Mitsukoshi is one of Japan
's biggest retail
ers, as well as one of the world's oldest surviving companies (it was founded in 1673
). They operate seventeen department store
s in Japan, including four in Tokyo
. They also have stores in Dusseldorf
, Hong Kong
, and Taoyuan
Echigoya, Mitsukoshi's predecessor, was the most prestigious kimono store in Edo, and the very first to charge customers in-store (before then, kimonos would be delivered and billed to the customer for payment later). The top kabuki actors all bought their kimono at Echigoya. During the Meiji era, the old kimono shop transformed into a Western-style department store, Mitsukoshi, still retaining its reputation for excellent Japanese wear.
The Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923 leveled Mitsukoshi, but it was quickly rebuilt into one of the most impressive department stores in the world, Tokyo's equivalent of Harrods in London or Marshall Fields in Chicago. Today, it's one third store, one third restaurant, and one third museum, and a must-see if you go to Tokyo.
Mitsukoshi also holds the distinct honor of being the only business with its own station on the Tokyo subway, "Mitsukoshi-mae."