Sure, we’ve all heard of ramen.

And the majority of us has had a bowl or several in our lifetime. But what exactly is it? The packaged stuff aside, we breakdown the layered process for whipping up one of Japan’s most beloved dishes, from bottom to top.

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What is ramen?

What is ramen infographic
Photo by Hawken King

Cheapo ramen reviews

Ippudo Ramen: Ramen restaurant chain found throughout Tokyo with bowls starting at 780 yen.

Hidakaya:  Another chain with bowls priced at 390 yen to 590 yen, and around 800 yen for sets.



Ichiran: Here you can customize your own bowl of ramen.

Hakata Tenjin: Try tonkostsu on a budget, prices range from 500-1,000 yen.

Raion Ramen: Casual ramen house on Tokyo’s west side. 700 yen and up.

Stamina Ramen: A hidden gem in the Kichijoji neighborhood frequented by locals (so you know it’s good) and just 500 yen a pop!

Top ramen tip

While a 500-yen bowl of ramen fits nicely within a cheapo budget, keep in mind that Michelin star- or Bib Gourmand-rated restaurants serve up ramen dishes for sometimes only a few hundred yen more—and usually no more than 1,200 yen. There are currently two ramen restaurants with the coveted star, one being Tsuta in Sugamo. You can check out the restaurants that made the Bib Gourmand list here.

And if you want options all under one roof, make your way to Tokyo Station’s Ramen Alley or Shinagawa Shinatatsu Ramen Street. A range of ramen, from classic to tsukemen (“dipping noodles”), to even vegan, are all within a few steps of each other.

Further ramen reading

Exotic Ramen: Pineapple Ramen at Papapapine

Yokohama Ramen Factory and Museum

Osaka Instant Ramen Museum

Chocolate Ramen: Valentine Special

Random Ramen: 10 Unique Bowls in Tokyo

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