Dotted spaciously, and hidden away in the scenic hills of Kobe, is the Shioya estate foreign residence, or simply “Shioya”. Built in the 1930s by British trader Ernest W. James, Shioya, or as the locals call it, “James Yama”, is an exclusive expat residential community that overlooks Osaka Bay, and is one of Japan’s truly unique expat communities. The large western-style homes were developed for, and are rented exclusively to, Western expats and their families in Kobe, and Shioya is one of Kansai's best kept secrets.
Located just 20 mins by car from JR Shin Kobe Station, giving you fast and immediate access to the famed Japanese bullet train, Shioya is not only just a beautiful and popular area for expatriates, but also incredibly convenient. Osaka is just 40 mins away by train and the ancient city of Kyoto is just 70 mins by train.
The train tracks from Shioya run along the sea, a view of Awaji Island emerges, and the Seto Inland Sea and the Akashi-Kaikyo Bridge, the world's highest suspension bridge, are also beautifully viewed from the houses.
Attached to the estate is the Shioya Country Club, which is a private international club that has a long and notable history in the Kobe area. The country club has a very large swimming pool and this means that the club itself is particularly popular in the summer. After school, children living in Shioya come to the pool and stay until dark, enjoying a variety of fun events that are held.
The country club also has a fully equipped clubhouse, with tennis and basketball courts, a fitness gym, a multipurpose hall and a party hall, meeting rooms, a kid's room, and a popular restaurant and bar, where residents and club members can enjoy the delicious food and drinks that the club’s amazing catering staff diligently prepare and serve.
Ernest W. James' vision of Shioya is as strong as ever. Thanks to its amazing location and the beauty of the area, the foreign community can live peacefully and comfortably, having the best of both worlds here in Kobe, Japan.
All the residents point out the wonderful service of the Shioya Tochi staff. Our staff are equipped with the confidence, experience, and know-how to provide exceptional experiences for all of our residents. Our efficient and dedicated team works tirelessly for our residents. Whether you need a doctor's appointment, a hairdresser's appointment, or guidance finding the best local excursions, we are ready to provide.
Services provided by the concierge include:
・Information service (finding a doctor, travel information, shopping information etc.)
・Parcel receiving service
・Baggage service arrangement to/from the airport
・Pizza delivery order
Here is a typical quote from a resident: “Life is 100% better because of the support of Shioya Tochi and of the club. They provide exceptional service.”
The estate is designed to allow residents to keep pets. All the yards are fenced in and gated, so there is little risk of pets straying.
Vet services: There is an English speaking vet service, called Kitasuma Clinic, only a 15-minute drive away. There is also an excellent kennel and boarding service nearby, called Paws, which is run by Mr. Urs Pfenninger, a Swiss national. It takes the stress out of leaving Japan for extended periods.
The club hosts several events such as
・Arts and crafts making
・zumba and yoga classes
・Halloween, Cinco de Mayo, and other seasonal festivals and events
There are paths along the sea, suitable for walking, jogging and cycling and all your fitness needs are covered by the Shioya Country Club, which has an outdoor pool and fitness room. There is also a sports center very near to the estate, at the AEON shopping centre, and a newly-opened indoor pool and hot springs (spa) close by.
Skiing - It is possible to go skiing/snowboarding from January to March. There are great downhill slopes less than 2 hours away by car.
Adventure sports – The wild outdoors is never more than an hour away. There are possibilities for hiking, camping, white water canoeing, and climbing.
Downtown Kobe is fabulous for shopping and restaurants, and an easy drive or train ride away. Around James Yama there are many reasonably priced restaurants with both Japanese and Western cuisine. Pizza Hut etc deliveries are only a phone call away. Nearby James Yama, in Tarumi, there is the Porto Bazaar outlet mall, which offers many stores and restaurants and has a stunning view of the Akashi Bridge.
For daily shopping needs, AEON is a local supermarket, almost within comfortable walking distance, and quick by car. It has a wide selection of food and drink items. Near AEON there is a post office, a large hardware store, a home center, a super market, and a bakery. For more hard-to-find foods from home. COSTCO, American wholesale is within 15 minutes drive, where you can purchase the familier products with reasonable price.
Kobe is an excellent place to shop, especially if you're short on time since most of its best shopping destinations are clustered in the downtown core and within an easy walking distance. Get off the train at Sannomiya or Motomachi and you'll be met with a bewildering range of shops and goods – everything from the latest gadgets to fashionable clothing to antiques and oddities. Just wandering and window-shopping in this frenetic place is an experience not to be missed.
Elsewhere in the city, you'll find a good range of things to buy in the lovely harbourfront shopping arcades at Kobe Harborland, which also has a fantastic range of entertainment and dining choices for families who want to make a day of it. Streets in and around the old foreign settlements have been refurbished and repurposed into classy boutique avenues, where seekers of the latest brand-name goods can find a luxe handbags, accessories and clothing.
Please visit the about Kobe page for several ideas on how to spend your time in Kobe!