Ramen is taking up the world. It is hearty, it is bought flavour, there is a dynamic vary of textures, and it is easy but complicated on the similar time. As a way to really perceive the Japanese favorite consolation meals, one has to make a pilgrimage to the place this straightforward bowl of soup, noodles, and toppings started. There is not any doubt that the capital of Japan is dwelling to the very best meals and so that is the place I like to recommend that you just begin your tour of the very best ramen in Tokyo, Japan.
This information goes to give attention to the ramen itself and never a lot the journey behind going to every spot. That mentioned, I shall be dropping a ton of element for every restaurant, why it is a must-visit, what to order, the best way to get there, and insider suggestions you will not discover wherever else.
See more: Best ramen in tokyo 2018
What You will Discover in This Tokyo Ramen Meals Information
I hope you are hungry as a result of I’m!
Discovering the Greatest Ramen in Tokyo
If there’s something that I realized from the 9 Should Eat Eating places in Tokyo video, it is that choosing something “greatest” or “prime” in a metropolis like Tokyo is a arrange for failure and trolling (it’s YouTube in any case). Whereas I beloved what I produced there and stand by all of my suggestions in my final Tokyo meals information, I knew this time, I needed to do it somewhat in a different way.
WARNING: You might be ruined for ramen perpetually after this.
To search out that good bowl of ramen, I knew I needed to expertise it in an genuine, and completely native means. That is after I discovered about Ramen Beast.
No, this is not a half-human half-mystical monster crushing bowls of ramen left, proper, and centre (regardless of the house web page contradicting this very sentence) however that is the truth is a collective of great ramen foodies which have come collectively to create a central hub for ramen in Japan in English. They’ve a Ramen Beast app to make it even simpler once you’re on the bottom in Japan and on prime of that, additionally they supply ramen excursions in Tokyo.
With Hiroshi Shimakage because the native knowledgeable with us and serving to with the choices, we launched into a one-of-a-kind ramen expertise.
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8 of the Greatest Ramen in Tokyo
As I discussed, when it got here to constructing a listing of the “should go to” ramen Tokyo, it appeared like a thankless process. Fortunately, with the experience of Hiroshi-san, he was capable of put collectively a stellar line up of ramen joints which might be really world-class.
The important thing for me was to have the ability to decide the ramen by the standard of the components, total style, presentation, and to a lesser extent the ambiance. What made that tough was the truth that I additionally wished to place collectively a listing of the very best ramen in Tokyo that might be strung collectively as tour as nicely and with that, it meant I used to be in search of a spread by way of the sorts of ramen.
With out additional ado, listed here are the 8 of the highest ramen eating places in Tokyo, Japan that I extremely suggest. The order that they’re listed is a sign of how I’d rank them.
1. Konjiki Hototogisu (金色不如帰（コンジキホトトギス）)
Let’s begin off with the apparent right here. There are solely 3 ramen outlets which have a Michelin star and that is one in all them. What makes that particular is that it is among the most inexpensive Michelin star eating places (in case you do not embrace one thing like Tim Ho Wan in Hong Kong) on the earth. For 1,000 JPY (lower than $10 USD), you are getting a masterpiece in a bowl and here is why.
What makes this bowl of ramen a lower above the remainder is its delicate stability of components that dance collectively so nicely. Extra importantly, it packs an surprising twist that you just simply cannot discover wherever else.
In case you’ve watched the video above, you will know that there is an countless listing of options within the shoyu. The primary half is the triple soup that makes use of a transparent pork broth, Wa-dashi, and hamaguri clam dashi. It is then topped with home made truffle sauce, porcini oil and flakes. If that wasn’t sufficient, they make their very own noodles home made and in-house (the shut room you will see within the store). Lastly, you will have the sous-vide pork which is simply ridiculously nicely completed and I beloved the menma they used as nicely.
Someway the clams and the truffle work so nicely collectively – surprising and great
The restaurant is designed in a singular means that positively maximizes on the restricted footprint it has. With gentle Japanese pop enjoying within the background, it is bought the nice and cozy touches of the sunshine birch tones balanced with the modern textured greys and the chrome steel of the kitchen.
A lot bigger than its unique store, this one boasts 7 seats on the bar with particulars just like the desk that is made out of 1 piece of wooden and 4 extra seats to the left in its personal nook. Not like most ramen outlets, there’s additionally one other part with a bench that is for ready. The opposite factor that you will discover is that the ledge above the bar is sort of excessive which implies you will not see any of the motion within the kitchen in addition to the floating heads of the cooks transferring forwards and backwards. If there is a knock on something within the restaurant it is in all probability that as a result of it does really feel rather less private.
Not seeing what’s taking place behind provides to the mystique of the entire expertise as a result of you’ll be able to’t see what really goes into the making of the bowl. The anticipation is so excessive and after getting it in entrance of you and also you begin chowing down, you’ll be able to’t assist however smile and go “WOW”!
Questioning if they’ve Konjiki elsewhere on the earth? Additionally they have outlets in Singapore and likewise my dwelling city of Toronto with 3 Konjiki areas.
2. Ramenya Toybox (ラーメン屋トイ・ボックス)
This unassuming nook ramen store within the quiet neighbourhood of Minowa may not appear to be a lot however belief me, Toybox is the epitome of perfection and why it has excessive reward to be really helpful in Michelin’s Bib Gourmand.
With solely 8 seats that wrap across the nook of what’s actually a tiny field, I equate the intimate expertise to being an viewers surrounding an orchestra conductor acting at his or her peak. Really, enjoying in his “toy field”, Yamagami-san prepares probably the most flavourful bowl of ramen that centres round the very best of the very best in rooster.
From straining the water from the ramen, warming the bowl with scorching water, slicing skinny items of pork chashu, warming up rooster oils, rigorously pouring the shoyu, or putting the toppings with precision, each movement is swift and calculated.
Each movement is a part of a grand recital.
What makes Toybox one of many elites is the truth that their soup base is simply made out of two components – rooster and water. There’s virtually no different ramen store that is dared to do that due to how onerous it’s to keep up a excessive degree of high quality with every batch and hold the soup clear. Every Nagoya Cochi rooster (some name it the kobe beef of rooster) is hand chosen and ever a part of it’s utilized within the bowl. To actually drive it dwelling, the pores and skin is used to create the oil that is poured into the bowl proper earlier than he arms it to you.
The extraordinary rooster flavours, noodles cooked to the suitable texture, lengthy shares of crunchy menma, shoyu made out of three.5 12 months previous aged soy, juicy chashu, and boiled egg, is such an ideal mix that each half lends to the opposite.
3. Shichisai in Hatchobori (麺や 七彩 八丁堀店)
Shichisai has the honour of being the primary ramen store in Tokyo to go totally MSG-free. Up till 2018, it additionally had the honour of being Michelin really helpful. The kind of ramen they serve is Kitikata-style which hails from the Fukushima Prefecture, north of Tokyo. It is a gentle shoyu with a pleasant kick of dried sardines.
The very first thing you discover once you step into the restaurant are the modern cream and light-weight tones from the wooden used and vivid colored partitions. You then discover the noodle-making station behind the glass. As I later realized, it is actually this one man whose total job is to combine, knead, roll, slice, and flatten noodles to order. Group of three? He’ll begin making the noodles only for these 3 bowls. Getting into solo? He’ll do a batch only for that one buyer. It is insane!
No restaurant would of their proper thoughts do that however yep they’re doing it.
It is such an expertise to see first hand due to the care and precision that is put into every batch that’s made. You begin occupied with how he is capable of push by the dough with good strain to verify the thickness of every noodle strand is identical. When it will get to the ultimate step the place he applies the “teuchi temomimen” type of urgent, kneading, and squeezing, you then see how the noodles grow to be wavy.
Whereas I used to be a bit hesitant at first as a result of I’m not an enormous fan of sardines, I discovered the sunshine shoyu completely paired with the acidity of the fish. It is topped with two cuts of pork (stomach and shoulder), refreshing menma, and scallions.
That’s all overshadowed after all by the noodles the place the outer edges are delicate and insides agency and bouncy. Perfection.
Tip: If doable, see if you may get a spot that faces the noodle grasp however you might not have a selection.
The strains will usually spill out onto the streets however this ramen joint is definitely fairly spacious with a variety of stools for ready behind the primary counter and loads of room to maneuver round.
4. Kikanbo (カラシビ味噌らー麺鬼金棒)
Splashed with a deep darkish black paint, accented with black wooden, blood purple lit in opposition to a wall of Japanese demons and ogres, taiko drums blast by the audio system on relentless repeat and bludgeoning weapons dangling above every seat as if foreshadowing a not-so-distant future.
Kikanbo means “spiked bat” in Japanese and is often wielded by a demon/ogre often called an Oni in folklore. If there’s any ramen store on the market that goes all-in with a theme, it is this one. The menacing projection of worry and deathly spice is inescapable as quickly as you are at its doorstep.
The spice ranges are damaged down into two sorts. On one column is the chilli peppers and the opposite, the sansho peppers. Chilli peppers are what give it the standard spice flavours whereas the sansho peppers and oils are what trigger that mouth-numbing feeling.
If that is your first time, I like to recommend that you just attempt the “common” degree which is medium chilli and medium sansho. Whenever you get seated, they’re going to ask in your spice degree. Simply say “futsu” and you will be set.
Tip: You may utterly customise your spices so if you would like common chilli peppers however much less sansho pepper, you’ll be able to order it that means.
Personally, I do not deal with spice nicely so I used to be frightened how this might all go however I wished to see how the really helpful degree tasted like. How did I do? Properly, I positively broke out into a gentle sweat and I may really feel my mouth going a bit numb which was fairly amusing however I used to be astounded that it by no means bought to the purpose the place I felt like I wanted to douse my mouth with milk. Futsu does not set your mouth on hearth even for somebody that could be a lightweight on spice.
So good but so harmful on the similar time
Kikanbo serves up an revolutionary mixture of miso and tonkotsu, making it a double soup and is what offers this bowl that creamy and wealthy texture. You add the spices into it, fish soup, and pork again fats, and the style turns into even fuller and packs a imply earthy punch whereas on the similar time not over-powering every little thing else. On prime, you will have a ton of beansprouts which balanced issues out as one thing calm, juicy, and recent. You will additionally discover a wholesome quantity of crisp menma, probably the most huge pork stomach, scallions, onions, and child corn.
The symbolism continues all through the bowl itself as a result of that candy fatty pork stomach felt like virtually an oasis swimming the spicy base, much like how the beansprouts give a quick reprieve with its water. On the very prime is that golden child corn that could be a last reminder of the Oni’s kikanbo able to strike you down.
I have not even touched on the noodles but which is exclusive in its class. Every bowl accommodates 3 noodle thicknesses to it which add to the chaos and gastronomically permits extra soup to be gathered once you’re slurping.
Tip: In case you’re a fan of their spices, that is your probability to choose up a can of it. You may simply order it on the machine afterwards.
Courageous sufficient to attempt the best degree of spice, labelled as Oni-level? You will be served in a particular iron bowl. In case you survive, you will be given a particular Oni-candy to commemorate your beast-like achievement.
Spending a while with Chef Miura, I bought an opportunity to see all the varied spices that come in several colors of powder, oil, and liquid type. Every with a selected objective whether or not it is for aroma, warmth, or numbing. They’re blended collectively relying on the extent.
Lastly, I bought to ask how many individuals a day do the Oni-level. Miura-san mentioned that about 15-20 do the high-level spice and roughly 3 do the Oni-level a day.
I got here out of Kikanbo simply utterly blown away with how full the expertise is for all of the senses and the branding you see is so on-point. Miura-san mentioned he wished to create a ramen expertise that embodied the concept of Kikanbo. I would say he is completed that exceptionally nicely.
5. Matador (牛骨らぁ麺マタドール本店)
On the outer fringes of town is a ramen store the place the silhouette of a matador attracts you in with its cape. Stepping inside is a tiny 8-person bar, all with prime view of the grasp inviting you to his ramen workshop.
In full view of each step of the bowl’s development, you will see the roast beef sliced, noodles boiled to perfection and strained with a flashy class, soup and shoyu mixed, and toppings rigorously positioned.
Even in case you’ve solely been to a couple ramen spots in your lifetime, you’ll have puzzled why beef isn’t on the menu whether or not it involves the soup base or toppings. The reason being two fold.
For one, it is by no means been historically a part of ramen so it is not one thing that almost all related to this dish. As ramen masters have grow to be extra inventive, beef has been introduced into the combination however to get it proper is unbelievable tough.
What makes beef or gyukotsu ramen tough to drag off is due to the overwhelming nature of beef and icky sweetness. With a very totally different style profile, the meat bone broth must be balanced with the suitable kind of shoyu, noodle texture, and slices of beef used on prime.
This spot is ideal for non-pork eaters
This bowl of beef ramen is so distinctive as a result of you’ll be able to immediately style how totally different it’s from every other bowl of ramen you’ve got ever had. It is instantly sweeter than your common ramen, however does not really feel misplaced particularly with the shoyu blended in. You then have the three beef slices of roast beef completely staggered in a fan that’s meant to be barely on chewy and textured. The largest shock of all is the meat ankle brisket marinated in a thick and candy sauce to additional stability out the meat.
Tip: Since it is a lower of medium roast beef that is positioned on the soup, keep in mind to not let it sit too lengthy. Chew into it early and see the way it modifications with time.
You will discover the noodles right here somewhat thinner and if you find yourself ordering the ajitama, it is was one in all my favourites – agency exterior and an orange golden gooey inside.
I feel it is time to hop on the meat ramen bandwagon!
6. Fuunji (風雲児)
Tsukemen is the ramen of summer season. It is also a dipping noodle the place you get a plate of chilly noodles and a bowl of thick soup. It is ramen with a twist.
Fuunji has grown to essential acclaim over the previous few years and is an enormous motive for the large queues that type throughout the road on daily basis. Ramen grasp, Miyake-san, uniquely by no means apprenticed at every other store which is uncommon on this trade. His love of ramen propelled him to create his personal type which ended up being a really killer tsukemen.
The within of the restaurant is lengthy and slender with Miyake-san and his assistants frantically making an attempt to maintain tempo with the quick turnover of visitors. Not like a few of the others, this store has a homely really feel to it with its dim lighting, well-worn wooden, and an enormous wall of fame.
It is a ramen grasp pump-fake
The star performer of the store needs to be Chef Miyake who units a 4:20 timer after he drops within the noodles right into a effervescent pot of scorching water. When the alarm rings, he jumps again as if it is the tip of the world and swiftly drags the dipping noodles into the adjoining chilly tub and spins the noodle strainer basket again in the direction of the entrance and pours each into ready ramen bowls whereas spinning the hampers again the opposite course as he pivots again round. It is a ninja pump-fake as he clenches the rotating basket simply in time for it to hook again into resting place.
As soon as the daze of watching the cautious choreography is over, it is time to benefit from the rooster with gyokai (fish) tsukemen.
First let’s begin with the noodles. Chilly by itself, it is boiled to the suitable stability of eggy flavours, bounce, and has a slick texture.
Subsequent to it’s your bowl of soup. Thickened to a slurry, it is topped with a beneficiant dollop of fish powder, nori (seaweed), ajitama (egg), menma, and chashu.
When you combine all of it in collectively, the chicken-only soup meshes with the fish flavours and blows you away with the layers of texture and umami. It is a mouthwatering broth that’s the correct quantity of salty, fishy, fatty, and pork and rooster flavours.
Carry within the noodles, allow them to soak within the soup, and slurp them in to huge satisfaction.
I’ve had tsukemen at Rokurinsha on Tokyo Station’s Ramen Avenue and I assumed it was common however this one is really in a league of its personal.
Tip: What’s distinctive about this store is that the queue begins contained in the restaurant behind the seats so when you eat you will probably have hungry vultures peering in and questioning when you are going to go away.
7. Kagari (銀座篝)
Down a discreet alleyway within the posh neighbourhood of Ginza is a backstreet that’s lined with hidden eating places. A kind of joints is a ramen store referred to as Ginza Kagari Honten.
They opened in 2013 with large fanfare and ultimately caught the eye of Michelin as nicely in 2016 and 2017. Mysteriously, they vanished in November 2017. Whereas they spun off new branches in locations like Kamakura and Osaka, it was the unique location that everybody wished. There was a second Ginza location as nicely however even that closed in 2018. Then unexpectedly, Kagari got here again.
They’re identified for a selected kind of ramen referred to as tori-paitan. Consultants, together with Hiroshi from Ramen Beast say that they make the very best of its form in Tokyo. This ramen is a creamy rooster base that is produced from simmering a big vat rooster carcasses and bones lengthy and sluggish to create that thick broth. High that with a medley of refreshing greens, and excellent noodles and you’ve got one epic bowl of ramen.
That is creamy AF
The tori-paitan is served with a aspect plate of ginger and fried onions. The desk can even have rice vinegar and spices. The thought is to eat the ramen as is to start out however halfway by, you add the edges and condiments to slowly change its flavour.
The menu is sort of intensive with different shoyu-based tori-paitan, rooster ramen, tsukemen, and fancy toppings like truffle.
The outside is paying homage to a teahouse with its birch wooden panels and that is threaded by the within of the ramen store as nicely. With tables that wrap across the centre in a U-shape, you get to see one of many assistants work just a few massive pots that I can solely presume are a part of the broth. In a room behind is the place the ramen is ready. This implies you’ll be able to’t actually see what’s taking place within the kitchen however you’ll be able to see the heads bobbing behind the panorama window.
One factor I actually respect about Kagari is how good they have been about having English signage in and out. The menu is straightforward to learn, there are descriptions for every kind of ramen they serve, and so they even have directions on the best way to eat it.
Tip: The restaurant is difficult to seek out as a result of it is actually by an alleyway that does not appear to result in wherever. In case you Google Kagari, you may also be lead astray due to the previous location. Even the brand new location is pinned incorrectly however I’ve corrected it within the map that you could get entry by changing into an Insider within the type beneath.
8. Musashiya (武蔵家)
For the final ramen store within the line up, it’s important to enterprise out to the hippest neighbourhood in Tokyo. In case you’ve learn the Kichijoji avenue meals information, you will know that it is price making a day journey on the market. One other good motive to go is to attempt the distinctive type of Iekei ramen at Musashiya which you’ll be able to add to your itinerary.
With loud Japanese pop enjoying within the background, Musashiya is a really spacious ramen store in comparison with the entire others in Tokyo. It additionally feels extra native and approachable with its street-food type decor and rustic character.
Iekei or Yokohama-style ramen is a mixture of each shoyu and tonkotsu which makes it very creamy and wealthy. It is topped with chashu, leek, spinach, and seaweed. What stands out from that is the spinach which you do not usually see but it surely goes amazingly nicely with the soup.
You will lastly have some actual greens on this bowl
One other distinctive high quality of Iekei ramen is that you could select the thickness of broth, oiliness and firmness of the noodles. For my first time, I went with the usual degree for every class or just futsu. The employees will ask you in your desire after you hand them your ramen tickets.
On the counter additionally, you will discover minced garlic, pickled greens, ginger, and different condiments that are very typical for any such ramen.
Whereas I am unable to say that that is the very best Iekei within the metropolis, I used to be pleasantly shocked by the firmness of the noodles which makes it chewier and provides a pleasant bounce to stability out what’s an oilier soup. The spinach lastly brings some actual greens to ramen which I fairly loved.
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Closing Tokyo Ramen Verdict
The extra ramen I had in Tokyo, the extra I spotted how extremely tough it’s to choose an best possible one. If it have been all the very same kind of ramen in a cook-off actuality TV present, then it might be so much simpler however the reality is, I beloved each single bowl we had.
In the end it is actually extra about what tantalizes your style buds and determining what you like. Is it tsukemen that you just love or is it clear rooster soup, greasy creamy soup, or spicy as hell soup that you just like?
In case you put me on the spot, I feel I would must go along with the rankings that I’ve above and that implies that Konjiki Hototogisu is correct on the prime as a must-visit ramen restaurant.
Critically although, it is best to simply attempt to have as many of those as you presumably can. You’ve got been challenged!
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A Fast Tokyo Journey Information
If you have not learn the Tokyo Meals Information but, I extremely suggest it as a result of it has the meat of what you will discover right here. As an alternative of rehashing every little thing, I’ve picked out the related bits in relation to constructing your very personal ramen tour throughout your time in Tokyo.
Listed here are the journey suggestions and tips it is best to positively take into consideration as you are placing collectively your itinerary to slurp away at the very best ramen outlets in Tokyo.
Cash – With regards to your private ramen tour in Tokyo, money is the one factor that’ll work within the ordering machines so ensure you’re stocked up in 1,000 and a couple of,000 JPY payments. In case you have quite a lot of massive payments in your pockets, ensure you break them forward of time.
When is the very best time? – In case you’re speaking about ramen, there isn’t any particular “season” so actually any time is sweet however be conscious of particular person retailer closures as most shut on Monday. The one different caveat is you in all probability need to keep away from nationwide holidays as a result of that is when there are extra folks out there to construct these epic-ly lengthy queues. From a journey perspective, shoulder seasons are all the time greatest except you actually need to see one thing particular just like the cherry blossoms or the Obon Pageant.
Getting right here – Tokyo is fortunate to have two worldwide airports serving it – Narita (NRT) and Haneda (HND). Between the 2, my desire is in the direction of Haneda as a result of it is nearer to town because of the monorail. To place alerts on the flights and discover the very best offers, I like to recommend utilizing Skyscanner.
How do I get round Tokyo? – I am glad you requested! I wrote a particular article to cowl simply that subject and I really cowl it fairly nicely within the meals information as nicely. My really helpful means of getting round? I’ve to say that I actually beloved getting round with an IC card like Suica (PASMO is basically the identical) and simply loading it up 1,000 JPY at a time. The best approach to get a Suica card is to go to a transit machine on the airport. There are often English-speaking helpers there and so they’ll assist you buy one. Simply take into account that there is a 500 JPY deposit which you may get again in case you return the cardboard at a station. Whenever you return, they’re going to additionally deduct as much as 220 JPY if there’s any stability but so attempt to use all of it up in case you can.
NEW AS OF SEPT 2019: They’ll be introducing a “Welcome Suica” card that does not have a deposit charge however expires inside 28 days which shall be good for many guests and shall be out there in numerous pre-set quantities. It begins at 1,000 JPY and goes all the best way as much as 10,000 JPY.
Tip: In case you’re a corporation freak like I’m, you might need to have a look at having every little thing ordered on-line earlier than your journey. You are able to do this by shopping for your Suica forward of time and choosing it up on the airport, or have it shipped to your door, although anticipate to pay a premium for the comfort.
The place ought to I keep? – Essentially the most complete platform for bookings primarily based on private expertise was bnok.vn. That they had every little thing from accommodations, hostels, and guesthouses and we all the time managed to seek out an superior place for a terrific place. In its place, there’s additionally Agoda, Airbnb, and VRBO.
Do I want journey insurance coverage? – Whereas ramen is not precisely a dangerous exercise, with journey the motto is that you just by no means know what is going on to occur. My philosophy is that you just need to ensure you’re lined in case the unknown occurs. Make sure that to learn our information on selecting the best journey insurance coverage for you. General, World Nomads has the very best stability of value and protection.
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Seeking to carry some ramen dwelling?
I will let you know now that you will be craving ramen from Tokyo when you go dwelling.
The Japan memento information covers all of the issues it is advisable purchase earlier than you allow Tokyo however do not forget to purchase the unique immediate ramen bowls from Konjiki Hototogisu, Tsuta, and Nakiryu.
It’s also possible to discover Ichiran all over the place in Tokyo and whereas not fairly nearly as good because the others, remains to be a terrific choice.
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Are you a ramen lover? In case you’ve been to Tokyo, what have your favourites been? In case you’re heading to Tokyo quickly, do you will have any questions? Drop a remark down beneath.