All About Japan

McDonald's Celebrates Its 50th Year in Japan

Food & Drink Burgers

Can you believe that McDonald’s Japan is 50 years old this year? The company was founded in May 1971 as Nippon McDonald’s Holdings, Inc., and since then it has grown exponentially to offer its delicious staple and limited-time-only menu items all across the country.

To celebrate their 50th anniversary, they’ve dedicated a section of their website to commemorating their 50-year history, and also posted a time-hop video retrospective. The video covers the company’s history from the opening of the first-ever Japanese branch in Tokyo’s upscale Ginza district, shown here.

From there, the video takes us past other milestones for the chain in Japan, such as opening its first Japanese drive-through location (in 1977), the introduction of its beloved Tsukimi “Moon-Viewing” Burger (1991), the start of its home delivery service (2010, seven whole years before Uber Eats could bring you your McDonald’s fix in Japan), and the introduction of mobile ordering in all branches (2020).

McDonald’s Japan’s 50th-anniversary website also features a section titled “Memories,” with a photo-enhanced timeline of important moments in the chain’s history. For example, did you know that the first McDonald’s branch, which was located on the first floor of Ginza’s Mitsukoshi shopping center in Tokyo, had to be constructed in 39 hours, in between the shopping center’s operating hours so as not to obstruct its business? If you’re interested in learning about how quickly McDonald’s opened branches throughout Japan, when Chicken McNuggets were introduced, or when they started selling value sets and Happy Meals, you’ll find it all here.

The website’s “Road Trip” section allows you to drive a car along the path of McDonald’s Japan’s history. As the car that you control speeds along a highway for each decade, there are several points you can click on that will take you to different segments about the historical context of each decade, as well as the history of each of McDonald’s staple menu items. It’s like walking through a McDonald’s museum without even leaving your home.

There’s still a lot of content that hasn’t been unveiled yet, with updates promised throughout the year. McDonald’s restaurants will probably start offering 50th Anniversary menu items and special deals too, so we’ll be keeping an eye out for those too as the months go by. In the meantime, if reading all that makes you hungry, you can run to your nearest McDonald’s and enjoy the currently limited-time-only Chicken Burger with Rice Buns and Touch manga collaboration menu items to satisfy your “Makku” (or “Makudo” depending on your region of Japan) cravings!

Related stories:

McDonald’s offering massive 48-McNuggest bucket in Japan, but true idol fans need to eat 1,200
McDonald’s Japan debuts three new ingredients, limited-time burgers in new “hidden” campaign
McDonald’s and KFC Japan release new Tsukimi “moon-viewing” burgers for 2020
A flood of scooters at the drive-through marks the opening of Vietnam’s first McDonald’s