Ganbaru-Don (The Try-Hard & Fight On Rice Bowl)


Some days you just need a little bit of a bigger lunch to get you through the day with a boost of energy. And in 2020, it seems like there are more and more of those days lately. In light of the struggles that people in the area and the world round are going through, the town of Nanbu set out to make a new dish, a pick-me-up lunch that would help anyone who eats it get back on their feet and ganbaru through the rest of the day. Ganbaru is a Japanese word that is regularly translated as ‘try-hard’ or ‘good-luck’ and carries the nuance of cheering someone to strive forward and do their best. 

The ganbaru-don, or ‘try hard and fight on rice bowl’, was inspired by a dish that was sometimes served in school lunches way back in the day. The original was a double-helping of meat served over rice and topped with an egg. This calorie-rich and flavor-packed rich was a favorite amongst school children through the decades, and the creators of the current ganbaru-don tried to capture that nostalgia and comfort that comes from eating an old-fashioned heavy-styled dish. 

There are two places you can currently eat the ganbaru-don in the town of Nanbu: the Bade Park facility and a facility called the Cherry-Usu (next to the now-closed dragon tower). Both facilities have lodgings, hot springs, and more, but most importantly they have simple restaurants that serve up some local dishes. The ganbaru-don is slightly different in the types of meat and ingredients used at each facility, but both versions include two different types of meat as well as an egg, make use of local produce and flavors, are only 1,000 yen, and are delicious! The ganbaru-don served at the Cherry-Usu facility is particularly recommended due to its close proximity to several of the cherry picking orchards in town, so it is a perfect place to stop by and give yourself a ganbaru boost after picking ripe and delicious cherries! 

(Please note the hamburger patty served in the rice bowl at the Cherry-Usu facility is made with both pork and horse meat, a local specialty of the area.) 


Bade Park Address:
Kaminegishi-73-1 Tomabechi, Nambu, Sannohe District, Aomori 039-0802

Cherry-Usu Address:

Oshibutamiyama-23-141 Kaminakui, Nambu, Sannohe District, Aomori 039-0501