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A Side of Kobe You Didn’t Know① The birthplace of marathon

When you hear Kobe, what comes to your mind? Mt. Rokko, Kobe Port Tower, Kobe beef….! Yeessss, Kobe beef is well known for its high quality. If you have a chance, it’s definitely worth a try!

Anyway, did you know that there are a lot of cool facts about Kobe that are not so widely known? For example, the first marathon competition in Japan was held here in Kobe! In other words, Kobe is the birthplace of marathon in Japan!

When did it happen?

The first marathon in Japan took place in 1909, in Meiji period. Since the 42.195 km standard distance had not been fixed yet, the race was approximately 32 km long. (By the way, the standard distance for the marathon was set in 1921, directly from the length used in 1908, at the Summer Olympics in London.)

And what now?

There is a monument in honor of the first marathon held in Japan. It’s located in the same place where the marathon runners start running in the annual Kobe Marathon – in front of Kobe City Hall.

It is not easy to find it as you might think: the height of this brown monument made of granite is less than 1.5m. Come to Kobe to find it! ?

What’s Kobe Marathon?

Our big annual event, “Kobe Marathon” is held in November, since 2011. Approximately 20,000 people gather from all over the country and overseas to participate, and they run through the city, enjoying the air and sights of Kobe.

In November 2020, “Kobe Marathon” will reach its 10th year! It might be a great idea to come to Kobe on this special year, to enjoy running in the marathon.

More photos on Kobe Marathon official Instagram
Kobe Marathon official website