Oden（おでん）is a traditional Japanese dish served in Winter, and similar to a Western style stew or hot pot with all ingredients simmered in one pot.
Oden is very popular in Japan and it is often sold in convenience stores from simmering pots or mobile food carts, as well as vending machines in major cities. Oden can be purchased for as little as ¥100 yen with one ingredient and prices go up based on the amount of ingredients and quality.
Traditionally Oden is made in a donabe a type of crockery or earthenware pot. Ingredients of Oden are simmered in soy sauce and Dashi based broth, for about an hour. The broth is never boiled. Ingredients of an Oden dish are interchangeable based on personal tastes and preferences, and can be made for vegetarian or with meat and fish added. The most common ingredients are usually a variety of vegetables with eggs, tofu, fish cakes or fish balls (ganmodoki/ satuma age) and sliced pork. The most popular ingredient in Oden is the root vegetable, Daikon, a large white radish along with Konnayuku, known in English as Konjac. Oden is sometimes served with Japanese mustard as a condiment to add flavour.
The style of broth used in Oden can vary by different regions or prefectures throughout Japan for example in Nagoya a slightly sweet broth is used while in Kansai the broth is focused on a stronger flavour. The type of ingredients used in Oden are varied based on preferences of the people in each household more than prefectures or regions and are generally the same throughout Japan.
If you are interested in making your own Oden there is a basic recipe:
Put 4 cups of Dashi in a pot (you can make your own or buy instant from most grocery stores). Add a couple tablespoons of sake and soy sauce with a teaspoon of sugar. Place your other ingredients in the pot (such as, daikon, konnayuku, potato, fried tofu, fried fish cakes, cabbage rolls) turn on low heat for 60 minutes or until all ingredients are cooked adding Dashi or soy sauce as needed. Add halved boiled eggs and a chopped up Nori sheet to the pot and simmer for five more minutes.