Yesterday we arrived at Hiogo, or Kobe—the former being the name of the Japanese town—the latter of the European Settlement. ... The European settlement is well built, with a wide “bund” along the harbour, and the other streets broad and clean. Many pretty-looking houses are situated on the hills behind, and there are apparently good roads and pathways in all directions. Though not by any means so lovely or so fascinating at first sight as Nagasaki, it may possibly be a pleasanter residence, from being less confined, and possessed of more outlets for driving and riding.
Letters from China & Japan (1875)
Kobé is, to my notion, a far prettier town than Yokohama. This is the name of the foreign settlement adjoining Hiogo; the latter designation is found on most of the maps, while Kobé is marked on but few of them. The foreign settlement at Kobé is neither so old nor so extensive as that at Yokohama. On the other hand, the buildings, as a rule, are finer, and the streets wider and cleaner. The beautiful green hills back of the town form a fine background to the picture. Some of the foreign residents have made their homes in bungalows two or three hundred feet above the foot of the hills, and from one of these (the residence of Captain D. J. Carroll), where I took luncheon, the view of the town, the shipping in the harbor, and the sea and islands for miles beyond, was very fine. Captain Carroll was, I am informed, the first white man to settle here, and has been one of the prominent European residents of Japan since a date immediately following the arrival of Commodore Perry.
Kobe ... is one of the most attractive places that we visited in Japan. The mountains behind it often reminded us of those in the Riviera, and the long stretch of blue sea, with the island of Awaji in the distance, might well have been the Mediterranean from Cannes or Mentone.
Japan As We Saw It (Bickersteth) (1893)