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We've Asked Locals and These are Tokyo's 15 Best Ramen Shops

City Guide November 29, 2023

 

 

Tokyo, a city famed for its vibrant food scene, holds a special place in the hearts of ramen lovers. After consulting with Tokyo locals, we've compiled a list of the 15 best ramen shops in Tokyo, according to locals. From Michelin-starred spots to hidden street food gems, get ready to embark on a mouth-watering journey through the alleys of Tokyo's ramen culture and its delicious comfort food.

In these top-rated ramen shops, you'll find a variety of flavors and ingredients that define Tokyo's ramen scene and Japanese cuisine, from rich tonkotsu pork broth to the unique texture of bamboo shoots. Each bowl tells a story of tradition and innovation, and you'll also find unexpected twists that elevate the humble ramen to new culinary heights.

Food can take you to a magical place. Ramen is the very definition of that feeling. Who knew soy sauce, boiled egg, and pork belly could blend so well together? Whether you're an expert or you've never tried it, you'll find your favorite style of ramen in no time. Ready to try the best ramen restaurants in Tokyo?

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First-Time Visitors' Guide to Tokyo Ramen

For those visiting Tokyo for the first time, navigating the vast landscape of ramen restaurants can be daunting. This guide will introduce you to the best ramen shops in Tokyo and provide tips on what to expect and how to enjoy the ramen dining experience fully.

 

The Importance of Location and Ambiance

When it comes to enjoying a bowl of ramen, the setting matters as much as the food. Whether it's a cozy spot in central Tokyo or a bustling ramen joint near Shibuya Station, the location and ambiance of these shops add to the overall dining experience and make them great spots to spend time in.

 

 

1. Ichiran Ramen, Tokyo and Nationwide

Ichiran Ramen, celebrated for its tonkotsu ramen, offers a rich and hearty pork broth noodle dish loved for its depth of flavor. Unique to Ichiran is its individual dining booths, providing a solitary focus on the culinary experience. Patrons have the freedom to tailor their ramen, from the richness of the broth and firmness of the noodles to the spice level, ensuring each bowl is a personal delight. The overall ambiance combines privacy with the passion for ramen, making Ichiran a must-visit for enthusiasts.

 

2. Afuri, Tokyo

Afuri stands out with its yuzu shio ramen, a unique blend of light, citrus-infused broth, and traditional ramen elements, offering a refreshing culinary experience. This innovative approach to ramen is mirrored in its outlets' modern and minimalist decor, creating an atmosphere as contemporary as its flavors. Afuri’s commitment to quality ingredients and distinctive taste profiles makes it a favorite among those seeking a non-traditional ramen experience.

 

3. Ippudo, Kyoto and Nationwide

Ippudo is a celebrated name in the ramen world, known for its signature Hakata-style tonkotsu ramen. The rich, creamy pork broth paired with thin, delicate noodles creates a harmonious dish that has garnered a loyal following. The ambiance of Ippudo marries traditional Japanese aesthetics with modern design, offering a warm and inviting environment to savor their famed ramen.

 

4. Tsuta, Tokyo

As the first Michelin-starred ramen shop, Tsuta brings a high level of culinary artistry to its soy-based ramen, elevated with a touch of truffle-infused sauce. The cozy and sophisticated setting of the restaurant matches the elegance of its ramen. Each visit to Tsuta is a gourmet experience, reflecting the Michelin star quality in every bowl.

 

5. Nakiryu, Tokyo

Nakiryu, another Michelin star holder, is renowned for its tantalizing tantanmen, a dish that masterfully balances spice and savoriness. The outward simplicity of the shop contrasts with the culinary excellence found within, making it a hidden treasure for ramen lovers. Nakiryu’s dedication to crafting a perfect bowl of tantanmen makes it a top destination for those seeking exceptional ramen.

 

 

6. Menya Itto, Tokyo

A local favorite in Tokyo, Menya Itto’s fame comes from its tsukemen, or dipping noodles. Known for its rich and deeply flavored broth and perfectly cooked noodles, each bowl offers a burst of umami. The vibrant atmosphere and warm hospitality of the staff enhance the dining experience, making Menya Itto a standout in Tokyo's ramen scene.

 

7. Ramen Jiro, Tokyo

Ramen Jiro has carved out a niche in Tokyo's street food culture with its massive portions and distinct ramen style. Known for its thick noodles and generous toppings, it appeals to those with a hearty appetite. The shop's lively ambiance and bustling environment reflect its ramen's heartiness, making it a beloved spot among locals and tourists.

 

8. Fuunji, Tokyo

Fuunji is renowned in Tokyo for its exceptional tsukemen, featuring a rich and deeply flavorful fish-based broth. This small, intimate shop strongly emphasizes the quality of its ingredients, which is evident in every bowl it serves. The cozy atmosphere and attentive service have earned Fuunji a dedicated following among tsukemen enthusiasts, making it a must-visit for those seeking a truly authentic tsukemen experience.

 

9. Mutekiya, Tokyo

Located in the bustling Ikebukuro district, Mutekiya is a haven for ramen lovers, offering soul-satisfying tonkotsu ramen with thick, chewy noodles and a rich, flavorful broth. The warm and inviting ambiance of the restaurant, coupled with its reputation for using high-quality ingredients, makes it a popular spot among locals and tourists. The comforting setting and delightful ramen make Mutekiya a standout in Tokyo's competitive ramen scene.

 

10. Kikanbo, Tokyo

Kikanbo, famous for its fiery miso ramen, is a culinary adventure for those who love spicy food. Diners can adjust the spice level to their preference, making each bowl a personalized experience. The shop's interior, adorned with unique demon masks and traditional Japanese decor, creates an atmosphere as bold and adventurous as the ramen itself. Kikanbo's commitment to creating a memorable dining experience has made it a favorite among those seeking something out of the ordinary.

 

 

11. Ramen Santouka, Hokkaido and Nationwide

Ramen Santouka, originating from Hokkaido, is revered for its sublime shio ramen with a mild, creamy broth that highlights the delicate flavors of its ingredients. The simple yet warm decor of their outlets across Japan provides a welcoming environment that complements their ramen's gentle and refined flavors. Santouka's commitment to quality and consistency has earned it a place among Japan's top ramen chains.

 

12. Hokkaido Ramen Santoka, Nationwide

Hokkaido Ramen Santoka offers a soothing culinary experience with its comforting salt-flavored ramen. The warm and inviting atmosphere of their shops, combined with the soul-warming qualities of their delicious broth, makes for a relaxing and enjoyable dining experience. Their commitment to maintaining traditional flavors while offering a cozy dining setting has made them a beloved ramen destination.

 

13. Sumire, Sapporo

Sumire in Sapporo is celebrated for its rich and hearty miso-based ramen, a true representation of Sapporo's local ramen cuisine. The restaurant's traditional Japanese ambiance enhances the authenticity and enjoyment of the dining experience, making it a favorite among locals and tourists alike. Sumire's dedication to the art of ramen is evident in every bowl, offering a taste of Sapporo's culinary heritage.

 

14. Rokurinsha, Tokyo

Situated on Tokyo Ramen Street, Rokurinsha's popularity is well-deserved, known for its flavorful Tokyo-style tsukemen with a rich and savory dipping broth. The shop's lively and energetic atmosphere reflects its popularity, often drawing long lines of diners eager to taste its renowned tsukemen. The experience of dining at Rokurinsha is as much about the bustling, vibrant setting as it is about the delicious ramen.

 

15. Harukiya, Tokyo

With a history spanning over 60 years, Harukiya specializes in traditional Tokyo-style shoyu ramen. Its timeless ramen recipes have stood the test of time, offering diners a taste of Tokyo's rich ramen heritage. The restaurant's classic and unpretentious ambiance transports diners back in time, providing an authentic and nostalgic dining experience that complements the classic flavors of its dishes.

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