Kobe City Museum of Literature


Kobe, a port city in Kansai region has a blooming development in the period of Meiji Restoration with the expanding of foreign trade. It contributes to the increasing import of not only goods but also culture, especially literature and art, along with many writers produced and Kobe city museum of Literature was built to introduces those who played active parts in Kobe’s field of literature in particular and Kobe’s society in general, in Meiji, Taisho, Showa and Heisei periods in turn, along with photograph of each period.


The site of Kobe city museum of Literature was originally a Branch Memorial Chapel in Harada forest in the campus of Kwansei Gakuin University which was built in 1904 by the fund from a scion and financier from Richmond, Virginia named John Kerr Branch. It is the reason why you can see the appearance of a church in the structure of the museum with walls of red bricks and very sharp-pointed roofs with perfect curve made of wood pieces. The building remains the original beauty of splendid and ancient and was designated as tangible cultural property by Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology. The museum opened in 2006 December 4th, as the Kobe city museum of Literature.


Kobe city museum of Literature focuses on works during 16th and 17th centuries, especially reciprocal cultural influences between East and West. There are many exhibits showing this influences in some daily field like women’s hairstyle, electric lamps or gas lamps. You can find here a collection of woodcuts, maps, archaeological artifacts as well as Namban-style art from the late 16th to 17th century including  prints, silkscreens and paintings. The museum holds some exhibitions for occasional theme at Special exhibition zone. Besides, at Permanent exhibition zone, they will display literary materials and documents of Kobe’s writer by period along with landscape photographs. Several important periods can be mentioned such as Taisho marking the rise of literature, Showa pre-war when modern literature becoming deeper or Showa post-war with the rise of culture from ruin. They will also introduce writers who have link with Kobe after Meiji period about how they moved to Kobe from different hometown of Tokyo or Yokohama.


Not only exhibition zone, the museum houses many other interesting areas. You can easily find out Kobe’s writers’ marks on some Kobe’s spots which are displayed on Kobe literary map. Iku Takenaka is a well known poet considered as a representative of Kobe and his life, his career and study are all revealed in the museum at his own area, Iku Takenaka zone. Seminar area is the place to organize lectures, discussions and events of literature. You can discover a Bookshelf of Kobe with about 1000 books which are the works of active writers around Kobe. They will offer you coffee of 200 yen then you can sit and enjoy the part time of Kobe in each page of these books. Kobe city museum of Literature is the ideal space for anyone who is interested in literature in general and loves Kobe’s literature in particular.

Open time: 
From 10:00 am to 6:00 pm
From 9:00 am to 5:00 pm on Saturday, Sunday and holidays.
The museum is closed on Wednesday or the next day if Wednesday is holiday.


How to access: 

From JR Nada station: take a walk of about 600m northwest from the north exitFrom Oji Park station: take a walk of about 500m west from west exitFrom Iwaya station: take a walk of about 850m northwestOr take City bus to Oji Zoo stop and take a walk of about 200m west