What Nintendo HQ Looked Like in 1889

A new photo of what Nintendo's headquarters looked like in 1889 shows the fascinating origin of the Big N.

An ongoing historical project (via Kotaku) has unearthed a picture of Nintendo’s first headquarters in Kyoto, Japan. The picture is from 1889, the year the company was founded.

Below you can see the photo of Kyoto’s Marufuku Nintendo Card Company HQ:

Those Nintendo fans looking to visit the original HQ will unfortunately be unable to. The structure was demolished and replaced with a parking lot in 2004.

Nintendo was founded by Fusajiro Yamauchi, who originally ran a cement company called Haiko. Interestingly enough, Nintendo stayed a family business until 2002 when Yamauchi’s great-grandson, Hiroshi, retired from the company. In case you’re interested, you can still get Haiko cement today.

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Before the Big N entered the video game business, it explored several other ventures. In its earliest incarnation, the company was a manufacturer of Hanafuda playing cards, which are used for many different Japanese card games. Later ventures included a taxi company, a chain of love hotels (exactly what you think they are), a TV network, and selling instant rice. 

In 1966, Nintendo entered the toy business with the Ultra Hand, an extendable arm type thing. Just 11 years later, Nintendo would release its very first home console, the Color TV-Game. This was also around the time legendary developer Shigeru Miyamoto was hired by the company.

The company released the Game & Watch handheld in 1979 and the Famicom in 1983. The rest, as they say, is history.