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