Port CityA global city that has grown as an international trading port

In 1868, Kobe became a major international trading port. Today, it is a cosmopolitan city, home to 1.5 million people from more than 130 countries, as well as global organisations and companies. It is fast becoming the city of choice for those attracted by its history, innovation and international mindset.

Historical industrial city

With the opening of Kobe’s port, many corporations expanded internationally - including Suzuki Shoten, which became Japan’s most successful trading company at that time - driving the city’s economy and turning Kobe into an industrial powerhouse. Although heavy industry and manufacturing is still a key part of its economy, in the 1990s city officials started investing in new fields such as medical care and IT, turning Kobe into a leading centre for technological advances and innovation.

Historical industrial city

Increasing international organisation presence

Starting with the inauguration of the WHO Centre for Health Development (WHO Kobe Centre - WKC)*1 in 1996, and the UNDRR*2 chose Kobe as the location for its Japan office in 2007. In 2020, UNOPS*3 launched its first Global Innovation Centre (GIC Japan) in Asia in the city.

  • *1Established as an integral part of the WHO Headquarters, conducting research to achieve sustainable Universal Health Coverage (UHC).
  • *2United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction. Works on building an international disaster prevention cooperation system and supporting disaster prevention policies in each country.
  • *3United Nations Office for Project Services. Emergency support for conflict and disaster areas, promotion of innovation by investing in the private sector, etc.
Increasing international organisation presence

City of choice

  • *42019 World Living Environment Survey, Mercer
  • *5Statistics on International Conferences, Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO)
  • *6“INVEST IN KOBE”, Kobe Enterprise Promotion Bureau
City of choice



techno ocean network
official travel guide of kobe