The epicentre of Japanese cuisine in Hong Kong
Did you know that the centre of Hong Kong's ‘Little Ginza’ used to be right here? In 1978, Matsuzakaya Department store opened its doors and spearheaded a wave of Japanese retailers in Hong Kong, with Mitsukoshi opening in 1981, Yaohan in 1984, SOGO in 1985 and Isetan in 1987. These stores put Causeway Bay on the map as Hong Kong’s prime retail destination.
Bringing Japanese delicacies to town
Many Hongkongers got their first introduction to Japanese culture — from records, homeware, snacks, stationery and of course Japanese restaurants — right here. These shops were wildly popular, and snacking queues were often seen outside its four-storey tall podium building on Paterson Street.
It was not until the mid-1990s, several overseas retail shops decided to withdraw from the Hong Kong market in anticipation of the 1997 handover. Matsuzakaya was one of them and left Hong Kong in 1998 after 20 years of business.
Matsuzayaka’s wartime connection
Matsuzayaka’s entry to Hong Kong in 1978 was actually its second foray into the city. During the Japanese Occupation, from 1943 to 1945, the Japanese military government took over Lane Crawford’s store at Central and gave its operating rights to Matsuzayaka, which was one of the few western-style department stores in Japan back then.