For over 20 years, during December the streets of Kobe city have been lit up as a symbol of hope at the Luminarie festival.
What started in December of 1995 as a memory of the victims of the Great Hanshin Earthquake was only supposed to be a one-time-event, but the display turned out to be a real crowd pleaser, and had returned every year since until the effects of COVID-19 saw its first cancellation in 2020.

This year, the event has once again been cancelled, but instead of leaving us completely in the dark, a special ‘Rosone Machinaka Museum’ – which draws attention to the stained glass “rose window” featured at the illumination event – will pop up at various points spread across the city from the 3rd to the 12th of December.

The rose window, known in Japanese as ロソーネ (rosone) is an important piece of the Luminarie display, which can normally be seen hanging overhead at the final archway of the illumination walkway.

At the Rosone Machinaka Museum event the current rose window and previous panels that had been on display at past Luminarie events will be situated at various locations throughout Kobe city.
In total, there will be 9 individual rose windows to look out for during the event, each of which will be lit up from sunset until 21:00.

Additionally, in collaboration with Kobe Tourism Bureau, each of these rose window locations will be part of a digital stamp rally designed to improve individual mobility within the city, to touch on the cultural and historical significance of Kobe’s Luminarie event, and to nurture growing momentum for the illumination’s reopening scheduled to take place next year.
Those who gather all of the stamps will be invited to fill out a questionnaire and to take part in a lottery to win limited edition Luminarie goods.

Taking place every evening from the 3rd to the 12th of December, you can find the one or more of the panels at the following locations; Kobe Asahi Building, Kobe Port Museum south side green space, Sannomiya Chuo Dori, Nankinmachi, Higashi Yuen Park, Motomachi Dori HITODE intersection and Meriken Park.

The official Luminarie event may be on hold for yet another year, but the Rosone Machinaka Museum event is like a kind of easter egg hunt that will have you exploring around the city.
If you’re looking to chase a bit more light around this winter, you can also check out Kobe’s Nankinmachi Lantern Festival which is still going ahead (albeit without the usual light up ceremony and preceding Jazz act), with more than 400 traditional Chinese lanterns illuminating the streets of the city’s popular Chinatown area.

Kobe Luminarie presents: ‘Rosone Machinaka Museum’
Dates: 3rd – 12th December 2021
Light up time: Sunset – 21:00 *lighting may turned off depending on the crowding situation

By - Connie Sceaphierde.