Tell us about the history of Heianraku and your specialty.
The restaurant was founded by my husband’s father in 1963. It has been more than 55 years since then. It has always been a Chinese cuisine restaurant. At that time there weren't many Chinese restaurants in Takayama so everyone was still not used to it. There were good times and bad times, but we kept on going and it worked out in the end. Gradually customers started to come from overseas as well.
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?
At first, I didn’t expect foreign customers to come to Japan to eat Chinese cuisine, so I was surprised. We didn't speak much English so it was difficult to communicate. On top of that, customers from overseas used to make a lot of questions about the menu and they often asked to change something about a dish.
During that time, one day, a customer from overseas ordered sukiyaki, but he also said that he was vegetarian. I had never heard of vegetarian sukiyaki, so I couldn't prepare it that day. However, I asked him to come the next day and got ready to prepare it properly. Back then I was surprised. I honestly thought that foreign customers were quite difficult to handle, but over the years we realized that it was a matter of cultural difference. Depending on people backgrounds it is normal to ask question or be more direct with others. After that, we started to enjoy our job more because we were able to understand our customer requests better than before.
Let us hear about a place you would recommend in Takayama
The old town at night. Also, Higashiyama route and Sanfukuji areas are interesting. Those are places with just ordinary houses, but if you take a walk and watch at the long-established farmhouses you can feel the atmosphere of Japan looking at the people working over there.
About the coronavirus (COVID-19) what are the measures you are using?
We are learning English conversation. The menu is also in English and it is made of plastic label that is easy to clean.
Finally, do you have a message to say to the people who are reading this interview?
Enjoy yourself at home, see you next time!