Eating out with friends? Share Japanese chicken “onabe” hot pot! (Toranomon/Shimbashi)

Japanese people LOVE food. Here in Japan, everyone is a gourmand. It’s no wonder considering how many regional and seasonal dishes thee are throughout the country. And it’s also good news, because no matter where in Japan you go, or when, you can have a “delicious experience”. This time, let’s talk a little more about a Japanese winter dishes you should try at least onceーhot pot. If you gather around the big pot with your family and friends, and stew vegetables and poultry, your body will warm up and your friendship will deepen! That is the magic of Japanese “onabe”.

“Tori-Nabe” or “chicken hot pot”

Go to an affordable specialty store – Torigen Toranomon!

This time my friends and I visited “Torigen”, an izakaya pub that specializes in poultry meat, where you can try fantastic chicken hot pot (‘tori-nabe’) at a reasonable price.

Torigen at Toranomon station

The interior of the restaurant is Japanese-style and very cute while the seating is a ‘hori-gotatsu‘. A kotatsu is a low table with a blanket and a heater while a hori-gotatsu is a sunken kotatsu where you can stretch out your legs without getting numb feet. Sitting at a kotatsu table is a Japanese winter tradition, so this was a nice surprise!

The menu is written in Japanese, Chinese, and English, which makes it easy to order.


Since Torigen is specialized in chicken dishes, you can try various kinds of Japanese chicken dishes, besides the hot pot. Also, they offer a big sake, shochu, and plum wine menu. If you are adventurous, try “Flamed Fugu Fin Sake”!

Staff in flames Japanese sake with fugu fins. Wow!

The chicken skewers prepared over bincho charcoal are excellent!

It’s hot pot time!

There are no rules for Japanese hot pot, called ‘nabe’ or ‘onabe’. When the dashi soup starts to simmer, add the ingredients that come with the set using long chopsticks. Once the ingredients are cooked, take them out and put them into your shallow bowl. If you like, take a little bit of the soup, too. There will be some spices and sauces at your table you can try out too… it’s heaven!

The hot pot soup

Of course, you get a set of veggies, too

The chicken dumplings were so juicy and delicious!

Perhaps the most fun thing about hot pots is that you can share your food with family and friends. Rather than ordering one meal for each person, you all surround one pot and share the ingredients. I don’t know what it is about sharing a meal, but it’s definitely a conversation starter that will strengthen your bond.

When you run out of ingredients, order rice and eggs or noodles as “oshime” (= the final dish) and prepare a risotto or noodle soup with the left-overs.

Do you have a meal you share between a group of people in your country? If you have the chance, you HAVE to experience this delicious Japanese version of “shared cuisine”! Since onabe is best in winter, if you are planning to visit Japan from now until early spring, why don’t make your “nabe debut”?

Torigen Toranomon

Toranomon 1-chome Building, 1-5-14 Toranomon, Minato-ku, Tokyo
Google Maps: https://g.page/torigen-toranomon?share
Nearest station: Toranomon Station, Shimbashi Station

Read about more delicious winter food in our previous article!

What’s Oden? Japanese exquisite winter food that will warm you up! [Otako/Shimbashi]

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I was born and raised in Kiel/Germany. When I was 16 I came to Japan for the first time. I fell in love with this beautiful country, so I returned after my university graduation. Since then, I have been living in Tokyo - and I don't plan to change anything about that ;-) My hobbies are taking a stroll around the city, taking photos and drinking coffee.

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