In Kobe you must do what Rabindranath Tagore did on his arrival there in 1916. The Indian poet said: "On my first arrival in this country, when I looked out from the balcony of a house on the hillside (very likely Suwayama Park), the town of Kobe, --that huge mass of corrugated iron roofs,--appeared to me like a dragon, with glistening scales, basking in the sun, after having devoured a large slice of the living flesh of the earth." It is a striking spectacle. A cleaner and a more sanitary-looking city than Kobe it is impossible to conceive. The city, especially the residential parts of it, lie on higher levels, sloping down to the water's edge, so that the rain washes down the dust and refuse, leaving not a speck of that which is unclean in its trail, ever presenting a newly-swept appearance, very refreshing to the eyes. Leading to the foot of the hills are some broad avenues, which are crossed by several long roads, running parallel to the hills. These roads are called, near the Suwayama, Yamamoto-dōri (street at the foot of the hill), Naka-yamate-dōri (the middle hillside street) and Shimo-yamate-dōri (lower hillside street). Below them are the busy commercial streets of Sakayemachi, full of modern offices of banks and commercial agents, and Motomachi, a bustling, attractive shopping street. Farther down is the Kaigan-dōri (street facing the sea), or the Bund, principally occupied by offices of shipping agents, foreign firms, hotels, warehouses and other big buildings, typical of the coastal metropolis in the Far East.
These sidelong streets of Kobe are fast spreading in both directions, eastward to Osaka (20 miles away) and westward to Himeji (34 miles away). Kobe had in 1892 annexed already the neighboring town of Hyogo, of which it was once an insignificant little village, and is on the road to annex other towns further, westward, although it must be stated that the smaller towns lying on both sides are also growing on their own. Anyway, most of the Kwansai towns around Kobe and Osaka are growing thicker and thicker, and nearer and nearer one another with ever thinning patches of green vegetation between.
As a commercial port city of Japan, Kobe ranks first. It is a clean, handsome and most attractive city as well as a cozy, healthful and residential one. From every well-appointed house in Kobe one has a picturesque view of the green mountains and sunny ocean, and the city, screened at the north with a range of mountains, is warm in winter and cool in summer. Kobe makes an ideal place of permanent residence, provided you have a thriving business or an assured regular income.