Nabe Grand Prix – Before the pandemic, there was a nabe festival every January in Wako City. Nabe is a type of hotpot. It is a traditional winter dish popular in many households around Japan. This January, 2023, a version of the nabe festival is coming back for the first time in three years.
Wako Nabe / Hot Pot festival
The Wako Nabe Festival is just one of dozens of hotpot festivals around Japan in winter. In 2017 Wako City hosted the”All Japan” grand prix. After which it just had the regional versions in Wako, with other prefectures hosting the “All Japan” festival. But the last time they had the nabe festival in 2020, they actually hosted the grand prix again. This year, it is just a regional festival again. Furthermore, it is only on for one day (normally its two), January 29th 2023, from 10 am to 3 pm. In other words, it is on a smaller scale than pre-pandemic.
When it is just a regional event – as in this year – there is usually about twenty nabe restaurants at the Wako site, but for the national competition there are over 1000 types of nabe to sample. There is also usually an “antenna” area with more than 30 antenna stalls. Basically, the stalls in the antenna are food other than hotpot. However, in 2023 as a slightly smaller event, there are 18 hotpot stalls and 19 ‘antenna’ stalls. Normally, they have some stage events, such as taiko drum performances.
Apart from the festival on Sunday January 29th, there is also a stamp rally which started on Monday January 16th and runs until Monday February 6th. Sixty-four (64) restaurants and shops are participating in the stamp rally. Those that are participating have a large yellow “hokkori nabe” flag outside their establishment. But you can see the full line up of all participants here. All you have to do is pick up a form, which each of the participants have, and get three different stamps to be put in a draw. The prizes include hotel tickets, Wako brand shop gift hamper and 3000 yen gift vouchers.
Nabe Festival Information 2023
Event: Wako Nabe / Hot Pot Festival わこうのほっこり鍋
Date: Sunday January 29th 2023
Time: 10 am to 3 pm
Cost: free to enter the festival site. Obviously, food is charged!
Venue: On the grounds of Wako City Hall, 1-5 Hirosawa, Wako, Saitama 351-0192. View on Google Maps.
The Wako Hokkori Nabe is held on the grounds of the city hall. It is about a 15 minute walk from Tobu Tojo Line and Yurakucho Line Wakoshi Station south exit.
There is no parking at this event. There is a coin parking lot at the nearby Wako Jurin Park.