Businesses That Have Been Around for Over 1000 Years

Oldest Businesses That Have Been Around for Over 1000 Years


Have you heard of companies like Kongo Gumi, Sean’s Bar, and The Royal Mint? What do they have in common? They are businesses that have survived wars, revolutions, and technological advancements for centuries. These are the world’s oldest businesses. They are like living relics, storehouses of centuries of knowledge, tradition, and expertise.

Each of these companies will tell a story about the need for constant adaptation & evolution and their determination to succeed. From family ventures or local artisans to global empires, these businesses have witnessed history unfolding. 

What is their secret? Let’s dive in.

Business Name Establishing Year Country Industry
Kongo Gumi 578 AD Japan Construction
Nishiyama Onsen Keiunkan 705 AD Japan Hospitality (Hotel)
Genda Shigyō Paper Industries 771 AD Japan Paper Mill
St. Peter Stiftskulinarium 803 AD Austria Restaurant
Staffelter Hof 862 AD Germany Vineyard
Monnaie de Paris 864 AD France Mint
Tanaka Iga 885 AD Japan Pottery
The Royal Mint 886 AD United Kingdom Mint
Sean’s Bar 900 AD Ireland Tavern

Kongo Gumi

Establishing Year: 578 AD

Kongo Gumi-2, Oldest Businesses in the world

The Past

Kongo Gumi is an organisation that has been in operation for more than 14 centuries. It has withstood the havoc created by two atomic bombs. Established in 578 AD in Osaka, Japan, it was a family-run company for its entire history. Its history is over 1,400 years and it embodies the spirit of Japanese craftsmanship and tradition. Initially, the company was a construction firm specialising in building Buddhist temples.

The company’s foundation coincided with the establishment of Buddhism as a dominant religion in Japan. It led to an increased demand for temple construction and provided Kongo Gumi with an ideal opportunity to establish its expertise in this specialised field. The company remained strong while facing political turmoil and natural disasters that threatened the very existence of the company’s projects and infrastructure, cementing its worth as one of the world’s oldest businesses.

The Present

Kongo Gumi’s business philosophy of blending tradition and innovation and embracing the values of the past while adapting to the demands of the present has helped ensure its relevance and long-term viability. The company’s craftsmen are called “miya-daiku.” They have upheld the woodworking traditions and passed down their skills from generation to generation. 

While focusing on its traditions, the company is also embracing innovation, adopting new technologies, exploring global markets, and diversifying its offerings. However, in 2006, the company faced financial challenges that led to its acquisition by Takamatsu Construction Group.

Nishiyama Onsen Keiunkan 

Establishing Year: 705 AD

Nishiyama Onsen Keiunkam, Oldest Businesses in the world

The Past

Nishiyama Onsen Keiunkan has a history of over 1300 years and it has been certified as the oldest hotel in the world by the Guinness Book of World Records. It’s a gorgeous ‘Ryokan’ (traditional Japanese inn) situated in the serene natural landscape of Yamanashi Prefecture that has several natural attractions in the immediate vicinity.

Fujiwara Mahito established this business. He wanted to offer a refuge for people. The hotel still proudly embraces and upholds traditional Japanese culture in its architecture, gastronomy, hospitality and other special touches that are part of every guest experience. It is yet another business that has been handed down from one generation to another for over 50 generations. Hence, making it one of the world’s oldest businesses.

The Present

Even in these changing times, the hotel has been able to smoothly combine antiquated customs with contemporary amenities without compromising on the relaxing and calm ambience. The hotel markets the hot springs and nearby attractions such as Mt. Fuji and the Jigokudani Monkey Park.

Genda Shigyō Paper Industries 

Establishing Year: 771 AD

Genda Shigyō Paper Industries, Oldest Businesses in the world

The Past

The company dates back to 771 AD and was founded in the Nara era of Japanese history. It was a little paper mill located in the lush woodlands of what is now Nara Prefecture. The company created fine handmade paper, or “washi” by employing age-old methods that have been handed down through the centuries. Moreover, the company became one of the world’s oldest businesses by enduring several hardships throughout its history such as natural catastrophes, wars, and economic upheaval.

The Present

The company is a symbol of resilience and adaptability as it has seamlessly integrated traditional craftsmanship with contemporary technology, ensuring the production of high-quality washi paper that meets the demands of today’s market. Furthermore, it leverages its rich history and embraces sustainable practices to carve a niche for itself in local and international markets and cater to a diverse clientele that knows the importance and values the qualities of handmade paper.

Also Read: Top Eight Sustainable Cities In The World

St. Peter Stiftskulinarium

Establishing Year: 803 AD

St. Peter Stifs Kulinarium, Oldest Businesses in the world

The Past

St. Peter Stiftskulinarium is located in the centre of Salzburg, Austria. Established in the year 803 AD by Benedictine monks inside St. Peter’s Abbey, this restaurant has survived for more than 1,200 years and represents the culinary abundance of Austria. Additionally, the restaurant is the perfect blend of gourmet cuisine, good vibes, and wine & music culture all await guests within the ancient walls of Salzburg’s old town.

The Present

The restaurant’s eleven uniquely furnished and distinct dining rooms are located within the St. Peter’s Abbey complex, each with its own fascinating story. Whether it is the open-air lounge in the inner courtyard, the festive ambience of the Baroque Hall, or the elegant atmosphere of the Richardstube- the monastery’s former wine cellar; there is a place for every taste and occasion.

Staffelter Hof 

Establishing Year: 862 AD

Staffelter Hof, Oldest Businesses in the world

The Past

There are many beautiful vineyards in the world and Staffelter Hof is one of the oldest vineyards in the world. Located in the German town of Krov and established in 862 AD, the enterprise has endured more than 1150 years embodying the abundant wine legacy of the Mosel area. Since its foundation, the vineyard has been crafting well-recognised wines. It also presents the winery’s selections from crisp Rieslings to beautiful Pinot Noirs.

The Present

From its establishment until now, Staffelter Hof has dedicated itself to providing quality and workmanship throughout the ages and integrating advancement in winemaking methods. Today Jan Matthias Klein, the seventh-generation descendant of Schneider Klein is producing wine the old-fashioned way without additives. With his career stints at wineries in France, New Zealand, and Australia, Klein has returned to the vineyard to introduce organically grown wines to the region.

He introduced organic growing practices at Staffelter Hof in 2011. The winery has been eco-certified by the European Organic Certifiers Council since 2012. Furthermore,  the winery also hosts a full calendar of cultural events including tours, tastings, musical performances, curated luncheons, and guided hikes.

Monnaie de Paris

Establishing Year: 864 AD

Monnaie de Paris, Oldest Businesses in the world

The Past

The Monnaie de Paris is a government-owned institution responsible for producing France’s coins. It is one of the oldest mints that is still operational. Monnaie de Paris was founded by King Charles the Bald in 864 AD. The institution has been influencing coinage history for more than 1,150 years and represents the rich numismatic legacy of France.

The Pessac factory (Gironde) has been manufacturing coins since 1973 from cutting out the blanks to the final conditioning. It also manufactures collective currencies in gold and silver, the programmes of which are approved every year by the government.

The Present

Today, Monnaie de Paris is the cornerstone of French coinage. However, it produces currency not only for France but for other countries as well. The institution has expanded its operations beyond mere coin production to items like commemorative coins and medals, which are sought out by collectors around the world.

Furthermore, the institution operates as a museum that frequently hosts exhibitions, workshops, and educational programs to engage the public with the art and science of numismatics. The institution uses modern technology in its production processes, ensuring high standards of precision and quality. Additionally, it has ventured into the realm of luxury goods, creating intricate pieces of jewellery and art objects, thereby expanding its brands and diversifying its offerings.

Must Read: Top 5 Most Expensive Luxury Shoe Brands In The World

Tanaka Iga

Establishing Year: 885 AD

Tanaka Iga, Oldest Businesses in the world

The Past

Founded in AD 885, Tanaka Iga is one of the oldest businesses in Japan that remains operational to date, with a millennium-long history. The company was a modest maker of “Iga-yaki,” a traditional Japanese pottery famous for its unique design and workmanship. What makes the company, the world’s oldest business is how quickly it adjusted to shifts in the country’s society, economics, and technology. Tanaka Iga was committed to preserving the craftsmanship of Iga-yaki pottery in the face of obstacles such as wars, natural catastrophes, and economic changes.

The Present

The company has blended tradition with innovation and continues to produce high-quality Iga-yaki pottery. It has forayed into creating contemporary products such as stylish tableware, cookware, and decorative items. Additionally, the company follows eco-friendly practices in the production process to ensure sustainable operations for future generations. It also offers workshops, exhibitions, and educational programs to foster a deep appreciation for the craft.

Must Read: Explore These Green Gems: Top Eco-Friendly Travel Destinations

The Royal Mint

Establishing Year: 886 AD

The Royal Mint, Oldest Businesses in the world

The Past

The Royal Mint, established in 886 AD symbolises perseverance and its influence spanned centuries across British history. Alfred the Great used The Royal Mint as a way to standardise coinage. It was essential for a country that was recovering from the turmoil caused by Viking invasions. Moreover, the mint has endured hurdles and hardships over time such as changes in the political landscape, technological advancement, and economic variations. 

Despite all these obstacles, The Royal Mint has retained its status as the cornerstone of the British monetary system. Furthermore, overcoming all the obstacles has cemented The Royal Mint’s presence as one of the world’s oldest businesses.

The Present

The company has been at the forefront of innovation, developing cutting-edge metalworking and coin manufacturing methods. It still thrives today by using cutting-edge technology while maintaining its high-quality standards. The Royal Mint also offers thrilling tours, exhibitions, and coin hunts. Its impact goes well beyond the field of numismatics and impacts the development of the British economy and beyond.

Sean’s Bar

Establishing Year: 900 AD

Sean’s Bar, Oldest Businesses in the world

The Past

Ireland has a lot of taverns and in those taverns, Sean’s Bar is the world’s oldest tavern. It is nestled in Athlone, Ireland along the banks of the River Shannon. The bar’s history can be traced back to 900 AD, and it is a symbol of Ireland’s rich cultural legacy. There’s the unmistakable smell of hops and barely. The tavern has a subdued ambience with the glow of the fire, and the nooks and crannies of snugly fitting seats. Moreover, the best part is the walls and wooden beams, which are covered with memorabilia, maps, letters, poems, and nautical charts.

The Present

The Pub has been listed in both “25 of the Most Incredible Bars in the World” and “50 Bars to Blow Your Mind” by Lonely Planet. Moreover, it has been recognised by the Guinness Book of Records as Ireland’s Oldest Pub. Today, Sean’s Bar has become popular with tourists for its coffee and beer and performances of traditional Irish music. The pub has become a protected structure so no alteration is allowed to the main bar.

The Bottom Line

So, here are the world’s oldest businesses that have survived through centuries, showcasing their resilience, adaptation, and rich history. The article showcases the past and current status of these businesses, providing insights into their longevity and enduring success.

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