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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Yoshiba Chankonabe in Ryogoku

吉葉 ちゃんこ 両国

Yoshiba Chankonabe in Ryogoku, Tokyo

Ryogoku is the sumo area of Tokyo, and is home to the national sumo stadium, or Kokugikan.

The cuisine most closely associated with sumo is chankonabe, a very generous stewed hotchpotch dish designed to add bulk to a sumo wrestler's frame.

Yoshiba Chankonabe in Ryogoku, Tokyo


I recently went to a chankonabe restaurant in Ryogoku that not only serves this famous dish, but is a former sumo stable. How trad can you get?

Yoshiba is in a grand old building whose facade solidly proclaims its history as home to those ultimate manifestations of gravitas, sumo wrestlers. The interior preserves the original layout, making for a unique restaurant space that centers around a still usable dohyo (the sumo ring).

Yoshiba Chankonabe in Ryogoku, Tokyo

The very high ceiling adds to that sense of spaciousness and, combined with a big stained glass portrayal of a sumo wrestler beside the kitchen, gives it an almost church-like quality.

However, there is nothing stuffy about Yoshiba. The service is down-to-earth, friendly and attentive. It is a popular place, so there are enough guests to fill up the space and keep it at a low, warm buzz.

Yoshiba Chankonabe in Ryogoku

In spite of being a chanko restaurant, Yoshiba serves more than just chanko-nabe. The set lunch menu features mainly fish, and is priced from about 900 to 2000 yen. I went for the 1,800 yen sushi and tempura set, with a choice of having the sushi nigiri (block-style, as you usually see) or chirashi (literally, "scattered"). I went for chirashi.

Forget the petiteness of typical Japanese restaurant fare. The set was huge! It was all I could do to get through it, and I get the feeling it will see me safely through to tomorrow morning's breakfast!

Yoshiba
2-14-5 Yokoami,
Sumida-ku, Tokyo 130-0015
Tel 03 3623 4480 (only Japanese spoken)

Hours:  11:30 a.m.- 1.30 p.m., 5:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m.
Closed Sundays and public holidays.

Yoshiba chankonabe restaurant website


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