Deep-water port in S Honshu, Japan; Port Island, an artificial island of 5 sq km/2 sq mi in Kobe harbor, was created 1960–68 from the rock of nearby mountains. It was one of the world’s largest construction projects, and is now a residential and recreation area with a luxury hotel, amusement park, and conference centers. It is linked to the city by a driverless, computerized monorail.
An earthquake registering 7.2 on the Richter scale hit Kobe Jan 1995, causing widespread devastation and leaving more than 4,000 people dead, 25,000 injured, and over 45,000 homes destroyed. Many of the buildings destroyed in the earthquake contained asbestos, used in Japanese buildings until 1965. Levels of asbestos fibers in the air were four times the national average during demolition of damaged buildings.
Kobe has links with St Catherine's College, Oxford; the St Catherine's College Kobe Institute, financed mainly by Kobe Steel, opened 1991.