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Obihiro Buta Don (帯広豚丼): Hokkaido’s Pork Rice Bowl

Obihiro Buta Don (帯広豚丼)
Obihiro Buta Don (帯広豚丼) is a local type of donburi (i.e. rice bowl) from Obihirio City in the Tokachi region of Hokkaido.

It consists of grilled pork slices served over a bowl of rice. Obihiro Butadon (sometimes called Tokachi Butadon) should not be confused with the more generic butadon, which is more like a pork version of the popular gyudon (beef bowl) found all over Japan.

Buta is short for buta niku (豚肉), which means pork. “Don” is short for donburi (丼), which means rice bowl in Japanese.

Read on for more interesting info about Obihiro Buta-Don:


The main ingredients of Obihiro Buta-Don are:

Unlike the other generic version of butadon, the Obhiro butadon pork slices are typically much bigger / thicker, and are first grilled instead of being directly stewed/boiled in a sauce. Pork loin or pork belly are used.

A sweet and salty sauce made with soy sauce, sugar, mirin, and sake is used to give Obihiro butadon it’s signature taste.

Green onions and green peas are commonly found toppings / garnishes.

Location / Main Areas

obihiro city and mountains hokkaido
Beautiful view of Obihiro City and its mountain backdrop

Obihiro Butadon is originally from Obihiro City in the Tokachi region of Hokkaido.

It was said to be invented at a restaurant called “Butadon Pancho” (豚丼のぱんちょう).

There are now many restaurants throughout Obihiro City that serve this delicious dish.

Read on for more details about Obihiro butadon’s origin:

History / Origin

original obihiro butadon restaurant元祖 豚丼のぱんちょう
Original Butadon Pancho restaurant, the creator of Obihiro Butadon

The original Obihiro butadon was created in 1933 by Hideji Abe at his restaurant “Pancho”. The restaurant was located in front of Obihiro Station, and is still at its original location today. The name of the restaurant has since been changed to “Original Butadon Pancho” (元祖 豚丼のぱんちょう).

Abe simply wanted to create a stamina-boosting dish that regular working people could afford and that could only be found in Tokachi. Since pork is the most popular meat in the area, he decided to create a pork rice bowl.

The store originally had a sign in front that said something along the lines of: “Enjoy our signature pork bowl, which is better than eel bowl” (i.e. unagi don).

After the dish became popular, many other restaurants in Obihiro and Tokachi began selling their own variations of Abe’s butadon.

The “Original Butadon Pancho” restaurant is currently run by Abe’s eldest daughter, Sachiko Abe. 1

Obihiro Butadon Recipe

Obihiro Butadon is not a technically difficult dish to make. The most important part is the sauce, and using good pork.

Here is an easy to follow recipe adapted and translated from (originally in Japanese).

Obihiro Buta Don (帯広豚丼): Hokkaido’s Pork Rice Bowl

Course: main, donburiCuisine: JapaneseDifficulty: Easy


Prep time


Cooking time


Total time





Easy Obihiro Buta-Don recipe and images via

Ingredients & Equipment

  • Equipment
  • Knife & Cutting Board

  • Frying pan

  • Small pot

  • Paper towel (to drain excess oil if necessary)

  • Ingredients
  • Freshly cooked rice … 1 bowl

  • Thickly sliced ​​pork belly (approx. 0.5cm width) … 200g

  • Green onions … 2 pieces (for garnish)

  • Cooking oil …1/2 to 1 teaspoon

  • Sauce Ingredients
  • Sugar (prefer brown sugar) … 2 tablespoons

  • Sake … 2 tablespoons

  • Mirin … 1 tablespoon

  • Soy sauce … 2 tablespoons


  • Part 1. Prep & Sauce
  • Dice up some green onions (to be used for garnish)
  • Start cooking some rice
  • Put sugar, sake, and mirin in a small pot, and start boiling it on medium heat. Stir gently as the sauce thickens.
  • Keep cooking until the mixture begins to caramelize. You will see big bubbles, and it will turn a brownish color. It should be very fragrant.obihiro butadon recipe sauce
  • When you start smelling the caramelization, turn off the heat.
  • Mix in the soy sauce. The mixture will begin to thicken as everything cools down.obihiro butadon recipe sauce 2
  • Part 2. Grill the Pork
  • Put some oil in a pan, turn stove on medium-high heat.
  • Place the pork slices flat on the pan. Make sure the pieces don’t overlap.obihiro butadon recipe pork
  • Grill the pork on one side until golden brown.obihiro butadon recipe pork 2
  • Flip each piece over and grill for another few seconds before removing from heat. The pork does not need to be 100% cooked through at this point, as we will cook further with the sauce. Place on paper towel to drain excess oil.
  • Part 3. Combine sauce and pork
  • Clean off the frying pan, as there will be a lot of excess oil and grease from grilling the pork. The easiest way is to simply to use a paper towel to quickly wipe the pan
  • Add the sauce you prepared in part 1 to the cleaned pan, and heat over low heat.
  • When the sauce begins to bubble, add in the grilled pork slices from part 2.
  • Coat the pork slices in the sauce and cook until the meat is full cooked through.obihiro butadon recipe pork combine
  • Layer the cooked pork slices over a bowl of freshly cooked rice. Sprinkle on some green onions. Enjoy!obihiro butadon recipe finish


  • Using brown sugar will give a richer, deeper flavor (compared to plain white sugar)
  • You can also use thinly sliced pork belly. It will cook quickly, so be careful not to overcook the pork. When finished grilling, drain the excess oil, and dump the pork directly into the sauce pot (step 1).


Have you ever tried Obihiro butadon 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

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