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Nov 12, 2006 12:23 AM

rameniac in japan! looking for recs, ramen or otherwise

hi all, im currently in japan doing a bit of travelling, eating, and reviewing for my new ramen website. first stop is naturally tokyo but i'll be hitting western japan in coming days. i've done quite a bit of research and i think i have most bases covered, but if any hounds have personal faves they'd like to recommend here (ramen or otherwise) please let me know!

currently i'm hitting the more well known places - the more 'famous' ramen shops along with my regular favorites, non-ramen "must trys" like tsukiji fish market, and subsistence fare like hokka hokka tei, mos burger, and of course, all my favorite convenience stores from back in the day when i used to live here.

i'm a lot less familiar with the tokyo area than i am with kyushu, which is where i used to live, so notable tokyo recs are especially welcome!

in case you're interested, i'll be chronicling my food with copious pics- it hasn't officially launched yet but feel free to poke around on my site:

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  1. Here are a couple of Ramen spots I always try and make it to when in Tokyo.

    Harajyuku: Jangara-Ramen, 2 min walk from the JR station on Omotesando (main street) It is kinda main stream ramen, but very good. They have a few locations. The place is small and dark. Try the 'everything ramen'(they call it Zenbuiri) by far the best on the menu.

    Machaida: 6 Kun Roll Ramen (rock & Roll. Hidden spot, might have to ask around to find it. A few black from the station (odakyu line) The ramen broth is made from Bonito (fish stock) not pork. There is one employee working and will be dressed up as 50's rock-a-billy greaser. The bar sit 6-8 people and is always busy. If you can find it, it is worht the adventure!

    1. Ah, you have the noblest of pursuits, have you checked out these extremely detailed sites:

      The ramen shop stock market (I'm hitting some of the top ranked ones next week myself):

      And the 5-star shops of this individual, who either needs a life or another stomach, as he is more hardcore at ramen than all of us put together:

      PS- Stay away from Hoka-ben.

      1. Are you going to hit the Ramen Museum in Shin-Yokohama, by any chance? It is not that far outside of Tokyo, and is well worth the trip. Any number of well-known Ramen establishments rotate in and out of this place, which makes return trips downright necessary. In addition to being able to taste different types of ramen from different regions, this place is just plain fun, with a great nostalgic feel.

        There is an extremely famous place in the Ikebukuro section of Tokyo - if I remember the name I will post again - with an average mid-day wait of 45 minutes to an hour, and a line winding down three blocks at its' longest. They close when they run out of broth. I was underwhelmed, but this place is supposedly the stuff of legend - so what do I know?

        I have sampled as much Ramen as I could in my four trips to visit in-laws in Japan, but, from what I've been told, you can't skim the surface until you make it up to Hokkaido.

        I look forward to perousing your site.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Polecat

          i'm guessing the place in ikebukuro is taisho-ken? supposedly the guy there invented tsukemen (dipping style) ramen. will definitely have to check it out...

          i've also heard great things about hokkaido ramen, but miso rules the roost up there. tonkotsu ramen is from the opposite end of the country and seems to be the hot trend these days. apples and oranges, i'm guessing. but i've never been to the north, so i definitely have to hit that area as well.

          i've actually been to the ramen musem, but i think at the time i wasn't too impressed with the ramen there. they have an ever-changing lineup of shops which represent the different styles, but i think it's kind of hit and miss...


          1. re: rameniac

            Yes. Taisho-Ken it is. Like I said, it wasn't - to my taste - worth the long wait, but then, this place is legendary, so it is definitely worth checking out. I will say this, I have never gotten more noodles for my money; they were piled high, far exceeding the rim of the bowl.

          1. If you go to Osaka, make sure to eat Kin-Ryu (Golden Dragon). There are a few branches. Unbelievably good tonkotsu, pretty much my favorite stand in Japan.

            Second on Jangara in Tokyo.