Every year in autumn, Tokyo’s Komazawa Olympic Park transforms into a fierce battleground of noodle soups for a week as the Tokyo Ramen Show unfolds! It’s the biggest event focused solely on one of Japan’s favorite dishes.
Over 3 million people come to taste their way through dozens of Japanese ramen varieties – local, creative, extravagant! No matter what broth floats your boat, the Tokyo Ramen Show is sure to have it in several variations!
With this year's Tokyo Ramen Show coming up soon (details below), let’s take a closer look at last year's show - and see what this year has in store!
Local Japanese Ramen Specialties from Every Corner of the Country!
The Tokyo Ramen Show 2017 was the world’s biggest ramen festival both in name and reality. This year marked the 9th time that the delicious event has been held, with 26 shops participating in the two runs. From Hokkaido in the north to Kagoshima in the south, famous ramen shops and restaurants offered their bowls of noodly happiness to curious gourmets – even shops from the United States and Hawaii were part of the festival!
One of the best things about the Tokyo Ramen Show is the many opportunities to taste local ramen specialties. Usually, you’d have to travel to a particular prefecture or even city to indulge in such ramen rarities.
One of our favorites was the bowl of a shop from Fukuoka Prefecture’s Kurume City, Taiho Ramen. They collaborated with the international ramen brand Ippudo to create a dish called “Furusato Ramen Daibakuhatsu!!” This mouthful of soup can be translated to “Hometown Ramen Great Explosion!!” – and it tastes just as amazing as it sounds! Another highlight was the collaboration bowl between Toyama Burakkumenya Iroha and Tsukemen Ebisuko. They cooked up a ramen dish that incorporates miso and malted rice, making for a wonderfully rich and savory taste, topped with plenty of meat and a seasoned egg.
People visit the event every year to enjoy the fantastic ramen creations, including ramen maniacs who seek to try every single participating bowl!
A Leisurely Ramen Picnic Under Tokyo’s Autumn Sky
November 5 marked the final day of the Tokyo Ramen Show 2017 and it was a beautiful, sunny autumn day. The ticket booth at the entrance of Komazawa Olympic Park already handled a long queue of people in the early afternoon. The venue itself is entirely free to enter and leave at any time and the tickets that can be purchased at this booth are an exchange currency for ramen bowls. One ticket costs 850 yen and can be exchanged for any bowl you like – simply hand in the ticket and that’s it. Attached is a little slip that you’ll be handed back after making your order. This tiny extra ticket can be used to vote for your favorite bowl. On the final day of the event, all the votes were counted to determine the visitors’ favorite of 2017!
Free ramen guidebooks are distributed directly at the venue to help people decide on which bowls to spend their tickets on. A lot of people come to Tokyo Ramen Show with either friends or family and pretty much everyone gets at least one ticket to line up in front of a store that piques their curiosity. The exchanged bowls are then generally shared and tastes are happily compared.
Between noon and 2 p.m., the number of visitors seemed to reach its peak, with the eating space in the cozy open tents being entirely occupied. Thus, numerous people could be found sipping their bowls on nearby benches under the warm autumn sun. The entire event felt like a massive, fun picnic and the atmosphere was cheerful and relaxed.
Experience the Cheerfulness of Tokyo Ramen Show
In 2017, over 3 million people visited the 9th run of the Tokyo Ramen Show, overshadowing every other ramen events all around the country.
The secret to Tokyo Ramen Show’s popularity lies in the extremely well-balanced selection of participating shops. They are chosen by a committee of experts, such as the acclaimed ramen critic Hiroshi Osaki. From north to south, various local shops gather to offer their ramen – it’s a diverse mix of soups, including soy sauce, salt, miso, tonkotsu (pork bone), and others. There are also a lot of ramen collaborations that can only be tasted at the popular event, drawing both curious gourmets and die-hard enthusiasts to Komazawa Olympic Park every year. The number of visitors speaks for itself, making clear that “this kind of ramen taste can only be experienced at Tokyo Ramen Show.”
The know-how gathered in years of experience makes for an extremely smooth and quick cooking and serving, meaning that you usually never have to wait longer than 30 to 40 minutes for your desired bowl, even if the event is massively crowded. Next to the food, idol groups also perform on the nearby stage and there are plenty of events offered for children – the Tokyo Ramen Show really offers entertainment for everyone, not just foodies!
When is Tokyo Ramen Show 2019?
The dates for 2019 have been announced! Tokyo Ramen Show 2019 will be held on Thursday, October 24 through Monday, November 4. Additional details are below.
Admission: Free (meal tickets are 850 yen apiece)
First Run – October 24 to 29, 2019
Second Run – October 30 to November 4, 2019
Hours: 10:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m. (until 6:00 p.m. on October 29 and November 4)
Location: Komazawa Olympic Park (about a 12 minute walk from Komazawa-Daigaku Station)
*Prices and options mentioned are subject to change.
*Unless stated otherwise, all prices include tax.
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