Ichizo Kobayashi (1873–1957)
Founder and “idea man” behind various lifestyle cultures
Hankyu’s founder, Ichizo Kobayashi, independently created the prototype of a private Japanese railway management model that promoted integrated urban development and distribution businesses for increased synergy with railways. As populations increased from regional development along railway lines, new opportunities for meeting the needs of residents arose.
Mr. Kobayashi took advantage of those opportunities through transportation railway businesses, residential area real estate businesses, retail businesses, and entertainment businesses, including the renowned Takarazuka Revue.
Under a “Public-First” principle focusing on business that directly affects the lives of the public, Mr. Kobayashi has strived to adopt an active, service-oriented spirit to create an ideal, connected lifestyle, such as by introducing convenient housing in friendly neighborhoods with department store shopping, enjoyable theater, and an overall improved comfort of living.
Such a new urban-living lifestyle was born out of the footsteps of entrepreneur Ichizo Kobayashi, who sought to elevate the dreams of the public. The life rule adopted by Mr. Kobayashi — of “Enriching people’s lives through business”— has become a fundamental idea of Hankyu.
The Revolutionization of Japanese Department Stores
In 1925, Hankyu Market — the predecessor of Hankyu Department Store—opened in Umeda as a directly-managed market division of Hankyu Corporation (then Hanshin KyukoRailway Company) under Ichizo Kobayashi. Then, in April 1929, Hankyu Department Store was established as the world’s first railway terminal department store. Many Japanese department stores of that time began as kimono shops, and no department store anywhere else in the world was directly operated by a railway company.
With two floors underground and eight aboveground, the large Hankyu Department Store attracted shoppers from all over the country.
Although today it is not unusual to see department stores near railway stations around the world, Hankyu Department Store was the very first, establishing Osaka’s Umeda area as an important part of shopping history.
In April 1947, Hankyu Department Store separated from Hankyu Corporation to become Hankyu Department Stores, Inc. (currently Hankyu Hanshin Department Stores, Inc.) and grew to include department stores throughout both the Kansai and Kanto regions.
Creating a Department Store Where Enjoyment Is Key
Renovation of the flagship store, Hankyu Umeda Main Store, began in 2005. After seven years, Hankyu Umeda Main store re-opened in 2012 as a location for enjoying not just shopping but cultural experiences under a concept of a more enjoyable lifestyle and an enriched appreciation for life with a brighter tomorrow.
This new focus included “Lifestyle and Cultural Value” instead of products, “Valuable Experiences” instead of shopping, “Personal Value” instead of social trends, “Future Value” instead of value limited to the present, and “Unique Value” instead of the ordinary. In this way, Hankyu became a source of both products and services with a new sense of value wrapped in enjoyment.
The new building included the expansive SHUKUSAI Plaza with a 4-story aerial space and a large screen, the large Hankyu Umeda Hall cultural exchange space, and Coto Coto Stage customer-participation sales areas on each floor. The design embodies a novel approach that allows customers to enjoy a “theater-like shopping experience” with products provided as entertainment.
Welcoming some 50 million visitors every year, Hankyu Umeda Main Store has grown to become one of the largest department stores in all of Japan.
With the 2025 Osaka Expo just around the corner, Osaka is a destination city with the potential for significant changes going forward. The city also boasts the highest growth rate of foreign tourists and is currently being developed as a prime integrated resort (IR) area.
These facts accentuate the appeal of the Hankyu Umeda Main Store, which has ever pursued superior richness while providing a sense of longing, unique experiences, and essential information to customers. Going forward, we will remain dedicated to becoming the world’s premier enjoyment-based department store.
A Wonderful Shopping Experience
At Hankyu Department Store, enjoyment is key.
We are dedicated to making the lives of customers more enjoyable and to enriching the hearts of visitors. As part of this pursuit of extraordinary richness, we will continue to provide a sense of longing, unique experiences, and essential information in order to create a new lifestyle culture.
We hope you enjoy shopping as you explore the gorgeous, luxurious Hankyu Umeda Main Store.
Directly connected to Osaka-umeda Station, Hankyu Umeda Main Store is a
landmark terminal department store in Osaka’s Kita / Umeda area and loved by locals throughout the
Spanning 2 floors underground and 13 aboveground, the store boasts world-renowned luxury fashion brands and one of Japan’s largest beauty and cosmetic departments as well as two food floors and two restaurant floors. No matter the purpose, visitors have a wide selection of both dining and shopping products.