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Tokyo’s 4 Must-Try Ramen Restaurants of 2019

Tokyo’s 4 Must-Try Ramen Restaurants of 2019

Date published: 19 December 2018
Last updated: 21 February 2019

Ramen, Japan’s iconic noodle soup dish, doesn’t only enjoy massive popularity in its home country but all around the world. Eating authentic Japanese ramen is a highlight for a lot of tourists, but the sheer abundance of shops and noodle soup varieties can make this endeavor harder than it seems. To help you make your ramen dreams come true, we’ve picked 2019’s four must-try ramen shops in Tokyo! Happy slurping!

Nakiryu: Creative, Michelin-starred Ramen Take You to Noodle Soup Heaven

Nakiryu: Creative, Michelin-starred Ramen Take You to Noodle Soup Heaven
▲ The shoyu (soy sauce) ramen for 1,100 yen (tax included)

Nakiryu has gained an incredible amount of fame after being rewarded one Michelin star, the second Japanese ramen restaurant to earn the highly sought-after award. During lunch, you’ll have to expect waiting times of about 2 hours, but you might have better luck around afternoon and evening during weekdays. In any case, four ramen fans the food is well worth the wait and we especially recommend Nakiryu’s special shoyu ramen.

The bowl seems simple and yet looks absolutely amazing. It is generously topped with three different kinds of chashu (barbecued pork), different pork parts that are all cooked differently, as well as shrimp wonton, a half-boiled egg, homemade menma (salted bamboo shoots), and green onion. The noodles are exquisite as well, boasting a wonderfully smooth mouthfeel and harmonizing perfectly with the rick soy sauce soup.

▲ Tantanmen for 850 yen (tax included)

Although tantanmen, the Chinese version of Japan’s favorite noodle soup, aren’t ramen, strictly speaking, we nonetheless highly encourage you to try Nakiryu’s tantanmen. The noodles are surprisingly firm to the bite and make the delightfully pungent soup all the more delicious. Make use of the hanazansho (the flower of the Japanese pepper) readily available on the table to enhance the fragrance and flavor even further!

The owner of Nakiryu worked as a chef in Hong Kong’s famous MIST, a ramen specialty shop that earned a Michelin star back in 2011. His own place, Nakiryu, is just a 5-minute walk away from Otsuka Station, so make sure to stop by for a ramen experience on a wholly new level!

  • Nakiryu
    創作麺工房 鳴龍
    • Address 2-34-10, Minamiohtsuka, Toshima-ku, Tokyo, 1700005, Japan
    • Nearest Station JR Otsuka Station, 5 minutes on foot
    • Phone Number 03-6304-1811

    Hours: 11:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m., 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
    (Mondays only: 11:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.)
    Closed: Tuesdays
    Credit Card: not accepted
    Reservation: not accepted

Haru: the Soy Sauce Bowl with an Impact

Haru: the Soy Sauce Bowl with an Impact
▲ Special soba for 950 yen (tax included)

Haru is a ramen restaurant that opened in 2012 and was immediately popular – first with ramen maniacs, then, as its reputation spread, with Tokyo’s general gourmet scene. The bowl that you absolutely have to order is the shop’s “special soba,” rich and thick soy sauce ramen topped with generous and flavorful slices of chashu pork. The juicy meat that gets better with every bite is further topped with a flavored egg, dried seaweed, green onion, and menma.

The noodles are thin but nonetheless firm to the bite, a perfect match for the dashi and soy sauce soup. The chopped green onions add a bit of crunchiness and their own hint of flavor and aroma, spicing up the broth just right. For a little extra fee, you’ll get a noodle refill. We especially recommend the “ae-dama” for 200 yen when it comes to refills, which is Haru’s original flavored noodles, enhanced with salt or soy sauce. We tried ordering the soy sauce-flavored noodles with the soy sauce ramen and were blown away how amazingly well the two go together. You might think it’s a bit too much, but the flavors are brought out further without being too pungent.

Haru is a 1-minute walk away from Iriya Station on the Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line. Although the restaurant is really popular, it is surprisingly calm right after opening and in the evening, so don’t hesitate to stop by for a savory ramen brunch or dinner.

  • Mendokoro Haru
    麺処 晴
    • Address 1-11-7, Shitaya, Taito-ku, Tokyo, 1100004. Japan
    • Nearest Station Iriya Station (Hibiya Line), 1 minute on foot
    • Phone Number 03-3847-8553

    Hours: 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m., 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. (weekdays)
    11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. (Saturdays, Sundays, and national holidays)
    Closed: irregularly
    Credit Card: not accepted
    Reservation: not accepted

Toripaitan Kageyama: a Wonderful Marriage of Chicken and Ramen!

Toripaitan Kageyama: a Wonderful Marriage of Chicken and Ramen!
▲ Chicken paitan soba for 880 yen

Toripaitan Kageyama is close to Takadanobaba Station, a mere 4-minute walk away. The ramen restaurant specializes in tori paitan, a white, thick soup with chicken and its savory version is immensely popular among locals and tourists alike. We visited Toripaitan Kageyama around 3:00 p.m., just after lunchtime, and didn’t have to wait to be seated.

While paitan ramen are one of the richest soups available, this one is surprisingly refreshing and boasts a nice aftertaste. The broth alone could be served as a filling and delicious and the noodles are provided by one of Tokyo’s most famous noodle makers called Asakusa Kaikaro. The pleasantly chewy noodles provide an exquisite balance with the rich soup. Steamed chicken, fried green onions, a half-boiled egg, and red-leaf lettuce make up Kageyama’s chicken paitan ramen, an original bowl that’ll melt right in your mouth.

Make use of the lemon served alongside your ramen – the citrus juice will give the broth a gently sour note and adds a certain kick to the otherwise mellow soup. We recommend eating half of the soup before adding the lemon! If you’ve leftover broth at the end, don’t hesitate to enjoy it with the free rice. It’s heavenly, really.

Toripaitan Kageyama is actually managed by the high-class Chinese restaurant Kageyamaro in Tokyo’s Jiyugaoka. The head of the ramen restaurant worked for Kageyamaro as well, one of the reasons why the noodle soup here is so extraordinarily delicious and the shop is one of Takadanobaba’s most famous. The shop can comfortably be walked to from Takadanobaba Station on the Tokyo Metro Tozai Line and Jr’s Takadanobaba Station, served by the Yamanote Line.

  • Toripaitan Kageyama
    鶏白湯麺 蔭山
    • Address 1-4-18 Takadanobaba, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo, 1690075. Japan
    • Nearest Station JR Takadanobaba Station, 6 minutes on foot
    • Phone Number 03-6457-3160

    Hours: 11:00 a.m. – 11:30 p.m. (until 10:30 p.m. on Sundays and national holidays)
    Closed: irregularly
    Credit Card: not accepted
    Reservation: not accepted

Ushio: Try Next-Generation Soy Sauce Ramen, a Fusion Between Modern and Traditional

Ushio: Try Next-Generation Soy Sauce Ramen, a Fusion Between Modern and Traditional
▲ Nihon-ichi shoyu soba for 870 yen (tax included)

Ushio immediately earned a spot in the heart of Tokyo’s ramen maniacs right after its opening in 2012. The bowl that you have to try here is the Nihon-ichi shoyu soba ramen, a creation of excellence from the soup enhanced with high-grade kelp from Hokkaido to the noodles and the toppings.

The soup definitely is the showstopper of the bowl. It is made out of unpasteurized soy sauce left to age and making up the base, which is then further enhanced with fish. It is incredibly rich in umami flavor and boasts an aroma that’ll make your mouth water with the first whiff.

The toppings are pork shoulder chashu, flavored egg, and a wonderful abundance of different vegetables. The bowl is a beautiful harmony of all of its many contents, tickling your taste buds with a rich taste and medium-thick noodles.

Next to the toppings described above, every bowl comes with three slices of smoked duck meat. The meat has an amazingly unique flavor that’ll leave you craving for more. The gently fishy flavor of the soy sauce broth enhances the exquisite duck even more.

Ushio is close to Awajicho Station on the Tokyo Metro Marunouchi Line, basically right next to it. It’s a stylish ramen shop offering an oasis of quiet in the big, bustling city of Tokyo, allowing you to indulge in a delicious bowl of ramen at your own pace. Lunchtime gets rather busy but apart from that, you won’t have to endure long waits before being seated. The best time to go is immediately after opening.

  • Ushio
    麺巧 潮
    • Address 2-4-4 Kandaawaji-cho Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 1010063, Japan
    • Nearest Station Tokyo Marunouchi Line Awajicho Station, 1 minute on foot
    • Phone Number 03-6206-9322

    Hours: 11:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. (closes early if out of soup)
    Closed: Sundays, irregularly
    Credit Card: not accepted
    Reservation: not accepted

Unique Ramen Creations Big in 2019

Unique Ramen Creations Big in 2019

Like last year, unique and creative ramen promise to be in the spotlight in 2019 as well. Ramen enthusiasts in Japan and all around the world are eagerly looking forward to seeing what Tokyo’s masters and chefs come up with. For a true foodie adventure, why not tour Japan’s capital for its most unique and quirky ramen restaurants?

*This information is from the time of this article's publication.
*Prices and options mentioned are subject to change.
*Unless stated otherwise, all prices include tax.

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