How to Start a Business in Japan: Spotlight on Kyoto
(Kyoto Prefecture business support services for solopreneurs and SMEs of all shapes and sizes)
By Doc Kane
Updated April 22, 2021
Whether you’re looking to start a business in Japan’s Kyoto prefecture, or grow an SME already located in beautiful Kansai, this growing list of resources should help. Want me to feature you on this list? Please reach out. Don’t forget to explore Shiga. It’s a speedy train ride away, much quiter, and more affordable than Kyoto. Definitely worth a look-see.
Starting a Business in Kyoto?
Ask the Government
Get help from prefectural establishments geared interested in attracting and keeping SMEs in Kyoto.
Look to Private Industry
Work with those already in the trenches and develop the resources that will help you and Kyoto grow together.
If you need physical office or manufacturing space for your business in Japan, Kyoto has tech parks, and plenty of other commerical real estate to assist you in your venture.
Starting from Scratch?
Working on a Startup in Kyoto? Let’s see who is here to help you pull that off.
Where should you start a business in Kyoto Prefecture?
(Kyoto’s biggest cities are: Kyōto, Uji, Kameoka, Maizuru, Nagaokakyō, Fukuchiyama, Kizugawa, Jōyō, Kyōtanabe, and Yawata)
Howdy, all, I’m Doc. I live in the beautiful port city of Kobe, JAPAN. I launched this site to help others interested in working with, or starting, a business in Japan.
We all wear different hats, my job is to help you find the one that fits you best. Thanks for reading, and go get ’em!
Entrepreneurial Business Support, and Brainstorming Prompts to Help You Start a Business in Kyoto Prefecture
- Kyoto Startup Summer School (KS3)
- Innovation Hub Kyoto
- Kyoto Research Park
- The Kyoto Model (Research Publication about sucessful Kyoto companies like Kyocera Corp., Omron Corp., Murata Manufacturing Co., Rohm Co. and Horiba Ltd.)
- “Successful Startups Prove Traditional Kyoto Culture Can Power Innovation,” from Forbes.
- Hachise (Real Estate firm focusing on Kyo-Machiya—website in English. Good with a saw? Good with managing a team? Worth considering…)
- STARTUP Blink, Kyoto
- Kyoto Design Lab
- Kyoto’s Emerging IT sector (Steal ideas and inspiration!)
- Interesting in running your own guesthouse in Japan? Check out this enterprising woman from Taiwan who did just that!
- Keihanna Global Demo Startup Day in Kyoto Smart City Expo
- Plug and Play Global VC Accelerator in Kyoto
- Kyoto Overseas Business Center
- Startup Factory, Kyoto (Run by the Ministry of Economy, Trade & Industry——METI)
- HVC Kyoto (Kyoto Research Park)
- JETRO, Kyoto
- Foreign Capital Investment Invitation (Kyoto Prefecture)
- Innovation Capitol, Kyoto (Downloadable brochure from the Kyoto Overseas Business Center. **File opens on click.)
- Need to book a business hotel in near Kyoto? Booking.com has some of the most useful search tools and access to a large inventory of properties. It’s the only tool I use when traveling in and out of Japan.
Labor Force (2015)
Number of Establishments (2014)
More Kyoto Area Business Resources
Business Incentives in Kyoto
Real Estate and Finance in Kyoto
Travel to Kyoto | Life in Kyoto
Want to explore business opportunities in all eight regions of Japan? Visit our regional resource collections below. (Only Kansai is live at the moment, more coming as things develop throughout 2021!)
Start Your Business in the Kinki Region’s, Kyoto, Today.
Let’s Build Something Together
Kansai is my home base in Japan, and I love it here. I think you will too. I’ve done my best to include a variety of resources here that might help you launch, or grow a business in our beautiful Kansai region, but if I’ve missed something, or if you’re looking for something in particular, please reach out and I’ll see what I can do to help.
I need help recruiting experienced and new staff...
Throughout 2020, I’ll be fleshing out these individual sections on each prefectural page. In this section I’m going to cover mid-career recruiting here in Japan, as well as some of the work I’m doing with my SkilledJapan.com service.
If you’re a recruiter, and would like to be interviewed for this page, or are interested in sponsoring this section, please reach out via the Nihon Hustle contact form on the left side of this page.
What industrial clusters are common in Kyoto?
There numerous industrial clusters throughout the Kansai / Kyoto region. Below are a few of our more prominent sectors:
◇ Kyoto University Office of Society-Academica Collaboration for Innovation, which pursues joint research through national and international academic, government, and industry bodies.
◇ Kyoto University Academic Center for Computing and Media Studies: Conducting R&D in four areas: High-speed information network systems, large-scale, high-speed supercomputing systems, various information systems leveraging on multimedia, and digitizing and archiving of academic resources.
◇ The Keihanna Center for New Industry Creation and Exchange, which focuses on research that takes place in Science City and can be developed into business ventures and industries. Support is available for local venture start-ups as well as SMEs from surrounding areas.
Source: JETRO, Kyoto
What are some of the largest overseas firms in Kyoto?
Below is a very short list of overseas companies doing business throughout Kyoto. Over time, I’ll build this resource out.
Omron Network Applications
Macrogen Japan, Corporation
Are there venture funds, or private investors for startups in the area?
Members of the Japan Venture Capital Association are understandably active throughout the Kansai region, including Kyoto. Below are a few VC firms that consistently pop up on the radar in Kyoto and in nearby Osaka. If you would like to be listed here, or are interesting in our sponsorship package, just reach out using the Nihon Hustle contact form on the left of this page.
- Future Venture Capital Co., Ltd
- Monozukuri Venture Funds
- The Crunchbase list of active investors in Kyoto prefecture
Do you have any prefecture-agnostic (but specific) resources available?
Yes! On our resources page you can find all sorts of research, case studies, guides, stories, and links that might help you further research your market here in Japan.
Do you recommend any tools for businesses?
I do, actually. All of the tools I use personally in my business, or that I have reviewed and tested, are on my Toolbox page.