Best Ramen in Tokyo Japan Restaurants
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Best Ramen in Tokyo – 10 Restaurants You Should Visit If You Are A Ramen Lover

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January 17, 2020

Best Ramen in Tokyo – For foodies, one of the best things about visiting a foreign country is that no matter how much you consume a particular local food, there’s always room in your stomach for more. Trying the local fare means that you know, as an intrepid traveler, that one local spot serving some of the best food you’ve ever consumed does not mean that the next spot won’t be as good; in fact, it might be even better. You’re constantly in a never-ending cycle of wanting to try more and more versions of the one dish whilst simultaneously trying to fit in different foods as well.

When visiting Japan, this is a struggle that many people come across. In a country where one of its city holds the world record for most number of Michelin-starred restaurants in the world, you can just imagine that the number of restaurants it has in every city across the country it just staggering.

Asahikawa Ramen Tozanken

There are a lot of contenders for the most popular types of restaurants in Japan, but it’s a no brainer that ramen is one of the top Japanese dishes across the country. There are many different types of ramen, with specific regions serving up their own take on the famous dish. If you’re visiting Tokyo, you’re in luck, because it’s one of the most condensed cities in the entire country to try and fit in as many ramen dishes in your belly as possible.

Below we’ve listed some restaurants for you to add to the itinerary. Some are similar, some are completely different, so try and fit in as many as you can during your time here – we promise you won’t regret it!

By the way, if you want to participate to a Ramen tour in Tokyo with a guide, you can book one of these tours:

The 10 Best Ramen Restaurants in Tokyo

Here is our 10 favorite ramen restaurants in Tokyo! For you information, this list is a selection and not a ranking.

  1. Afuri
  2. Mensho
  3. Tsukemen Michi
  4. Nakiryu
  5. Konjiki Hototogisu
  6. Kikanbo
  7. Ginza Kagari Honten
  8. Sansanto
  9. Ramen Sugimoto
  10. Ichiran

Best Ramen in Tokyo #1 – Afuri

Best Ramen in Tokyo #1 - Afuri 1

The name ‘Afuri Ramen’ is inspired by the Afuri Mountain range in the Kanagawa region. It uses water sourced from the natural springs of Mount Afuri, and this, combined with its use of fresh local produce, creates a refreshing ramen bowl that’ll completely blow your mind. Afuri ramen is not your typical bowl of ramen. In fact, it goes above and beyond to create an image of a ‘healthy’ and ‘fresh’ take on the historically heavy dish.

The Afuri ramen soup is lighter than average due to the yuzu flavour that’s prominent in the soup. This is its point of difference, and it’s an absolute banger! It’s a 180 flip from the usual heavy, grease-laden tonkotsu soup, which is especially appreciated by those who are looking out for their calories.

Basic toppings at Afuri include seaweed, yuzu slices, marinated soft-boiled egg, bamboo shoots, and grilled pork. There is also a vegetarian option as well. The menu is small, but it also offers a tsukemen option, which is a dipping style ramen that comes out with it noodles (hot or cold) separate from the sauce (served cold).

Best Ramen in Tokyo #2 – Mensho

Best Ramen in Tokyo #2 - Mensho 2

For a slightly different, upper-class take on the Japanese staple, Mensho offers shio, shoyu, and tsukemen style ramen, but not as you know it.

The concept of this ramen restaurant is ‘farm to table’, i.e. fresh produce plucked directly from the farm, produced into a glorious bowl of ramen that’s nice and refreshing for its customers. There is even a glass display area next to the dining space in the restaurant where you are able to view the chefs at work, masterfully mixing, blending, pounding, and rolling the fresh ingredients into the noodles that are to be consumed that day.

Best Ramen in Tokyo #2 - Mensho 2

Both ramen and tsukemen offer a clear, flavoursome broth, but with flavours different to what you would normally expect. The shio ramen is 100% ocean-based, with salted mullet roe topping, served with scallops cooked in charcoal-blackened onion. The tsukemen contains a denser medium-strength duck-flavoured shoyu soup. This dish brings out the freshness of the wheat in the freshly cooked noodles.

Restaurant #3 – Tsukemen Michi

Best Ramen in Tokyo #3 - Tsukemen Michi

Tsukemen Michi is a cult-favourite for those who love the idea of dipping their noodles in sauce, rather than slurping a soupy bowl of noodles. It’s actually tipped as serving one of the best tsukemen bowls in Japan!

What is so special about Tsukemen Michi? Well, its soup is the star of the show. It’s made with chicken, tonkotsu, and seafood, making a richer, silkier dipping sauce than many of the others. A basic tsukemen serving here will include the premium fresh noodles, a perfect size serving of the dipping sauce, onion, fresh slices of pork, marinated soft-boiled egg, bamboo shoots, and seaweed.

Please note that on Mondays and Tuesdays, it becomes a shio-ramen only restaurant (‘Ramen Michi no Shio’), however, we recommend going there purely for its tsukemen goodness.

Best Ramen in Tokyo #4 – Nakiryu

Restaurant #4 - Nakiryu

Nakiryu has fairly won its one Michelin star. As the second Japanese ramen restaurant to do so, it’s earned quite a loyal following, and has since made waves in the Tokyo food scene for producing high-quality, consistent ramen that’s both tasty and affordable. One thing to take into account is that there’s almost always a line to get in (yes, even at random times on random weekdays!), so please factor this in!

Its specialty is its shoyu ramen. What you’ll see when it arrives is a simple bowl of ramen, but the flavour explosion will come. It’s generously topped with various kinds of pork, shrimp-flavoured wonton, marinated boiled egg, homemade bamboo shoots, and green onion. The fresh thing noodles used pairs perfectly with the rich soup.

Another great option from their menu is their tantanmen. Although strictly speaking, it’s the Chinese take on ramen, it’s nonetheless an impressive dish that most have found to pleasantly addictive. Its soup is rich and full of umami, with a very different taste to the shoyu ramen.

Best Ramen in Tokyo #5 – Konjiki Hototogisu

Best Ramen in Tokyo #5 - Konjiki Hototogisu 2

This ramen restaurant is one of the lesser-known Michelin-star ramen restaurants, but it’s nonetheless impressive in its own right. Its ramen is an absolute masterpiece! Whilst you expect ramen to be extremely heavy in lard and noodles, the perfect balance of the ingredients in this ramen will have you craving more.

Their specialty consists of a triple soup that combines a clear pork soup, dashi (Japanese soup stock), and clam soup. Its intricate flavour is then enhanced by the addition of truffle sauce, porcini oil and flakes. Their in-house handmade noodles are incredibly fresh and springy, and their generous topping of their slice of pork on top is just perfect.

Best Ramen in Tokyo #5 - Konjiki Hototogisu 2

Again, expect for there to be lines at this ramen shop if it’s something that you want to hit up.

Restaurant #6 – Kikanbo

Best Ramen in Tokyo #6 - Kikanbo 2

Chilli-chasers, boy have we got a suggestion for you! Kikanbo, which translates to “a spiked bat” in Japanese, is usually depicted as a weapon wielded by a demon in Japanese folklore. True to its name, the ramen here is a fiery bowl of strong and flavoursome broth and ingredients that will hit you like a ton of bricks.

If you haven’t already guessed, yes, this bowl is full of spice and it’s definitely not for the faint-hearted. The store itself is like an omen for what’s to come: decorated with lots of black and red, with hanging kikanbos and demonic faces adorning the shelves.

When ordering, you will see two columns which indicate the two separate spices that you will need to choose levels for: chilli peppers and sansho peppers. Chilli peppers are what give a dish the traditional spice, whereas the sansho peppers are what provide that tongue-numbing sensation.

The ramen bowl will come out swimming in a bright orange soup, topped with charcoal beansprouts, spring onion, juicy fatty slices of pork, and a baby corn as garnish.

If you’re game, go for the Oni-level spice (the highest level)! It’s so hot that it’s actually served in an iron bowl. Finish it and you’ll receive a little prize for your achievement.

Best Ramen in Tokyo #7 – Ginza Kagari Honten

Best Ramen in Tokyo #7 - Ginza Kagari Honten

One look at this ramen and you’ll know why it made the list. The creaminess of its broth pulls you in with just one glance, and it’s unusual topping of fresh vegetables will appeal to those after a light ramen experience.

Located on a discreet street in the glitzy suburb of Ginza, this ramen has had its ups and downs, soaring into popularity for a few years and then disappearing off the streets. Well, now it’s back and more flavoursome than ever.

Best Ramen in Tokyo #7 - Ginza Kagari Honten

Its dish that gave it fame would be its tori-paitan, served in a creamy chicken base that’s concocted from simmering large chicken carcasses for a lengthy period to create a thick broth. It’s served with an unusual topping medley of fresh ingredients such as baby corn, radish and pumpkin, and a side plate of ginger and fried onions. The table you dine on will also provide some tangy rice vinegar and various spices. The concept behind this dish is that you will taste some of the ramen to start, and then slowly add some of the condiments in as you go.

Best Ramen in Tokyo #8 – Sansanto

Restaurant #8 - Sansanto 2

If you’ve looked up and read about Tokyo food fare, you would have come across the common theme of Japanese chefs taking incredible pride in pouring their hearts and souls into perfecting their dish that they provide for customers. Some chefs are such die-hard perfectionists that they design their workstations and restaurants to only house the smallest number of patrons at a time as possible, or open and close their restaurants are very specific and unusual times to ensure they’re operating at their optimum.

Sansanto is one of the latter.

Restaurant #8 - Sansanto 2

Open for literally only 2.5 hours a day, master chef Gotou-San says that his food preparation is too labor-intensive for him to open for any longer. He actually prepares the fresh noodles, toppings and soup from scratch every day all by himself – what a feat!

Sansanto offers a classic tonkotsu and seafood broth double soup. Unlike what the name suggests, it’s quite a light broth that’s full of flavour, with a notable sweet yet salty hit.

This restaurant is actually a hole in the wall type, which is very nostalgic of Old Japan.

Restaurant #9 – Ramen Sugimoto

Best Ramen in Tokyo #9 - Ramen Sugimoto 3

For a no-frills yet explosive ramen experience, Ramen Sugimoto is the way to go. It may be understatedly normal, average, and ordinary compared to some of the other additions to this list, but sometimes (more often than not, actually!), a traditional bowl of heartwarming ramen might just be what you’re after, and that’s exactly what is served at Ramen Sugimoto.

Best Ramen in Tokyo #9 - Ramen Sugimoto 3

Sugimoto-san trained at Shinasoba-ya for a few years before opening up his own restaurant, and thank the stars he did. It’s now one of the most popular spots in Tokyo for a simple and delicious chicken-based shoyu and shio ramen. The soup is clear and flavoursome, served with toppings such as pork and chicken slices, handmade dumplings, pickled bamboo shoots, and marinated boiled eggs. The best thing about this place? You won’t come across any MSG.

Whilst it’s pretty popular, it doesn’t command the long lines that many other famous ramen stores to, so do yourself a favour and get in before the crowds do.

Best Ramen in Tokyo #10 – Ichiran

Best Ramen in Tokyo #10 - Ichiran 1

How can we have a list of the best ramen in Tokyo without including Ichiran? This ramen chain has been an incredible splash onto the itineraries of foreigners over the past few years, some for its incredibly flavoursome broth and funky hakata style serving, but mostly because of its unique restaurant layout – it’s set in a way where individuals are able to dine conspicuously with individual booths and almost no face-to-face interaction with the server. Of course, groups can sit together by removing the palette in between each booth, but that’s up to the individual dining there.

Ichiran actually originated from Fukuoka, and serves the region’s famous Hakata style tonkotsu ramen. The pork bone broth has an intense flavour that’s full of complexities which somehow just all work together to create an addictive bowl of soup. It actually comes out red, but even so it’s not as spicy as one would think.

One of the reasons why many people enjoy the dining experience at Ichiran is because of the personalised bowl of ramen you can tailor to your own specific taste. Choose the firmness of your noodles, how much noodles you want, how many slices of pork, what toppings, what spice level, etc. This free-reign of tailoring your own bowl is an experience in itself, and thus an international cult-following was born the moment this chain expanded into other countries.

It’s now a global favourite.

  • Address: There are actually 18 stores across the entire Tokyo region, so feel free to visit the website and head to a store near you. Even with this staggering number of stores, expect to wait in line for a while, especially during peak hour.
  • Price: from 890 yen

We’ve listed only ten ramen stores in Tokyo (amongst the hundreds that actually exist!), and you can see that there is already so many differences between them! From thick, heavy, umami-laden soup to light and refreshing soup, there could a world of difference from one ramen store to its competitor across the street. Ramen is one of those deliciously complex meals that essentially is served in the same way in the end, but, depending on the chef, can take you on a completely different gastronomical journey. Japan is an amazing country with so much to see, do, and obviously eat, so if you can squeeze in even a handful of the suggestions above, we applaud you. Good luck!

For more food related articles, you can check out these blog posts too: Japanese Food.

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