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This Japanese Shop Is 1,020 Years Old. It Knows a Bit About Surviving Crises

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KYOTO, Japan — Naomi Hasegawa’s family sells toasted mochi out of a small, cedar-timbered shop next to a rambling old shrine in Kyoto. The family started the business to provide refreshments to weary travelers coming from across Japan to pray for pandemic relief — in the year 1000.

Now, more than a millennium later, a new disease has devastated the economy in the ancient capital, as its once reliable stream of tourists has evaporated. But Ms. Hasegawa is not concerned about her enterprise’s finances.

Like many businesses in Japan, her family’s shop, Ichiwa, takes the long view — albeit longer than most. By putting tradition and stability over profit and growth, Ichiwa has weathered wars, plagues, natural disasters, and the rise and fall of empires. Through it all, its rice flour cakes have remained the same.

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Ichiwa has been selling grilled rice flour cakes to travelers in Kyoto, Japan, for a thousand years.

Ichikawa has been selling grilled rice flour cakes to travelers in Kyoto, Japan, for a thousand years. Credit…Hiroko Masuike/The New York Times

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Click the link below for the article:

https://www.nytimes.com

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