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Top 6 Ramen Shops in Odori - The Birthplace of Sapporo Ramen! (2021 Version)

Top 6 Ramen Shops in Odori - The Birthplace of Sapporo Ramen! (2021 Version)

Date published: 2 December 2020
Last updated: 22 January 2021

Sapporo is the biggest city in Hokkaido and also one of Japan's top ramen battlegrounds. Because ramen enthusiasts are spoiled for choice with the mind-boggling amount of ramen stores here, shops have to "battle" each other for consumer attention in the most creative ways!

To help you find your place in this intense ramen war, we asked a couple of longtime Sapporo ramen connoisseurs for their best recommendations in the traditional downtown area of Odori, a place with deep ties to the history of Sapporo ramen.

Table of Contents
  1. Odori: The Birthplace of Sapporo Ramen
  2. Introducing our ramen connoisseurs!
  3. 1. Ramen Yoshiyama Shoten Soseibashi: Unique and classic Sapporo ramen
  4. 2. Darumaken: Homemade Chinese noodles from a shop with the most prestigious of pedigrees
  5. 3. Ramen Shiuntei: An exquisite ramen tradition passed on from customer to customer
  6. 4. Senzu: Serving up great-tasting spicy miso ramen since its establishment
  7. 5. Ramen Ouka: A complex array of flavors to discover in one bowl
  8. 6. In EZO Main Shop: Award-winning new form of Sapporo ramen

Odori: The Birthplace of Sapporo Ramen

Odori: The Birthplace of Sapporo Ramen

The prevailing theory is that Sapporo ramen originated from a roadside food stall along Sosei River on Minami Nijo street.

In fact, the famous Aji no Sanpei restaurant that has been credited as the creator of the now-ubiquitous miso ramen was also in the Odori area (reference: The Best 50+2 Ramen Bowls published by Adnet Corporation).

Odori has been a center for trade and commerce since times past and continues its business legacy to this day. Now, you'll find plenty of ramen options in the form of trendy eateries, established old restaurants, and shops with roots in formerly famous stores.

There's something here for everyone, regardless of age and nationality!

Introducing our ramen connoisseurs!

Introducing our ramen connoisseurs!

Sugahara Kenichi
Sapporo Ramen Club Representative/FBS Representative Board Member

Profile: I run the Sapporo Ramen Club website, which aims to bring together lovers of Sapporo ramen from across Japan! I am also vice-chairmen of the Sapporo Ramen Taxi’s executive committee, and I love participating in all kinds of ramen events! I seek to spread the flavor of Hokkaido through the Teshikaga Ramen chain.

Tada Nobuyuki
Editor-in-chief of Sapporo Ramen 1000

Profile: Beginning with Hokkaido’s ramen magazine, Ramen 1000, I have published numerous books and magazines exploring the world of ramen. I was also involved in the planning of Hokkaido Subscription, a Sapporo ramen delivery service available nationwide (https://hokkaido-shopping.com/)

1. Ramen Yoshiyama Shoten Soseibashi: Unique and classic Sapporo ramen

1. Ramen Yoshiyama Shoten Soseibashi: Unique and classic Sapporo ramen

Ramen Yoshiyama Shoten was established in 2006 with an "all-new Sapporo ramen" as its main attraction. Their signature ramen has been carefully crafted and developed with the same fastidious methods that gave birth to the original Sapporo ramen.

It is guaranteed to leave a lasting impression on the very first bite. The taste of their ramen is so unique. It has received rave reviews whenever exhibited in the Hokkaido Bussan Fair, a food expo held all over Japan.

There are currently four branches of this shop in Sapporo, one in Osaka, and another brand's sister shop. The Sosei Bridge branch located near Sapporo TV Tower at the eastern edge of Odori Park is the one we'll focus on in this section.

"Roasted Sesame Miso Ramen (850 yen)"

The shop's signature dish is the "Roasted Sesame Miso Ramen." According to Mr. Tada, the dish's fragrant miso enhances and completes its pleasant flavor. This dish comes highly recommended by our ramen connoisseur, especially for those who revel in rich ramen stock!

Mr. Yoshimi Sekiyama, the shop owner who sticks to traditional Sapporo ramen preparation methods

Because the shop is all about the Sapporo ramen style, ingredients such as lard, miso stock, and vegetables are stir-fried in a Chinese wok on high heat to give them the dish's signature aroma.

When tossing the ingredients around in the flames, the fats are thrown off. The result is an exquisitely well-balanced flavor that is neither too rich nor overly heavy in taste.

When mixed with a soup base that has been well-seasoned with carefully prepared ingredients such as pork bones, the flavor becomes so good that you can't seem to stop until you've downed every last drop in the bowl!

"Roasted Spicy Miso Ramen (850 yen)"

Fans of the zesty persuasion will definitely like the shop's "Roasted Spicy Miso Ramen." After the initial spicy sting, the vegetables and other ingredients' sweetness will take over, and this thrilling sensation can be very addictive if you're not careful.

The decor of the shop features distinctive large wooden columns

The shop interior is designed to look like an old Japanese folk house with large exposed columns and ceiling beams, making it almost seem out of place in the downtown center of a modern city like Sapporo. Menus come with English labels for the convenience of international visitors.

Preventive measures against Covid-19
The shop, facilities, and equipment are regularly disinfected, sterilized, and washed.
Antiseptic solutions are available for use throughout the store.
Surfaces are disinfected between customers.
The premises are regularly ventilated.
Protective dividers have been installed.

  • Ramen Yoshiyama Shoten Soseibashi
    らーめん吉山商店 創生橋店
    • Address Wakou Bld.1F, 2-1-3, Minami1-johigashi, Sapporo Shi Chuo Ku, Hokkaido, 060-0051, Japan
    • Phone Number 011-211-0785
    • Hours: 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.; 5:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.; Weekends 11:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.
      Closed: Open daily
      Parking: None

2. Darumaken: Homemade Chinese noodles from a shop with the most prestigious of pedigrees

2. Darumaken: Homemade Chinese noodles from a shop with the most prestigious of pedigrees

Darumaken is said to be the oldest existing ramen shop in Sapporo. The shop first opened for business in 1947 as a roadside food stall in Tanukikoji Nichome. Two years later, in 1949, it moved into the current shop in Nijo Market, where it continues to serve up tasty noodle dishes to this day.

After World War II, despite uncertainties and constant food shortages, the shop enjoyed booming business, even though the prices of its ramen back then were not cheap by any means. Dining at Darumaken even became a matter worth boasting about!

The current fourth-generation shop owners are Mr. Tetsuya Kano and his wife Mrs. Yukari Kano. If you're looking for the authentic original taste of Sapporo ramen when it first started, this is the shop for you!

「醤油ラーメン」750円

The most popular item on the menu is "Shoyu Ramen," and it features a clear pork bone broth made with stock from boiled char siu. The soup tastes good without being overly rich, and the garlic and ginger garnishing also add fragrance to the dish.

Mr. Tada has given it his seal of approval, saying, "The light flavor makes this bowl of ramen gentle on the tongue and throat. This is a taste that you'll never tire of, even if you had it every day."

As a matter of fact, the shop has its fair share of regular customers, from ones who visit every day for a bowl of ramen to those who have been regularly patronizing the store for more than 50 years, a testament to the enduring quality of the ramen being served here.

"Shio Ramen (750 yen)"

The shop's "Shio Ramen" is as popular as its "Shoyu Ramen" because its simple taste can enhance any of its companion soup flavors, whether made from pork bone, chicken bone, or seafood. The clear soup goes smoothly down one's throat and warms a tired body up from within with its splendid taste. Like its shoyu counterpart, this dish comes with some sweet rolled omelet, rarely used as a ramen ingredient nowadays. The plump and juicy char siu meat is also in a league of its own!

Photographs decorating the shop's walls

You could say the crunchy noodles that light up your mouth with every bite are a part of what makes Darumaken's ramen so distinct.

These noodles are hand-made daily in an underground noodle-making room almost immediately after the shop is opened, and their ingredients are just wheat flour, water, and brine. That's right! No additives at all!

Because subtle adjustments have to be manually made spontaneously according to temperature and humidity, Mr. Kano remarks that it is still difficult to make these noodles even with modern technology. The shop is still using the same noodle making machine that it has been using since 1950.

Fun trivia: Nishiyama Seimen, the largest noodle making company in Sapporo, actually traces its roots back to Darumaken's noodles!

Eye-catching polished red counter and tables

The shop interior has a seasoned vibe that reflects its long history. That said, the well-kept tables and seats show no signs of age at all because of Mr. and Mrs. Kano's fastidious maintenance, and customers can look forward to enjoying their ramen in a neat and clean space.

"The truth is," says Mr. Kano, "not many of the things that were here when the shop first started are still around!"

Nevertheless, little touches such as chopstick stands and photographs of shop activities during the 1950s plastered on the walls seem to draw customers into the shadows of an older world that is gone but not forgotten.

Measures against Covid-19
The shop, facilities, and equipment are regularly disinfected, sterilized, and washed.
Antiseptic solutions are available for use throughout the store.
The premises are regularly ventilated.
Surfaces are disinfected in between customers.
Staff are required to put on masks at all times and regularly wash and disinfect their hands, rinse their mouths, and check their temperatures.
Limited number of customers allowed into the shop at once with social distancing.

  • Darumaken
    だるま軒
    • Address 1 Chome Minami 3 Johigashi, Chuo-ku, Sapporo, Hokkaido 〒060-0053

3. Ramen Shiuntei: An exquisite ramen tradition passed on from customer to customer

3. Ramen Shiuntei: An exquisite ramen tradition passed on from customer to customer

The original Ramen Shiuntei was a prosperous shop in Nishi-ku Nishino. It reopened in 2015 in an underground street near a bus terminal serving remote city connections and night buses on the east side of Sapporo TV Tower. A curious bit of drama was involved in the birth of this shop and its reopening.

The Tomiko store curtain is something of a legend among Sapporo ramen enthusiasts

The shop owner of the original Shiuntei that was in Nishi-ku is now working as a chef in the reopened shop, and he has an interesting story to share.

About 30 years ago, this chef, originally trained in Western cuisine, developed an ardent liking of the ramen from a well-known store in central Sapporo called Tomiko. After Tomiko closed down, the chef decided to answer his calling as a ramen chef instead, and that was how the original Ramen Shiuntei was born.

The current shop owner of Shiuntei was a regular customer of the original Shiuntei, being thoroughly enthralled by the ramen's captivating taste.

After Nishi-ku's Shiuntei closed down, this customer earnestly appealed to the chef to revive the shop, and eventually managed to convince him, on the condition that the customer would now become the shop owner. In contrast, the chef would simply make ramen as a hired hand.

Shiuntei's ramen was thus reborn anew, both times with a regular patron of the original store finding a way to carry on its legacy.

"Shoyu Ramen (800 yen)"

Mr. Tada's recommendation for this store is the "Shoyu Ramen," which is also the most popular item on the menu.

The white soup base is boiled for about eight hours with pork bones as the main ingredient and dried sardines, kombu roots, and aromatic vegetables as side ingredients. The entire dish is then topped with pure brewed shoyu that has been boiled with ingredients such as sinewy pork and seafood essence.

According to Mr. Tada, anyone who tastes the dish's rich flavor will likely long to come back for more! The chewy straight noodles of medium thickness sit in the delicious broth, soaking up all its goodness, and they burst with the deep and full flavors of seafood mixed with shoyu without overdoing the grease.

What you'll get instead is a mouthful of pure and simple delight. Before you even realize it, you'll have cleaned up every single morsel in the meal and find yourself staring longingly at the bottom of the ramen bowl, wishing there were more!

"Keema Curry" is a side dish that can be ordered along with a bowl of ramen for an extra 300 yen

This is a new shop dish that harnesses the chef's original experience as a Western cuisine chef. Made with a variety of spices that are ground fresh in the shop, the taste is as good as similar fare that can be found in specialist stores. Since this is simply a side dish, note that it can only be ordered along with a bowl of ramen.

The shop has counter seats and small tables and is clean and well-maintained, making it an excellent place to enjoy the exquisite ramen being served here at leisure.

Measures against Covid-19
The shop, facilities, and equipment are regularly disinfected, sterilized, and washed.
Antiseptic solutions are available for use throughout the store.
Surfaces are disinfected in between customers.
The premises are regularly ventilated.
Protective dividers have been installed.
Staff are required to put on masks at all times and regularly wash and disinfect their hands, rinse their mouths, and check their temperatures.
Chopsticks and toothpicks come in individually sealed packs.
Separate seasonings, water, and cups are provided for each individual seat.

  • Ramen Shiuntei
    らーめん 紫雲亭
    • Address 1-3 Chuo Bus Sapporo Terminal B1, Odorihigashi, Sapporo Shi Chuo Ku, Hokkaido, 060-0041, Japan
    • Phone Number 011-271-4010
    • Hours: 11:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.; Saturdays until 5:00 p.m. * Shorter hours due to Covid-19
      Closed: Sundays, first Mondays of the month
      Parking: None

4. Senzu: Serving up great-tasting spicy miso ramen since its establishment

4. Senzu: Serving up great-tasting spicy miso ramen since its establishment
Just in front of Odori Park
Located in the basement level of a building, the lunch queues can be quite intimidating!

According to Mr. Sugawara, the Senzu restaurant at Nishi Hachichome is the first shop to come to his mind whenever someone asks him where to find tasty Sapporo miso ramen in the Odori area.

The shop owner apprenticed at a Western food eatery and polished his culinary skills further at a well-known Sapporo miso ramen shop before setting up his own restaurant.

As soon as the shop opens at 11 a.m., office workers and tourists come in for their ramen fix, and seats are filled before long. Queues are a common sight outside this trendy shop.

"Miso Ramen (780 yen)"

No prizes for guessing what the shop's most popular item is. Yes, it's the "Miso Ramen"!

The endearing taste of this dish hasn't changed much since its introduction in 2002. It features a clear soup stock prepared using Western culinary techniques using mainly pork bones mixed with kombu and dried sardines.

Next, the miso sauce is seasoned with garlic or chili peppers and then boiled together with lard or vegetables. The soup stock is added into the mix, and the result is an aromatic and spicy miso flavor, and it goes extremely well with the shop's special noodles that have a smooth and crunchy texture.

"Shio Ramen (780 yen)"

"Simplicity is best - that's the ramen philosophy we live by," says the shop owner, though it doesn't mean that he cuts corners at all.

On the contrary, he insists on achieving the perfect balance between good techniques and premium ingredients, which he can suss out with the well-trained eye of someone who has been in the business of serving great ramen for many years.

The "Shio Ramen" is a simple but tasty dish that allows you to enjoy both the soup stock and noodles in equal measure.

Because the shop is located in a cozy little underground nook of the building, long queues form at all hours of the day and we recommend planning a lot of leeway into your schedule if you're making a trip down!

Measures against Covid-19
The shop, facilities, and equipment are regularly disinfected, sterilized, and washed.
Surfaces are disinfected in between customers.
Antiseptic solutions are available for use throughout the store.
Limited number of customers allowed into the shop at once with social distancing.
Operating hours have been shortened.

  • Senzu
    千寿
    • Address 8-2-39 Kitaodori Bld.B1, Odorinishi, Sapporo Shi Chuo Ku, Hokkaido, 060-0042, Japan
    • Phone Number 011-281-1101
    • Hours: 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. * Shorter hours due to Covid-19
      Closed: Sundays
      Parking: None

5. Ramen Ouka: A complex array of flavors to discover in one bowl

5. Ramen Ouka: A complex array of flavors to discover in one bowl

On the western edge of Odori Park is Nishi Juyonchome, a quiet little street that is home to Ramen Ouka, a small ramen shop with only counter seats.

The menu here contains regular ramen favorites such as shoyu, shio, and miso, though you can also find items like miso tsukemen (ramen noodles eaten after dipping into a separate bowl of soup) and seasonal ramen flavors.

In case you're ever out for a walk in Odori Park, definitely consider dropping by this shop for a meal!

"Shio Ramen (750 yen)"

"The shoyu ramen here is very popular," says Mr. Sugawara, "but you shouldn't miss out on the shio flavor as well.

The lady shop owner puts a lot of effort into the details, and you can really tell from the taste!" The "Shio Ramen" that comes highly recommended by our ramen expert features a soup stock that's been carefully prepared in a pressure cooker with pork and chicken bones to draw out their umami and collagen.

The sauce is prepared separately and made from seafood ingredients such as dried bonito flakes. Both are then mixed to form a double soup that is bursting with all sorts of flavors. The dipping sauce is homemade salted rice malt, and it does a good job of dampening the stimulating taste of the salt in the dish.

The absorbent curly noodles are of medium thickness, and it goes well with the plain yet profound taste of the well-prepared broth.

"Shoyu Ramen (750 yen)"

As mentioned by Mr. Sugawara, "Shoyu Ramen" is the most popular item here. It has been seasoned with shoyu sauce added with salted rice malt, making it less abrasive. At first bite, you're greeted with a mild sweetness that later transforms into a rich shoyu flavor.

The sauce used for seasoning the char siu is topped up before it finishes, so it has never run out since the shop opened in 2012. As a result, the taste is unique and deeply profound.

The shop only has counter seats. One of this shop's merits is that you can drop by any time between opening and closing hours, since it doesn't take close for a break between lunch and dinner like most other restaurants. Besides their regular fare, the shop also offers limited-time ramen according to the season. Good excuse to try to come by at least once every season!

Measures against Covid-19
The shop, facilities, and equipment are regularly disinfected, sterilized, and washed.
Antiseptic solutions are available for use throughout the store.
The premises are regularly ventilated.

  • Ramen Ouka
    ラーメン桜香
    • Address 14-1-321, Minami1-jonishi, Sapporo Shi Chuo Ku, Hokkaido, 060-0061, Japan
    • Phone Number 011-231-4788
    • Hours: 11:30 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
      Closed: Saturdays, end of year and start of year holidays
      Parking: None

6. In EZO Main Shop: Award-winning new form of Sapporo ramen

6. In EZO Main Shop: Award-winning new form of Sapporo ramen

This interesting ramen shop faces a street where tramcars run on. The attention-grabbing yellow banners make the shop hard to miss!

The ramen you'll find here is vastly different from the usual ramen you can get in other shops in Sapporo, both in taste and appearance. The volume is pretty hefty, too, which means it's the perfect place to visit on an empty stomach!

"Abura soba (800 yen)"

Mr. Tada recommends the "Abura soba" here, a noodle dish that doesn't come with soup. According to him, the dish's strong-tasting ingredients like garlic, shoyu, and grease really make an impression on you.

It helps that the servings are generous too! The dish is topped with plenty of diced char siu or bamboo shoots, so the noodles aren't quite visible at first.

However, mix the homemade garlic oil and special shoyu into the bowl of noodles and ingredients, and you'll have a new type of ramen delicacy ready to be enjoyed before long.

Be sure to mix the seaweed, condiments, and egg yolk well for a soft sweetness best relished with shoyu sauce. The extra thick hand-rolled ramen used in this dish tastes different depending on the condiment you slather on them, like vinegar or hot sesame oil, so go ahead and try them all out!

You can also throw some garlic in for that extra punch as well if you like. Rice is available without charge, so ask for some to use to soak up any leftover sauce at the bottom of your bowl after you've slurped everything else up!

"Sapporo Hojun Aburi Jagasayu Miso (850 yen)"

Even the familiar miso ramen has received its own "in EZO" makeover as well, in the form of "Sapporo Hojun Aburi Jagasayu Miso."

For the broth, plenty of special potato produce from Hokkaido are boiled until they break down completely and turn into a soupy texture reminiscent of potage. This soup is then paired with delicious and chewy noodles made from Hokkaido-sourced Kitahonami wheat.

The noodles absorb the potato flavors in the thick broth well and deliver richness with every bite. Truly an all-new form of Sapporo ramen that nevertheless enlightens eaters on the great tastes that can be found in Hokkaido with its curated list of locally-sourced ingredients!

All Japan Ramen Contest in N.Y. 2018 poster

The restaurant's ramen has also gained recognition with food awards, such as coming in second in the second segment of the Tokyo Ramen Show 2019. It even achieved international acclaim when it became the overall champion of the All Japan Ramen Contest in N.Y. 2018 by garnering 31.2% of total votes from the contest's online poll.

Wood is used in abundance to create a natural atmosphere inside the shop

The shop's interior has a nature theme and the materials used reflect that, such as thick logs being used as chairs. This larger than life design choice certainly goes well with the restaurant's image of always providing generous portions of impactful meals!

Measures against Covid-19
The shop, facilities, and equipment are regularly disinfected, sterilized, and washed.
Antiseptic solutions are available for use throughout the store.
Surfaces are disinfected in between customers.
The premises are regularly ventilated.

  • in EZO
    in EZO
    • Address Minami1-jonishi7 Bld.1F, 7, Minami1-jonishi, Sapporo Shi Chuo Ku, Hokkaido, 060-0061, Japan
    • Phone Number 011-231-3999
    • Hours: Weekdays 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.; 4:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. (last order 9:30 p.m.), Sundays and holidays until 9:00 p.m. (last order 8:30 p.m.)
      Closed: Tuesdays
      Parking: None

Text by: Minna no Kotobasha
* Information in article is accurate as of November 2020

English translation by: Huimin Pan

*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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