Sneaking into the “great base of table tennis” in the underground passage of Kobe station! – Do you know the “Metro Table tennis” located underground? -

  • Work out
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  • Heard from someone
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Kobe City (Hyogo Pref.)
Sneaking into the “great base of table tennis” in the underground passage of Kobe station! – Do you know the “Metro Table tennis” located underground? -
You may have seen the picture of the harbor, the one showing the typical scenery of Kobe; red port tower, Hotel Okura, Ferris wheel by the sea. This is “the scenery of Kobe”, that you can see when you walk from JR Kobe station towards seaside for about 10 minutes.
So, if you walk towards mountains for 10 minutes…did you know that there is an underground passage called “Metro Kobe”, and the great base of table tennis within the passage?

Since I was in my twenties working near Kobe station, I wondered why there was a table tennis spot in a dim underground passage. The area around Kobe has completely different atmosphere – seaside and mountain side – and I was attracted to the area.

700 meters long underground shopping street ”Metro Kobe”, that connects “Kosoku Kobe” station and “Shinkaichi” station.

Metro Kobe is an underground shopping street, which is on the mountain side of JR Kobe station and connects ““Kosoku Kobe” station and “Shinkaichi” station of Kobe Rapid Transit Railway. It takes only 10 minutes to walk from one end to the other. The local town Shinkaichi, which everyone in Kobe knows, is within walking distance from Kobe station.

And now, in order to explore the mystery of the underground street, I decided to walk from Shinkaichi station toward “Metro Tabletennis” established in 1971.

Where does this nervousness come from…? It makes me feel I’m a complete outsider!

<font size='-1' color=blue>Fried food shop by the ticket gate. Happy hour in the morning.</font>
Fried food shop by the ticket gate. Happy hour in the morning.
On the day I went to cover the place, as soon as I exited Shinkaichi station’s ticket gate at 10 in the morning, I came across a man with a shaved head drinking Asahi beer while he was walking. This is the scenery you won’t see on the seaside of Kobe station. After a few minutes walk from there, I came across another Asahi beer guy! This place won’t let you down! I got a little excited and took my single lens reflex camera out my bag. As I wore its strap around my neck, I realized I was a little nervous.

I had the same feeling before. It was the same feeling which I had in a foreign town, not knowing how sage the place was. This is the town I came across two Asahi beer guys in just three minutes, if I wore the strap around my neck and held my camera, I won’t be surprised even if someone said “What are ya shooting!?” from behind at any time. I was sweating on my back as imagined the situation.

I put my camera back into my bag and thought a while, then I heard the sound of the piano from a distance. Playing a CD? No, it’s live. And it is very good!
Metro Kobe seemed to have a street piano which you can see at various places lately.

Encounter with a street pianist under a weird situation

I walked the passage toward the sound with “my camera issue” out of my head, then I spotted a woman playing the piano surrounded by people; one was dozing off on a bench, one was somehow changing his top there. I had seen street pianos, but nothing was in an odd place like this.
“Want to capture this image with my camera! But I’m too scared to hold my single lens reflex camera here!” I thought a while, then decided to take pictures with my smartphone. From a distance (too nervous).

I waited until she finished her performance, then talked to her. She told me that she brought her son to a nursery and was on the way to go shopping. She plays the piano once or twice a week here. She doesn’t use train but walks to play the piano. As I guessed, she was a graduate of university of music!

“This is not like other street pianos, isn’t it?” I asked. “I can concentrate on my play when no one seems to be listening.” she smiled. The piano performance of this ex-piano teacher must be a chic background music. Everyone must be listening to it.

Recalling my “Asahi beer shock”, “Has anyone talked to you?” I asked, meaning if she had ever felt nervous. “An old lady who goes to see her doctor regularly came up to me and said “There you are! I always look forward to listening to your piano.”. It made me happy.” she replied. She went on “Shinkaichi is a good town with many friendly people.”. Well, it was a good episode.

I told her that this episode may be on the World Masters Games website and said farewell to the street pianist. I overcame fear of the unfamiliar place and wore the camera strap around my neck. My destination “Metro Table tennis” is ahead of me.
■Metro Kobe [Please see the map below]
OPEN: 10am-8pm (The restaurant closes at 9 pm.)
CLOSE: 3rd Tuesday of every month ※Irregular holidays
Access:Train: Directly connected from Kosoku Kobe Station (East ticket gate / West ticket gate)
(As of November, 2020)

The sports and disciplines
of the World Masters
Games 2021 Kansai
held in the neighbourhood.

 Yuko UENO
Introducing the poster


I belong to a writers’ community called “Osaka monokaki tai (Osaka writers group)” while working as a reporter for a Kobe community paper, “Viva! New town”.
I’ve been playing soft volleyball once a week for 13 years, and my position is an attacker. I started going to a kick boxing gym last month and I’m secretly hoping to become strong.
Big fan of Arashi’s leader, Mr Ohno.