The building that is now the Kitano Meister Garden (or Kitano Kobo Machi) was originally built as the Kitano Elementary School. After the school closed, the building was renovated into the modern facility it is today. Nevertheless, the building still retains its old, nostalgic look. Inside there are 21 artisan workshops. The Kitano Meister Garden is indeed a very popular spot, with a million people visiting it annually. Visitors can get a chance to see, feel, taste, and buy local Kobe products for themselves.
For example, the workshops offer local products such as Kobe beef, sweets, bakery items, and crafts. And some of the products are sold exclusively at the Kitano Meister Garden, so it is an ideal place to enjoy shopping for gifts and souvenirs made in Kobe.
The Kitano Meister Garden also is a place where visitors can enjoy trying their hands at new experiences. You can have a chance to make various craft items such as leather goods and accessories, and cook several kinds of food too, such as pork buns and bread.
The gentle slope that the bus travels on for about 1 kilometer towards Kitano Meister Garden is called Tor Road. In the past, around the time the Port of Kobe was opened to foreign trade in 1868, Tor Road served an important role, connecting the business area with the foreign residential area of Kitano. Tor Road became a major thoroughfare for the foreign residents who commuted on it and led their daily lives patronizing the shops and businesses lining it.
You will see that even today, Tor Road, which was heavily influenced by the original Western residents who years ago lived in their opulent mansions in the Kitano area, is lined with stylish boutiques, tailors, cafes, restaurants, galleries, international schools, foreign-resident clubs, and other establishments. When walking along Tor Road, you will definitely notice the strong influence that the foreign community had on Kobe.