Capital of Hyōgo Prefecture, western Honshū. Overlooking Osaka Bay and sheltered on the north by the Rokkō Mountains, its importance as a port goes back to the Nara period (710-794). It prospered in the trade with China and particularly in the 15th- and 16th-century tally trade with the Ming dynasty. Today, in terms of total value of international trade the port of Kobe now ranks second in Japan, after Yokohama. (adapted from Japan: An Illustrated Encyclopedia. Tokyo: Kodansha, 1993)
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