Ramen shops, often known as Ramen-ya to the locals of Tokyo, are a dime a dozen across the city.
There is an estimated number of 10,000 ramen stores in Tokyo alone, ranging from big-name ramen chains to small-time homestyle ramen. As a comparison, Tokyo has an approximate population of 37,393,000 people in the city – that’s almost 0.0002 ramen shops per person, or 1 shop for every 4,000 citizens.
Many ramen shops often focus on making the perfect bowl of Japanese style ramen with their own unique broths, with few branching out to offer snacks like gyoza, a Japanese dumpling that is steamed then pan-grilled, and karaage, a popular Japanese fried chicken.
With that said, how will you know which ramen shop offers the best bowl of Japanese ramen for you to slurp? Well, here’s a selection of 4 of the top ramen shops in Tokyo that you must visit the next time you’re in the city.
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Top 4 Ramen Shops in Tokyo
Without further ado, let’s look at the top 4 ramen shops in Tokyo. Do note that these ramen shop recommendations are not in any particular order.
No visit to Tokyo would be made complete without a visit to the famous Ichiran Ramen chain. They are popular for their individual booth-style seating and feature dividers between the seats so you can dine in private or push away the dividers to dine with your travel companions. You can find Ichiran Ramen branches all over Tokyo city.
Ichiran Ramen offers mainly tonkotsu style ramen or ramen in pork broth. At Ichiran, you’ll be able to personalize your bowl of ramen to your liking, including choosing the firmness of your noodles, the thickness of your broth, or even the spice level if you’re keen to add heat to your noodles.
Unique for its ogre-style storefront and dark interior, Kikanbo Ramen is fondly known as “Devil’s Ramen” to many ramen lovers. Situated in Kanda, Kikanbo Ramen serves a variety of spicy ramen that vary in heat. While you’re here, you can pick between stage 1 to stage 5 in spice and choose between 2 spice mixes.
If you’re not big on spicy food, we would recommend trying the standard ramen with regular spice. Daredevils may also pick the stage 5 ramen with both the spices to see why Kikanbo Ramen has been hailed as the spot for the spiciest ramen in Tokyo.
Tsuta Ramen of Tokyo was the first ramen shop in the world to be awarded the Michelin star award in 2015. Unlike most ramen shops that offer pork broths, Tsuta Ramen carries a variety of ramen broths like soy sauce broths and salt broths made with chicken and salmon.
The result of this are bowls of light Japanese style ramen that makes Tsuta Ramen a slurping favorite, especially on cold and rainy days. You can find Tsuta Ramen hidden around the Yoyogi-Uehara area, where it stands out among its neighboring cafes.
Following in the footsteps of the ramen boom, Nakiryu Ramen was quickly awarded a Michelin star in 2017 – the 2nd star for ramen shops worldwide. Despite its fame, Nakiryu Ramen still offers one of the cheapest ramens in the city. Queues are a daily thing at this shop, so be sure to get your spot early.
Nakiryu Ramen’s award-winning noodle is the DanDan Ramen, featuring noodles soaked in a spicy broth and topped with traditional ramen toppings like meat and spring onion. Nakiryu Ramen also offers a unique rice dish served with grilled pork, a must-try if you’re looking for a more filling meal for the day.