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Tokyo's Ramen Street: What to Know Before You Go



Ramen fans standing in line waiting to get into a ramen restaurant in Tokyo Ramen Street


Tokyo is renowned for its vibrant culture and delectable cuisine. It boasts an array of culinary gems that cater to every palate, especially noodle lovers! Among these treasures is Ramen Street, a haven for ramen aficionados seeking an authentic and savory experience from an underground maze of ramen shops.


Tucked away in the Ginza District, Ramen Street has gained international acclaim. You will find Ramen Street in Tokyo Station First Avenue just outside the ticket gate on the Yaesu Exit side of the Shinkansen and JR Local lines. The "street" of ramen shops is underground. Signs will clearly direct you.




History and Origins


Ramen has a rich global history. Originally introduced in China, ramen underwent a transformation in Japan, evolving into a unique culinary phenomenon. Tokyo's Ramen Street pays homage to this tradition while giving travelers and shoppers easy access to a wide variety of ramen.


The Culinary Landscape


Each shop along Ramen Street offers its own take on ramen, from the rich and creamy tonkotsu broth to the light and refreshing shoyu (soy sauce) broth to the tasty tsukemen noodles. Visitors can explore a range of styles, including the hearty miso ramen and the delicate shio (salt) ramen, each showcasing distinct regional influences and cooking methods.


Among the standout establishments on Ramen Street is Rokurinsha, renowned for its signature tsukemen—a style of ramen where noodles are served separately and dipped into a concentrated broth. This method of enjoying ramen adds an interactive element to the dining experience, allowing diners to control the intensity of flavors with each dip.


If You Go...


A poster of different types of ramen available in Tokyo Ramen Street

Expect lines. Many shops open for breakfast and your best hope of getting a quick seat may be earlier than later. Still at mid-morning during my last visit, the wait at the most popular tsukemen shop was only 30 minutes.


Kiosk ordering. Expect to place your order at the kiosk before even being seated. It's just the way things are done at ramen shops here.


Costs. Considered quite affordable and compares to most other ramen shops I've visited in the region.


Cash preferred. Card accepted at some places. I would also travel with a small amount of yen on hand. While many shops may also take a card, there are many small shops that only accept cash.


Beyond Noodles


While ramen takes center stage on Tokyo's Ramen Street, the culinary adventure doesn't end there. Many shops offer delectable side dishes such as gyoza (dumplings), karaage (fried chicken), and tamago (flavored eggs), complementing the noodles and enhancing the overall dining experience.


Tokyo Station's Ramen Street is a testament to Japan's culinary prowess and cultural richness. It serves as a gateway to the diverse world of ramen, inviting travelers and food enthusiasts to savor the flavors, textures, and traditions that make this dish a global favorite. Whether you're a ramen aficionado or a curious explorer, Ramen Street promises a memorable journey through the heart and soul of Tokyo's vibrant food scene.

 

Jeff Parsons

Jeff Parsons is the Co-founder at The Story of Ramen.









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