|Centrip Editorial Board
Kyouya: Gather around the fireplace and enjoy the local cuisine!
There are many new and stylish shops in Hida Takayama. Today we would like to introduce "Kyouya", a restaurant with an interior like an old-style Japanese house, serving the "real" local cuisine. It is only 15 minutes away from JR Takayama Station on foot.
Enjoying local dishes and Hida beef inside a Japanese old-style cottage
The building of "Kyouya" was originally a residence in Niigata prefecture, but was reconstructed in the place where it is located today. Who would have thought it possible to see a real historical Japanese-style house at a restaurant?
The tatami seats and Japanese-style fireplace give us a taste of what is to come.
Not only is there an English menu, but there are pictures to guide washoku (Japanese-style meal) beginners through the menu.
The "Hida Beef on Houba Miso Set Meal", the most popular dish on the menu, is a must-try. Houba (magnolia leaves) miso, is a local dish where you grill the Houba with miso, green onions, and shiitake mushrooms for topping. The scent of miso is the best accompaniment!
The small plate has tofu, koro-imo (small potatoes), and other edible wild plants simmered together. The delicious flavor of the soup sinking in is mouthwatering. I am sure this is what people call "local flavor"!
The staff stop by to stoke the fire and grill the meat for us. The staff point out that "some visitors may not know how it works".
What great service!
As I have made the time to visit Hida, I cannot go home without trying the Hida beef. Don't hesitate to order; the restaurant is an authorized dealer in Hida beef.
Enjoy the experience of grilling the Hida beef with your own hands! The best part is, that you are able to adjust your meat to either rare, medium, or well-done. You cannot imagine the feeling of the Hida beef melting in your mouth!
Other dishes, such as the Hida Beef soba and grilled homebred chicken, are also worth trying. Hida beef soba is not only about the soba; the taste of the meat is absorbed into the soup, and the whole thing warms you up. The fresh homebred chicken is great; once you add the miso into the mix, you won't be able to resist!
Okami-san's special hospitality
Many people visit Kyouya for the delicious meal, but there is more to it than just the meal; the "Okami-san" (Traditional Japanese- style waitress) greeting you in her uniquely convivial style. The Okami-san asked us how the food was and, of course, it was delicious. She also gave us some information regarding Takayama.
How does a Japanese Okami-san communicate with a foreigner?
The secret is inside the menu. There is a list of greetings in different languages.
The okami-san asks all foreigners where they come from. She then uses her hand-made dictionary to find the right words to greet the visitor! The translation dictionary becomes thicker and thicker as more travellers from different countries visit Kyouya. The menu (translator) must be a real lifesaver for her!
There are hints all around the restaurant that many foreign guests have come here and enjoyed the hospitality. Even though Japan does not have a culture of tipping, many of the travelers left tips to show gratitude to the okami-san for her wonderful hospitality. This is how the "wall of tips", a wall covered with money from variety of countries, was made.
Kyouya does not just entertain you with the vintage atmosphere and the delicious meal, but offers the heartwarming hospitality of the people living in Takayama. The billboard at the entrance says, "Senkyaku Banrai" (meaning "flourishing with various customers"), and you can hear many foreign languages at Kyouya during the evening. Be ready to enjoy the local cuisine and the okami-san's big smile.