It was a cold snowy night in the mountain town of Yudanaka, Japan. (We were there to see the snow monkeys). After checking into our ryokan and watching the sunset from an outdoor onsen, we walked into town in the freezing snow to get some dinner. After about 15 minutes we arrived at Tamaya. The scene couldn’t have been more welcoming. This little family run spot is perched all by itself on the top of a little hill. The snow was falling lightly and the glowing light from the restaurant was cozy and inviting. Once I peeked my head in, I knew it was going to be great.
Tamaya serves the best chankonabe - which is a type of sumo wrestler food. The walls were covered with all kinds of sumo related art and a tv in the corner was playing a classic Japanese film. (Even our dishes had sumo on them!) We couldn’t stop grinning. The friendly owners seated us on the floor at a Japanese style table. We took off our snow boots and parkas and spent the next two hours warming up by eating a giant hot pot of chankonabe, chicken yakitori, and sipping on some locally brewed sake and beer. Our new favorite spot? Yep, I think so.