(Ikebukuro - Ramen). unlisted
Ganko's shio ramen uses a closely guarded family recipe. If the soup isn't perfect on a particular day they might be closed.
Higashi-Ikebukuro 1-13-12. Open 11:30am-3, 6-10pm daily.
The draws here are the great tsukemen noodles, herb-grilled pork, and a sweet fish-pork blend soup that incorporates blueberries and other fruit.
Higashi-Ikebukuro 1-32-2. Open 11am-11pm daily.
(Takadanobaba - Ramen). 3365-1378
This attractively appointed branch of a Tottori-based shop serves organic ramen in a beefy shio-style soup. The drinks menu features a house-brand organic junmaishu sake from Akita as well as beer and shochu.
Takadanobaba 4-10-14. Open 11am-3, 5-10:30pm daily.
(Takadanobaba - Ramen). 3366-9488
The unusual chicken ramen here is topped with lettuce, tomato and olive oil.
Takadanobaba 4-17-17. Open 11:30am-2:30, 6pm-1am (Sun -8pm) daily.
(Takadanobaba - Ramen). 3203-5011
Tsukemen is the specialty here; it comes in three different sizes, but they're all the same price - Y720.
Takadanobaba 1-22-7. Open 11am-9pm daily.
(Takadanobaba - Ramen). unlisted
Ramen noodles in a classic shio-based soup, topped with pork. The decor is sparse, there are only five seats, and if the soup is less than perfect they don't bother opening for business that day. There's no real sign, just a large bone hung up outside the shop when they're open.
Nishi-Waseda 3-15-7. Open noon-2, 5-9pm. Closed weekends.
Nicely textured noodles in a tasty fish-based broth are topped off with excellent home-made menma (pickled bamboo shoots). They also offer a rather novel ramen pizza.
Kita-Shinjuku 1-4-1, Arma Bldg B1F. Open 11:30am-11pm daily.
(Shinjuku - Ramen). 3356-5658
The delicate but flavorful very seafood-based shio broth at this ramen shop is made from the catch of the day - a mix of several types of fish in season. Equally unusual are the toppings - chicken meatballs and shrimp balls along with shiso leaf.
Shinjuku 3-35-7, Sanraku Bldg 2F. Open 11am-3, 4:30-11pm daily.
Dried baby sardines (niboshi) have been a common ingredient in ramen for many years. It wasn't until recently, though, that ramen chefs began using them in abundance. The tiny fish have a very bitter flavor, and cooking them too long will ruin anything. So when a shop comes along that is able to extract as much smoky, fishy taste from their niboshi as possible, fans rejoice. Dried baby sardines (niboshi) have been a common ingredient in ramen for many years. It wasn't until recently, though, that ramen chefs began using them in abundance. The tiny fish have a very bitter flavor, and cooking them too long will ruin anything. So when a shop comes along that is able to extract as much smoky, fishy taste from their niboshi as possible, fans rejoice.
Golden Gai, in Shinjuku's Kabukicho entertainment district, is a sight to behold. With more bars per square meter than anywhere else in the world, you wouldn't expect an amazing ramen shop. But there it is, up on the second floor. Just look for the ever-present line. Feel free to drink before coming here, niboshi ramen is an amazing hangover preventative measure.
The menu is simple, go for either the niboshi ramen (Y820) or the niboshi ramen with egg (Y920). Squeeze in with the other happy slurpers, and enjoy some of the strongest soup in Tokyo. The noodles are rough as well, curly flat noodles that soak up just the right amount of the soup. [Show more] [Show less]
(Nishi-Shinjuku - Ramen). 3363-4634
The original branch of a famous and very popular ramen chain, this shop usually has a line to get in. In addition to the usual options of toppings, you can also choose the size of your bowl, and whether you want strong or weak broth. The kakuni (stewed pork) is especially recommended.
Nishi-Shinjuku 7-2-6, K1 Bldg 1F. Open 11am-9:30pm daily.
(Nishi-Shinjuku - Ramen). 3363-3321
The tanmen noodles here are very spicy, but the soup has a depth of flavor the goes beyond one-note hotness. You can pick from several variations, with different levels of spiciness.
(Nishi-Shinjuku - Ramen). 3365-0296
This relaxed second-floor branch of the Nagi chain offers an evening menu of izakaya-style side dishes to nibble on with drinks, including a "ramen-shop omelet" and gyoza topped with ratatouille. The limited ramen offerings in the evening are quite unusual - a tasty shellfish ramen made with steamed mussels and clams as well as ramen topped with grilled cheese. At lunchtime they serve tsukemen, including some unique, very wide lasagna-esque noodles.
Nishi-Shinjuku 7-13-7. Open 6-11:30pm. Closed 3rd Sunday.
(Nishi-Shinjuku - Ramen). 6413-8480
Tsukemen is everywhere in Tokyo. Expecially tonkotsu gyokai tsukemen. Pork and chicken bones are cooked on high heat for a long time to draw out as much creamy collagen as possible. Thickness is the key here. This soup is usually blended with a fishy soup made from dried Japanese fish. The result is like gravy, and the flavor is like nothing else in the world. Serve cold noodles on the side for dipping, and you have a very popular style of tsukemen. Tsukemen is everywhere in Tokyo. Expecially tonkotsu gyokai tsukemen. Pork and chicken bones are cooked on high heat for a long time to draw out as much creamy collagen as possible. Thickness is the key here. This soup is usually blended with a fishy soup made from dried Japanese fish. The result is like gravy, and the flavor is like nothing else in the world. Serve cold noodles on the side for dipping, and you have a very popular style of tsukemen.
There are many shops like this, and they tend to be universally good. One stands out though, and when you finally make it inside Fuunji, you'll see why it is considered a top spot for tsukemen in Tokyo. The line is always there, stretching out, across the street, and sometimes veering into the nearby park. The line moves fast, so jump in.
Be sure to order the tsukemen here (Y800). The ramen on the menu is good, but the tsukemen is where it's at. You'll be asked what size portion of noodles you want when you hand in your ticket. Nami gets you regular, and dai gets you a large size. Unless you are very hungry, go for the nami. Fuunji uses only chicken in their soup, something that is rarely done. Blended with a thick fish stock, and topped with fish powder, this one really clings to the noodles. The smoky, roasted taste can be enjoyed after the noodles are gone by diluting the soup with some broth, located on the counter. [Show more] [Show less]
Yoyogi 2-14-3. Open 11am-3, 5-9pm. Closed Sundays.
Famous Kyushu ramen; kakuni (Chinese-style stewed pork) is one of their specialties, and helps explain the long lines at lunchtime.
(Shibuya - Ramen). 3499-0390
Classic Hakata-style tonkotsu (pork-bone soup) ramen.
(Ebisu - Ramen). 5795-0750
This popular shop is known for their light, "cafe-style" shoyu ramen.
A creamy, richly flavored cheese-tonkotsu ramen is the specialty at this popular shop.
(Ebisu - Ramen). 5420-2225
The first Tokyo branch of a renowned Hakata ramen shop (they also have a branch at the Shin-Yokohama Ramen Museum), they serve thin, slightly chewy noodles in a pork-based broth ("red" or "white"), with or without extra chashu. You can add your own freshly grated garlic -- you'll find bowls of whole garlic cloves on the counter along with graters.
(Nishi-Azabu - Ramen). 5775-5566
Excellent miso-style ramen. Gogyo blackens their miso in a kitchen-side fire show while preparing the soup.
(Hamamatsucho - Ramen). 6459-0660
Serving very good ramen by day, in the evenings Zoot turns into a comfortable wine-bar/bistro. The shio ramen with egg comes in a chicken-based broth, with fried garlic chips, croutons and a lemon slice; there are also a variety of tsukemen dishes.
Hamamatsucho 1-28-4. Open 11:30am-2:30pm. Closed Sundays.
(Roppongi Hills - Ramen). 3497-0154
A convenient and popular Roppongi Hills branch of one of Tokyo's best shops for tsukemen-style ramen noodles.
Roppongi 6-2-31, Roppongi Hills North Tower B1F. Open 11am-10:45pm (LO) daily.
This popular, rather old fashioned-looking shop is famous for their classic shoyu-style ramen.
Ginza 2-13-13. Open 11am-10:30pm (LO). Closed Sundays.
The prize-winning tsukemen here is served with a thick, richly flavored dipping sauce made with pork, seafood and vegetables. For those who want to skip the long lines, the shop also sells a very good and easy-to-prepare "omiyage" package to take home. This is one of eight famous shops that make up Tokyo Ramen Street in the Ichiban-gai underground shopping complex attached to Tokyo Station.
Marunouchi 1-9-1, Ichibangai Tokyo Ramen Street. Open 7:30am-10, 11-10pm (LO) daily.
Italian-inspired novely ramen is the attraction here, with cheese-based "fromage" ramen and cold cherry-tomato ramen. The ham-and-cheese ramen comes with prosciutto and a small portion of noodles - let them know when you're done with your noodles and they'll bring a bowl of rice to soak up the remainder of the very buttery broth, resulting in a risotto-like finale. Italian-inspired novely ramen is the attraction here, with cheese-based "fromage" ramen and cold cherry-tomato ramen. The ham-and-cheese ramen comes with prosciutto and a small portion of noodles - let them know when you're done with your noodles and they'll bring a bowl of rice to soak up the remainder of the very buttery broth, resulting in a risotto-like finale.
Wine by the glass is Y500, with tickets sold in the vending machine up front. Open 11am-10pm Saturdays, noon-9pm Sundays. [Show more] [Show less]
Kudan-Minami 4-5-11. Open 11am-4, 5-10pm daily.
(Kudanshita - Ramen). 3239-2622
One of the creamiest tonkotsu ramens in Tokyo.
Kudan-kita 1-9-12. Open 11am-4, 5-10pm. Closed Sundays.
(Jimbocho - Ramen). 5215-5623
The intensely flavorful miso ramen, made by blending three types of miso, is the recommended bowl at this hole-in-the-wall shop.
Kanda Jimbocho 2-2-12. Open 11am-8pm daily.
(Awajicho - Ramen). 6659-7676
Serving one of Tokyo's best bowls of miso ramen, Tsujida is popular with serious noodle connoisseurs and other ramen fans.
Kanda Ogawamachi 1-1. Open 11am-11pm (Sat, Sun -9pm) daily.
This popular ramen shop is a local favorite for their fiery, spicy miso ramen. On Saturdays they're only open for lunch.
Kajicho 2-10-10. Open 11am-4, 5:30-9pm. Closed Sundays.
(Ueno - Ramen). 3834-0348
The very popular ramen shop Daiki is known for their tasty chicken-based soup, available in both shio (salt) or shoyu (soy sauce) varieties. The "torisoba" option indicates a pure chicken-stock soup, although this option tends to sell out quickly.
Yushima 3-47-2. Open 11:30am-3, 5:30-10pm. Closed Sundays.
(Sendagi - Ramen). 3827-6272
One of the best shops in town for tsukemen-style ramen, where the noodles are served separate and dipped into a thicker soup.
Sendagi 4-1-14. Open 11:30am-3:45, 6-11pm daily.
This very popular shop is known for their tsukemen, served with a thick, richly flavored dipping sauce made with pork, seafood and vegetables. Prepare to wait on line during busy times.
Nagano-style ramen is the specialty here, served in a triple-barreled soup flavored with pork, chicken and various fish.
Nishikata 1-15-6. Open 11am-1:30am. Closed Mondays.
This fourth shop of celebrity ramen chef Takeda Keisuke serves a rather unique take on noodles - lobster tsukemen. Thick, flat, pan-fried noodles are accompanied by a thick, pork-based and lobster-enhanced dipping broth.
Hon-Komagome 1-1-14. Open 11am-3, 6-10pm daily.
Good, solid tonkotsu ramen is served here, and they do a "vegetable ramen" with lots of fresh vegetables to go with your pork.
Keisuke is best known for their excellent, potently strong shoyu-style ramen.
Shio ramen is a specialty at this laid-back little shop, and the broth gets richer and stronger as the day goes by. Also worth trying is their spicy Thai-style green curry ramen. In the evenings ramen is served until the soup runs out, but "bar time" runs until 11pm.
Nishi-Koiwa 3-11-19. (near Koiwa station) Open 11am-2:30, 6-11pm. Closed Mondays.
(Itabashi-ku - Ramen). 5392-9567
Voted best new bowl of 2009, Hajime's shio-ramen uses salt that's imported from Mongolia.
Itabashi-ku, Sakashita 2-16-11. Open 11:30am-2:30, 6-9pm daily.
The decor here is closer to a trendy bar than a ramen shop, with liquor bottles on shelves and rock music on the stereo. As far as the noodles go, the shop is known mainly for their gingery shoyu ramen, but they also serve a seafood-broth version called 8/6 (hachi rocku). On Sundays they're open only for lunch.
Tsukuda 2-16-7. Open 11:30am-3, 6pm-12:30am (LO). Closed Mondays.
(Higashi-Nakano - Ramen). 3362-1173
Excellent miso ramen.
Higashi-Nakano 1-31-8. Open 11am-3, 5-9pm. Closed Sundays.
(Nakano - Ramen). 3388-5552
The ramen at this popular shop comes with big slabs of chashu that taste almost like ham.
Nakano 5-58-1. Open 10am-7pm. Closed Thursdays.
(Koenji - Ramen). 5327-4744
Spicy (but not crazy-spicy) Chinese-style tantanmen noodles in a thick, pork-filled soup are the specialty at this small shop. They also serve good gyoza dumplings as a side dish.
Koenji-Kita 3-2-17. Open 11:30am-1am daily.
This long-running shop (founded in Showa 24) serves classic Tokyo-style ramen in a shoyu soup that's made with dried sardines. The wonton-men is especially recommended.
Kami-Ogi 1-4-6. Open 11am-9:30pm daily.
(Kichijoji - Ramen). 0422-20-5185
This branch of the famous Ogikubo honten serves classic Tokyo-style ramen in a shoyu soup that's made with dried sardines. The wonton-men is especially recommended.
Kichijoji Honcho 2-14-1. Open 11am-9pm. Closed Wednesdays.
(Tachikawa - Ramen). 042-525-3371
Excellent shoyu ramen with thick noodles is the draw at Kyoka, along with a pleasant setting with dramatic lighting.
Tachikawa, Shibasakicho 2-12-20. Open 11:30am-3, 6-10pm daily.
The tasty ramen soup here is flavored with pork bones and sea bream. When you're done with your noodles you can ask for rice to go with your remaining soup (chazuke style), and a hot stone in your bowl to heat it up. Note that three different shops occupy this same location at different hours of the day and week.
Hatagaya 2-1-5. Open 11:30am-3, 6-11pm. Closed weekends.
Hototogisu is a little hard to find. It's located in a suburb a few stations west of Shinjuku, down a local shopping street, and in a nondescript alleyway. They usually have a line, which is the only indication of anything existing there. But therein lies the beauty of ramen. Hototogisu could make a killing with a bigger shop in a busier part of town, but they choose to stay, despite the countless awards and accolades. Hototogisu is a little hard to find. It's located in a suburb a few stations west of Shinjuku, down a local shopping street, and in a nondescript alleyway. They usually have a line, which is the only indication of anything existing there. But therein lies the beauty of ramen. Hototogisu could make a killing with a bigger shop in a busier part of town, but they choose to stay, despite the countless awards and accolades.
Hototogisu blends a clear, meaty soup with a soup made from Japanese clams. The flavors are full of umami, and very refreshing. But what gives them their edge is the excellent flavoring of the toppings. The shoyu ramen (Y800) and the shio ramen (Y850) are both excellent and quite different. Though they use the same base soup, the shoyu is accented with homemade porcini mushroom flakes and oil, while the shio ramen is paired with truffle oil. Both of these bowls have a deep earthy taste that has most patrons drinking every last drop.
On Sundays they're open only at lunchtime. [Show more] [Show less]
Hatagaya 2-47-12. Open 11:30am-3, 6:30-10pm. Closed Thu, Fri; Sun eve.
This popular shop is best known for their shoyu ramen. Closed on the 2nd, 12th, and 22nd of every month.
Izumi 3-5-3. Open 11am-11pm daily.
(Futago-tamagawa - Ramen). 3708-0134
As the name implies, Ayu Ramen specializes in noodles with grilled ayu (sweetfish), served in a lightly flavored soup so as not to overpower the delicate ayu taste. You can order a yaki-onigiri rice ball to soak up the flavors of any remaining soup. In the summertime they're also open for lunch from 11:45am-3pm, or until their soup runs out.
Kitchen Troquet is a small, ten-seat restaurant from the folks who brought us Buono Buono, a lunchtime-only Italian-fusion ramen shop which was located just around the corner. Here they've expanded their horizons to include pork cutlets, omelettes, ebi-fry and tomato curry - "food that both children and adults can enjoy" as they helpfully explain. The main draw though once again is their very unusual take on ramen, served in a hearty, tomato-based broth. Kitchen Troquet is a small, ten-seat restaurant from the folks who brought us Buono Buono, a lunchtime-only Italian-fusion ramen shop which was located just around the corner. Here they've expanded their horizons to include pork cutlets, omelettes, ebi-fry and tomato curry - "food that both children and adults can enjoy" as they helpfully explain. The main draw though once again is their very unusual take on ramen, served in a hearty, tomato-based broth.
"Tomato ramen" comes in a number of variations - basic pomodoro; spicy arrabbiata, tomato-miso, bolognese, cheddar-cheese, four-cheese, and a few seasonal specials. The four-cheese ramen is practically a meal in a bowl, incorporating a hefty portion of noodles, chunks of chicken white meat, a caprese-inspired layer of mozzarella and pesto, and a sprinkling of rocket leaves. The broth (it's hard not to think of it as pasta sauce) is thick, chunky, and rich in umami, with a subtle smoky flavor.
Noodles can be ordered in either a linguini-like thin size or a thicker, flatter formation. Ramen is priced from Y780-1280 per bowl, and a small bowl of garlicky risotto is available as a side dish for Y250. Other side dishes include an excellent eggplant salad (Y750) and several other vegetable dishes. [Show more] [Show less]
Kami-Meguro 1-4-3, Excel Naka-Meguro 104. Open 11:30am-2, 5-10pm (LO) daily.
Mitsuyado's double-cheese ramen is the perfect late-night bowl of ramen after a few drinks. Unusual for a ramen shop, there's some open-air terrace seating.
Kami-Meguro 3-3-9. Open 11:30am-12:30am daily.
A Thai-influenced green-curry ramen is the specialty here, although they also do nice versions of more ordinary ramen styles. Near Shin-Daita station, one stop from Shimo-Kitazawa.
Setagaya-ku, Hanegi 1-4-18. Open 6pm-1:30am (LO). Closed Sundays.
New York chef Ivan Orkin, a veteran of the kitchens of Mesa Grill and Lutece, is striving to create the perfect bowl of noodles in his tiny ten-seat shop in suburban Setagaya-ku. His pork-free broth is made from chicken, kombu and sardines, and the noodles are home-made.
Soup choices include shoyu, shio, and slow-roasted garlic - an intensely garlicky broth that's served with noodles made from a mix of udon and bread flours rather than standard ramen flour. One recommended side dish is the pulled pork and roast tomato donburi; there's also home-made ice cream. Be prepared to wait in line.
Minami-Karasuyama 3-24-7. (2 min. from the N exit of Roka-Koen station on the Keio Line) Open M-F 5:30-10:30pm. Closed Wed, 4th Tue.
(Nerima-ku - Ramen). 3997-1631
Seriously spicy ramen in a fish-based soup is the specialty at this highly rated shop.
Nerima-ku, Shakujimachi 3-25-21, Lion's Plaza B1F. Open 11am-3, 5:30-11:30pm daily.
Ranked the number-one bowl of ramen in Tokyo by many critics and popular surveys, the nine-seat Kissou is open only for lunch, when the long lines can take more than an hour. The broth is a light tonkotsu-gyokai blend, and the egg topping is highly recommended. There's a choice of either standard ramen or tsukemen.
Toyo 1-11-3. Open 11:30am-3pm. Closed Sundays, Wednesdays.
(Machida - Ramen). 042-723-2951
Oyaji's miso ramen uses imported Dutch lard to brew a rich, creamy soup.
Nakamachi 1-19-1. Open 11am-11pm daily.
Ramen for serious connoisseurs, with branches of eight of the best ramen shops from throughout Japan. See article