Ordering the Perfect Ramen: The Basics



A bowl of steaming hot ramen is high on the priority list of many visitors to Japan. If you try a couple of different shops, you might notice that each one has its own distinct flavor. This deliciousness is thanks in part to the preferences (and to some degree the personalities!) of the skilled chefs who work behind the counter. We’d like to introduce you to some of Tokyo’s must-try ramen shops and the chefs who make them great.

#1 Mujaki Jiyugaoka South Exit location

Haruki Kudo, Staff member
If your looking for ramen with a lot of gusto and a generous helping of pork loin and stewed pork belly, then head to the Jiyugaoka South Exit branch of the ramen shop Mujaki. There, Haruki Kudo will fix you up a bowl of ramen with all the toppings. Although still young, he’s already got ten years of experience under his belt. Not only is the ramen here delicious, but the store itself, located in the trendy area of Jiyugaoka, has been recently overhauled so diners can enjoy their ramen in both comfort and style.

About the chef
Kudo was inspired to become a ramen chef by his parents, both of whom worked at a Chinese restaurant.

What to get
Try the special ramen, which comes with pork loin and belly, spinach, egg, and more. 980 yen.

Why it’s so good
Mujaki braises their shoulder loin for nearly eight hours before it goes into their ramen.

Customize your ramen by choosing how soft or hard you want your noodles and the strength of the flavor of the soup.

Shop Information
Address:  1-31-2 Jiyugaoka, Meguro-ku, Tokyo
Tel: 03-5729-4641
Hours:  11am - 4am the following day
Open daily

#2 Hakata Ippudo Meidaimae location

Yudai Otsubo, Part-time staff member
Ippudo has been working hard to make a name for Hakata ramen internationally, opening up stores in New York and in other Asian countries. While in Tokyo, we recommend that you try this Kyushu-style ramen at Ippudo’s Meidaimae location where you can meet Yudai Otsubo. He’s a pro at making the store’s most popular options: the Shiromaru Motoaji and the Akamaru Shinaji, the recipes of which were just updated in October 2015.

About the chef
Yudai has been working at the shop part-time for a year. Many employees like him are from Kyushu, the place of origin of Hakata ramen, so the flavor here is really authentic.

What to get
Don’t miss the Akamaru Shinaji. To the smooth, mild pork-based soup, they add a dollop of a spicy miso blend for some extra kick. 850 yen.

Why it’s so good
The soup is left to simmer for a solid eighteen hours before making its way into your bowl. Though thin, the flavor is bold.

While waiting for your ramen, help yourself to the free spicy bean spouts at your table.

Shop Information
Address:  2-46-6 Matsubara, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo
Tel:  03-5355-5215
Hours: 11am – 2am the following day
Open daily
URL: (Japanese only)

#3 Menya Kagetora Shimo-kitazawa location

(Left) Yuta Ebisawa, Owner  (Right) Shunsuke Mitsuhashi, Staff member
If spicy food is your thing, then Menya Kagetora is the place for you. Friends since junior high school, owner Yuta Ebisawa and chef Shunsuke Mitsuhashi use three tongue-numbing varieties of chili peppers in their ramen. Although they just opened in October 2015, they’ve already got quite a following. Try for yourself to find out why! 

About the chefs
It was Ebisawa’s dream to open up his own ramen shop and eventually expand.

About the chefs
Ebisawa approached his childhood friend and asked him if he would open the shop with him.

What to get & why it’s so good
Definitely get the miso ramen. Spiciness permeates the richness of the miso soup and clings to the curves of the wavy chijire-style noodles. 800 yen.

One of the spices used is called sansho. Not only does it taste good, but it’s fun to eat because it produces a tingly numbness of the mouth and tongue. You can request how much sansho goes into your ramen, so if you really want a tongue-numbing experience, go for the max!

Shop Information
Address: Ina Bldg, 2-13-5 Kitazawa, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo
Tel: 03-6805-2322
Hours: Monday - Thursday, Sunday 11am – 11pm
Friday, Saturday, and holidays 11am – 3am the following day
Open daily

Feeling hungry? Let us know which ramen you think looks the tastiest and be sure to check out vol. 2 for more great ramen shops!


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