Tell us about the history of Yamakyu and your specialty.
Next year it will be Yamakyu’s 50th anniversary. Originally my husband's mother was doing lodging, and from there we decided to change it to a Japanese inn (Ryokan). Usually when you take a hotel you will have a regular bed and your own bath. The idea, at Yamakyu, is to give our customers a chance to experience Japanese style inn. When you come to Yamakyu, you'll be guided to a really simple Japanese-style room with futon beds. The bath is shared with other customers and in spite being embarrassed people eventually get used to it and are quite happy of experiencing Japanese style bath.
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?
We often get SNS, emails and photos from our customers. Also, we have a positive TripAdvisor rank since 2012. The ratio of overseas customers is increasing by 10% every year, and it was about 45% last year. The repeat customers are numerous as well. I am very thankful to them. I think they probably love our traditional food and a calm atmosphere that let them take a break from the big cities. Often, from Australia, we have students coming here on their school trip to visit Japan and to experience our customs and culture. It is usually a surprise for them to sleep in group of 4 or 5 students per room or take a bath together. At first, they are very shy about it, but in the end, they enjoy the experience.
Let us hear about a place you would recommend in Takayama
I definitely recommend Hida folk village or Shirakawago. Also, inside the city, the old town or Higashiyama route. Usually foreign customers enjoy walking a lot. I think they can observe nature, especially during spring or autumn and they can feel the atmosphere of Japan there.
About the coronavirus (COVID-19) what are the measures you are using?
We are closed now. We will be opening from June 6th. The restaurant space will be separated by tapestry to make it like private rooms. We are also planning to divide large bedrooms in smaller ones. Disinfectant is also prepared at various places and there is a vinyl sheet on the front desk. Staff also wear masks.
Finally, do you have a message to say to the people who are reading this interview?
We are looking forward to meet you again