Kobe City, known for the largest port in Japan, is one of the most important cities leading culture and technology in Japan. It is located in the center of Japan and a part of Kansai area where includes historical cities such as Kyoto and Nara and the economic hub city such as Osaka. These cities are connected just in an hour from Kobe. People enjoy different taste of these cities: the modern and sophisticated atmosphere in Kobe, energetic people in Osaka and historical streets in Kyoto and Nara. Kobe International Conference Center is a part of the techno-park in Kobe Port Island, in which universities and research institutes are located. Kobe Port Island is connected to the center of Kobe city in 10 minutes by the automated guided transit (Port Liner).
The Kinki Region, also commonly known as Kansai encompasses the Kinki Plain and consists of seven prefectures. It used to be the political and cultural center of Japan for many centuries and includes the cities of Kyoto, Osaka, Nara and Kobe.
Kyoto (京都, Kyōto) served as Japan's capital and the emperor's residence from 794 until 1868. It is now the country's seventh largest city with a population of 1.4 million people and a modern face. Over the centuries, Kyoto was destroyed by many wars and fires, but due to its historic value, the city was dropped from the list of target cities for the atomic bomb and spared from air raids during World War II. Countless temples, shrines and other historically priceless structures survive in the city today.
With a population of 2.5 million, Osaka (大阪, Ōsaka) is Japan's third largest and second most important city. It has been the economic powerhouse of the Kansai region for many centuries. Osaka was formerly known as Naniwa. Before the Nara Period, when the capital used to be moved with the reign of each new emperor, Naniwa was once Japan's capital city, the first one ever known. In the 16th century, Toyotomi Hideyoshi chose Osaka as the location for his castle, and the city may have become Japan's capital if Tokugawa Ieyasu had not terminated the Toyotomi lineage after Hideyoshi's death and moved his government to distant Edo (Tokyo).
Japan's first permanent capital was established in the year 710 at Heijo, the city now known as Nara (奈良). As the influence and political ambitions of the city's powerful Buddhist monasteries grew to become a serious threat to the government, the capital was moved to Nagaoka in 784. Nara is located less than one hour from Kyoto and Osaka. Due to its past as the first permanent capital, it remains full of historic treasures, including some of Japan's oldest and largest temples.