Tell us about the history of Kyoya and your specialty.
Kyoya restaurant was founded by my mother in 1979. Since then more than 40 years have passed and I am now managing the restaurant with her. I think what’s special about Kyoya is the building and our traditional Takayama cuisine. The restaurant still preserves the atmosphere of old Japanese wood buildings and our recipes are all based on Takayama local cuisine.
During the years of your activity do you have a memory with a customer or an event in particular that would you like to share?
Did you know, for example, that “Obrigado” is Brazil’s “thank you” or that in Italy to say: <did you eat well?> you say: <Avete mangiato bene?>. At first, we didn't know any foreigner words, so we asked, in English, to people from various countries about their greeting words and we wrote down what we heard in Katakana syllabary. Even if it’s a single word it's fun to be able to talk with your customers. You can also see a lot of different bills from various countries on the wall. Overseas, people use to leave the tip when they go to a restaurant, but we don’t have this habit in Japan, so when I explained that to one of my customers, he said: <Keep my country’s money as a souvenir.> Since then one after another, people from different countries have left us their bills as a souvenir.
I remember one episode in particular with a smile on my face. I had a group of customers from Italy sit in the tatami room and after finishing to serve all the dishes, I noticed everyone did not took off their shoes! In japan we use to take off our shoes especially when we enter a tatami room, but in Italy it’s different. It was interesting for me to see firsthand how culture can differ from country to country.
Let us hear about a place you would recommend in Takayama
There are several rivers in Takayama and along the riverside a lot of different kind of trees are planted. Depending on the season, you can see cherry blossoms or red leaves. I think it's very nice to walk there and feel the Japanese natural atmosphere.
About the coronavirus (COVID-19) what are the measures you are using?
We have spray disinfectant in several places of the restaurant, we use masks and we have our customers to sit at proper distance from one another.
Finally, do you have a message to say to the people who are reading this interview?
We are waiting for you at Kyoya, come again to Hida Takayama!