Working in Kobe?

Connect with fellow expats in Kobe
Join exciting events and groups
Get information in our Kobe guides
Exchange tips about expat life in Kobe

Working in Kobe

Although the service sector is the largest, the industrial sector also plays a vital role in the Kobe’s economy. Expats who want to work in Kobe will need a work permit and it must be taken care of prior to their move to Japan. Check out our Expat Guide for more information about working in Kobe.

Local Economy

In terms of employment, the service sector is the largest in Kobe, and employs 78% of the population. The industrial sector is the second largest at 21%, and the agricultural sector third largest at 1%. Much of the economy is based around the port, which is the largest in the region and the fourth busiest in Japan. Many corporations have headquarters in the city, including Mitsubishi Electric, Sumitomo Rubber Industries, Kawasaki Heavy Industries, and Nestlé. Expatriates working in Kobe are usually employed in the service sector for a major corporation or as English teachers.

Work Permits for Kobe

Expatriates wanting to work in Kobe will need a work permit. Work permits are only issued to foreigners that have already secured work in Kobe, and your prospective employer will need to support your application by providing a Certificate of Eligibility, which the expatriate will then use to apply for the work permit at their local embassy or consulate. Therefore work permits must be applied for before moving to Japan. There are twelve different types of Japanese work permits, each for a different kind of role, so check with your local embassy to find out which one you will need.

Income Taxation in Kobe

Expatriates living and working in Kobe will be required to pay both income tax and residential tax. Expatriates living and working in Kobe are put into one of three categories regarding income tax:

  • Non-resident: an expatriate that has lived in Japan for less than one year and is not based there. Non-residents are taxed at Japanese rates on their Japanese income only.
  • Non-permanent resident: an expatriate that has lived in Japan for fewer than five years and does not intend to become a permanent resident. Non-permanent residents are taxed at Japanese rates on all income except on that which comes from abroad and is not sent to Japan.
  • Permanent resident: an expatriate that has lived in Japan for over five years or has the intention of permanently staying in Japan. Permanent residents are taxed at Japanese rates on their worldwide income.

The income tax rates for 2015 are as follows:

  • Less than 1.95 million JPY: 5% of taxable income
  • 1.95 to 3.3 million JPY: 10% of taxable income exceeding 1.95 million JPY plus 97,500 JPY
  • 3.3 to 6.95 million JPY: 20% of taxable income exceeding 3.3 million JPY plus 232,500 JPY
  • 6.95 to 9 million JPY: 23% of taxable income exceeding 6.95 million JPY plus 962,500 JPY
  • 9 to 18 million JPY: 33% of taxable income exceeding 9 million JPY plus 1,434,000 JPY
  • More than 18 million JPY: 40% of taxable income exceeding 18 million JPY plus 4,404,000 JPY

Residential tax is income tax that is paid at a prefectural and municipal level, and adds around another 10% to your income tax bill depending on your personal circumstances.

Jacques Paillard

"Even in remote locations apart from the big Kansai cities, it is easy to find great expat contacts because of the quality of members on InterNations."

Victoria Arrington

"The information on InterNations and the help of the local expat community are a real time-saver when moving abroad to Japan."

Global Expat Guide