Hananomai is located in a district that is all about sumo, from the sumo stadium kokugikan and sumo stables to chanko nabe restaurants. Hanonomai is one of these restaurants where they serve hot pot dishes filled with vegetables and seafood or meat, called chanko nabe. Our advice here is to share the pot with the table as these pots are eaten by professional sumo wrestlers as part of their fighting 'diet'.
The restaurant's atmosphere brings you back to an Edo period izakaya, with ukiyo-e (Japanese woodblock prints) artwork, sliding rice paper screens, staff wearing yukata (a casual version of the kimono) and entertainment that revolves around traditional Japanese arts.
Most of the entertainment happens in the center of the restaurant where you will find an actual Dohyo, a stage for sumo wrestling matches. The fighting ring is actually checked and approved by the sumo association to hold sumo matches. These matches will be performed by retired professional wrestlers. Because sumo is closely related to Shintoism the dohyo is made official by a religious ceremony, with the result that only men can enter the area, not only to fight but even if you want to make a picture with your friends, only males would be allowed to enter the stage.
In addition to the sporadic sumo match, the restaurant has other regular performances set up around the fighting ring (i.e., a Japanese traditional comical dance called kappore, a drum session that reflects the opening and closing of sumo bouts and a tuna cutting show). All performances start around 19:00 but the type of play depends on the day and season.
During the tuna cutting show, a giant tuna (around 25kg) is on display for about 30 minutes before the chef enters and start cutting the fish piece by piece and explaining what each part is used for and if its best eaten raw, boiled, grilled, fried or cooked. Unfortunately, all in Japanese but still interesting to see in how many parts and with what precision they disassemble the fish.
That’s not even the best part. After everything is nicely separated a game called じゃんけんぽん (jyankenpon) starts. The Japanese variant of paper scissors rock. Everyone who wants to participate has to come in front of the stage and has to beat the announcer and the other participants in the game to win. And you might have guessed it, there are as many rounds as there are pieces of the tune on the table. If you manage to win you'll get a portion of tuna and can choose how they should prepare it.
We actually won one of the rounds and got ourselves a piece that was behind the tuna's head and gills; tuna collar (まぐろのかま). The meat on the collar is actually quite diverse as you get some parts that were close to the belly (toro) and meatier parts that were closer to the cheek. We opted for a grilled preparation that was served with daikon radish and ponzu sauce, delicious!
name Hananomai (両国八百八町 花の舞 江戸東京博物館前店)
open Monday to Friday from 11:30 to 24:00
Saturday from 11:00 to 24:00
Sunday and Holidays 11 to 23:00
seats 500 table seats
budget ￥3.000 - ￥4.000 average per person
access 2-minute walk from Ryogoku Station (exit A5)
5-minute walk from JR Ryogoku Station (east exit)
address 1-1-15 Kamezawa, Sumida-ku, Tokyo 〒130-0014