Ichiran Ramen Shop, a Japanese establishment since 1960, is known for one thing, pork broth tonkotsu style ramen, and it’s a good thing, because they do it flawlessly. Ramen in Japan is a bit of a to do- standing in line, vending machine ticket sales, and small private booths for slurping. It can be a little intimidating but once you get the hang of it you’ll feel right at home, enjoying the best noodles and most flavorful broth you’ve ever tasted. If you are in Tokyo you must stop by Ichiran at least once. Luckily I’ve been through the process, so I figured I’d walk you through it.
First thing’s first, there will be a line. It’s ok. The line moves fast and gives you an extra few minutes to work up an appetite.
When you finally reach the front of the line, you will be led into a small room with a vending machine like ticket system. This is where you design your customized ramen and pay. While the machine is in Japanese (with some english), there are photos and it is easy enough to discern what each button means. Do you want extra pork? A molten egg? Seaweed? Asahi Beer? Make your choices and out pop your tickets. Note: Ichiran is cash only, so come prepared!
Next, someone will hand you a preference sheet. This sheet comes in many languages, so be sure to get the one you need. It’s here you’ll choose from a number of preferences such as broth strength, level of spiciness, how much garlic you prefer and even noodle texture.
I’m fairly convinced you can’t go wrong with any choices, but you can see my selections below.
You may wait in a small inside line for a bit, however, before long you’ll be ushered into the dining room and given your own, private booth! Once inside, you will find a button in front of you. Press it to call the staff, and hand in your order sheet along with your meal tickets to the man behind the curtain and patiently wait for the best ramen you will ever have to arrive.
What arrived at my booth was the perfect combination of tender noodles and warm broth, with decadent additions like the soft boiled egg. Ichiran has ramen down to a science, handmade noodles and broth that you can tell has been simmering for days.
If you’re anything like me, you’ll be back before your flight departs Tokyo, I can almost guarantee it. I love ramen just about anywhere, but the ramen at Ichiran was so good, it made my favorite shop back home lose its luster. All the more reason to plan another visit to Tokyo!
Ichiran Ramen | Multiple Locations