Suehiro Shrine at Hayashi Department Store in Tainan City, Taiwan

Located in Tainan City’s historic downtown, the Hayashi Department Store is the oldest operating department store in Taiwan, and the second ever opened. Since its reopening in 2014, Tainan City locals and tourists alike have flocked to peruse its local and limited edition goods, get a coffee and bite to eat in one of its two cafés, or ride its elevator, one of the oldest in Taiwan, which has an old-fashioned indicator dial and tiled floor. 

On the roof of the department store, a Shinto shrine greets visitors. Built in 1933, six months after the building’s original opening, a traditional torii gate frames the shrine and looks across the skyline. Originally dedicated to the patron god of the store, it now stands as a reminder of Taiwan’s history as a Japanese colonial possession. 

Within sight of the shrine, a hole in the building’s facade dating from WWII-era American bombings is a further reminder of Taiwan’s history.

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