The Chinese restaurant ‘Heichinrou’ located in Yokohama shut its door after 138 years, filing for bankruptcy protection on Thursday.
In Yokohama’s Chinatown, the restaurant named “Heichinrou” a 138-year-old Japanese Chinese restaurant, was the latest business to succumb to the coronavirus pandemic, applying for bankruptcy protection. The Japans Oldest Chinese Restaurant Closes Doors After 138 Years due to difficulties faced in pandemic.
On its website, the restaurant claimed to be Japan’s oldest Chinese restaurant, managed to open in 1884 and catering to foreigners who moved to the port city during the Meiji Restoration.
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic’s difficulties, the restaurant’s main branch which is infamous Yokohama’s Chinatown filed for bankruptcy upon the request of creditors with the total debt expected to exceed 300 million yen (Approx $2.3 million), reported Teikoku Databank.
The “Heichinrou” was famous for its authentic Cantonese cuisine, and a big lure for tourists from all around Japan as well as from other countries. but due to government orders to restrict opening hours, eating and drinking places have been hit particularly hard by the pandemic, resulting in 536 failures in the industry, or approximately 15% of the 3,468 bankruptcies nationwide, reported Teikoku Databank.
According to Teikoku Databank, the restaurant’s sales peaked at 10.8 billion yen by the end of March 2007, but dropped to 6.5 billion yen in the fiscal year ending March 2016, as high overhead costs and the economic collapse took their toll. The coronavirus-related drop in sales was the final straw, and the main branch closed on May 15. However, the other Heichinrou branches which are located in Tokyo, Osaka, and Kitakyushu are managed by a separate corporation and will continue to operate.