Kobe art museum gets into the spirit of Christmas

Kyodo

Christmas decorations representing 2013 were shown to the public Wednesday at a house museum in the historical Kitano district at the foot of Mount Rokko in Kobe.

The display features a Santa Claus clambering up the tower at the Uroko Museum of Art, also known as Urokono-Ie, or Fish Scale House, in the district packed with Western-style residences, or “ijinkan,” built by foreigners after the opening of the port of Kobe.

The Santa Claus is clambering over another decoration modeled after nearby Kobe Port Tower, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.

Adding to the theme of 2013, he is also using a smartphone to snap a photo of a replica of Mount Fuji, which was named by UNESCO as a World Heritage site in June.

Meanwhile, figures of Rena Nonen, star of the NHK morning drama “Amachan,” Ichiro Suzuki of the New York Yankees who in August belted his 4,000th base hit, and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe appeared in Urokono-Ie’s garden.

Their heads are popping out of the bushes, looking straight up at Santa. They were created by designers who come up with original products and souvenirs for the Kitano district. It took about a month to complete the figures and the other decorations, which are made with polystyrene.

“The Santa Claus made me feel energized, as he brings good luck,” said visitor Hiroko Nakano, 71, of Matsuyama, Ehime Prefecture. “It looks like I’m going to have a good year next year.”

The decorations will be displayed through Christmas Day. More information is available at the Yokan Nagaya (French House) office at its toll-free number 0120-88-8581.