The meals that sumo wrestlers eat are called "chanko" regardless of their content and, among these, hot pot dishes enjoy a especially good reputation for being delicious. In this article we will feature 5 restaurants specializing in chanko hot pot located in Ryogoku, the center of sumo in Tokyo.
1. "Kirishima," a restaurant serving authentic chanko hot pot transmitted directly from the Michinoku stable
*The Michinoku Stable is a stable of sumo wrestlers.
While there are many chanko restaurants in Ryogoku, this big restaurant offers the largest number of seats among them all. "Kirishima" is ran by ex-sumo wrestler Kirishima, and it offers the traditional flavor of chanko hot pot as transmitted directly from the "Michinoku Stable," a famous stable for sumo wrestlers. It is equipped with 320 seats, and it has enough capacity to hold banquets for groups of a maximum of 60 people. The soup, made with the broth of thoroughly boiled pork and chicken bones, is the result of thorough research and has a light taste. Their menu is available in English as well and, since their staff members can speak English, they receive many customer from abroad. Here you can enjoy a chanko hot pot without having to worry about communication.
Chanko hot pot: 3,030 JPY per person (tax included.)
2. "Tomoegata," a restaurant where you can also savor authentic Japanese cuisine
"Tomoegata" is a long-established chanko hot pot restaurant that has been around for 40 years. Here you can enjoy not only their delicious chanko, made with their special secret broth, but you can also indulge in exquisite "kappo ryori" (a type of traditional Japanese cuisine) made by a chef specialized in "washoku." It opens for lunch too, so you can enjoy a chanko hot pot for lunch. You will not be able to help but to become addicted to their slightly sweet secret broth.
Tachiyama Chanko: starts at 3,132 JPY per person (tax included.)
3. "Kawasaki," a long-established restaurant with a calm atmosphere
Founded in 1937, "Kawasaki," with its calm atmosphere, is probably the longest standing chanko restaurant in Ryogoku. The flavors created by the original founder, an ex-sumo wrestler, have been passed down for generations, and it is popular for its "nadai chanko," made with broth obtained from thoroughly boiling chicken bones, which is also known as "soppu taki." You can get a feeling of the Japanese culture by just visiting this historical restaurant, said to be the first one to serve chanko, originally a meal for sumo wrestlers only, to the general public. The hot pot uses plenty of vegetables, which makes it a very healthy dish.
Nadai chanko: 3,132 JPY per person (tax included.)
4. "Ami," a restaurant where you can have the rare dish "yakichanko" (grilled chanko)
"Ami" is a popular chanko restaurant that has been featured on many television programs. Its main attraction is the rare "yakichanko" dish. As the fire is turned on in the hot pot, a column of flames rises from it in an outstanding view. Their "Isegahama-beya chanko," which comes with plenty of meat balls made with chicken, is very popular as well and, besides chanko dishes, they also offer pork shabu shabu. Please note that reservations are required for the "yakichanko," so make sure to let them know in advance if you will be ordering it when you call to reserve your table.
Yakichanko: 2,880 JPY per person (tax included.) Reservations required.
5. Sumo Ring and fun shows at "Hana no Mai" Ryogokukokugikan-mae
"Hana no Mai" is an izakaya chain with restaurants all over Japan, but the Ryogokukokugikan-mae branch is the only one that offers chanko hot pot in the menu, and many tourists come here looking forward to an attraction that cannot be found anywhere else. This attraction is a real sumo ring located inside the restaurant, in which shows featuring traditional performance arts such as "sumo jinku" (sumo-themed songs sang by sumo wrestlers) and "taiko" (drum performances) are held, allowing customers to enjoy Japanese culture while they have their meal. In addition, the inside of the restaurant is designed to recreate a town during the Edo period, so you can enjoy the illusion of having traveled back in time to the ancient Japan. It is also nice that their chanko hot pot has a rather low price.
Chicken chanko: 972 JPY per person (tax included.)
Since chanko hot pot is a traditional meal eaten by sumo wrestlers, it is very rich in nutrients. When you come to Japan, be sure to not only get to know Japanese culture, but also to enjoy a highly nutritious and delicious chanko hot pot.
*Please note that the prices and other information in the article may not be the most up-to-date information.