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, 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.This 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 employs over 100 individuals and has 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 and in 2011 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, where its hot water originates in the nearby Hakuho Springs.
Founded in 707 AD, the Koman Hotel is the third oldest company in the world. This hotel is a ryokan, or traditional Japanese Hotel. This means the hotel has communal baths and rooms with tatami mats. It was established by Gonnokami Hiuke, who became inspired to start the hotel after dreaming of 4 gods. In his dream, the gods told him he must live in that location in order to protect his family's safety over the generations. He built a shrine to the Gods on the hotel's premise. His descendants went on to open bathhouses In Kinosaki Onsen nearby.
What is the Oldest Company Still in Operation?
Not including educational, government, or religious institutions, a Japanese company called Kongo Gumi is the oldest continually operating company today. The company was established in 578 AD and remained in operation until the year 2006. The second oldest company in the world is Nishiyama Onsen Keiunkan, a hot spring hotel in Hayakawa, Japan. It was founded in 705 AD and has been in operation for more than 1,300 years.
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, a ceremonial paper goods company, was founded in 771 AD. In 794, it moved its headquarters to Kyoto, when that 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 chords 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, includingChristopher 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
|Rank||Year Established||Company||Current location||Field|
|2||705||Nishiyama Onsen Keiunkan||Japan||Hotel|
|5||771||Genda Shigyō||Japan||Ceremonial paper goods|
|6||803||Stiftskeller St. Peter||Austria||Restaurant|
|10||953||The Bingley Arms||UK||Pub|
|12||1000||Château de Goulaine||France||Wine|
|13||1000||Marinelli Bell Foundry||Italy||Foundry|