This March, Kobe’s Japanese garden Sorakuen played host to a night fair as part of a Kobe city project to support and promote museums and culturally significant properties. Called “Kobe Culture Night in Sorakuen”, the event featured an array of attractions including traditional and modern performers from Shodo (calligraphy) performers to magicians, a night market with locally handcrafted goods, and food trucks.
Although guests were allowed to roam freely within the garden, measurements were put in place to reduce the risk of infection, such as limiting the number of people allowed to enter at a single time. The more than 100-year-old Sorakuen is a designated “Place of Scenic Beauty” in Japan and the attached venue and restaurant is a popular venue. Kobe Culture Night gave visitors a rare look at the garden at night.
In the meanwhile, Japanese pharmaceutical firm JCR Pharmaceuticals Co. and the city of Kobe startet a project to manufacture a large portion of Japan’s Covid-19 vaccine ingredients domestically. The new plant, which will be the first purpose-built facility in Japan, will be located in the Kobe Science Park. JCR Pharma, a locally based company was contracted by AstraZeneca Japan to assist in the manufacturing of the Covid-19 vaccine. AstraZeneca has sealed a contract with the Japanese government for 120 million doses of the vaccine and has unveiled that 90 million of those doses will be produced domestically.
Over the last year, Kobe has played a vital role in Japan’s fight against Covid-19, particularly through technological innovation that included the development and implementation of the world’s first robot capable of conducting non-contact PCR tests, and putting Fugaku, the world’s fastest supercomputer installed in Kobe, to use in researching and combatting the virus ahead of scheduled operation dates.