I was fortunate to get a sneak preview of Hayashi Hyakkaten, commonly called Lin Department Store (林百貨), a Japanese era department store which, sadly, saw very little commerce since its heydey in the 1930’s.
Shortly after opening in 1932, the Pacific War in 1941 soon brought financial hardship then closure to the elegant, Japanese run store.
Damaged during the war, the building changed ownership many times but never regained its former glory. Presently, the city government’s renovations are nearing completion and the beautifully restored building will serve as a culture showcase of some sort.
Besides the amazing architecture, the building’s claim to fame is its elevator. It is the first elevator to be built in Tainan, the second in Taiwan (by a matter of days) and now the oldest existing elevator in Taiwan. The elevator has been restored and some of the work was overseen by one of the original contractors, now 100 years old!
Lin Department store is on the corner of Zhongyi and Zhongzheng Roads — once the poshest shopping district in Tainan.
Lin Department Store: No. 63, Section 2, Zhōngyì Rd, Zhongxi District, Tainan City, 700 (忠義路二段63號)