Eat Like a Japanese Sumo Wrestler
Sumo, Japan’s national sport, has developed over 2000 years of Japanese history. As a sport, it is unparalleled in the world. Chanko-nabe refers to a hot pot (nabe) with a mixture of nutritious, body-building ingredients collectively referred to as “chanko.” This traditional stew consists of a mixture of fish, meat, and vegetables. It has the virtue of being simple, easy to prepare in large quantities, and, most of all, nutritious. Chanko-nabe is a staple of sumo wrestlers from the time they are first introduced to the sport.
Chanko-nabe, as a popular dish, has its roots in the late Meiji era (1868-1912). Long a staple food in sumo stables, it is said to have been introduced to the general public by a retired sumo wrestler.
Traditional chanko is called soppu-taki; it is made with chicken broth. Soppu is from the Dutch word for “soep” (soup in English). The traditional soup is made by adding chicken meat, vegetables, and deep-fried tofu to a chicken soup seasoned with soy sauce and sake.
Traditionally, chanko-nabe has used chicken as an ingredient or broth. Four-legged meat such as that from four-legged animals such as cows and pigs are avoided due to a superstition associated with “touching the hand” (i.e., losing). Why don’t you savor the best chanko-nabe and feel like a Japanese sumo wrestler?
Best Chanko Nabe Restaurants in Tokyo
1: Saganobori（相撲茶屋 佐賀昇）
Saganobori (相撲茶屋 佐賀昇), located near the Shinbashi Enbujo Theater, is a five-minute walk from Higashi Ginza Station. The owner of Saganobori is a former sumo wrestler. His passion and commitment to chanko- nabe can be felt through the taste of his offerings. At Saganobori there are only three types of flavors to choose from: salt, soy sauce and chige. For first time visitors, the restaurant recommends you order the salted chanko-nabe. Try adding yuzu kosho (citrus chili paste) to the soup to enrich the flavor.
- Name: Saganobori (相撲茶屋 佐賀昇)
- Address: 7-18-15 Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo
- Phone: +81-(0)3-3545-1233
- Hours: 17:00 – 23:00
- Closed On: Sundays and National Holidays (October to June) / Saturdays, Sundays, and National Holidays (June to September)
- Number of Seats: 150
- Budget: Lunch: – JPY2,000 / Dinner: – JPY8,000
- Payment Options: Credit Cards Accepted
- Official Website (Japanese Only): https://www.saganobori.co.jp/
Established in 1937, Kawasaki (ちゃんこ川崎) is a pioneer restaurant that first introduced the “chanko” eaten by sumo wrestlers to the general public. One of the most popular dishes is chicken chanko, known as “soppu-taki.” The soup, which is cooked for six hours using fresh chicken stock, is seasoned with a soy sauce base. The ingredients such as chicken, vegetables, fried tofu, and shirataki noodles are carefully prepared to make a nutritious masterpiece. Enjoy the warm hospitality of a family business in a traditional Japanese architectural structure that was rebuilt soon after the war.
- Name: Kawasaki (ちゃんこ川崎)
- Address: 2-13-1 Ryogoku, Sumida-ku, Tokyo
- Phone: +81-(0)3-3631-2529
- Hours: 17:00 – 22:00 (Monday through Friday) / 17:00 – 21:30 (Saturday)
- Closed On: Sundays and National Holidays
- Number of Seats: 40
- Budget: Dinner: – JPY6,000
- Payment Options: Cash Only
- Official Website (Japanese Only): https://geat000.gorp.jp