Japan is home to some of the oldest companies in the world. This isn’t surprising at all considering it is among the oldest countries with a long-running economy. Thus, the country is home to companies that have seen centuries (more than 1,000 years old), and most are still running successfully. If you are interested in knowing about these companies, then detailed below are the ten oldest companies in Japan.
Ten Oldest Companies In Japan
We have used multiple sources to prepare our list of the ten oldest companies in Japan. The list is based on the company’s year of establishment. Following are the ten oldest companies in Japan:
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Takahan Ryokan (945 years)
Founded in the year 1075, it is a traditional Japanese hotel (ryokan). This hotel features an onsen (bath) called "Tamago no Yu," of which source are natural hot springs. Takahan gets about 20,000 visitors a year, and a significant number come to soak in Tamago no Yu. An interesting fact about this hotel is that Yasunari Kawabata based the book Snow Country on the location of this ryokan. Even now the hotel has preserved the room in which Kawabata stayed.
Shumiya-Shinbutsuguten (996 years)
Founded in the year 1024, it is a Japanese religious goods company. It specializes in Buddhist shrines, decorations, or other similar religious products. Along with clothing for monks, the company also makes funeral-related goods and tombstones. Also, it offers items for Shinto shrines and ceremonies.
Ichimonjiya Wasuke (1,020 years)
Founded in the year 1000, it is a traditional Japanese confectionary company that is operated by the 24th generation of the same family. It was originally founded to offer refreshments to pilgrims visiting the nearby Imamiya Shrine, a holy place founded in 994. Over the years, the company has made slight changes to how it works. Originally, it used the water from a small spring in the shop's cellar, but it ceased use of it after local health officials stopped permission of the use of well water.
Nakamura Shaji (1,050 years)
Founded in year 970, it is a Japanese construction company. Technically, it is the oldest construction company in the world, considering Kongō Gumi doesn’t actively operate. So, it is the oldest active construction company in the world. The company specializes in wood working. Nakamura Shaji has made many classic Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines.
Tanaka-Iga (1,135 years)
Founded in the year 885, it is a Japanese Religious goods company. It is the oldest known business to sell Buddhist goods, and likely the oldest store that doesn’t sell food or drinks. This company manufactures most of the products that it sells, including butsudan shrines that are used in many Japanese homes. It is located in the Japanese city of Kyoto, and Masakazu Tanaka is its 70th-generation president.
Genda Shigyō (1,249 years)
Founded in the year 771, it is a Japanese ceremonial paper goods company. It also holds the title of the longest-running paper distribution company in the world. The company prints ceremonial paper products, including wedding cards. Also, it does gift wrapping using sophisticated paper designs, and it specializes in twisting paper into cords. It also makes congratulatory gifts using mizuhiki.
Hōshi Ryokan (1,302 years)
Founded in 718, it is a traditional Japanese hotel (ryokan). It is located in the Awazu Onsen area of Komatsu. This hotel was built over a natural hot spring in Awazu. The Hoshi family has been managing this hotel for forty-six generations. Over the centuries, this hotel has been visited by the Japanese Imperial Family and many great artists. There was even a short documentary on this hotel shot in 2014 by the German filmmaker Fritz Schumann.
Koman (1,303 years)
Founded in 717, it is a traditional Japanese hotel. This hotel has seen more than 46 generations. The hotel has a traditional wooden building. If you want to experience traditional Japanese-style accommodation, then this is the place to visit. The hotel features tatami straw mats and kaiseki-ryori (multi-course meals), while the rooms are designed after traditional Japanese tea ceremony rooms. This hotel is located in the center of the town.
Nishiyama Onsen Keiunkan (1,315 years)
Founded in 705 AD by Fujiwara Mahito, it is a hot spring hotel in Hayakawa. It is the oldest hotel in the world. Also, it is technically the oldest company in the world and Japan because Kongō Gumi was acquired in 2006. The Guinness World Records recognized it as the oldest hotel in the world in 2011. This hotel has 37 rooms, a restaurant, as well as a moon-viewing platform. Also, it features public and private hot spring baths.
Kongō Gumi (1,442 years)
Founded in the year 578, it is not just Japan’s oldest company, but the oldest company worldwide. It is a Japanese construction company. A point to note is that the company underwent liquidation in 2006, but one can still find its remnants around. The company, however, is not technically active anymore. In 2006, it became the subsidiary of the Takamatsu Construction Group. This company was founded about 100 years after the fall of the Roman Empire.