Skip to content

Katsu Don (カツ丼): Fried Pork & Egg Rice Bowl

Katsu-don (カツ丼) is a very popular and common donburi that is found throughout Japan.

It consists mainly of a deep fried pork cutlet served over a bowl of rice. Typically, egg is also added, though there are variations that do not include egg.

Katsu” (かつ) means cutlet in Japanese. “Don” is short for donburi (丼), which means rice bowl in Japanese. The full name of the dish is actually katsu donburi

Read on for more interesting info about katsu-don:


katsu donburi
The most popular version of katsu-don includes egg (i.e. tamago-toji katsu-don)

The main ingredients of Katsu Don are:

  • Rice
  • Pork
  • Egg

The most popular version of katsu-don consists of beaten egg simmered in a sauce with onions and the fried pork cutlet, before being layered over a bowl of rice (known as tamagotoji katsu-don 卵とじカツ丼).

It is similar to oyako-don, except it uses a pork cutlet instead of chicken.

Some other regional variations of katsu-don do not use egg, and consists of just the pork cutlet on rice with a sauce (i.e. sauce katsudon). One example is “Komagane sauce katsudon” from Nagano prefecture. See below for more examples.

Pork is the most common meat used, although there is also chicken katsu-don, beef katsu-don, etc.


Katsuya is a popular chain restaurant specializing in katsu-don

Katsu-don is found all across Japan. It is a popular food to order at restaurants, as it usually reasonably priced, and very filling.

There are even some chain restaurants thats speciazlie in katsu-don, so you can definitely find it anywhere you go in the country. The most popular katsu-don chain is probably Katsu-ya.

Many regions also have their own local variation/specialty of katsu-don. Here are a few regional varieties:

Sauce Katsudon from Fukui, Nagano, Niigata and more

sauce katsudon

Sauce katsudon (ソースカツ丼) is the most common variety of katsudon apart from the typical egg-based version. Many regions in Japan have their own version of sauce katsudon, including Fukui, Nagano, Kiryu, Gunma, and Fukushima prefectures

Each of these regions have their own unique twist and flavor on Katsudon. For example, Niigata’s katsudon uses thinner than usual pork cutlet with a sweet and spicy sauce.

Fukui Prefecture is said to be the original location of sauce-katsudon.

Nagoya-style Miso Katsudon

nagoya miso katsudon

Katsu-don (and tonkatsu) from Nagoya is famous across the country for its miso-based sauce.

Okayama style Demi-Katsudon

okayama katsudon

Katsu-don from Okayama is known for using a demi-glace sauce.

History / Origin of Katsu Don

There are a few theories around about the origin of katsu-don in Japan. Here are a couple:

The First Katsudon

okumura honten 奥村本店 first katsudon
Okumura Honten (奥村本店) created the first katsudon

The first katsu-don in Japan is said to have been created by a soba restaurant in Kofu City (Yamanashi Prefecture) back in the early 1900s.

The owner of the restaurant (Okumura Honten 奥村本店) went to Tokyo and tried tonkatsu for the first time. He liked it so much that he wanted to incorporate it into his restaurant’s menu.

Soba restaurants at the time mainly served rice bowls which only required one bowl (like oyako don), as it was easier for delivery. So, the owner simply placed the tonkatsu on top of a bowl of rice, and katsu-don was born!

Unlike today’s egg-based katsudon or sauce-katsu, the original katsudon had no egg, and simply had sauce served on the side.

The original restaurant is still in business today (over 360 years)! If you happen to be around Kofu City, make sure to go and try an original katsu-don (Google Maps link)

Waseda student inspires first egg katsu-don

sanchoan 三朝庵 restaurant waseda tokyo
Sanchoan (三朝庵) created the first modern day egg-style katsu-don.

Modern day egg-based katsu-don can trace its roots back to a small restaurant near Waseda University in Tokyo called “Sanchoan” (三朝庵).

The owner had made many pork cutlets (i.e. tonkatsu) to prepare for a banquet. Unfortunately, many guests cancelled, and the restaurant was leftover with many (cold) pork cutlets.

The owner did not know what he should do with the leftovers, as he could not serve cold tonkatsu to customers. A student who was a regular customer suggested he make it into an egg bowl. So, he boiled the tonkatsu in soba soup and covered it with an egg.

It gradually became popular, and modern day egg-style katsu-don was born!

Unfortunately, Sanchoan closed in 2018.

Katsu Don Recipe

Coming soon!

Fun Facts

  • Waseda University has more theories about origin of katsudon (in Japanese) – Link


Have you ever tried katsu-don before? What did you think of it?

Leave your thoughts and comments below!

Chef Goku

Chef Goku

Chef Goku is the founder and sole operator of The Chef Dojo. He loves Japanese food, and has lived in and out of Japan for many years. He started this blog in 2018 to share everything he learns about Japanese food and cooking. He is also a self-certified Japanese knife nerd. Contact Chef Goku

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *