Lead-free relaxor ferroelectrics that feature a core-shell microstructure provide an excellent electromechanical response. They even have the potential to replace the environmentally hazardous lead-zirconia-titanate (PZT) in large strain actuation applications. Although the dielectric properties of core-shell ceramics have been extensively investigated, their piezoelectric properties are not yet well understood. To unravel the interfacial core-shell interaction, we studied the relaxation behaviour of field-induced ferroelectric domains in 0.75Bi 1/2Na 1/2TiO 3-0.25SrTiO 3 (BNT-25ST), as a typical core-shell bulk material, using a piezoresponse force microscope. We found that after poling, lateral domains emerged at the core-shell interface and propagated to the shell region. Phase field simulations showed that the increased electrical potential beneath the core is responsible for the in-plane domain evolution. Our results imply that the field-induced domains act as pivotal points at the coherent heterophase core-shell interface, reinforcing the phase transition in the non-polar shell and thus promoting the giant strain.