Photo: Vissel Kobe forward Keijiro Ogawa and Kobe City Deputy Mayor Toshiro Tamada celebrate the launch of Vissel Kobe's new uniform at Kobe City Hall.

This year Kobe City marks the 150th anniversary of the opening of the Port of Kobe, and the city’s premier football team, Vissel Kobe, soon to welcome European star Lukas Podolski, is getting into the spirit with two special uniforms that celebrate the city.

Since ancient times, Kobe has been a hub for trade with continental Asia, with the geography of the region making it a great natural port. In 1868, the Port of Kobe was officially opened and it soon became a major gateway for foreign cultures, transforming the city that surrounds it into one of Japan’s most cosmopolitan centers.

Kobe City is holding a wide range of events to commemorate the anniversary, but a highlight will surely be four Vissel Kobe matches played in July and August in which the team will take to the field at Noevir Stadium Kobe in their new limited-edition kits.

Created to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Port of Kobe, the limited-edition Vissel Kobe uniform incorporates a pink and purple design based on the hydrangea flower, while the black-colored goal keeper version is inspired by one of Kobe’s most famous views: the city as seen from neighboring Mount Rokko at nighttime.

Created to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Port of Kobe, the limited-edition Vissel Kobe uniform incorporates a pink and purple design based on the hydrangea flower, while the black-colored goalkeeper version is inspired by one of Kobe’s most famous views: the city as seen from neighboring Mount Rokko at night.

Unveiled at a press conference at Kobe City Hall today, the new kits feature designs representative of the city. The field player uniform incorporates a pink and purple design based on the hydrangea flower, which has been designated by Kobe City as the official “flower of the people” of Kobe, as well as Mediterranean blue on the collar, sleeves and sides to celebrate the 25-year-old sister city relationship between Kobe and the city of Barcelona. Meanwhile, the goalkeeper uniform is inspired by one of Kobe’s most famous views: the city as seen from neighboring Mount Rokko at nighttime. The view is recognized as one of the “Three Major Night Views of Japan.”

Kobe seen from Mount Rokko, the view that inspired the goal keeper version of the new uniform.

Kobe seen from Mount Rokko, the view that inspired the goalkeeper version of the new uniform.

“We’re proud to be able to honor our great city and its history with these commemorative uniforms,” said Rakuten Vissel Kobe, Inc. CEO Kenichi Tanaka. “The view from Mt. Rokko and hydrangeas are both beautiful symbols of Kobe city that will inspire the players and I hope make our supporters proud.”

The first of the four matches in which Vissel Kobe players will wear the commemorative uniforms takes place on July 8, as the team goes up against Vegalta Sendai.

July is also when Lukas Podolski will join the team, and hopes are high for the legendary German striker to help make what’s already been a good season even better.