HIOGO [HYOGO], a town of Japan in the province of Settsu, Nippon, on the western shore of the bay of Osaka, adjoining the foreign settlement of Kobe, 21 m. W. of Osaka by rail. The growth of its prosperity has been very remarkable. Its population, including that of Kobe, was 135,639 in 1891, and 285,002 in 1903. From 1884 to the close of the century its trade increased nearly eightfold, and the increase was not confined to a few staples of commerce, but was spread over almost the whole trade, in which silk and cotton fabrics, floor-mats , straw-plaits, matches, and cotton yarns are specially important. Kobe owes much of its prosperity to the fact of serving largely as the shipping port of Osaka, the chief manufacturing town. in Japan. The foreign community, exclusive of Chinese, exceeds 1000 persons. Kobe is considered the brightest and healthiest of all the places assigned as foreign settlements in Japan, its pure, dry air and granite subsoil constituting special advantages. It is in railway communication with all parts of the country, and wharves admit of steamers of large size loading and discharging cargo without the aid of lighters. The area originally appropriated for a foreign settlement soon proved too restricted, and foreigners received permission to lease lands and houses direct from Japanese owners beyond the treaty limits, a privilege which, together with that 'of building villas on the hills behind the town, ultimately involved some diplomatic complications. Kobe has a shipbuilding yard, and docks in its immediate neighbourhood.
Hiogo has several temples of interest, one of which has near it a huge bronze statue of Buddha, while by the Minatogawa, which flows into the sea between Hiogo and Kobe, a temple commemorates the spot where Kusunoki Masashige, the mirror of Japanese loyalty, met his death in battle in 1336. The temple of Ikuta was erected on the site of the ancient fane built by Jingo on her return from Korea in the 3rd century.
Hiogo's original name was Bako. Its position near the entrance of the Inland Sea gave it some maritime importance from a very early period, but it did not become really prominent until the 12th century, when Kiyomori, chief of the Taira clan, transferred the capital from Kioto to Fukuhara, in Hiogo's immediate neighbourhood, and undertook various public works for improving the place. The change of capital was very brief, but Hiogo benefited permanently from the distinction.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)