The purposes of his ar idle are o inves iga e he changes in geographical dis ribu ion of the impor -expor_??_ firms during the last one hundred years, and to relate these changes to the process of development of the central business district (CBD) in Kobe. During the period from 1868 to 1899 the residential quarter for foreigners, which later became a foreign trade district, had been divided into 126 lots delineated on the basis of the European-style planning. Trading firms, financial and insurance businesses, information and transportation services, and a self-governing institution, were closely located each other, and they formed special business district isolated from the main built-up area of Kobe city. Therefore, Kobe city had had two core areas specialized in administration and retail trade in the west and in wholesale and import-export business in the east until World War II (Fig. 1). In 1919, 70% of the import-export firms located in the former foreigners' quarter were owned by aliens. Thereafter, a mixed land use district with factories, import-export firms and workers' housing were developed on the east of the foreigners' quarter. A trade business district with a large number of import-export firms, financial and insurance businesses, and transportation facilities was formed on the west of the quarter (Fig. 2). The locations of import-export firms at the time of 1936 were on the southern side of the National Railway line extending from the Kobe station to the Shin-Ikuta River, where a number of tall buildings had been built; and this district almost coincides with the boundary of the CBD in 1970 delineated by Komori, et al. (1970) (Fig. 3). In 1977, import-export firms extended to the east and north compared with their distribution before the War. The CBD delineated by Komori et al. (1979) also showed its extention to the east and north. Therefore, it can be said that the location of import-export firms has played an important role in the formation of the CBD (Fig. 4). After World War II, the western core has gradully declined in consequence of the fact that the administrative organizations such as City Hall had moved to the former foreigners' quarter. The factor that changed the structure of Kobe city from two-cored to one-cored city, was the large-scaled redevelopment program of the CBD carried out, to a large extent, by the governmental investiment. Chronological changes in total floor space of banks, offices, retail and department stores, and warehouses are investigated for the seven districts of the CBD (Fig. 5), and the seven districts are classified into the following five specialized areas (Fig. 6): (1) the old international trade area (districts A and B), (2) the retail business area (districts C and D), (3) the new international trade area (district E), (4) the restaurant and amusement area (district F), and (5) the administrative and retail area (district G). From these examinations, it can be concluded that the nucleus of the present CBD is the former foreigners' quarter and the import-export firms have played an important role in the formation of the foreign trade districts within the CBD.