Today I managed to track down the original Nintendo HQ building in Kyōto. I say original, but really it’s the building built in 1933 when the company had become known as the Yamauchi Nintendo & Co. and were manufacturing hanafuda for the local yakuza with whom they were extremely popular at the time. He original HQ was in an office block and has since been bulldozed.
Here’s a photo of me outside.
Here’s a photo of the Japanese sign, which doesn’t mean a lot to me.
I decided not to push my luck and try to get inside the building, like this guy did.
It has become a bit of a pilgrimage for fans of Nintendo and video games in general, offering a little more history than the more modern HQ across town. It’s a really understated trip and if you didn’t know what you were looking for you’d probably not even realise it was there. Nobody in the area seems to care about it and unlike everywhere else in Japan it’s really easy to get a good photograph next to it.
The full address is: Kagiyacho (Shomendori), Shimogyo Ward, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture 600-8126, Japan. This is very walkable from Kyōto Station. It is located here (courtesy of Google Maps):
It meant a lot to me to visit it, having enjoyed Nintendo games throughout my life and still getting joy from them today. Whilst I perhaps can’t dedicate days at a time to their latest releases as I did with Super Mario Bros. 3 in 1991, the fond memories I have over the years will never die and made the trip worthwhile.
A must for all video games fans visiting Japan!