Visiting the World's Oldest Still-Operating Business

But how do you define “business”?


Well, OK. ?What about prostitution. That certainly has existed for more than a couple thousand years. One can hardly expect the same owner but the practice hasn’t changed any over the millennia. The Jews had temple prostitutes - and probably still do. The Greeks and Romans did. ?Why shouldn’t they qualify as the “world’s oldest business”.

The video was using “business” in the sense of a firm, as opposed to an occupation. Nishiyama Onsen Keiunkan has not only been in operation as a hotel since A.D. 705, until recently it was owned and operated by 52 generations of the same family.


No, I get that. It’s just that a “profession” is often a business too. It would be unlikely to find ANY business owned by the same family for 1400 years. For one thing, nothing local survives that long. Businesses not only change, but so do locales.

But prostitution is prostitution. It is everywhere and its “business model” is the same everywhere - it’s just that the owners “change hands” periodically. Now you could say a Chinese restaurant is the same, but it’s not. The menus are different from place to place, the availability is different, some go under while others last much longer - depending usually upon the quality of the product they provide, locations change. Even Chinatown in a city will “move’ over time. But there are no inherent differences in prostitutes’ offerings, nor of the business model, for all these years.

?Are you considering only that if the same whorehouse was run in the same place by the same “family” would it fit your definition.

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