Why You Need to Visit Tokyo's Sumo Restaurant

Photo of Alicia Joy
Tokyo Writer10 May 2018

Ryogoku is the center of Japan’s professional sumo wrestling world. So it’s especially fitting that the city’s only sumo themed restaurant, Hananomai, is located here.

In the middle of Hananomai Sumo Restaurant lies a real sumo ring or dohyō. The ring is used by performers, musicians, singers or retired sumo wrestlers, to entertain diners. Expect to be serenaded by the same songs traditionally sung at tournaments, drum performances and of course treated to the occasional sumo match. For a sumo sized appetite, all you can drink and all you can eat courses (nomihōdai and tabehōdai) can be booked online ahead of time.

The sumo love doesn’t stop there. Even Hananomai’s menu is sumo inspired, serving their own rendition of chanko-nabe or ‘sumo stew’. You might want to be wary of that one, however; chanko-nabe is eaten by professional sumo wrestlers as part of a weight gain regimen.

Hananomai takes visitors back to the Edo Period when sumo culture flourished. The décor includes sliding screens and antique-styled storefronts with tiled roofs, and artwork made in the Japanese woodblock print style. Along with the entertainment, which focuses on traditional Japanese arts, it all contributes to the izakaya’s festive Edo atmosphere.

Ryogoku Happyakyacho Hananomai is right at home in Ryogoku. The historic district is home to the majority of Japan’s professional sumo stables as well as the Ryogoku Kokugikan, Tokyo’s major sumo hall where multiple official tournaments are held each year.

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