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Kobe Office Space Guide

[Updated Oct 2020] A guide to serviced offices and office space for rent in Kobe as well as general information that may be useful if you are considering renting office space in the city.

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History & Geography

The fifth-largest city in Japan is located on the southern end of Honshu Island, sitting between the coast and the mountains. Kobe is 19 miles west of Osaka, while to the east lies the city of Akashi. Kobe has long been an important port and during the Nara and Heian Periods lasting until the end of the 12th century, was known as Owada Anchorage. During this time the city was an important port and the origin of many diplomatic missions to China. During the Kamakura Period, up to the mid-point of the 14th century, the city’s port continued to grow in importance mostly off the back of trade with China. The acquired the name Hyogo Port during this time. However, the city remained divided into different areas and suburbs during the Edo Period until the late 19th century. The centre of what is now Kobe was controlled by the Tokugawa Shogunate, while the east was under the Amagasaki Domain and the west under the Akashi Domain. It wasn’t until 1871 that the city became one entity. The government of Bakufu opened up the port to foreign trade in 1868 just prior to the Meiji Restoration, the period of time which saw the Emperor of Japan restored to his former power and the Samurai abolished as a class. The city was named Kobe in 1889, a name derived from the name of those who worshipped at the famous Ikuta Shrine in the city. Kobe was heavily bombed during WWII, but the damage was completely repaired after the war. In 1995 however, the city was devastated by an earthquake measuring 7.2 on the Richter Scale. Prior to the earthquake, Kobe’s port was the busiest in Japan, but it fell to fourth busiest due to damage to port facilities during the quake. It is currently the 49th busiest container port in the world.


Kobe is one of the most economically dynamic cities in Japan. From its beginnings, Kobe has always thrived on the trade that has come to the city through its advantageously located port. Today the port is the busiest container port in the entire region, surpassing even local rival Osaka. Ships from all over the world offload and take on products in Kobe and the port is a major contributor to the city’s economy. Kobe has a GDP of approximately 6.3 trillion Yen which accounts for about eight percent of the total economy of the Kansai region. Per capita income in the city stands at approximately 2.7 million Yen. Kobe has a large service sector which employs over 70 percent of the city’s workforce. Kobe is also a large manufacturing centre and exports about 2.5 billion Yen worth of goods every year. Among the main goods produced in Kobe are small appliances, transportation equipment and food products. Several major Japanese companies are headquartered in Kobe, among these are ASICS, Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Mitsubishi Electric, Kobe Steel, and TOA Corporation. Many international corporations have their far east headquarters in the city, including Nestle, Procter & Gamble and Tempur-Pedic.

Tourism & Culture

Kobe does not have the tourism industry that some of Japan’s other cities like Tokyo and Sapporo have, but it has a strong cultural identity and no lack of visitors from both inside Japan and the wider world. Kobe is perhaps best known for Kobe beef, the prized cuts considered a delicacy around the world. The beef is renowned for its succulent flavour and fatty, marbled texture. Kobe is also well-known in Japan for being a centre of fashion and design. The Japanese even have a saying, “if you can’t go to Paris, go to Kobe”. The biannual Kobe Fashion Week always attracts visitors from around Asia and the rest of the world. The city is also known to be a centre of jazz, and the festival Kobe Jazz Street is held every year to celebrate the genre. Kobe also has a glut of museums for culture vultures. The two most popular are undoubtedly the Kobe City Museum and the Kobe City Museum of Literature. One of the largest tourist attractions in the city is the Kitano quarter of the city. In this area, there are a large number of foreign houses from the late Meiji era.


Osaka International Airport is the largest airport in the area. However, Kobe Airport is closer and sees almost as much traffic. Kobe Airport is located on an artificial island just off the coast and is accessible by train, shuttle, and car. The largest train station in Kobe is Sannomiya Station. The station serves as a transfer hub for three major distinct lines. The city is also served by the Kobe Electric Railway, which provides connections to the city of Sanda and Arima Onsen. Kobe also has a comprehensive bus network as well as an efficient taxi service.

Office space for rent in Kobe

Kobe is currently leading the way in Japan as far as vacancy rates are concerned. Recently vacancy rates in the city dropped by 1.5 percent and forecasters say they could continue to drop steadily. This leaves the city with a vacancy rate of 4.1 percent, the lowest in Japan. The country recently elected a new government who have instituted pro-inflation measures in a country that has been suffering from both falling wages and falling prices for years. Japan’s new Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is aiming to rehabilitate what is one of the world’s largest economies, but one that has been ailing in recent decades.

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