[Tokyo] These are some of the Best Ramen & Tsukemen from Tokyo Japan. There are just too many variants and combinations, from the Tonkotsu ramen (pork broth) of Kyushu, miso ramen of Hokkaido, to shio and shoyu soup bases.
Admittedly, there are some mass-market brands listed here, but they have become widely popular for some good reasons. Tough to be my travel-mate, because I have a bowl every single day (sometimes two bowls) when I am in Japan. You can say I am persistent.
10 Must-Try Ramen & Tsukemen At Tokyo Japan. Oishii Desu! (Google map link included for your convenience. Some ramen shops are hole-in-the-wall and tough to find.)
Gogyo Ramen 東京五行
Rojiman Nichi-Azabu Bldg. 1F, 1-4-36 Nishi-Azabu, Minato-ku, Tokyo (Roppongi Station)
Opening Hours: 11:30am-4:00pm, 5:00pm-3:00am (Mon-Sat); 11:30am-4:00pm, 5:00pm-12:00am (Sun), last orders half an hour before closing
Google Maps – Gogyo Ramen
Burnt ramen? Yeah, Gogyo’s specialty ‘burnt kogashi ramen’ has a miso or soy based broth cooked in 300°C lard. This unique soup base is heated in a wok, igniting orange flames in the kitchen. Also a visual spectacle. You can imagine even the amount of ‘wok hei’ (literally means heat from the work) that goes into each bowl.
The Kogashi Miso Ramen arrived with a layer of black oil, specks of char, with a smokey aroma. Take your time to drink that very first spoonful – it was rich, full-flavoured, heavy, with taste permeating throughout.
If there is something deserving of ‘extremely umami’, this would be it.
Ichiran Ramen Tokyo 一蘭
Shinjuku: Peace Building B1F 3-34-11 Shinjuku Shinjuku-ku Tokyo-to 160-0022 (3 min walk from JR Shinjuku Station Higashi Exit)
Opening Hours: 24 Hours
Google Maps – Ichiran Shinjuku
Shibuya: Iwamoto Building B1F 1-22-7 Jinnan Sibuya-ku Tokyo-to 150-0041 (3 min walk from JR Shibuya Station Hachiko Exit)
Roppongi: Roppongi GM Building 2F 4-11-11 Roppongi Minato-ku Tokyo-to 106-0032 (2 min walk from Oedo Line Roppongi Station, 2 min walk from Hibiya Line Roppongi Station
Opening Hours: 11am – 6am
Harajuku: Sanpo Sogo Building 2F 6-5-6 Jingumae Sibuya-ku Tokyo-to 150-0001 (3 minute walk from JR Harajuku Station Omotesando Exit)
Opening Hours: 11am – 11pm
Ichiran Ramen 一蘭 is known as one of the best ramen in Japan, if not the best – mass market wise.
Not exaggerating, but my friends would get the urge to fly to Tokyo just have a bowl of this rich Tonkotsu soup based noodles.
The shop was founded in Hakata Fukuoka way back in the 1960s. Hakata ramen is characterised by its thin, long, firm noodles, usually whiter in colour.
Its winning formula can be attributed to the creamy smooth classic pork-based tonkotsu soup, topped with Ichiran’s original red pepper sauced mixed with 3 type of spices. (Read: Ichiran Ramen 一蘭)
1-14-1 Sugamo, Toshima-ku, Tokyo (5 min walk from Sugamo Station)
東京都豊島区巣鴨1-14-1 Plateau-Saka 1F
Opening Hours: 11am – 4pm
Google Maps – Tsuta
First ever ramen joint to get a Michelin star, which is an indication of its exceptional quality. The 9-seater ramen eatery serves soba in ramen style (850 yen), known for its soy based broth where the soy is aged for 2 years.
Noodles are made with four types whole wheat flour, chashu served with black truffle sauce, and broth an umami chicken-seafood blend, along with rock salt, red wine and rosemary infusions. Perfection in execution.
Super, duper long queue.
(Good news, Tsuta 蔦 will be opening at Pacific Plaza Singapore.)
Mutekiya Ramen 麺創房無敵家
1-17-1 Minami-Ikebukuro, Toshima-ku 東京都豊島区南池袋1-17- (Ikebukuro Station East Exit), Tokyo, Japan. Tel: + 03 3982 7656
Opening Hours: 10:30am – 4am
Google Maps – Mutekiya Ramen
Mutekiya is one of those ramen shops with only one branch, and has limited sitting of say 20 pax, but it is worth the effort and time to try its legendary ramen.
Mutekiya Ramen’s “人气王 Ren Qi Wang” (popular dish) is the Goukai Men (1200 Yen) which consist of a 16-hour boiled tonkotsu pork thighbone broth with thick slices of barbecued pork, a flavoured hardboiled egg, and two pinkish fresh prawns.
The soup is really really flavourful which makes you feel extremely satisfied as it slowly warms the tummy. The queue can get extremely long though, which can take anything from 15 to 45 minutes. (Read: Mutekiya Ramen 無敵家)
1-3-12 Hiroo, Shibuya-ku, ハイネス恵比寿 Tokyo, Japan (along Meiji-dori towards Hiroo, past the post office)
Tel: +81 3-5420-2225
Opening Hours: 11:00am-3:00am (Mon-Thurs), 11:00am-4:00am (Fri-Sat), 11:00am-2:00am (Sun)
Google Maps – Ippudo
Ippudo 博多一風堂 was so named because the founder Shigemi Kawahara wanted to “blow wind” over the “dark clouds of the Kyushu ramen industry”, eventually reinventing the traditional style of Hakata ramen in 1985. He eventually won the “TV Champion Ramen Chef” 3 times consecutively between 1995 and 98.
With over 65 stores in Japan, Ippudo has successfully put itself on the world map gaining popularity in major cities of New York, Sydney, Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea and Shanghai.
I personally think its 3 factors of the winning formula is in thin yet firm straight noodles, retaining the bite even if it is soaked in the broth for some time; the creamy yet not too heavy and oily pork broth, and its very clean and minimalist presentation. (Read: Ichiran Ramen 一蘭)
Menya Musashi 麺屋武蔵
Shinjuku-ku, Nishi Shinjuku 7-2-6, Tokyo Prefecture, Japan, Tel: +03 3796 4634
東京都新宿区西新宿7-2-6 ビル1F (About 5 minutes from the JR Shinjuku West Exit, near Prospect AXE or the former Oakwood Shinjuku Apartments)
Opening hours: 11:30am-3:30pm, 4:30pm – 9:30pm (Mon-Sat), 11:30am-4:30pm (Sun)
Google Maps – Menya Musashi
Musashi is a reference to the sword warrior Miyamoto Musashi, and is also short for 634 (therefore its website is m634.com). Interestingly, the tallest tower in the world Tokyo Sky Tree is also 634 metres.
Both its signature and tsukemen dipping noodles (1000 Yen) are basic but spectacular – with chunks of melt-in-your-mouth pork, chewy noodles and addictive soup which made me finish till the last drop. (Emm… nothing like the ones in Singapore. Yah.)
What is really impressive is the visual experience the cooks present – it’s almost as if they are presenting a martial arts dance as they cook and dry the ramen noodles in the open kitchen with such great force, adding collective yells of “Hey-Hai” and Japanese idioms. (Read: Menya Musashi 麺屋武蔵 )
Afuri Ramen 阿夫利
B1 Roppongi Hills North Tower, 6-10-1 Roppongi, Minato-ku, Tokyo (Roppongi Station)
Opening Hours: 11am – 11pm
Google Maps – Afuri Ramen
After having so many different types of tonkotsu ramen in Japan, Afuri’s 阿夫利 ligher chicken based stock with citrusy yuzu may add that blossoming in your mouth, and spring in your step.
While Afuri also serves salt based Shio (880 Yen) and soya based Shoyu (880 Yen) variants, you should really try versions with yuzu (990 Yen).
All the ramen dishes come with a sliced for grilled pork barbecued over charcoal, half a seasoned ajitama egg, bamboo shoots, mizuna leaves and seaweed. The water used is said to be from the wells of Mount Afuri in Kanagawa, thus the name of the shop. (Read: Afuri Ramen)
Rokurinsha 六厘舎 – Tokyo Station
Tokyo Station Ichibangai Basement 1, Tokyo Ramen Street, OGGI JR東京駅構内店
1-9-1 Marunouchi, Chiyoda, Tokyo 100-0005
Opening Hours: 7:30am – 10:00am (last order 9:45am), 11am-10:30pm (last order 10:00pm)
Google Maps – Rokurinsha Tokyo Station
The “godfather of tsukemen” Rokurinsha first opened in Osaki in 2005, and achieved immediate popularity with ramen chart topping results and snaking queues. The shop eventually moved into the “Tokyo Ramen Street” on the basement floor of Tokyo Station and the newer branch at the Tokyo Skytree (also known to be the tallest tower in the world and quite a worthy visit if you go on a blue-sky day).
The menu is basic with 3 main choices, the Tsukemen (850 yen), Ajitaman Tsukemen with flavoured boiled egg (950 yen, don’t be silly wanting to save 100 yen for not trying the egg), and the special full toppings Tokusei Tsukemen (1,050 yen).
The tsukemen is almost life changing! And really indeed the best I had during all the trips I made to Tokyo. Every bite of the dipped noodles I took, I told myself “so good, so good, so good.”
Tsukemen’s main feature is to have really hot dipping soup and mid-cold noodles, and Rokurinsha’s broth full of depth and flavours certainly stays warm till my last dip.
2-14-3, Yoyogi, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, Japan (10 min walk from JR Shinjuku Station South Exit)
Japan, 〒151-0053 Tokyo, Shibuya 代々木2-14-3 北斗第一ビル 1F
Tel: +81 3 6413 8480
Opening Hours: 11am – 3pm, 5 – 9pm (Mon-Sat), Closed Sun & New Year Holiday Period
Google Maps – Fu-unji
Fu-unji 風雲児 is tsukemen like never before, creamy broth of chicken (imagine the collagen) with fish, topped with bonito-like smoked fish powder. This is UMAMI.
It’s Tsukemen is disgustingly-delicious (sorry these are the first words that come to my mind when I was having it.) I won’t have liked a fishy soup as I am usually a tonkotsu base person, but its layered flavours of rich chicken broth and smoky fish powder was revolutionary good, grabbing you to just focus on its unique taste. (Read: Fu-unji 風雲児 )
Kyushu Jangara 九州じゃんがら
Jingumae 1-13-21, 1F & 2F, Shibuya 150-0001, Tokyo Prefecture (Harajuku Station, Meiji Jingu-mae Station Exit 3)
Tel: 03 3404 5572
Opening Hours: 10:45am – 12am (Mon-Thu), 10:45am – 12am (Fri), Sat 10am – 12am (Sat), 10am-12am (Sun, Holiday)
Google Maps – Kyshu Jangara
Kyushu Jangara Ramen is a Hakata ramen chain restaurant, offering bowls of long thin noodles in cloudy rich Tonkotsu pork bone broth.
I ordered the popular Kyushu Jangara A (1080 Yen, SGD$12.60, USD$9) which includes chunks of marinated pork, seasoned cod roe and flavoured boiled egg.
The bowl was a beauty to behold. The mentaiko added was a life-changer, give the cloudy broth a subtle kick of spiciness, with much depth of flavours. (Read: Kyushun Jangara 九州じゃんがら)
Let me know if there are other worthy ramen to try from Tokyo. Arigatoo Gozaimasu!