I’ve been a Nintendo fan for 30 years, and I was in Kyoto for the first time. Well I had to go to Nintendo, didn’t I?
First stop was very hard to find, and Google (at least in English) was very little help. I wanted to see the oldest surviving Nintendo building, buried in the backstreets of a now largely residential area of Kyoto.
After some research (largely machine translating Japanese walking tour maps), I worked out it was somewhere near here, which was around 15 minutes walk from the apartment we were staying in.
So we set off the next morning. After a lot of wandering in the freezing cold winter air, we found it!
Built in 1933, it sits on the same land as the original headquarters from 1889. While nicely designed with lots of detailed flourishes, it’s an otherwise relatively nondescript building. Except for two plaques:
The sign references Japanese playing cards ‘Karuta’ (かるた) and western playing cards ‘Trump’ (トランプ – Toranpu)
This was their playing card factory and distribution centre before they became a larger toy company, and it has stayed in company hands.
I took a peek inside as well, it is clearly well maintained and clean, and in some form of use.
It appears to have been maintained perfectly from the 1933 until today.
The next stop would be much easier to find. It was about 40 minutes walk away through residential and industrial areas, though we stopped in at a couple of Kyoto’s famous temples along the way.
Until it appeared…
Two blocks away there is the other monolith, the new development building.
Not too much to see, you’re not allowed in either building. But they do have a nice big sign at the development centre.