Winter is hot pot season! Authentic “chanko nabe” produced by a former sumo wrestler

When speaking of delicious Japanese winter food, “o-nabe” or “nabemono” (meaning hot pot) is one of the most popular meals. Among uncountable types of hot pot, “chanko nabe” is very popular as a nutritionally balanced hot pot dish that sumo wrestlers eat on a daily basis. “TOKITSU NADA” in Kanda Nishikicho is a full-fledged “chanko nabe” restaurant opened by a former sumo wrestler.

A cartoon portrait of the former sumo wrestler, Tokitsunada, at the entrance of the shop.

The restaurant is a 4-minute walk from Otemachi Station. When you open the wooden sliding door at the entrance to enter into the bright and cozy space, it’s also like entering a sumo stall. Sumo items such as lanterns, official ranking lists, and a big ceremonial keshō-mawashi (loincloth) make you feel like visiting a sumo stall.

A photo of sumo wrestler Tokitsunada during his active career. After opening this restaurant he tragically died at the young age of only 49 years.
The sumo wrestler’s chopstick rest is too cute!
Tokitsunada’s handprint on the placemat. What a big hand!

The specialty of this restaurant, which is overwhelmingly popular on gourmet ranking websites, is “Kurobuta and Jidori no Shiomi Chanko Nabe”, which is chicken and pork chanko nabe with a salty flavor. The menu features also many original dishes that go well with sake.

Their salty chanko nabe (second dish on the menu) even won a gourmet contest on a tv show. On the left: Chanko nabe for two people.
Sake bottles with an illustration of Tokitsunada printed on them. Sake is also a nice match for hot pot.

Due to the big size of the dish, chanko nabe is usually shared by a group of people. At this restaurant during dinner time, you can order hot pot when ordering for at least two people. Since chanko nabe is voluminous, you don’t need to order for the whole number of people (meaning that you can order for two or three people even though four people will be sharing the hot pot, etc.).
(* At lunch hours, you may also order a “chanko nabe lunch set” for one person which is a great option when you want to try chanko nabe on your own.)

Spinach with sesame sauce and juicy homemade fried chicken.

So of course, my friend and I had the chanko nabe. After a while, the staff brought a huge pot with meat and vegetables to the table and prepared everything for us.

The chanko nabe contains vegetables, mushrooms, fried tofu, chicken dumplings, and pork meat.
Boil all ingredients and you’re done!
In Germany, where I am from, people usually don’t share their food at a restaurant. But it is so nice to sit in a circle around a huge pot and share a meal with family and friends.
I especially loved the chicken dumplings!

The salty chanko nabe had a very rich taste thanks to the soup stock containing chicken, pork, and vegetables. The carrots and radishes that the staff added during cooking absorbed a lot of the delicious soup. They were just perfect: so tender and delicious!

Famous “Handa Somen” noodles from Tokushima Prefecture, the birthplace of sumo wrestler Tokitsunada.

In Japan, it is common to eat a final dish called “shime” with the remaining soup after eating the ingredients of the pot. At this restaurant, you can choose from two types, somen noodles and rice porridge. Since we were curious about both options, we just ordered both!

The slightly thick somen noodles matched the remaining chicken soup perfectly. Just like noodle soup!

The porridge had yam added which made the texture very fluffy. It was honestly the most delicious “shime” porridge I have ever eaten. So if you would ask me which “shime” dish you should order, I would actually recommend…both!

For porridge, add eggs and top with sliced ​​seaweed.

Surrounding a large hot pot with family and friends on a chilly night and enjoying authentic chanko nabe while having a good time is the ultimate culinary Japanese culture experience. Have a nice winter season – of course with a delicious hot pot!

1-21 Kanda Nishikicho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
Google Maps:
Nearest stations: Otemachi Station, Ogawamachi Station, Kanda Station