Ramen in Japan

Ramen is a legendary dish in Japan. Adapted from neighboring China, Japanese Ramen noodles have become a cultural icon of Japan and found a niche in the hearts of people. If there’s one thing in Tokyo that you can find everywhere, it’s Ramen and every eating outlet sells its own version.

Understanding the type of Ramen can be a little confusing, so here’s a little guide. Generally, Ramen is served with broth, which can be Kotteri Asseri, meaning heavy or light. The broth comes in various flavors and here are the most popular ones:

  • Shio (salty ramen in light broth)
  • Miso (soybean flavored base in heavy broth)
  • Shoyu (soy sauce flavored base in medium broth)
  • Tonkotsu (pork base in very heavy broth) – a popular dish

Having made your choice of broth, you can add flavors, condiments, elements and toppings as you desire. Yes! You can also go from mild, to spicy all the way up to ghost pepper level spiciness for these Ramens!

Mentioned below are my absolute favorite ramen joints marked in numbered rankings form.

#1 Afuri – Affordable, Great Quality, The best noodles

One of the best ramens can be found at Afuri, a popular ramen chain in Japan. Afuri’s ramen is relished by locals and foreigners alike and I won’t be surprised if your friends who recently visited Japan recommend this place.

It’s both affordable and has its own charm. Afuri’s rich broth is popular because it simmers in the pot the whole day. Afuri also has different noodle options – soft, medium, and hard as you wish. Once, while I was sitting here, enjoying my ramen, I noticed that the foreigners are the only ones who order soft noodles.

You can find a wide range of spiciness here, going up the scale from mild, medium, super spicy, devil level spicy to ghost pepper level. I prefer super spicy ramen here – its dangerously delicious.

#2 Oreryuushioramen – Serves creamy, thick and salty broth

Oreryuushioramen ramen shop in Tokyo serves one of the best creamy, savory and a spicy broth. The creamy broth is a winter usual. Accompanied with fried chicken is all you want to feel warm and cozy in cold winter nights.

#3 Torisobajiyuubanichikoro 

Finding chicken soup in Tokyo is taxing, however, upon my arrival in Japan, just next to my apartment I discovered a lip-smacking chicken-based noodle soup / ramen store.

While chit-chatting with the neighbor who spoke fair English, I came to know he spent a considerable time in LA. My favorite dish here is the house special soba with chicken, half cooked egg, and chicken meat ball.

To visit this place, follow the map -> https://tabelog.com/en/tokyo/A1307/A130702/13168206/

In Kyoto…

Kiyomizudera Temple is one of the famous places in Kyoto. Touring the temple left us more awakened about the Japanese culture and filled our soul with warmth, knowledge, history and hunger at the same time. In search of food, we stumbled on this ramen restaurant.

To reach here, walk straight from the temple road and veer right and keep walking on JR and not towards the subway. Once you pass the first set of tracks it is on your right.

At Ryuji Hayakawa we met with unbelievably warm people and eat some scrumptious ramen.  They boil the broth early in morning and offer seven flavors of ramen. Our favorite was the white pork ramen, salt base, and dark soy ramen.

I couldn’t find the link to their restaurant but here’s their business card.

1 The Front of the restaurant looks like this.

#4 A quick an easy spot is by Tokyo Station

As I mentioned above, understanding ramen takes a bit of time. You need to taste a lot of ramen and drink a lot of broth to get familiar with what is served and of what quality.

Enjoying Niigata style ramen – at miso ramen cart near Tokyo Tower. The cart has been serving its delicious hard noodle miso ramen for over 10 years now.

During my stay, I grew fond of many places that were initially introduced to me by my friends, and I often visited those eating joints, bars, restaurants and places. However, in the course of my stay I discovered my own restaurants and eating joints. One such place is this Ramen cart that stands near the Tokyo Tower – It serves Niigata style Ramen. Surprisingly, the cart has been running its business at this very same place, and filling hungry people’s stomach with its delicious miso noodles for more than a decade now.

#5 Sapporo Style Noodles

Sapporo is one of those simple yet inviting places, where you can enjoy a perfect bowl of thick miso ramen – a fish-based broth. But you can also enjoy ramen in a lighter broth.

To visit this place

3 Thick miso fish-based broth bathed ramen at Sapporo

Popular Ramen joint in Tokyo: Ogikubo (Tokyo), Sapporo (Tokyo), Tablelog ramen shop (Tokyo), Tokyo Station also serve tourist-friendly ramen noodles. The site is popularly known as Tokyo Ramen Street. If you’re looking for a Vegan-friendly shop, then make sure to drop by T’s Tan Tan – Vegan Ramen shop (Tokyo).

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