Andres Iniesta said it was "special" to face former club Barcelona in a friendly in Tokyo on Tuesday as he prepares to leave Japan and continue his illustrious playing career elsewhere.

Iniesta made over 600 appearances for Barcelona, winning the Champions League four times and claiming nine La Liga titles before joining Japan's Vissel Kobe in 2018.

The 39-year-old will leave Kobe after five years next month and has said he intends to keep playing but does not know where his next move will be.

Iniesta started in midfield as Kobe lost 2-0 to Barcelona at Tokyo's National Stadium, failing to get on the scoresheet but hitting the side-netting with a first-half shot.

He left the pitch in the 80th minute to warm applause before being given a hug on the touchline from Barcelona manager and former midfield partner Xavi.

"Everything about it was great," said Iniesta.

"This game was about saying goodbye to the Japanese fans and paying my respects in giving back what they have given to me.

"I was able to achieve that so I'm very happy."

Iniesta and Xavi once ruled European football as Barcelona's midfield engine room and the two shared an emotional embrace as Iniesta left the pitch.

"Iniesta is now a veteran but he still showed in the game the quality he has," said Xavi.

"For me he is always a fantastic player and someone who has been great for Spain and Barcelona."

The game kicked off less than 48 hours after Barcelona completed their domestic season, which saw them win the La Liga title 10 points ahead of Real Madrid.

Franck Kessie and Eric Garcia were on target for Barca, who arrived in Tokyo less than 24 hours before kick-off.

Iniesta joined Vissel in 2018 on a three-year deal with a reported annual salary of $30 million, which he extended in May 2021.

He won Japan's domestic Emperor's Cup in 2019 and led Vissel to the semi-finals of the Asian Champions League a year later.

But he has made only three substitute appearances totalling 38 minutes this term for Vissel.

"The respect I felt from everyone, the way I have been treated by the fans, the experience over these five years -- they have become a part of my life," he said.

"It was a special feeling."

Iniesta's last game for Kobe will be at home to Consadole Sapporo in the J-League on July 1.