During my eight-day trip to Tokyo, I managed to eat 10 bowls of ramen. Yes, 10. And just in case you were wondering, I finished every single bowl. No noodle left behind! Two of the locations I visited twice, but switched up my order a bit. All of the following ramen cost anywhere between ¥1,000 and ¥1,400 ($10-$14). So, here are my personal choices for top 10 best bowls of ramen in Tokyo:
10. Asakusa Ramen Toryanse – 浅草らーめんとおりやんせ
My friend and I both agreed that this was easily our least favorite bowl of ramen. It wasn’t terrible, but compared to everything else we had been eating, it lacked a lot of flavor. I had to add soy sauce and A LOT of spice to it (which is what you see below). The amount of meat was pretty scarce as well. Asakusa Ramen Toryanse is located right off the main Nakamise Shopping Street on a side alley street. I’d recommend going to one of the many other ramen and teppanyaki restaurants around the area.
Address: Japan, 〒111-0032 Tokyo, Taitō, Asakusa, 1 Chome−20−2, 9 カフェダンケ
Overall, this isn’t a bad place by any means. I ordered the Akamaru Special (¥1,080) and Hakata Dumplings at IPPUDO. While the ramen was decent, I wish I got something with a stronger broth. However, the dumplings were delicious! They also have four containers of side dishes on the table that I really enjoyed (I’m not exactly sure what a couple of them were LOL). The oddest thing about this place though was the drink in what we originally thought was the water pitcher. You’ll discover that all restaurants typically have a self-serve water station or pitchers already on your table. However, at IPPUDO, you’re given a tea. A tea I absolutely hated. I have no idea what kind it was or how to even describe the flavor, but it left a very bitter after taste.
Address: Japan, 〒106-0032 Tokyo, Minato, Roppongi, 4 Chome−9−11, 第二小田切ビル
AFURI was nearby our Airbnb, and everyday around lunch there was a line wrapped around the building. So, we thought this must be the go-to place for ramen. You ordered by “vending machine” at the front of the restaurant, and then take your tickets with what your ordered to the bar. I ordered the Yuzu Shio Ramen (¥980) with an extra egg. It was a pretty good meal, but I wish they had more options with other vegetables. The pork though was very good, and I really liked the ladle-like spoon. It makes drinking the broth much easier.
Address: Japan, 〒151-0051 Tokyo, Shibuya, Sendagaya, 3 Chome−63−1, グランデフォレスタ
Located right off the main street in Harajuku, Shibuya near the Meiji-Jingumae Station, is Komen Harajuku. Like most other ramen restaurants, it’s very small and seats are basically small stools seated around a bar. I stopped by here on a whim after doing some shopping. While it was good, it mostly got lost in the number of bowls of ramen I consumed as it was just “okay”. I partially blame myself though because after I received my food, I noticed everyone else had something different from me (there’s was all the same). So, clearly I made a bad choice, but in my defense, I just pointed to a picture of something that looked good.
Address: 6 Chome-2-8 Jingumae, 渋谷区 Tokyo 150-0001, Japan
Akebonotei is a tiny yet home-y place that sits on top of Mt. Takao. After our hike, you can imagine we were pretty hungry for lunch, and there aren’t exactly many options on top of a mountain. This place one of the most amazing smells as we walked by, so as that was clearly a good indicator, we decided on Akebonotei. Forewarning, there was no one that spoke English and no English menu. I was a bit overwhelmed with trying to decide what to order, but luckily we met some very nice people from Thailand that helped us out. We ordered exactly what they did, and it was amazing. It’s probably the most traditional udon I will ever have in my life. Everything about it was delicious, especially the broth and fresh vegetables. I believe it cost about ¥1,150, but they have other options as well for a lower price.
You may have heard of this pretty well-known ramen shop (they have a location in NYC too!). Ichiran has locations all over Tokyo, and we enjoyed it so much we stopped by twice (different locations though). This wasn’t the best picture I took because it was raining and cold, and I just wanted to eat. It was towards the end of the week, and I was trying to save some money and ordered the Classic Tonkotsu Ramen with no additional add ins (except for extra spiciness). If you want a quick and easy bowl of classic ramen, look no further than Ichiran. Their prices are extremely reasonable, have solo stalls to eat, and you even have your very own water tap at your seat (can we get these in America please?).
Address: Japan, 〒150-0001 東京都渋谷区 神宮前６丁目５−６ サンポウ綜合ビル2F
4. Dry, Oil-Based Soba Noodle Shop – Shinjuku
I really wish I could remember where exactly this place was, however, we were just wondering around different streets and decided to venture down some stairs to this little soba restaurant. It was another “vending machine” style where your ordered your food and then give the tickets to the staff. I was somewhat hesitant about this place at first, but I was shocked by how good everything was. They deliver you your bowl of dry ramen along with instruction on how to eat it (yes, really). There’s an order of how everything is mixed and eaten, and the broth is already in a pitcher on the table. I loved the abundance of vegetables they included and definitely were not stingy with the pork either. This place was near the Metropolitan Building and I included a picture of the outside below too!
As soon as I stepped foot off the plane, I was set on finding a ramen restaurant for my first meal. I met my friend around Shinjuku and we asked some locals where we should go. They pointed us in the direction of Ichiran where we had to wait in line (be prepared for this, there’s almost always a line) for about 30 minutes.
Once it was our turn, we walked down a set of stairs where we were greeted by a vending machine. As this was my first food experience in Japan, I was extremely confused. It took me a few minutes to figure out everything (it was all in Japanese), but by the end I had this lovely creation you see below. I ordered the Classic Tonkotsu Ramen with extra garlic and spiciness, a boiled egg, mushrooms, and nori. My friend voted this as the best bowl of ramen, and it was a very close tie with me for the win. I’d have no problem having a bowl of this every day.
Address: Japan, 〒160-0022 Tokyo, Shinjuku, 3 Chome−34−11, ピースビル
First, let me tell you, I had to prepare myself to write about this place. I still regularly dream about this particular bowl of ramen and how it’s one of my favorite meals I have ever eaten. It was also the last dinner I had in Tokyo because I refused to go home without a second bowl. My friend chose this place as his very close second to Ichiran.
The first visit I ordered the Kobonshan (こぼんしゃん) 3-C (which included chunks of marinated pork and flavored boiled egg for ¥1,080. Kobonshan is a tonkotsu pork bone stock with a lot of roasted garlic. Personally, I really enjoy bold, strong flavors and garlic is one of my favorite flavors, so this was a no brainer. However, I will warn you, the garlic flavor is so strong it sticks with you (aka have some gum or mints with you). The second trip I ordered the same thing but with an added bonus of seasoned cod roe (the pinkish lump in the 2nd picture below) which cost ¥1,180.
Nothing I say will do this dish justice. It easily had the most flavor of anything I had all week and the portion of everything included was enough to satisfy my appetite for quite a while (this is a hard feat to accomplish as I’m usually hungry every second of every day). The thing that stood out to me the most about this ramen was the pork. It was by far the most juiciest, tender, and tastiest pork I have ever eaten. Just do yourself a favor, and visit Kyushu Jangara. There is no way you will be disappointed. Because, even if you don’t enjoy a strong garlic flavor, they have four other types of broth based ramen to choose from.
Address: 1 Chome-13-21 Jingumae, Shibuya, Tokyo 150-0001
I’m going to go eat now because writing this post was complete torture. Which of these places looks the most appetizing and interesting to you? Let me know in the comments below!