Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner! Enjoy Nagoya’s Famous Cochin Chicken

ByBert Wishart
Jun 29, 2021

Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner! Enjoy Nagoya’s Famous Cochin Chicken

Shortly before I first came to Japan, I was at a friend’s wedding party, and knowing of my impending trip, the bride had set me at the table next to a Japanese woman. As I peppered her with the usual questions about my soon-to-be home, she noted, quite matter of factly, “one of Nagoya’s delicacies is raw chicken.” That’s not only dangerous, I told her; it’s disgusting. “Not at all,” she replied. “Nagoya is known for its special breed of chicken and prepared just right; it’s delicious.” Is that so? I enquired, offering my best polite smile, all the while thinking that this woman was crazy.

But, do you know what? She wasn’t. (Editors note, raw chicken is dangerous but tasty if you are willing to run that risk.) 

What is Cochin chicken?

One of the highest-regarded chicken breeds in Japan, Nagoya Cochin chicken, goes back 160 years when the local ruling Owari clan sought to breed Chinese Cochin chickens with their own local variety. The result is a chicken known for its dark meat, chewy texture, umami taste, and rich, flavorful aroma.

It can be prepared in various ways, such as in a nabe hotpot, grilled yakitori, an egg, and chicken rice bowl called oyakodon – the eggs are also famed aforementioned raw sashimi. 

Nagoya Cochin is, like Kobe beef, a dish best saved for special occasions, but should the mood take you for some superlative chicken, below are a few places worth checking out.

Cochin Chicken in Nagoya


Specializing primarily in Nagoya cuisine, Torikai is a chain of restaurants found throughout the city. But, the branch on the west side of Nagoya station is perhaps the easiest to access. 

A casual restaurant with private rooms should you so require, recommended dishes include tebasaki wings marinated in spices and red wine and an oyakodon that was for three consecutive years the winner of the All Japan Donburi Grand Prix.

Where: Nagoya, Nakamura Ward, Noritake, 1 Chome-7-12 5 Sun Life Noritake (map)
Tel: +81 52-452-3737


Also, a stone’s throw from Nagoya Station, Kululu is a Nagoya Cochin specialist and should be the first place on your list if you want to try the chicken sashimi. However, if you’re not that brave, their version of sukiyaki – with chicken rather than beef – is not to be missed, and the same goes for their ‘purin’ dessert made from Cochin eggs.

Previously the decor was very traditional, making for a wonderful atmosphere, like stepping back in time. However, at the time of writing being refurbished, the store is set to reopen at the end of June 2021, so it can only be hoped that its charm remains.

Where: 4 Chome-3-11 Meieki, Nakamura Ward, Nagoya (map)


Should Kululu lose some of its ‘olde worlde’ aesthetic, head over to Ichio, a three-minute walk from Kanayama Station. With a long association with Nagoya Cochin, Ichio is a beautiful, stylish restaurant with traditional decor.

Head there in the evening, and you can enjoy one of their superlative course menus or the tebasaki that is perhaps the perfect example of this Nagoya cuisine. If that’s a bit out of your budget, pop over for lunch and sample their spectacular oyakodon for just 1500 JPY.

Where: 2 Chome-2-1 Kanayamacho, Atsuta Ward, Nagoya (map)

Image: By Kanesue via [BY CC 2.0]
Image: By yoppy via [BY CC 2.0]
Image: By Deann Barrera via [BY CC 2.0]
Image: By  via [BY CC 2.0]

About the author

Bert Wishart editor

Novelist, copywriter and graduate from the most prestigious university in Sunderland, Bert whiles away his precious time on this Earth by writing about popular culture, travel, food and pretty much anything else that is likely to win him the Pulitzer he desperately craves.

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