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  • Writer's pictureHyogo Navigator

From Darkness to Illumination: Kobe's Luminarie, A Journey of Resilience and Remembrance

Luminarie, a traditional southern Italian architecture of light, will grace Kobe's Old Foreign Settlement from 19 to 29 January, 2024. Luminarie, which means 'illumination' in English, is a traditional art of light that dates back to the late 16th century. It involves attaching colourful lights to a wooden frame made up of vaulted corridors and walls, creating an enchanting architecture of light.

In January 1995, the great Hanshin-Awaji earthquake struck the southern part of Hyogo Prefecture, causing extensive damage. The lights of the first 'Kobe Luminarie' warmly illuminated the city, which was still in the process of reconstruction and without its usual lights. This spectacle gave great inspiration and courage to Kobe and its citizens as they struggled to cope with the aftermath of the earthquake. At the time, we were working diligently to recover and rebuild the city after the disaster. However, dealing with a disaster of unprecedented scale was extremely challenging. The people of Kobe still vividly remember the moment they were moved to tears during the first 'Kobe Luminarie', a beacon of hope amidst the hardships of the disaster. Many of us drew strength from the lights of hope, fueled by the memory of the earthquake victims, and solemnly pledged to contribute to Kobe's recovery.



The Great Hanshin Earthquake hit the southern part of Hyogo prefecture on January 17, 1995, at 05:46:53. The earthquake occurred on a frosty winter morning. People were warming themselves with stoves and preparing breakfast.

Italy's Gift and Cultural Heritage Lighting the Path to Recovery in Kobe

The Kobe Luminaria, a gift from Italy, continues to be held as a memorial to the more than 6,000 victims of the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake. It serves as a requiem for the people of Kobe, embodying a cultural heritage that symbolises hope for reconstruction.


We have not forgotten the support we received from Italy and the rest of the world about 30 years ago. Luminarie is an opportunity to reflect on the kindness and gratitude that the world has shown us.


Join us at the Kobe Luminarie to pray for the souls of the victims of the Ishikawa, Toyama and Niigata earthquakes.


For more information

Kobe Luminarie Official website

How to get there?

From Osaka

Take either JR, Hankyu, or Hanshin train and get off at Motomachi station. (about 30 min trip)

Check the train route!

Where to next?

Nada gogo

Japan's oldest and largest sake brewery town. One of the breweries offers its bottles at the Nobel Prize award ceremony!!

Kobe Beef Gallery

You cannot leave Kobe without tasting the renowned Kobe beef. Finding the right place to try authentic cuisine can sometimes be challenging. But no worry! The Kobe Beef Gallery's operator is the farmers' association! They even offer tasting at an affordable price.


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