support this research
71203-0004 - Hyogo Kencho in Kobe, 1910s

Kobe 1910s
Hyogo Kencho

Artist Unknown
Publisher Sakaeya Shoten
Medium Postcard
Period Meiji
Location Kobe
Image No. 71203-0004
Purchase Digital File

Two jinrikisha (rickshaw) pullers stand in front of Hyogo Kencho, the building for the Prefectural Government of Hyogo in Kobe, capital of Hyogo Prefecture.

Hyogo Port was among the first ports to open for trade with Western countries and it soon embraced everything Western. The city boasted countless Western style buildings, amongst which Hyogo Prefectural Office.

Japanese architect Hanroku Yamaguchi (1858-1900) designed Hyogo Prefectural Office in the French Renaissance style. It was completed in 1902 (Meiji 35). This postcard shows the building some time between 1907 (Meiji 40) and 1918 (Taisho 7).

80410-7137 - Hyogo House in Kobe, 2008
The former Hyogo Kencho in Kobe, now known as Hyogo House (兵庫県公館), in 2008 (Heisei 20). Photographed from approximately the same location.

Hyogo Kencho was built on the location of the residence of former Dutch consul Korthals, who was known to have had a very large estate. Japan Chronicle founder and editor Robert Young recounted in the newspaper’s 1918 jubilee edition about a nostalgic visit that Korthals made to his former home1:

Even before there was much building on the Settlement, foreigners began to erect bungalows on the Hill. One of the earliest was erected by Mr. Korthalls (or Korthals), head of the Dutch Trading Society and also Dutch Consul, who built a bungalow on the site where the Kencho now stands, to which was attached an extensive garden now bisected by the road called Shimoyamate-dori.

In later years the bungalow and grounds passed into Japanese hands, and the building was used as a commercial museum, the present Kencho Building ultimately being erected in the compound.

Some years ago Mr. Korthalls (or Korthals) returned to Japan for a visit, when he sought and obtained permission to cut some roses from a bush planted by his wife and still preserved in the Kencho grounds.

Intensive US firebombing during WWII left only the outside walls standing, but it was restored to its former glory after the end of the war. It is now known as Hyogo House (兵庫県公館) and used for meetings, conferences, commemorations and welcoming VIPs.

Map of Kobe, 1929 (Showa 4)
1929 (Showa 4) Map of Kobe: 1. Kobe Station; 2. Meriken Pier (current Meriken Park); 3. Hyogo Kencho; 4. Sannomiya Station (current Motomachi Station); 5. Ikuta Shrine. Sannomiya Station moved to its current location on October 10, 1931. The old Sannomiya Station was reopened in 1934 as Motomachi Station.

see current map


1 Young, Robert (1918). Japan Chronicle: Jubilee Number 1868-1918.


Leave a Comment

Reference for Citations

Duits, Kjeld (). Kobe 1910s: Hyogo Kencho, OLD PHOTOS of JAPAN. Retrieved on June 25, 2022 (GMT) from

I have a small favor to ask

Old Photos of Japan aims to be your personal museum for Japan's visual heritage to increase our understanding of Japanese culture and society.

Finding, acquiring, scanning, restoring, researching and conserving these vintage images, and making the imagery and research freely available online, takes serious time, money and effort.

I do this without charging for access, selling user data, or running ads.

Your support helps to make this possible, and ensures that this important visual heritage of Japan will not be lost and forgotten.

If you can, please consider supporting Old Photos of Japan with a regular amount each month. Or become a volunteer.

Thank you,
Kjeld Duits

support this research

Explore More


Osaka, 1905
Yodoyabashi Bridge

People and a streetcar cross Yodabashi Bridge in Osaka. At first sight an ordinary vintage postcard. But the barely visible building in the center back makes this card special.


Osaka 1909
Great Kita Fire

At 4:20 in the morning on July 31, 1909 (Meiji 42) a fire broke out at a knit-wear factory in Osaka’s Kita-ku, the northern part of the city. Within hours, a huge area south of Osaka station was engulfed in flames.


Osaka 1909
Shijimi River after the Fire

Dojima and Sonesaki on both sides of Osaka’s Shijimi River (蜆川) were devastated by the Great Kita Fire of July 31, 1909 (Meiji 42). The river, which played an important part in Osaka culture was filled in with the rubble and forever vanished from Osaka’s townscape.

Add Comment

I’m taking classes near there, and it’s still beautiful….