The city of Kobe developed alongside its port, which played a key role in Japan’s modernization. In addition to heavy industries such as ship-building and steel-making, Kobe is home to a wide range of supporting industries including machinery and metalworking. In recent years Kobe has experienced remarkable development in its cluster of medical research institutes and corporations (especially in the field of regenerative medicine), computational science technology driven by supercomputers, and disaster risk reduction.
The capital of Hyogo Prefecture, Kobe is one of Japan’s principal ports and grew during the period of Japan’s modernization. Around the 19th century, when this port city was an important conduit between Japan and the rest of the world, it developed a distinctly Western flavor as foreign settlements were built.
The South Hyogo coastal area, with the port of Kobe at its heart, is one of Japan’s leading industrial zones and a center of heavy and chemical industries including ship-building, steel-making and metalworking. For this reason, the “electrical machinery & automotive” and “chemicals & materials” categories figure prominently in the industry profile below.
By contrast, central and northern Hyogo Prefecture are characterized by a thriving agricultural sector producing rice, vegetables, and world-renowned Kobe beef.
In recent years a large area of reclaimed land has been used to create a medical industry cluster featuring cutting-edge research and incubation centers as well as offices of domestic and international companies. This area is still developing as a global medical industry hub, especially in the field of regenerative medicine.