Do you know “chanko restaurants”?

“Chanko” is “food for sumo wrestlers”. Unusual shop, isn’t it? If you’re interested in sumo wrestling, you should definitely visit.
Most “chanko restaurants” are shops opened by retired sumo wrestlers. This might seem surprising, but retired sumo wrestlers are more often the master chefs who are cooking rather than the owners.


There is a proper reason for sumo wrestlers who are good cooks

From of old, sumo wrestlers have prepared their food by themselves. Because of the nature of the sumo sport in which having more body weight is an advantage, eating is an important job for a sumo wrestler. Prepare your important meals by yourself. This is a tradition in the sumo world, and may be said to be a big difference from other wrestlers.
Because they cook often, there are many sumo wrestlers whose cooking are as good as a pro. Ironically, some sumo wrestlers improve greatly in their cooking, but not as a wrestler. Restaurants opened by such retired sumo wrestlers were called “chanko restaurants” and spread throughout Japan.


Now let’s enjoy “chanko restaurants”!!

It would be a huge waste if you go to a chanko restaurant only to eat. Feel the sumo tradition while tasting it. The reason for a lot of nabemono is to prepare a lot of food easily. In sumo wrestling, putting one’s hands down is to lose, so beef and pork are rarely used.
There are many more interesting stories. Sumo and chanko are inseparably linked together, to the point that inexperienced sumo wrestlers are said to “not have the taste of chanko”.
It might be good to ask stories from store staffs when they have spare time. If you’re lucky, you might actually be able to hear sumo stories directly from an ex-sumo wrestler.



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Kenichiro Asai

Kenichiro Asai


I’m a wanderer who suddenly found himself working as a writer. I normally teach junior high school students at a preparatory school.