Being a bustling port city has brought a lot of exciting international culture and influence to Kobe. One such cultural addition to the city over the years is jazz music, which is celebrated annually with an entertaining ‘Kobe Jazz Street’ festival.
The European architecture of the houses and churches that line the Kitano district make it the perfect venue for enjoying some jazz. Walking the streets of this district any time of year will surely connect you with some historic Western influences, but be sure to come out for Kobe Jazz Street in early October for a real musical and international treat.
Kobe has been called the birthplace of Japanese Jazz, as the first national jazz band formed there in 1923. Following the war, the popularity of American jazz in Japan really took off, and during the 1960’s various big names in the genre like Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington popularized the music style even more by touring the country. By 1982, jazz music was officially recognized and celebrated in the form of the Kobe Jazz Street festival, where tourists and locals alike come out to enjoy the music and culture event.
Jazz enthusiasts like to comment that this Kitano street bears a resemblance to the famous 52nd street in New York City. Even if you don’t quite see the physical resemblance, though, a tour of the area will certainly have you hearing the similarities between the Japanese jazz hub and the historic American performance street.
During Kobe Jazz Street, various performances by international and local musicians light up the streets with their jazzy tributes. Journey back to the golden age of jazz by spending a cool October weekend enjoying the music from street corners or different venues throughout the district!
One of the main performance areas will be the Kitano-cho square, where the statue of a “jazz man” sets the scene. There are many other performances and concerts occurring throughout the city, though, so you’re certain to stumble across more than a few! Some venues are open with free admission, and others require a ticket to attend, so be sure to contact the Jazz Street Association for more information.
Come out and celebrate the 35th annual Kobe Jazz Street festival!
Kobe Jazz Street Festival
Where: Various locations throughout the city and the Kitano district. Here is a map (in Japanese only) with highlighted performance areas for your reference.
When: Nighttime event: October 7 from 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.; Daytime events: October 8-9 from 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Pricing: Some events and performances are free, but in order to attend some of the concerts at different venues, you can purchase tickets through the Kobe Concert Association telephone reservation (Tel: 078-805-6351)
Single day pass: ¥ 4,500 (Advanced purchase ¥ 4,000)
Both days pass: ¥ 8,500 (Advanced purchase ¥ 7,500)
Tel: For more information contact the Jazz Street Association 078-232-3211
Website (Japanese): http://www.kobejazzstreet.gr.jp/35thkjs/index.html
Reference Website (English): http://www.kobejazzstreet.gr.jp/spirit/english.html