note: Past and current Kobe PR Ambassadors may reapply, and will be subject to the same screening process. Past and current Kobe PR Ambassadors who pass the application form screening will be exempt from the interview stage. (*The maximum length of a PRA is 3 years, either in a row or accumulative.)
Applicants who do not pass the application form screening will be informed in early March, and we will inform applicants who attended an interview of the final result around the end of March. We cannot provide individual feedback on unsuccessful applications. Thank you for your understanding.

Enquiries
For queries (Japanese or English): kobe_pra@office.city.kobe.lg.jp or 080-2227-1089

Please note, enquiries via email and telephone can only be viewed/taken from 8:45 am to 5:30 pm on weekdays.

PRA Application (Google Form)

4th tour PRA 2018, Autumn Leaves at Zuihoji Temple

You may have oft heard that Japan has four seasons. Of course many other countries do too, but the sudden (and oh-so-brief) burst of autumn splendor between the sweltering island summer and freezing dry winter is like an oasis of optical bliss. No wonder, then, that we would take our PR Ambassadors to see the fantastic fall foliage in one of the best autumnal sightseeing spots in Kobe: Zuihoji Park in the Arima Onsen hot springs area.

Thirteen of our ambassadors took many gorgeous photos of the stunning leaves in Zuihoji Park. They participated in an outdoor tea ceremony, in which they were able to enjoy delightful traditional Japanese snacks and learn the special way of turning the teacup before drinking the matcha green tea. The tea was suuuper bitter (no simple syrup or milk like you’d get at the coffee shop), but the intense sweetness of the confection paired well with it.

Our ambassadors also had the chance to take a photo together with geisha and interact with the locals while nibbling on oden and other winter stall food. Though to be honest, lovable local canine celebrity Tomi-kun became the center of attention and stole just about everyone’s hearts (and camera time <3).

Afterwards, they visited the Arima Toys & Automata Museum, which features multiple floors of elaborately handcrafted toys. In anticipation of Christmas, the museum was tastefully decorated in colorful lights and trees that gave the visit a more festive air.

To finish up the tour, we set our ambassadors loose on the town to explore more of the Arima area.

Check out the tour video below:

For more information:
Come admire the leaves in Zuihoji Park yourself!
Geisha Café (Japanese site only)
Visit the Arima Toys & Automata Museum and feel like a child again!

Some places to take an affordable dip:
Kin no Yu
Gin no Yu
Kanpo no Yu (Japanese site only)

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Kobe PR Ambassadors

When you think of Kobe, is the first thing that comes to mind the world famous Kobe Beef?

Or is it the baseball player, Kobe Bryant?

A lot of people around the world don’t know that Kobe is actually a thriving, dynamic, and achingly beautiful city in Japan, just next to its bigger and more famous neighbour, Osaka.

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3rd tour PRA 2018, Kande Farm Village

When you hear “Kobe”, you think of a bustling city with Kobe beef around every corner, right? But Kobe also has a diverse agricultural industry that includes rice, fruits, and vegetables!

Eleven of our PR Ambassadors went to Kande Village on October 14, the day of our third official PR Ambassador Tour in 2018. They gained an appreciation of how much work goes into farming by harvesting rice plants with traditional sickles and digging (giant) sweet potatoes out of the ground. And of course they got the chance to appreciate the fresh flavors of food straight from a farm by eating warm, handmade rice balls for lunch…and peeling mikans (mandarin oranges) they picked themselves at the orchard for dessert! *drool*

For more information:
Visit the Harvest Kobe Urban Agritourism site to learn more about what tasty tours you can go on!
And if you know Japanese (or have a helpful Japanese-fluent friend), you can contact Kande Farm Village directly for information about the farms and facilities (including a farm-to-fork lunch buffet) in the area!

Picture Gallery

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2nd tour PRA 2018, Akashi Kaikyo Bridge

Have you heard of the Akashi Kaikyo Bridge? Connecting Awaji Island and Kobe as part of the Honshu-Shikoku Highway, the bridge stretches 3,911 meters and holds the title of longest suspension bridge in the world (and seventh-tallest!). On September 2, the day of the second official PR Ambassador Tour of 2018, twelve of our lovely PR Ambassadors visted this bridge 20 years after its completion.

For more information:
Visit the Akashi Kaikyo BRIDGE EXHIBITION CENTER (Japanese site) to learn about its history and construction!
Make a reservation to go on the Bridge World Tour (Japanese/English site) yourself!

Picture Gallery

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1st tour PRA 2018, Mt. Rokko Hike

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We enjoyed Mt. Rokko that is national park in May! It was so relaxing weekend with beautiful weather. The guides from Mt. Rokko cable car and tourism company, they gave us great experiences at alpine botanical garden, musical box museum, garden terrace, and so on. It was great, thank you so much!!

Applications now closed for 2018-2019

Applications are now closed for the 2018-2019 Kobe PR Ambassador scheme! Thank you to all those of you who applied. We had a great response and are now working on screening the applications.

Here is how things will play out:

Application schedule (Tentative)
・Thursday February 1st 2018, 9:00am until Wednesday February 28th 2018, 5:00pm: Application period
・Early March 2018: Application form screening
・Mid March 2018: Interviews
*We will get in contact with applicants who pass the application form screening to arrange an interview.
・Early April 2018: Final selection and notifications
・Late April 2018: Appointment Ceremony
*The Appointment Ceremony is planned to take place on a weekday in late April.
*Schedule is subject to change

As always, please follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to see the latest news!

Kobe “Hassha Meguri” eight shrines tour

Kobe is well known as an international, modern city that offers a look into real Japanese daily life for those who visit. However, it is less well known that the city is home to historical shrines that are hundreds of years old (and in the case of Ikuta Shrine, over a thousand years old).

You may know that Kobe’s central area Sannomiya is named after Sannomiya Shrine, and that Sannomiya 三宮 is literally “Three shrine”. But did you know that there is also Ichinomiya (One shrine), Ninomiya (Two shrine)… all the way to Hachinomiya (Eight shrine)? On Saturday December 2nd 2017, the Kobe PR Ambassadors went on a tour to visit them all.

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The names of deities enshrined in each shrine

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Dragnet fishing

Kobe is a city of gourmet, but one often overlooked aspect of this reputation lies in its seafood. The Kobe PR Ambassadors, along with other non-Japanese residents of Kobe, had a special chance to go dragnet fishing on the Suma coast and take home some just-caught fish. You don’t get fresher than that!

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Bringing in the net

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A day of Art, History and Sake in Kobe

The Port City Kobe Art Festival, held from September 16 to October 15 2017, has a fun twist- the many outdoor installations can be viewed on a cruise, and some can only be seen onboard.

Kobe port city art festival poem

Interactive art on the cruise, overlapping poems about Kobe with the backdrop

The surprise performance on the ship involves a fun audience participation aspect- should you wish to take part, that is!

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