A guide to serviced offices and office space for rent in Osaka as well as general information that may be useful if you are thinking of renting offices in the city.
History & Geography
One of Japan’s most important cities, Osaka is located in the Kansai region of Honshu, the country’s largest island. On the west side of the city lies Osaka Bay and on every other side a series of smaller cities, which make up one of the largest urbanized areas in Japan. Osaka started life as a small fishing village by the third century AD had grown into an important port connecting the area to western Japan. The city grew further in importance when the Emperor Kotoku built his Naniwa Nagar-Toyosaki Palace in the city. Osaka continued in its role as an important port and was even made capital on several occasions. In 1570 Toyotomi Hideyoshi built the grandiose Osaka Castle. During this time Osaka was commercially the most important city in Japan with a large merchant class. By the 18th century it was the most prosperous city in the country and also had a thriving cultural scene and was known for its Kabuki theatres. In 1837 a low-ranking Samurai named Oshio Heihachiro led an insurrection in protest of the treatment of the poor of the city. Over a quarter of Osaka was destroyed in the ensuing conflict, however eventually the insurrection was put down and Heihachiro committed suicide. Towards the end of the 19th century Osaka went through a major expansion and industrialization. With these changes also came a wave of immigrants from Korea. For years Osaka battled the slums, unemployment and poverty that had come hand in hand with its industrialization, however there were mitigated by an organized system of poor relief, mainly copied from British methods. During WWII Osaka was heavily bombed by the USAAF and much of the city was destroyed. However after 1945 the city’s infrastructure was comprehensively rebuilt and today Osaka is Japan’s third largest city by population.
Osaka’s GDP regularly runs to over Y20 trillion. The main industries in the city are services, commerce and manufacturing, which account for over 60 percent of the city’s economy. Recently MasterCard ranked Osaka as 19th in the world among leading cities and determined that Osaka plays a key role in the global financial system. Almost from its inception Osaka has been Japan’s primary commercial city, with the first brokerage firm in Japan founded in Osaka in the 1920s. Osaka lies in the Hanshin Industrial Region, which is one of the most productive industrialized regions in the world. Production of electronics, metal and medical equipment are some of the most prolific in Asia. The city itself has also been a favored location for some of Japan’s largest companies to establish their headquarters. And while many of the city’s main companies have recently moved their headquarters to Tokyo, electronics giants Panasonic, Sharp and Sanyo all still have their headquarters in the city. The city is also home to the Osaka Securities Exchange which is the largest exchange in the country for startup companies. Like many wealthy commerce-driven cities Osaka has a high cost of living, recently being ranked the eighth most expensive city to live in the world and the second most expensive for expatriates.
Tourism & Culture
Osaka is not among Japan’s most visited cities, and cannot rival Tokyo and others for tourist numbers, however the city does have a thriving cultural scene, many historical monuments and sites and a lively nightlife. The area known as Den Den Town is the city’s electronic and anime/manga district and has a range of interesting shops and restaurants. Osaka is famous for its food, especially its regional specialty okonomiyaki, a pan-fried batter cake, and udon, a noodle dish. Of course the city also the ubiquitous oshizushi as well. Most tourists to the city will also want to see a traditional kabuki theatre, of which there many in Osaka, the most famous being Osaka Shouchiku-za theatre close to the main Namba train station. Osaka Castle is another popular tourist destination, and is one of the country’s most famous castles. Osaka also has a wealth of shrines, the most well-known of which are the Sanko Shrine and the Sumiyoshi Taisha. For those in search of more lively sites, the city’s red light district is in the Tobita section of the town and is notorious for its many brothels.
Osaka is served by two airports, both located some ways outside the city itself. Kansai International Airport is on an artificial island is Osaka Bay and handles most of the city’s international passenger traffic and some cargo traffic. The island is linked by bus and train service to the city. Osaka International Airport serves most of the domestic flights and some international cargo flights. Osaka also has a thriving port with various ferry services connecting the city to Shanghai, Tianjin, Korea and Taiwan. Osaka train station is served by Japan’s bullet trains, the Shinkansen, and connects the city to most of Japan’s major cities like Tokyo, Yokohama, Nagoya and Kyoto. The city itself is served by the Osaka Municipal Subway which is 8th in the world ranked by passenger ridership. The city also has an extensive bus network which covers most of the city.
Since Japan’s economy collapsed in the 1990s the average rent for Osaka Grade A office space has declined to below half of what it was. Currently the vacancy rate stands at approximately 10 percent, a number which is unlikely to improve when a raft of new supply hits the market in 2013. However lack of demand is seen as more of a problem than oversupply currently in the market.