Food & Drink

Best Ramen in Japan – Top Picks

Ramen (拉麺, ラーメン)is a Japanese noodle soup dish. Inspired from Chinese cuisine, according to Changing Chinese Foodways in Asia, it was first introduced in Japan in the 17th century. It is an inexpensive dish, easy to make, is a filling meal, and tastes great! This has made it immensely popular in the last few decades. Here are the top picks for trying out the versatile Japanese Ramen.

Ramen consists of wheat noodles in a meat-based broth. Sometimes, a fish broth is also used. The broth is flavored with different sauces such as soy sauce, miso, or pork bone. The dish is topped with meat, eggs, vegetables, seaweed, or even bamboo shoots. There are a lot of variations of this dish available. And each one comes with its own irresistible deliciousness!

Best Instant Ramen

Instant Ramen. Photo by Charles Wong on
Instant Ramen. Photo by Charles Wong on

Instant Ramen is wildly popular and why not! They are affordable and can be picked up on the way back from work. You can make them in minutes. And they taste great! A perfect option to satisfy the hunger pangs as well as the food cravings. And Japan has had a history of producing amazing instant ramens over the years. Some are so good, they could easily give freshly made street ramen a run for their money.

Japanese instant ramen is available in supermarkets all over Japan. You can also buy Japanese ramen online and have it shipped to you outside Japan. But if you are in Japan, it might be worth it to look at aisle after aisle of instant ramen options in the convenience stores.

Here’s a curated list of the best instant ramen.

Nissin – Raoh Japanese Instant Ramen

This ramen has a chicken broth flavored with soy sauce. It also has a distinct flavor from the powder of dried bamboo shoots in it. The Nissin brand is quite popular for instant ramen and the Roah ramen is one of the best. It is closest in texture and flavor to the freshly made ramen. A portion of pork and spring onion for the toppings and you have a complete meal ready in a jiffy.

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Ichiran Ramen – Thin Hakata Ramen Noodles with Secret Spice

Ichiran makes thin ramen noodles that are a specialty of Hakata. The noodles have the perfect firmness and texture. The soup has an authentic flavor without an overpowering smell. The instant ramen package also comes with special spice powder. It is made from different spices and chili, not just flavors.

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Marutai Kumamoto Tonkotsu Ramen

This amazingly delicious ramen from Kumamoto has a rich creamy soup. It has a garlicky flavor that is mindblowing. The non-fried ramen noodles are perfectly smooth. When you make this ramen at home, the aroma of pork that wafts out of the bowl makes it simply irresistible.

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AceCock Wontonmen Ramen

Wantan-men is one of the classic instant ramens available. It is being manufactured for more than 50 years now. The ramen noodles contain traces of onions, mushrooms, and other aromatic ingredients which makes the steaming bowl of ramen smell delicious. It also has wantons that soak up the broth and add more texture to the soup.

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Best Ramen in Tokyo

You will find plenty of Ramen restaurants all around Tokyo. From small places hidden away in nooks and alleys to restaurants that provide a fine dining experience. Here’s a list of the top places to try out when you are in Tokyo.


Ramen at Nakriyu. Photo by Liang on
Ramen at Nakriyu. Photo by Liang on

Nakriyu is one of the best places to get the humble ramen in Tokyo. The popularity of this restaurant grew even more after it was awarded one Michelin star. Due to the popularity, be prepared for waiting time, especially on weekends and peak hours.

The appetizing bowl of ramen that they serve at Nakriyu is simple but very delicious. It has perfectly rich soup flavored with soy sauce. The full-bodied flavor of the soup goes well with the exquisite smooth ramen noodles. Different types of pork meat are used as toppings. It also has a shrimp wanton and a half-boiled egg.

  • Open hours
    • Monday, and Wednesday to Sunday: 11:30 to 15:00 PM and 18:00 to 21:00 PM
    • Tuesdays: Closed
  • Nearest Station – JR Otsuka Station

Toripaitan Kageyama

Toripaiten Ramen. Photo by Kent Wang on
Toripaiten Ramen. Photo by Kent Wang on

The specialty of this restaurant is the Tori Paitan ramen. Basically, it is a thick white chicken soup with paiten ramen noodles. The noodles are nice and chewy. The soup is thick and quite filling. The dish is topped with steamed chicken, spring onion, boiled egg, and lettuce.

The rich broth is a burst of flavors. But when you squeeze some lime into it, the flavor is elevated to the next level. The restaurant also serves complimentary rice. This makes for a good meal if you have some leftover broth once you have eaten the noodles.

  • Open hours
    • Monday to Saturday: 11:00 Am to 11:30 PM
    • Sundays and Holidays: 11:00 AM to 10:30 PM
  • Nearest Station – JR Takadanobaba Station


Ushiyo Ramen. Photo by Food GPS on
Ushiyo Ramen. Photo by Food GPS on

Ushio gained popularity as one of the best ramen places in Tokyo ever since it opened shop. The soba ramen served here is a must-try! The highlight of the dish is the creamy and flavorful broth. It is made from kelp from Hokkaido. It also contains aged and pasteurized soy sauce. The fish in the broth further makes it delicious.

The noodles are of medium thickness but are smooth. Pork, egg, and different vegetables are used as toppings. Also, three slices of duck meat are served with the dish. These slices taste heavenly as they soak up the flavors of the broth. The place is crowded during lunchtime. So, expect to wait for a table.

  • Open hours – 11:00 AM to 7:00 PM (Mon to Sat), Sundays closed.
  • Nearest Station – Tokyo Marunouchi Line Awajicho Station

Ramen Tenjinshita Daiki

Ramen at Tenjinshita Daiki. Photo by Tim on
Ramen at Tenjinshita Daiki. Photo by Tim on

This place first opened in 1999 in Yushima. But it was later relocated to the Taito City near the bustling Akihabara. The large number of people coming to Akihabara soon took to this place due to the amazing taste of ramen here. And today, it is one of the most sought-after ramen places in Tokyo.

The ramen served here has a chicken soup at its base. It is made from free-range chicken. The noodles are made from wheat without any artificial flavors or colors. It is a simple dish but very sumptuous. Also, it quite an affordable place to eat. This place is known to have several people waiting patiently for their turn to get a table at the restaurant.

  • Open hours
    • Monday to Friday: 11:00-14:30 and 17:30-21:30
    • Saturday: 11:00-15:00 and 17:30-20:30
    • Sundays and Holidays: 11:00-16:00
  • Nearest Station – Akihabara Station

Best Ramen in Osaka

Osaka is known for restaurants with different types of delicious cuisine. When it comes to ramen, Osaka has restaurants serving the popular noodle soup dish in local Osaka flavors. You will not find the same flavors in other regions such as Tokyo. Here are a few must-try ramen places in Osaka.

Kadoya Shokudo

Kadoya Shokudo Ramen. Photo by lameken5050 on
Kadoya Shokudo Ramen. Photo by lameken5050 on

You simply cannot miss visiting Kadoya Shokudo if you are looking for the best ramen places when in Osaka. It serves one of the most delicious ramens in Osaka. The place is dubbed as the ‘King of Osaka Ramen World‘. It has been a popular choice for patrons for more than 50 years.

The specialty of this place is definitely the Shoyu Ramen (ramen with a broth flavored with soy sauce). A simple dish but with mouthwatering flavors! It also serves some amazing Tsukemen Ramen. The handmade dishes with carefully picked ingredients make this a must-visit place!

  • Open hours
    • Monday, Wednesday to Sunday: 11:00 to 16:00
    • Tuesday: Closed
  • Nearest Station – Nishihoribashi Station

Moeyo Mensuke

Ramen at Moeyo Mensuke. Photo by Vu on
Ramen at Moeyo Mensuke. Photo by Vu on

Moeyo Mensuke is primarily known for two types of ramen. One is the ramen with duck meat in it. The other is with shellfish. Both are extremely delicious. However, if you only have to order one, the one with shellfish comes highly recommended. It is one of the best shellfish ramens you will get in Osaka.

The broth is lightly seasoned. But it complements the fish perfectly and brings out its flavor. The place is crowded during peak hours and there is often a queue of people waiting to get a table. But the service is quick. So, the queue moves fast. And when you taste the ramen, you know it is worth the wait.

  • Open hours
    • Tuesday to Sunday: 11:00 to 15:00 and 18:00 to 21:00
    • Mondays: Closed
  • Nearest Station – JR Fukushima Station

Menya Takei Hankyu Umeda

The Tsukemen ramen, which is ramen noodles and the broth served separately, is the most popular dish at this place. It has thick ramen noodles and a rich broth. The broth is topped with seaweed and spring onions. The meat is served on top of the ramen noodles.

They also serve light ramen dishes. Their pork ramen is also quite delicious. There is almost always waiting time at the restaurant. However, once inside, the staff is very courteous. So, you come out satiated and also with a great dining experience.

  • Open hours – 11:00 to 22:00 All days
  • Nearest Station – Hankyu Umeda Station

Kamukura Dotonbori

Ramen at Kamakura Dotonbori. Photo by Masashi Kondo on
Ramen at Kamakura Dotonbori. Photo by Masashi Kondo on

Kamakura Dotonbori has been making delicious ramen for more than thirty years now. Their traditional secret recipe keeps the taste of their ramen consistently good. Their fine ramen noodles are also their specialty. The portion size is just perfect to satisfy those hunger pangs.

The lightly flavored broth is warm and soothing. The flavors infused in the broth are simply delicious. The flavors of cabbage and meat come through wonderfully in this bowl of excellent ramen. The place itself is bustling with energy with counter tables and friendly staff.

  • Open hours – 11:00 to 22:00 All days.
  • Nearest Station – Osaka Metro Namba Station

Best Ramen in Kyoto

Kyoto is home to a variety of cuisines. And with new places cropping up everywhere, people are literally spoilt for choice. But, if you are seeking a wholesome bowl of ramen in Kyoto, you must check out these top places.

Kyoto Kairikiya

Ramen at Kyoto Kairikiya. Photo by Ryosuke Hosoi on
Ramen at Kyoto Kairikiya. Photo by Ryosuke Hosoi on

Kairikiya in Kyoto is famous for its special ramen made from strips of Kyoto scallions (Kujo Negi). The scallions give warmth and they taste great when dipped in the broth. The place also serves the Shoyu Ramen with pork fat. But even with the fat in it, the soup does not feel heavy. They even have the option to add extras such as seaweed or corn to your bowl of ramen.

  • Open hours – 11:00 to 24:00 All days
  • Nearest Station – Hankyu Karasuma Station

Shinpuku Saikan Main Shop

Ramen at Shinpuku Saikan. Photo by Goat Tree Designs on
Ramen at Shinpuku Saikan. Photo by Goat Tree Designs on

This is among the old ramen shops in Kyoto having been opened over eighty years ago. It has the Kyoto-style ramen with scallions. The soy sauce appears heavy but is light and soothing. It has a subtle flavor and is seasoned perfectly. There is a generous serving of pork in the ramen. But, if you prefer, you can order extra meat at an added cost.

Even though this place serves only one type of ramen, it is quite popular and is always crowded with people queuing up at the door. They serve a wholesome bowl of ramen at a reasonable cost. Your best bet is to come here in the early hours after it opens to have a quick meal.

  • Open hours
    • Monday, Tuesday, Thursday to Sunday: 9:00 to 20:00
    • Wednesday: Closed
  • Nearest Station – Kyoto Station

Kobushi Ramen

Kobushi Ramen. Photo by Phreddie on
Kobushi Ramen. Photo by Phreddie on

The specialty dish at this place is definitely the Kobushi Ramen with fresh fish stock. You will not find this preparation anywhere else but in Kyoto. The soup has a very distinct taste. However, it is still quite light. The shop also comes up with new ramen flavors every week. So don’t miss their weekly special, too!

  • Open hours
    • Monday, Tuesday: 11:30 to 14:30 and 18:00 to 22:00
    • Wednesday: Closed
    • Thursday to Sunday: 11:30 to 14:30 and 18:00 to 22:00
  • Nearest Station – Tambaguchi Station

Kyoto Gogyo

Kyoto Gogyo Ramen. Photo by darakusan on
Kyoto Gogyo Ramen. Photo by darakusan on

This is again one of the must-visit ramen places in Kyoto. It serves the Kogashi ramen which is difficult to get in other places. The Kogashi ramen has a miso-based broth. But the miso is burnt to give the broth its unique taste. The flavor of the charred miso comes out beautifully. It is full of flavor and an unforgettable taste.

  • Open hours – 11:30 to 14:30 and 17:00 to 22:30 All days
  • Nearest Station – Karasuma Station

Best Tonkotsu Ramen in Japan

Tonkotsu Ramen is a specialty made with pork bone broth. The broth is made by simmering pork bones long enough to get the flavor infused. The end result is a soup that is thick and creamy. Here are the best places in Japan to try out this delicious ramen.

Hakata Issou, Fukuoka

Pork bone broth at Hakata Issou. Photo by Sakak_Flickr on
Pork bone broth at Hakata Issou. Photo by Sakak_Flickr on

Fukuoka is home to the Tonkotsu ramen. The pork bone broth served at this Hakata Issou is phenomenal. Once inside, the aroma of the broth being cooked is mouthwatering. The meat serving is generous, the noodles are great, and the boiled egg is perfectly done. The other ingredients in the broth make this a very delicious and wholesome bowl of ramen.

  • Open hours – 11:00 to 24:00 All days
  • Nearest Station – Hakata Station

Ichiran Ramen Shibuya, Tokyo

Tonkotsu Ramen at Ichiiran. Photo by Robbie on
Tonkotsu Ramen at Ichiiran. Photo by Robbie on

Ichiran is arguably the best place for Tonkotsu ramen. And the Ichiran outlet in Tokyo is very popular for the thick pork bone broth that they serve. It has a rich, creamy consistency. The noodles are thin and smooth. And the dish is topped with pork slices cooked to perfection. The finishing touch is Ichiran’s special red sauce.

  • Open hours – 24 hours open, All days
  • Nearest Station – Shibuya Station

Best Vegan Ramen in Japan

When you think of ramen, the mind conjures up images of a perfect half-boiled egg, a thick meat-based soup, and smoked chicken, pork, or fish as toppings. So, if you follow a vegan diet, does that mean you have to give Japanese ramen a miss? No! Here are some great options for some vegan ramen in Japan.

T’s Tantan, Tokyo

Vegan Ramen at T's Tantan. Photo by Simon Richard on
Vegan Ramen at T’s Tantan. Photo by Simon Richard on

T’s Tantan positions itself as a food joint for the health-conscious. Their vegan ramen is loaded with vegetables and sprouts. It also contains soy-based faux meat. All the ingredients used in the vegan ramen are free from animal-based products. They have options in the vegan broth such as Shoyu, tomato-based, and spicy tantanmen.

  • Open hours – 07:00 to 23:30 All days
  • Nearest Station – Tokyo Station

Chabuton Ramen, Kyoto

Chabuton Ramen. Photo by Meredith P. on
Chabuton Ramen. Photo by Meredith P. on

Chabuton has some great vegan ramen. The soymilk-based broth has the perfect creaminess to it. It is topped with lots of vegetables. The satisfying bowl is aromatic and flavorful. There is chili on the table which you can sprinkle on the broth to give it an interesting spicy touch.

  • Open hours – 11:00 to 23:00 All days
  • Nearest Station – Kyoto Station

So which ramen will you try today? If you cannot have enough of Japanese cuisine, these places in Japan serve the best Omurice. Don’t miss it!

Eli Civil

A software engineer, entrepreneur, and Japanese culture enthusiast. I travel the world while working from my laptop and try to visit Japan as often as I can. About Eli Civil

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