Meriken Park (meaning “American Park,” named after the former American consulate that was nearby) is a waterfront park popular among citizens of all generations. In the corner of this peaceful garden stands a series of stone monuments and the preserved remains of a quay damaged during the Hanshin Earthquake.
On January 17, 1995, a catastrophic earthquake struck Kobe and surrounding cities. Vital infrastructure, including expressways, and railways were destroyed. The Port of Kobe also suffered massive damage with over 95 percent of the infrastructure along the coastline being severely damaged and rendered non-operational.
The city preserves relics of the earthquake to commemorate the disaster and educate future generations. This small memorial area in Meriken Park is one of them. The park consists of two parts: exhibitions on concrete walls and part of the quay damaged by the earthquake. The exhibition illustrates the damage and restoration of Kobe Port, including pictures and videos. Explanations are in Japanese and English. There is also a round black disc monument representing 05:46, the time of the earthquake.
The relics are a large section of the quay that was destroyed by the earthquake. To prevent further collapse, steel pipes were placed in front of the quay and the space between the pipes. The quay was then filled with stone materials. Ruined concrete walls and tilted lampposts are silent reminders of the earthquake’s shocking power.
Know Before You Go
Open 24 hours, eight-minute walk from Kobe Subway Minato Motomachi Station. A ten-minute walk from JR/Hanshin Motomachi Station.