The city is on the western end of Osaka Bay and reclaimed lands extends from the coast line for kilometres into the Bay. Kobe was able to expand as a vibrant port by adding extra port facilites built out from the shoreline and buidling on the reclaimed islands.(see the map). Like Kansai International, Kobe airport is built on a reclaimed land in Osaka bay. It had been planned for many years but was given the go-ahead after the earthquake as part of government intervention to revive Kobe.
In the late 1970s, before the rise of China, Kobe was the busiest container port in the world. The Hanshin earthquake of 1995 was particularly devastating on the waterfront and while Kobe remains a busy port it is now ranked 45th busiest internationally and 4th busiest in Japan.
The waterfront mixes funpark activity and hotels, parkland, museums and earthquake memorials, with ship construction, container facitlities and an airport.
Merikan Park - the earthquake damaged pier in the picture above has been kept as a memorial of the quake.
The park takes its name from a shortening of American; it is the site of the old US embassy.