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Top 5 Ramen Joints in Tokyo/Kyoto/Osaka

kevin825 Jan 7, 2013 08:03 AM

Could someone do me a huge favour and tell me the top 5 places per RamenDB? I can't read Kanji and when it's translated, it's a bit messed up on my browser. I'm planning on visiting in late September and would love to hear of some personal favourites that are currently the best.

Thanks in advance.

  1. a
    andrew_eats Jan 19, 2013 04:55 AM

    When I was in Osaka during the summer, King Emon was one of the most popular places, they serve black soy ramen. I went to Maru Joe, which was uniquely sour.

    In Tokyo, you just can't go wrong with Ramen Jiro.

    I recommend going past top lists, and researching places that have stood the test of time.


    1. b
      biwakobarry Jan 19, 2013 12:29 AM

      Personally, I prefer ramen in Tokyo, Yokohama, and Fukuoka to those in Kyoto and Osaka.

      Here's a guy in Tokyo who's been to a few.

      And, a chap who seems to have tried something like 500 ramen shops in Osaka.
      This guy reviewed Kamitora. Unfortunately, he chose the blackened garlic soup. Whenever I go to a ramen shop, I always try their standard soup first and then go back for more. The standard tonkotsu at Kamitora is simple and awesome.

      1. k
        kevin825 Jan 15, 2013 12:23 PM

        Thank you everyone for your help. I clearly see that I was approaching this the wrong way and will do more research and ask for opinions once I have nailed down the itinerary a bit more as to what neighbourhoods I will be visiting.

        1. r
          rockrock Jan 10, 2013 09:33 PM

          Try http://www.ramentokyo.com/
          It's in English and gives recommended shops by neighborhood. As said previously, wherever you are, there are likely to be good ramen shops around. This tool may be a help in finding them.

          5 Replies
          1. re: rockrock
            kamiosaki Jan 11, 2013 05:40 AM

            If there are specific questions after reviewing the above site or any other one let us know.

            1. re: kamiosaki
              Ninisix Jan 14, 2013 08:18 PM

              In the past 10 years that ramen have been developping, Ramen Data Base and Tabelog have transfomed it... Ramen fans can not resist walking around to discover hints of the 'brand new', and discuss it loudly. But I have to say, I don't agree ... basically, I can't undestand what is so much the point in trying to change your taste in things you liked .. . It seems that as long as there is ramen to write about, Database's top 3 will change. Ramen Harubarutei was considered a mastepiece in 2004, it seems already past ! My - not changing - taste is for 'niboshi' old style ramen.. One I'd liked is one and a half from Tokyo, in Hachioji.

              1. re: Ninisix
                Silverjay Jan 15, 2013 05:32 AM

                They have a branch in Machida now.

                1. re: Silverjay
                  Ninisix Jan 15, 2013 08:15 PM

                  oh great news, Silverjay, thank you. Did you liked it ?

                  1. re: Ninisix
                    Silverjay Jan 16, 2013 07:01 AM

                    It was closed. Maybe next year.

          2. p
            pauliface Jan 10, 2013 10:25 AM

            In Kyoto I recommend Omen -- for udon, not ramen. But it's fantastic.

            1. vorspeise Jan 9, 2013 10:54 PM

              To be honest, most random ramen places in Tokyo will be miles better than ramen you get outside Japan. Explore and find your favorite!

              1 Reply
              1. re: vorspeise
                chowmouse Jan 10, 2013 01:28 AM

                I agree with "Explore and find your favorite." I think it's important to not over-research ahead of time and then pre-plan every meal in Tokyo, because there is so much great food to be explored in Tokyo that most visitors never even imagined.

                But when it comes to ramen, it's a hit-and-miss even in Japan. I've had some mediocre ramen at many places in Japan that paled in comparison to Santouka in LA. I think ramen is one of those things you're best off researching ahead of time, especially if you're only going to be visiting Tokyo for several days.

              2. kamiosaki Jan 7, 2013 02:39 PM

                As alluded to, you (the OP) will probably want to redo this search again prior to the visit. As far as the mechanics of getting to the shops, hours etc. remember you can always print out the page and show it to the concierge at your hotel.

                1. Silverjay Jan 7, 2013 08:54 AM

                  The current top five, it changes all the time, are: 1- Menya Itou, 2- Chuka Soba Tomita , 3- Hototogisu , 4- Menya Honda, 5- Ramen Hazuki.

                  My advice is to do a search here and elsewhere on the internet and find shops that are close to where you plan to sight-see. The top shops on RamenDB and Tabelog are often (not always) in out of the way places that take a while to travel to and, of course, require standing and waiting in line for what amounts to a 15-minute meal.

                  Trust me on this one. The lists are "hot lists" that track popularity more than anything else. There are just tons of great shops. Anyway, it's better to use those sites to drill down your search to the ward or station level rather than at the city level.

                  Some great shops that I have been to in the last couple years in reasonably convenient locations: Warito and Suzuran, both in Shibuya. Fu'unji in Shinjuku. Rokurinsha, which has a branch in Tokyo Station and also a new one near SkyTree.

                  You might want to look into shops that focus on niboshi (dried sardine based soups) and abura soba/ shiru-nashi (soupless ramen). These seem to be the trending types these days.

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