The Oldest Companies Still Operating Today

The Stiftskeller St. Peter is a restaurant within St. Peter's Archabbey in Salzburg, Austria.
The Stiftskeller St. Peter is a restaurant within St. Peter's Archabbey in Salzburg, Austria.

To be considered an old company, an organization must be in operation since its foundation and for longer than 200 years. These companies do not include educational institutions, government, or religious institutions. Around the world, there are over 5,500 companies that fit this description. These companies are located in several countries, including Japan (3,146), Germany (837), the Netherlands (222), and France (196). This article takes a closer look at some of the oldest companies still operating in the world today.

The Oldest Companies Still Operating Today

Kongo Gumi

Kongo Gumi, established in 578 AD, is the oldest, continually operating company in the world. Its headquarters are located in Osaka, Japan. This construction company was founded by an immigrant, who was commissioned by Prince Shotoku to build the Shitennō-ji Buddhist temple. Kongo Gumi was a family-run company for around 1,400 years until 2006, when the company struggled financially and became a subsidiary of Takamatsu. Before the merger, it employed over 100 individuals and had an annual budget of around $70 million. It continues to specialize in Buddhist temples today.

Nishiyama Onsen Keiunkan

The second oldest company in the world is Nishiyama Onsen Keiunkan, a hot spring hotel in Hayakawa, Japan. It was founded in 705 AD. In 2011, it was recognized by the Guinness Book of Records as the world's oldest hotel. This 37-room hotel has been managed for over 1,300 years by the same family. It is located near the Akaishi mountains and derives its hot water from the nearby Hakuho Springs.


Founded in 707 AD, the Koman Hotel is the third oldest company in the world. It is a ryokan or a traditional Japanese Hotel. It has communal baths and rooms with tatami mats. It was established by Gonnokami Hiuke, who was inspired to start the hotel after dreaming of four gods. In his dream, the gods told him he must live in that location to protect his family over the generations. He built a shrine dedicated to the Gods on the hotel's premise. His descendants went on to open bathhouses In Kinosaki Onsen located nearby.


Hoshi Ryokan is another traditional Japanese hotel which was founded in 718 AD, making it the fourth oldest company in the world and the third oldest hotel. It is located in the Awazu Onse region of the Ishikawa prefecture in Japan. Management of this hotel has stayed in the same family for 46 generations.

Genda Shigyo

Genda Shigyo, a ceremonial paper goods company, was founded in 771 AD. In 794, it moved its headquarters to Kyoto when the city became the capital of Japan. Today, its offices can be found between the Kyoto Imperial Palace and Nijo Castle. This company specializes in mizuhiki, colorful paper twisted into cords. These cords are used at events such as funerals and weddings.

Stiftskeller St. Peter

Stiftskeller St. Peter is the 6th oldest company in the world and the first on the list to be located outside of Japan. This restaurant can be found in the city of Salzburg in Austria. It is the oldest restaurant in the world and the oldest company in Europe. Stiftskeller St. Peter was founded in 803 AD within the monastery of St. Peter’s Archabbey. The restaurant claims to have served several famous individuals over the last few centuries, including Christopher Columbus and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

The chart published below offers a more complete list of the oldest companies in the world.

The Oldest Companies Still Operating Today

RankYear EstablishedCompanyCurrent locationField
1578Kongō GumiJapanConstruction
2705Nishiyama Onsen KeiunkanJapanHotel
4718Hōshi RyokanJapanHotel
5771Genda ShigyōJapanCeremonial paper goods
6803Stiftskeller St. PeterAustriaRestaurant
7862Staffelter HofGermanyWine
8885Tanaka-IgaJapanReligious goods
9900Sean's BarIrelandPub
10953The Bingley ArmsUKPub
11970Nakamura ShajiJapanConstruction
121000Château de GoulaineFranceWine
131000Marinelli Bell FoundryItalyFoundry
141000Ichimonjiya WasukeJapanConfectionery
151024Shumiya-ShinbutsugutenJapanReligious goods
181068Otterton MillUKMill
191074Affligem breweryBelgiumBrewery
201074Benediktinerstift AdmontAustriaWoodworking

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