I love ramen and I eat a lot of it, especially when I’m in Tokyo, where I have two ramen shops of my own. More than half of my correspondence from friends and family are requests for ramen shop recommendations. From now on, I’ll just direct them here.
Now I could rattle a couple dozen shops off the top of my head, but explaining how to get there would be another thing entirely. Most ramen shops are built in tiny, off-the-beaten-path areas with the cheapest rent and the least amount of fuss—great for the owners but not great for those of us searching for them. I’ve lived in Tokyo for fifteen years, and it can still be really challenging to find the shops I’m looking for.
What also makes it difficult to recommend ramen shops in Japan is that for people who aren’t familiar with the Tokyo ramen scene, it’s hard to imagine just how many different kinds of shops there are. Here, I’ve chosen five shops that are the best examples of different styles andrelatively easy to find. This is just a warm up, but it’s a great introduction to Tokyo ramen!
This perpetually crowded shop sets the standard for deeply rich tsukemen broth.
A small shop that specializes in assari, or light-style Tokyo ramen.
The owner of this shop was instrumental in nurturing the ramen boom and one of the first to popularize kotteri, or rich ramen.
Where to go for spicy miso ramen.