The automobile repair shop Yamasan is celebrating its 60th. anniversary this year. Located just off Meiji-dori Avenue in Minamisuna, the business has a long-established reputation for providing a variety of high-quality automotive services to local people and local companies. On a recent afternoon, I dropped in for a chat with sales section chief Mr. Maeda.
“Basically, there are three different components to our business,” said the ebullient Mr. Maeda. “We have a liquefied petroleum gas stand, perform car maintenance and repairs and run a taxi company. The car repair and taxi company started in October 1958 and thanks to the continued support of our customers we’re celebrating our anniversary. I’m in charge of planning events for the anniversary.”
“The automobile service side has two main parts: repairs and servicing. We’re an officially designated site for the motor vehicle examination program (“shaken” in Japanese) and handle around 2,000 cars a year,” says Mr. Maeda. Two thousand cars a year is a remarkable number, I realise. How is it possible?
“Our customers are both local people and businesses that have large numbers of vehicles. Unlike most repair shops we have ten lifts, which allows our staff to work quickly and efficiently. Also, we are open Saturdays, Sundays, and all national holidays. The only time we close is for New Year.”
“Our staff of mechanics are vastly experienced and can handle pretty much every kind of car, domestic or foreign, hybrid vehicles, and small trucks. Whether it’s maintenance, repairs or the full motor vehicle examination, we’re always ready to serve. If your car is warehoused in the garage for vehicle inspection certification or panel replacement, then we offer customers free use of a loaner car or electric bicycle. Our prices are very competitive as well.”
The various lifts are indeed filled with luxury imported cars, family cars, and hybrids. “Many of our customers are local families with young children,” says Mr. Maeda. The company is offering a variety of special offers to tie in with the anniversary. Please check out the Yamasan website for more information.
Even late on a Friday afternoon, the spacious garage area is a hive of industry. Here the brake test rollers await the next car.
In a separate area, black-clad mechanics work on repairs.
From scratches, dents and bumper scuffs to major surgery, Yamasan offers a wide range of repairs at affordable prices. There’s even a speed course that will have you back on the road in 45 minutes!
The proficient mechanics work briskly, with no wasted movement.
The distinctive Yamasan logo is instantly recognizable, particularly to residents of east Tokyo, from the fleet of over 160 taxis that ply the streets of the capital. The company is also heavily involved in community activities. There is an annual charity bazaar and this year Yamasan will have a presence at the Koto Kumin Matsuri, the spectacular festival held in Kiba Park every October that attracts upwards of 400,000 people for a weekend of entertainment, food, drink, and community activity. Yamasan is also looking forward to the 2020 Olympics. Busy but exciting times for the company. And what about the name? “Apparently when the company began three of the original founders had the Japanese word for mountain, “yama,” as part of their surnames. Someone suggested Yamasan as the title for the new business and it stuck,” says Mr. Maeda.
Whatever your automotive needs, Yamasan is the place to go in Koto-ku.
Story and Photos by Stephen Spencer