The Nintendo Uji Ogura Plant in Kyoto, which is to be the site of the new museum, is one of Nintendo’s older factories. Constructed in 1969, the Uji Ogura Plant was used to make playing cards and hanafuda cards, a traditional game played in Japan and throughout Asia that is sometimes referred to as “the battle of the flowers” for its floral designs, as well as for product repairs. The building has been vacant since these functions were transferred to a new Uji plant in 2016.
Nintendo, which began as a producer of playing cards in 1889, has achieved success with its game consoles as well as with the Mario, Legend of Zelda, and Pokémon media franchises.
In 2020 Nintendo was named Japan’s richest company. The release of the new game Animal Crossing: New Horizons coincided with the pandemic lockdown, which contributed to record sales of the Nintendo Switch handheld gaming system. Profits increased by 34% as the company earned over $16 billion in sales.
Pokémon playing cards have also found renewed interest during the pandemic, with a rare sealed Pokémon card set fetching $408,000 at Heritage Auctions in Dallas, Texas.
The museum, tentatively titled the Nintendo Gallery, will showcase the company’s historic products as well as related exhibits and game experiences. It is slated to open in 2024.