April 4 is Ramen Noodle Day! What better a place to celebrate than in Akihabara: one of Tokyo’s areas that is famous and popular among Japanese people and tourists alike. After World War II, many shops dealing in electronics and parts opened up in the area, earning Akihabara the now characteristic nickname of “electric town.”
Following this trend, numerous large-scale home appliance and electronic retailers opened up for business all around the area, followed by specialty shops focusing on anime, manga, and pop culture merchandise. This anime culture is so palpable in Akihabara that it got yet another nickname: Moe City, or the City of Cute – although the famous anime term “moe” is hard to define.
Today, Akihabara is known all around the world as the sacred city for every otaku and anime fan - and ramen is one of the area's signature dishes!
Back when Akihabara was primarily known as Electric Town, the majority of visitors came for specialized shopping and hardly stayed longer than needed. Apart from that, the many electronics stores did not want a tenant next to them that handles a lot of water, which is another reason why there were barely any restaurants in the area at that time. Then, Akihabara’s most famous ramen shops were Isuzu, Ganko Ramen, and Kyushu Jangara Ramen – only the latter one is still in business.
It wasn’t until Akihabara transformed into Moe City, the paradise for every anime fan, that tourists started to pay attention to the area and spent more time there. Since then, ramen shops gradually populated the neighborhood near the station and the redeveloped office buildings on the east side, until Akihabara became one of Tokyo’s prime ramen battlegrounds.
This time, we will take a look at some of the absolute must-try ramen shops in Akihabara, those beloved by Japanese regulars and tourists alike – all within a 10-minute walking distance from Akihabara Station!
1. Motenashi Kuroki – Famous for Shio Ramen!
The shopkeeper of Motenashi Kuroki experienced the Italian-Japanese fusion food boom in Japan and opened up his ramen shop in 2001. Always striving for the perfect taste, the shop’s menu was entirely renewed in 2016. This menu skillfully utilizes the developed techniques and tastes and refines them with a fresh taste and an excellent finish, making for a fragrant bowl of ramen!
Motenashi Kuroki’s menu is based on two types of dishes: shio soba (salt-based ramen) and asari miso soba (clam and miso-based ramen). Additionally, various seasonal dishes can be enjoyed as well. The must-try ramen specialty at this famous store undoubtedly is “tokusei shio soba,” or special salt-based ramen. The soup of the shio soba is made from three types of locally raised chicken, topped with an olive wrapped in chicken meat, two kinds of tender roast pork cooked at low temperatures, roast tomato, and komatsuna, or Japanese mustard spinach.
If your make your shio soba the special version, look forward to added wonton and a marinated, soft-boiled egg! Many fans of this shop are in love with the thin, straight noodles made right in the store.
Motenashi Kuroki饗 くろ喜
- Address 2-15 Kanda Izumicho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo-to 101-0024
- Phone Number 03-3863-7117
Hours: 11:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m., 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Wednesdays: 11:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Closed: Fridays, Sundays, national holidays
Price: tokusei shio soba – 1,300 yen, shio soba – 1,000 yen, asari miso soba – 1,000 yen
2. Ramen Tenjinshita Daiki – Ramen with a Heavenly Taste!
The famous Ramen Tenjinshita Daiki originally opened in Yushima in 1999, but had to move to Akihabara due to construction works. Ever since the shop’s relocation, its popularity has skyrocketed and you can always see long lines forming in front of the shop’s doors. The shop’s interior is held in a modern white, making sitting at the counter a rather relaxing experience. Daiki has a diverse menu that is mainly based on chicken soup.
The shop’s standard order is shoyu (soy sauce) ramen. This bowl has a flavorful soup made of chicken and fish, and the accompanying noodles can be ordered from thin and firm-to-the-bite to smooth and thick. Some of the most popular ramen creations of Daiki are the torisoba, a clear, chicken-based soup, as well as its thicker version, the jun-torisoba. If you’re a noodles fan, we recommend the tsukemen, a dish that serves noodles and soup separate from each other, allowing you to dip to your heart’s desire.
Ramen Tenjinshita Daikiらーめん天神下 大喜
- Address 2-4-4 Taito, Taito-ku, Tokyo-to 110-0016
- Phone Number 03-3834-0348
Hours: 11:00 a.m. – 2:30 p.m., 6:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.
Saturdays, national holidays: 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m., 5:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Closed: Sundays, national holidays
Price: shoyu ramen – 780 yen, torisoba – 850 yen, jun-torisoba - 950 yen, tsukemen – 850 yen
3. Tanaka Sobaten – Savory Tonkotsu Ramen with the Magical Phrase “Kotteri de!”
Tanaka Sobaten is a ramen shop of the immensely popular Tanaka Shoten, a specialty shop that focuses on Hakata-style ramen. In contrast to the white, rich soup of the main store, Tanaka Sobaten serves an excellent clear tonkotsu (pork bone broth) soup. Its signature bowl is the chuuka (“Chinese”) ramen, but we highly advise you to say the following when ordering: “Kotteri de!”
Kotteri means rich or thick, referring to a fairly heavy, oily kind of soup. Plenty of savory pork backfat is sprinkled on the bowl, harmonizing just right with the refreshing soup. The thick noodles served in the bowl also make this ramen experience a particularly delicious one, unfolding the flavor of the dish with every slurp. Our special tip: add some of Tanaka Soba’s own special red pepper mix to your bowl for an extra kick!
- Address 3-8-3 Dai1haritani Bld.1F, Sotokanda, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, 101-0021, Japan
- Phone Number 03-3256-3556
Hours: 11:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Closed: always open
Price: chuka soba – 750 yen, Yamagata karamiso ramen – 900 yen
Akihabara is a must-visit area for every anime and manga fan – and when you’re hungry from all the sightseeing and shopping, do make sure to explore the neighborhood’s ramen delights!
Don’t be scared by people queueing up outside a popular restaurant, you won’t have to wait long. People eat their bowls fairly quickly! Eat yourself through our ramen recommendations and pick your favorite!
Written by Takeshi Yamamoto
*Prices and options mentioned are subject to change.
*Unless stated otherwise, all prices include tax.
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