By: George Liao, Taiwan News, Staff Writer
“When I was small, my father used to take me there for elevator rides,” an octogenarian citizen said, pointing at the building of Hayashi Department Store in Tainan City.
The classic department store building, known to older Tainan people as “The Five-Stories-House,” is located in downtown Tainan at the intersection of Zhongyi Road and Zhongzheng Road. Before it was reopened in 2014 as a department store again, it had been deserted for decades.
In fact, Hayashi Department Store played an important role in the development of Taiwan’s department store industry.
The department store was founded by Japanese businessman Hayashi Houichi. It formally opened on December 5, 1932 during Japanese rule, just days after the first department store in Taiwan, Kikumoto Department Store, opened in Taipei City.
Thus Hayashi Department Store became the second large department store in Taiwan, as well as the largest department store in southern Taiwan, equipped with facilities such as an elevator, hand-rolling gates, lamps, lightning rods and flush toilets, which were all very advanced back in the early days. It is also the only department store in Taiwan that has a Japanese shrine on its rooftop. [FULL STORY]