Do you recall that time when you were walking down the street minding your own business, only to be suddenly stopped in your tracks, halted by the sight of a giant crab right above your head, moving its legs up and down as though it were just about to climb the building nearby? But of course you do. After all, it’s the signature of Sapporo Kani Honke, the first chain of restaurants in Japan which has been specializing in crab for over 50 years.
Among Sapporo Kani Honke’s 15 locations all over Japan (4 of them in the Nagoya area alone), the most spectacular one by far is the Toyota Castle branch. The three–story “castle” is almost as impressive as the real thing, conveniently situated a mere few minutes by car from the Toyota Motors headquarters.
The regal atmosphere, delicious dishes and the beautifully designed interior are the embodiment of one man’s vision: Hioki Tatsuo. “The Father of Crab Cooking” and the founder of Sapporo Kani Honke.
Tatsuo is renowned for his meticulous attention to detail (even by Japanese standards) and for his commitment to his goal to serve the greatest crab you’ve ever eaten.
If the place itself seems somewhat like a museum well, you’re not far off. In fact, once you enter you feel as though you have just traveled back in time. While eating surrounded by traditional art, historical armor of the Tokugawa shogunate and overlooking a charming Japanese-style garden, it’s easy to forget about the modern world outside. But the priority is the food. While the staff stroll the halls in traditional garb, the chef himself is making sure that you’re entirely satisfied with your dinner. In short, the perfect place to celebrate a special occasion, or invite family and friends visiting you in Japan.
It’s All About The Crab
Did you know that crab season in Japan isn’t limited just to the few winter months? The snow crab, as well as the hairy crab, are being caught in Hokkaido all year round – in the southern part of the island during the winter days, and in the northern one in the summer. The king crab, however, is imported from the coast of Alaska (and still alive and kicking when it reaches Japan!), which makes this delicious crab meat available at any time of the year.
The Crab Course
No idea what to order? No worries. There are plenty of sets to choose from. First of all, you should try the restaurant’s signature dishes – whole crabs, boiled or hot-pot style (the shells are pre-cut, making it less difficult to get the meat out). The prices start from ¥4,600 (for the hot-pot snow crab) up to ¥6,500 (for the boiled king crab) per person.
If you find yourself around Toyota area during lunch time, there are 6 options waiting for you to choose from. Their prices vary from ¥3,500 to ¥7,000 and the sample set consists of: crab tofu, snow crab mini kanisuki, crab gratin, croquette with crab meat, crab with mozuku seaweed, thick rolled crab sushi, miso soup with crab and a dessert. There is also a variety of main Crab Course Dishes – 12 sets with a lot of crab, as well as combinations of crab with fish and other seafood.
Another great chance to try Sapporo Kani Honke’s specials are the take out and omiyage sets. You can easily find their products at Nagoya station, or in the Maruei store in Sakae. The excellent thick, hand rolled crab sushi starts from ¥1,500 for 10 pieces.
The whole facility is handicapped accessible (an elevator from a spacious underground parking straight to the restaurant).
An English menu is available.
Kids menu are available:
two child crab sets (‘Hime’ and ‘Ninja’)