5 Restaurants in Tokyo with Delicious Chankonabe! Taste the Authentic Flavor from Sumo Stables
Chankonabe, a dish that is packed with nutrients from the great balance of meat and vegetables, is the ideal hotpot for cold winter weather when your immune system needs a boost. Here are five recommended restaurants where you can try this dish that has deep connections to the unique Japanese martial art: sumo.
What is Chankonabe?
Chankonabe refers to a hotpot dish eaten by sumo wrestlers. There are various different flavors such as soy sauce, miso, and salt. There are no specific ingredients, but the dish is to build stamina before a match, so it’s common to use plenty of ingredients that are packed with nutrition, such as vegetables and chicken. It’s not uncommon for chankonabe establishments to be opened by retired sumo wrestlers where they serve up flavors they used to eat themselves at the sumo training quarters. In Ryogoku, where the Kokugikan Sumo Arena and many sumo training quarters are located, there is an especially large number of chankonabe restaurants.
Chanko Masuiyama is run by a former ozeki (“champion”, second-highest rank after yokozuna or “grand champion”). This is a popular restaurant that has earned the Michelin Tokyo “Bib Gourmand” four years in a row. The proprietor serves a soy sauce-based chankonabe that he ate during the years he was actively competing. The recommendation here is the standard course which costs 5,500 JPY (excl. tax), in which you can try the famous “Tsukune Shoyu Chanko”. The charm of this restaurant is that you can eat a meal while experiencing the impressive atmosphere of a sumo training quarters. The restaurant interior is a remodeled training quarters and the “dohyo” (sumo wrestling ring) has actually been preserved.
2. Chanko Dojo Ryogoku Ekimae
Chanko Dojo is a restaurant in Ryogoku, the home of chankonabe. This is a restaurant where you can try a reasonably priced chankonabe in comfort. You can enjoy the extravagant “Yokozuna Chanko” for 2,630 JPY (incl. tax) per person. This chankonabe consists of a soup seasoned with soy sauce that contains a variety of ingredients, such as tsukune (chicken meatballs) tsumire (fish dumplings), chicken, shrimp, and crab. There is a vast selection of dry, fruity, smooth, and mellow sake and shochu that pair excellently with chankonabe. The restaurant is decorated with photos of sumo and paper lanterns and overflows with the friendly atmosphere of the traditional downtown area to really liven up the mood of the evening.
3. Sadokura Ryogokuten
This chankonabe restaurant is located a 2-minute walk from Ryogoku Station and is run directly by a fishmonger. Here you can try a chankonabe which uses plenty of fresh seafood selected personally by the restaurant manager. The “Nabe Course” at 4,500 JPY (excl. tax) includes a total of 9 dishes in which you can enjoy a seafood nabe that is loaded with snow crab, sablefish, scallop, shrimp and more. This is a great bargain as it also includes 2 hours of all-you-can-drink. Enjoy a drink of local sake that pairs well with the fresh seafood from Niigata Prefecture used in this chankonabe.
4. Chanko Terukuni
Chanko Terukuni is a chankonabe restaurant where you can thoroughly enjoy chankonabe in a refined space that feels warm from the timber furnishings. It’s well located just a 1-minute walk from Ryogoku Station on the Sobu Line. The most popular chankonabe on the menu is a top-grade masterpiece at 3,000 JPY per person (excl. tax). This chankonabe uses a rich chicken broth and the main ingredients are meat. At the end, add udon noodles, kiritanpo (a regional dish in which rice is wrapped around skewers in cylindrical shape), or Chinese-style noodles to the broth. This way you can enjoy the umami flavor of the soup in a different way the second time around.
5. Edosawa Ryogoku Main Branch
This is a veteran chankonabe restaurant that has been continuing on its signature flavor for 45 years since it was established by a former sumo wrestler. In the sumo world, four-legged animals symbolize a losing posture, so meat from these animals is avoided in chankonabe. This superstition has persisted, so the soup uses “sopputaki” which is a stock made from chicken bones. The secret to this place’s popularity is the variety of soup flavors, including soy sauce, salt, miso, and kimchi. The “Chicken Soppu Kiwami Set
What did you think? Get the full experience of the charm of sumo at chankonabe restaurants that have sumo wrestling rings and are accented with decor related to sumo. Be sure to stop by to try some tasty chankonabe and immerse yourself in the world of sumo.
*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.
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