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The Kobe Jazz Street, one of the biggest traditional and mainstream jazz festivals in Japan, will celebrate its 25th Anniversary in October of 2006.
Some people may wonder why jazz is so popular in Japan, especially in Kobe.
The City of Kobe has long been well known as an international port city and jazz is one of many things she has imported from abroad. People in Kobe are proud to say that the first Japanese jazz band was formed in Kobe in 1923.
Then, after the World War II, American culture rushed into Japan, and in 1960s many great jazz musicians and famous jazz bands visited Japan one after another.
Great Duke Ellington came to Kobe with his orchestra twice, Louis Armstrong with his trumpet performing live in front of his admirers made them cry with utmost joy.
And George Louis and his band came and toured all over Japan for over several months.
Japanese jazz lovers “swallowed” all these blessings from the Golden Era of Jazz. Especially all these exciting experiences have given long lasting energy to many jazz lovers to spread their favorite jazz around Kobe and the other Kansai cities all these years.
If you visit Kobe and walk along the short slope to the Kitano District, you’ll find many beautiful old European-style houses of more than 100 years old, next to a local shrine and small churches along the old lanes. There are also several jazz spots of good quality around this district where you can enjoy very good jazz every night. That is why this district has become one of the best tourists’ attractions in Kobe.
To some jazz lovers the sight of this street may suggest the famous 52nd Street in New York. Thus when an idea of a unique jazz festival in the Kitano District was put into practice in 1982, it was named `the Kobe Jazz Street’.
People have come to love this unique jazz festival, where they can enjoy jazz, visiting some 15 venues freely with the admission tag put on their jackets, and year after year a larger audience has come to visit Kobe.
To their happy surprise, the jazz they can enjoy is no doubt of the top quality performed by the best professional and amateur musicians all over the world.
Because of this high quality of jazz Kobe Jazz Street stands far higher than all the rest of the festivals in Japan which have named themselves `Jazz Street’ after the success of the Kobe Jazz Street. Now the Kobe Jazz Street is very well known not only in Japan but also around the world outside Japan.
So why don’t you come and enjoy by yourselves the happy celebration of the 25th Anniversary of the Kobe Jazz Street!

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