Whether you’re staying nearby, just arrived in Tokyo or are heading out of town, there’s nothing like a steaming bowl of ramen to perk you up. And with eight of the best spots in the city all under one roof at Tokyo Station, life’s made easy—just head to the famous Tokyo Ramen Street.
About Tokyo Ramen Street
Among the 100 shops and restaurants in the labyrinths beneath Tokyo Station, there is one special corner dedicated to ramen: Tokyo Ramen Street. Now, in a lot of countries, the train station is home to most people’s second-favorite burger chain and maybe a bakery, but in Japan, stations are the places to go for some of the best food in town. Therefore, when the station invited the best ramen shops in Tokyo to open up indoors, they all agreed immediately. Unfortunately, this also means there will be queues at whichever restaurant you choose, but just take it as a sign of quality. There has been some turnover since 2009 with four more stores joining the original four in 2011 and a couple changing since then, but change is good, afterall.
There is now a good mix of options, with specialties in the traditional types as well as some more contemporary styles too. Whether you’re new to ramen (in which case have a look at this handy infographic we made) or a connoisseur, there will be something new and worthy of your tastebuds. When ordering, most places have pictures of the ramen on their vending machines, so you can either go by photo, or compare with an English menu if available. Some even have #1 or most popular labels on, so you can always opt for that!
The website for Tokyo Station does have information, but only in Japanese. If you’re keen to prepare ahead, or want to make yourself really hungry, have a look at the restaurants below to get an idea about each one’s specialty.
There are also individual information posters around the street, with more English information about each restaurant as well as the procedure for ordering. Some restaurants prefer you to buy the ticket before joining the queue, and some vice versa, so check the signs outside each place (they’re hard to miss!)
So without further ado, here are the eight restaurants and all their specialties!
1. Rokurinsha: For good food and long queues
A tsukemen (a dipping noodle dish) restaurant where the rich pork and seafood broth is simmered for 13 hours to achieve a delicious and rich base for your noodles. It is by far the most popular in the station with queues snaking around the corner for most of the day.
Opened by Ryosei Mita who studied under the creator of tsukemen (Kazuo Yamagishi), standards are high and so is demand. If you spot the queue and don’t fancy it, you can buy the ramen frozen from a stand across from the restaurant. The most recommended dish is the Tokusei Tsukemen at 1,080 yen. After you finish you can add broth to your bowl—and don’t worry, slurping straight from the bowl is perfectly acceptable!
2. Oreshiki Jun: For the best tonkotsu in town
Considered a rising star in the tonkotsu ramen world, Oreshiki Jun offers a deliciously rich broth and is part of the Setagaya Ramen group. You can choose the firmness of you noodle from 1 to 5, and they have a famous chili oil with 18 ingredients which can really lift the rich broth. Lots of other dishes are also available including curry, dumplings and rice bowls, in case you needed something more!
3. Ikaruga: For the unusual
Offering some of the more unusual ramen options, Ikaruga has a great variety of dishes to choose from. You might want to skip the simple ramen at 800 yen in favour of the Tokyo Station Ramen for 1,030 yen, or the All-In Ramen for 1,080 yen. There are spicy options, dipping noddles and a three-cheese maze-soba which is only available from 2 pm onwards. It comes with a raw egg and is generously sprinkled with Parmesan, Reggiano and red cheddar—perfect if you want something unusual!
4. Senmon Hirugao: For great shio ramen
Hirugao offers a delicate and fragrant shio (salt) ramen with Hokkaido noodles in a chicken and seafood broth. The broth is clear and the noodles are delicate and thin, without being too soft. The Special ramen comes with dumplings if you’re particularly hungry!
5. Soranoiro Nippon: For Edo-style ramen (with a vegan option)
Offering Edo-style chuka-soba (aka Chinese soba) along with vegan options, this is a great combination of creativity and tradition.The shop itself has a far more modern and stylish feel than others, with colorful prints and a nice lightness rarely found in ramen shops.
The menu offers three vegan ramen options with a Vegan Bamboo Noodle dish, awarded a Bib Gourmand status by the Michelin Guide in 2015. There are also interesting chuka-soba options including an Okinawa-style shio ramen. Their dishes are all fresh and light, helping you avoid the heavy feeling ramen can often leave you with and is definitely worth a visit! Plus, it’s handy for mixed groups, so no one feels like they’re missing out. (You may also want to check out their other store in Kyobashi for their mushroom ramen!)
6. Chiyogami: For refined chuka-soba
The second brand of Ikaruga, this restaurant focuses on shio ramen with an exceptionally clear broth and traditional toppings. Chuka-soba is the original Chinese noodles, and has undergone plenty of modification over the years. The store motto is for you to choose a dish that suits your mood, and is a refined version of a nostalgic favorite, the modern chuka-soba.
7. Gyoku: For umami-rich chicken and fish broth
Gyoku’s ramen base is the perfect combination of chicken paitan (a thick, cloudy “white broth”) and a long-simmered fish broth made from dried sardines, resulting in an umami-rich flavor profile. The thin noodles are made in house, and the dish is topped with thinly shaved bonito flakes that “melt away” in your broth, enhancing the flavor even more.
Tokyo Niboshi Ramen Gyoku
8. Tsujita Miso no Sho: For miso ramen with Hokkaido noodles
The ramen at Tsujita Miso no Sho is a carefully thought-out and multi-layered creation. First, the broth is made from chicken bones, seafood and several types of miso. Next, the curly noodles (brought in from Hokkaido) are the perfect shape to pick up the flavorful broth with each bite. It’s topped with succulent slices of pork belly, which have been marinated in a secret sauce. Lastly, on the table you’ll find aonori seaweed that you can add to your liking to change the flavor profile of the dish.
Tsujita Miso no Sho
Bonus option — Tanmen Tonari: For your five-a-day
Tanmen Tonari used to be part of Tokyo Ramen Street, but it has moved only a 3-minute walk away from Tokyo Station.
As for its menu, the ramen shop offers Tokyo-style tanmen topped with 360 g of stir-fried seasonal vegetables—so definitely the healthy option! That’s 10 g more than is recommended per day by the Ministry of Health in Japan, so you can have your cake and eat it (i.e., ramen and a healthy lifestyle!). Each bowl includes 10 different vegetables including bean sprouts, carrots and cabbage. They also have very popular karaage (Japanese-style fried chicken, not so healthy). You can get the Tankara 990-yen set which has tanmen and karaage, saving you a couple hundred yen.
This post was orginally published in January 2017. Last update: April 2021.
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