8 Amazing Japanese Noodle Shops to Enjoy Ramen in Tokyo!

8 Amazing Japanese Noodle Shops to Enjoy Ramen in Tokyo!

Of all Japanese noodles, none is more popular than ramen. But, hang on, I hear you say, isn’t ramen Chinese? The simple answer is yes… and no. Yes, ramen noodles are probably derived from Chinese wheat noodles, but the various ways they’re made and served says more about Japanese cuisine and eating habits. Ramen is very much a Japanese cultural icon.

But this isn’t just about the noodles – which can vary greatly in length, texture and flavour depending on who makes them – for it’s the ‘soup’ that really distinguishes one ramen dish from another, region by region, cook to cook, and shop to shop.

To explain all of the possible soup variations is way beyond this short article, suffice to say they generally begin as a simple fish broth, usually flavoured with salt (shio), or soy sauce (sh?yu), along with other ingredients. Some broths are made with pork bones, such as tonkotsu ramen, whilst miso ramen has become popular in recent times. Ramen noodles can also be served cold with a dipping sauce (tsukemen).

Tokyo is the ramen capital of the world, where just about every conceivable style of ramen can be found. Here’s a small selection of the best Japanese noodles our city has to offer.



 

8 Recommended Japanese Noodle Shops to Enjoy Ramen in Tokyo!

 

1. Hatsune – very close to Nishi-Ogikubo Station (South exit)

8 Amazing Japanese Noodle Shops to Enjoy Ramen in Tokyo!hatsune

I’m going to start with this shop because it’s so representative of the traditional Tokyo ramen scene. It’s tucked away in a back alley (as all the best ramen shops are) on the ground floor of an old house and seats just six customers at a time. For over fifty years this shop has been serving fine shio ramen, the preferred Tokyo style. Expect a wait at this popular shop.

Note: How to Eat Japanese Noodles
The advantage to eating at a small shop like Hatsune is you can closely observe the way fellow patrons slurp Japanese noodles. Finding a slurping style of your own is essential! Simply gather up a manageable quantity of noodles with your chopsticks (ohashi), take to your mouth, over the bowl, and suck in.

 

2. Konjiki Hototogisu – near Hatagaya Station, Keio Line

8 Amazing Japanese Noodle Shops to Enjoy Ramen in Tokyo!konjiki hototogisu

Another serious Tokyo ramen shop that seats eight patrons! The inevitable wait’s well worth it, for their light chicken and pork broths, shio and sh?yu, are also uniquely flavoured with clam. Watching the cooks work is an education in itself.

Note: How to Eat Japanese Noodles
If you can’t slurp your noodles in one go, maybe gather less in your ohashi, or break each slurp into short sups. My personal rule is never to exceed three sups; after that, I bite off any noodles that are trailing. Such is my ramen technique.

 

3. Kiraku – near Shibuya Station on Dogenzaka

8 Amazing Japanese Noodle Shops to Enjoy Ramen in Tokyo!kiraku

One of Tokyo’s oldest ramen shops serving a classic sh?yu ramen (chukamen), complete with sliced chashu (braised pork), soft-boiled egg (nitamago) and bean sprouts. Great value for money, highly recommended.

Note: How to Eat Japanese Noodles
If slurping is a hard technique to master, you can always load the provided Chinese soup spoon (renge) with noodles and toppings and consume them that way. Of course, the spoon is mostly for drinking the delicious soup.

 

4. Akanoren – Nishi-Azabu, near Roppongi Station

8 Amazing Japanese Noodle Shops to Enjoy Ramen in Tokyo!akanoren

Akanoren is another long established shop, but serving tonkotsu ramen, the richer pork broth style from Kyushu, along with the usual chashu topping.

 

5. Hope Ken – Sendagaya, Kokuritsu-Kyogijo Station (Oedo line), Sendagaya Station (Chuo-Sobu line)

8 Amazing Japanese Noodle Shops to Enjoy Ramen in Tokyo!hope ken

Just west of the National Stadium, this 24 hour, standing only shop serves delicious tonkotsu ramen. A perfect example of street food style eating.

Note: How to Eat Japanese Noodles
Usually, when all your noodles and topping are gone, you’ll have some leftover soup. Many people leave it, but don’t be afraid to drain the bowl completely. You can be ‘ladylike’ and use the spoon, but it’s perfectly de rigueur to drink it from the bowl!

 

6. Matador – Senjuazuma (close to Kita-Senju station)

8 Amazing Japanese Noodle Shops to Enjoy Ramen in Tokyo!matador

A comparative newcomer to the Tokyo ramen scene, Matador is unusual in that its sh?yu base soup is made with beef bones and each bowl is topped with slices of succulent roast beef. A wonderful new take on Japanese noodles!

 

7. Fu Unji – south of Shinjuku Station

8 Amazing Japanese Noodle Shops to Enjoy Ramen in Tokyo!fu unji

This shop is well-known for its tsukemen. The dipping sauce is made using slowly simmered chicken bones and blended roast fish flavours. It is a uniquely delicious experience and well worth the usual wait!

 

8. Shodai Keisuke – Shinatatsu Ramen food hall, Shinagawa Station

8 Amazing Japanese Noodle Shops to Enjoy Ramen in Tokyo!shodai keisuke

The owner of this sophisticated ramen shop spent many years working as a chef in France, which shows in the creative ramen dishes on offer, particularly the remarkable dark ramen soup that combines seven kinds of miso, edible bamboo charcoal and shrimp oil. Toppings include chashu flavoured with rock salt, nitamago, leek and seaweed.

 

Conclusion

It is said there are a hundred-thousand restaurants in Tokyo. Whatever the truth of that, I’d wager a third of them serve ramen, so even if you haven’t actually gone in search of a particular shop, the chances are you’ll stumble happily across one, perhaps tucked away on a back street somewhere. The thing to know is that the good ramen shops are always busy, so please don’t give up because you have to wait. And don’t linger after you’ve finished eating… others will be waiting for your seat. Happy eating!

 

8 Recommended Japanese Noodle Shops to Enjoy Ramen in Tokyo!

1. Hatsune – very close to Nishi-Ogikubo Station (South exit)

2. Konjiki Hototogisu – near Hatagaya Station, Keio Line

3. Kiraku – near Shibuya Station on Dogenzaka

4. Akanoren – Nishi-Azabu, near Roppongi Station

5. Hope Ken – Sendagaya, Kokuritsu-Kyogijo Station (Oedo line), Sendagaya Station (Chuo-Sobu line)

6. Matador – Senjuazuma (close to Kita-Senju station)

7. Fu Unji – south of Shinjuku Station

8. Shodai Keisuke – Shinatatsu Ramen food hall, Shinagawa Station