Updated: November 22, 2018
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Nabe Tokyo: Where To Eat & Which To Eat

One of the most popular Japanese cuisines in winter "nabe", a hot pot dish. This post will be a perfect restaurant guide when you want to enjoy some nabe. This post covers most of the kinds of nabe, from the most popular sukiyaki and shabu shabu to the unique ones, such as motsunabe.

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Sukiyaki: King of nabe, delicious beef nabe

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"Sukiyaki" is a Japanese hot pot dish which is very popular not only among Japanese but also among foreigners. The origin of sukiyaki goes far back to the late Edo period, with the introduction of the custom of eating beef from western countries. At that time, sukiyaki was called "gyunabe", which means "beef hot pot" in English. (The name is still relevant today.)

The main ingredient is of course beef. We also put in some vegetables such as Chinese cabbage, roasted tofu, leek, shitake mushrooms, and konjac. The soup is soy sauce and sugar based. And don't forget to eat them with raw eggs!

Ingredients are basically the same in both eastern and western Japan, but the method of making it differs.

Imahan(今半)

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1 minute walk from Ningyocho Station, Hibiya Line, Imahan is a delicious sukiyaki restaurant. It has Japanese style private rooms, you can also sit at a table or at the counter. The quality of the beef is outstanding. A course is between ¥12,960-¥21,600; Lunch is about ¥10,000.

Shabu Shabu: Most popular nabe among foreigners

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Shabu shabu is a popular kind of Japanese hot pot dish. The unique name came from the way you eat the ingredients by bathing them into the kelp based dashi soup. Its a kind of Japanese onomatopoeia.

The main Ingredient is thinly sliced meat, usually beef or pork, sometimes chicken as well. Not just only meat but you can also shabu shabu vegetables you like. You can't lack ponzu vinegar and sesame based sauce when you eat shabu shabu.

To mention a few rare kinds of shabu shabu, there is some shabu shabu dish we bathe fish slices instead of meat.

Imahan(今半)

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Imahan is one of the best shabu shabu and sukiyaki restaurant in Japan. The quality of beef is guaranteed. Although Imahan is famous for sukiyaki, you can taste high-class beef the best when shabu shabu.

Oden: Winter only, enjoy with Japanese sake

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But first, what is oden exactly? Oden (おでん) is a kind of Japanese hotpot dish commonly eaten in winter. It consists of various ingredients simmered in a soy-flavored light dashi (Japanese cooking stock made from seaweed and bonito) broth. Oden can be served at fancy Japanese restaurants, but it can also be made at home. You can also find convenience stores and food stalls selling oden at reasonable low prices. It's a warm dish, a kind of Japanese comfort food, that you'll surely love to eat during the winter.

Oden Ore no dashi(おでん 俺のだし)

Chanko nabe: Sumo wrestler style nabe

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Chanko nabe is a hot pot dish made famous amongst sumo wrestlers. It is a healthy, protein-rich dish with lots of seasonal vegetables. Some of the best chanko nabe is found in Tokyo. This dish isn't for the faint-hearted either, with each restaurant serving up volumes of food. Definitely go there on an empty stomach!

Chanko Tomoegata(ちゃんこ 巴潟)

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Tomoegata is probably the best-known chanko nabe restaurant in the area. They are open for lunch and dinner with the menu changing daily and can cater to up to 300 people! Just a 3 minute walk from Ryogoku station on the JR Sobu Line. There's plenty on the menu to match anyone's tastes.

Nabeyaki udon: Nabe style udon noodles

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Nabeyaki udon is a kind of combination of nabe, a hot pot dish, and udon, a Japanese noodle dish. Nabeyaki udon is always one of Japanese's favorite dishes in winter. Since it's directly heated, you can enjoy it really hot until the moment you finish eating.

Normally they are soy sauce or dashi based, but misonikomi udon, a regional nabeyaki udon of Nagoya has a miso-based flavor.

Sangokuichi(三国一)

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Sangokiuichi is one of the most famous nabeyaki udon restaurants in Tokyo. They have 3restaurants in Shinjuku, both west and east side. Their nabeyaki udon is very simple, but as you might already know, simple is always the best.

Yudofu, Hot tofu: The Simplest and the ultimate tofu dish

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"Yudofu" or "Hot tofu" is a traditional Japanese tofu dish commonly eaten in the winter season. "Yu" means hot water or boiled water in Japanese and "dofu" means "tofu" generally speaking.

Yudofu is not only tasty, but it is also very healthy and good for your health. Tofu is rich in protein and a low-calorie food.

Yudofu Sagano(湯豆腐 嵯峨野)

Yudofu Sagano is one of the most famous tofu restaurant in Arashiyama, Kyoto. Located within a minute walk from Arashiyama Station, Sagano is very popular among tourists.

Sagano's yudofu is surely simplest and the greatest. Using the traditional sagadofu, you can feel Kyoto through the wonderful meal.

Motsunabe: Hakata beef innards nabe

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Motsunabe is a kind of Japanese hot pot found in Fukuoka. The name "Motsunabe" is a combination of the word "motsu" which means innards in Japanese and "nabe" which is a word for hot pot dishes in Japanese.

The main ingredients of motsunabe are beef innards, cabbage, tofu, and Chinese chives. The soup is often miso or soy sauce based. After we finish eating the nabe, we add some noodles or fice into the pot to finish up the dish.

Harahetta(はらへった)

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If you are hungry, Harahetta is the place to visit because The name "Harahetta" means "I'm hungry!" in Japanese! A minute walk from Kayabacho station, you will get to enjoy one of the best motsunabe in Tokyo and also some fresh horse meat.

Kiritanpo: Akita style rice cake nabe

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"Kiritanpo" is a traditional food of Akita prefecture made from freshly harvested rice. Kiritanpo is delicious eaten by itself but more enjoyable when added into nabe, a Japanese hot pot dish. The unique name comes from its shape, which looks like a spearhead.

Namahage(なまはげ)

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Namahage in Ginza has 3 different kinds of courses from 5,500 yen to 7,500 yen. All 3 courses include kiritanpo nabe and 2 hours of all you can drink that include some of Akita's sake.

Kaninabe: Crab nabe specialized for winter

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"Kaninabe" is a kind of nabe, a Japanese hot pot dish which is often eaten in winter. Since preparing the crabs takes time, Japanese people are more likely to eat kaninabe in restaurants but you can also make one at your house.

The main ingredient is of course crabs. It can be any kind of crabs you like, but taraba crabs or zuwai crabs are more common than kegani, hairy crabs. The crab itself is very good, although the crab-based nabe broth is probably the most enjoyable part!

Kani Doraku(かに道楽)

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The most famous crab restaurants in Japan is probably "Kanidoraku".
Kanidoraku has many branches around Japan, so you can enjoy Hokkaido crabs without visiting Hokkaido.

You can also try to make one by yourself!

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