A landmark in the Kitano district of Kobe,
built in the beautiful traditional architectural style of Germany
(C) Kobe Convention & Visitors Association, JNTOIf you head toward the mountains from Kobe's central district of Sannomiya and walk for 15 minutes along gently undulating roads, you will reach the Kitano district, where many foreign nationals built Western-style residences. When you get to Kitano Square, your eye will be caught by a modern-looking, reddish-brown brick building with a weather vane atop its triangular roof. This is Weathercock House. Built in 1910 by the German merchant Gottfried Thomas as his residence, it was occupied by Mr. and Mrs. Thomas and their only daughter, Elsa, for about five years.
On the first floor is the entrance hall, the drawing room, the living room, the dining room, and the study, while on the second floor can be found the bedrooms, the nursery, and the breakfast room. All of the rooms incorporate aspects of the traditional German style, as well as interior decoration in the Art Nouveau style, cabinets decorated with designs often seen in Medieval castles, and beam ceilings, achieving an overall harmony that shows off the impressive elegance of the design to superb effect.
Perched atop a steeple, the weathercock that is the symbol of the house serves a purpose in terms of showing the direction in which the wind is blowing, of course; however, the cockerel is a very cautious bird, so it also signifies warding off evil spirits, as well as being intended to promote the influence of Christianity. This residence is a nationally-designated Important Cultural Property.
Address: 3-13-3 Kitano-cho, Chuo-ku, Hyogo
Hours open to visitors: 09:00 - 18:00
Admission Fee: 500 yen
Directions: 15 minutes on foot from Shin-Kobe shinkansen station
(Car) 10 minutes from the Kyobashi exit of the Hanshin Expressway