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Tsukemen Gonokami Seisakusho 五ノ神製作所1/3
Photo: Kisa Toyoshima
Chinchintei2/3
Photo: Keisuke Tanigawa
Menko Ushio3/3
Photo: Kisa Toyoshima

Best ramen in Tokyo

From old-school noodles and tonkotsu classics to soupless tsukemen and spicy favourites – you'll be bowled over by these ramen

By Time Out Tokyo Editors
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Tokyo is a city of over 100,000 restaurants, and sometimes it feels like half of them are serving the same dish: ramen. This quintessential Japanese dish comes in various guises, from meaty Hakata-style tonkotsu (pork broth) ramen and the mouth-numbingly fiery spicy ramen to even vegan and pork-free options. 

Whether you're a fan of the soupy noodles or prefer the dry-style tsukemen that comes with a side of dipping broth, here are 20 of Tokyo's best ramen, covering everything from the classic to the modern – including a Michelin-starred option, Konjiki HototogisuHappy slurping!

RECOMMENDED: 10 things you must eat in Tokyo

Explore Tokyo's best ramen

Menya Nukaji
Photo: Keisuke Tanigawa

1. Menya Nukaji

Restaurants Ramen Shibuya

This Udagawacho hotspot uses a rich, delicious gyokai tonkotsu broth made from simmering chicken, pork and seafood. The rich light-brown soup is packed with flavour and pairs well with the straight and firm noodles. The basic ramen starts at just ¥800, but for ¥1,200 you’ll get a bowl with all the trimmings including lightly seared chashu pork, menma bamboo shoots, a flavoured egg and green onions.

To give your ramen an extra kick, we recommend adding a bit of yuzu or kuro shichimi seasoning powder to the bowl. Spicy ramen (¥900) as well as tsukemen – ramen you dip in a separate broth (¥900) – are also on the menu...

2. Kiraku

Restaurants Ramen Shibuya

Experience matters – and Kiraku has it in spades. This 68-year-old ramen shop has been serving up Tokyo-style noodles since 1952. The simple-but-delicious Taiwan ramen is worth a try, but first-timers should start with the classic chukamen (¥700). The soy sauce-based broth is packed with fried onions and chewy, flat noodles, and is topped with fresh bean sprouts, nitamago (slow-boiled egg) and the obligatory chashu pork slices – just the way they used to make it everywhere in Tokyo. Located at Dogenzaka in Shibuya, Kikuya is more than just a ramen shop: it's a small slice of Tokyo’s culinary history.

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Shibire Noodles 蝋燭屋
Photo: Kisa Toyoshima

3. Shibire Noodles Rousoku-ya

Restaurants Ramen Ginza

Hungry diners should seek out this chic noodle joint in Ginza, which specialises in spicy, mapo-style ramen noodles. Whipped up by a former Chinese restaurant chef, the mapo-men (¥1,000) is made with ample amounts of mouth-numbing Sichuan pepper, bound to get your tear ducts working. Thankfully, if you’d prefer to customise your bowl, the restaurant lets you choose from three levels of spiciness: light, medium and heavy. If need be, add a bit of the sansho oil provided on each table for an extra punch; it'll make the noodles all the more fragrant...

Do Miso ど・みそ
Photo: Kisa Toyoshima

4. Do Miso

Restaurants Ramen Kyobashi

Amid the dense concentration of restaurants in Ginza, Do Miso serves up a miso ramen that brims with originality. The most popular bowl on the menu is the Toku Miso Kotteri Ramen (¥930), which features a bold, rich soup made from pork and chicken bones blended with five different kinds of miso and grated ginger.

The bowl is then loaded with copious amounts of bean sprouts, sweet corn, chashu, nori seaweed and a boiled egg, making for a substantial meal nonetheless. Under all the toppings you’ll find thick, curly noodles that are perfect for soaking up all that miso flavour. For those who like a bit of heat, opt for the Miso Orochon Ramen (¥1,480) – you can choose from five levels of spiciness.

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5. Sugoi Niboshi Ramen Nagi Shinjuku Golden Gai

Restaurants Ramen Shinjuku

Located on the second floor of an old wooden house in Golden Gai, Nagi comes steeped in the atmosphere of the neighbourhood, with a smell that hits you as soon as you walk in the door. And no wonder – the speciality here is pungent niboshi ramen, made by boiling vast amounts of dried sardines for 12 hours to create a distinctive, boldly flavoured soup.

We recommend the Tokusei Sugoi Niboshi Ramen (¥1,230), which comes generously laden with slices of chashu pork, seasoned bamboo shoots, scallions, nori seaweed and a soft-boiled egg, along with a mix of curly and wide, flat noodles...

6. Konjiki Hototogisu

Restaurants Ramen Shinjuku-Nichome

Sobahouse Konjiki Hototogisu is only the third ramen restaurant in the world to get a Michelin star (awarded in 2019, after Tsuta and Nakiryu). The signature shouyu soba is made from three types of soup stock – pork broth, wa-dashi (Japanese stock) and hamaguri clam dashi – and topped with truffle sauce as well as porcini oil and flakes for that bold umami punch.

However, the restaurant recommends the shio soba – and we concur. The elegantly balanced base stock blends two types of salt (Mongolian rock salt and Okinawan sea salt) and it’s the perfect foil for the hamaguri clam and red sea bream soup’s distinctive seafood sweetness...

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Tsukemen Gonokami Seisakusho 五ノ神製作所
Photo: Kisa Toyoshima

7. Tsukemen Gonokami Seisakusho

Restaurants Ramen Shinjuku-Sanchome

Located behind Shinjuku's Takashimaya department store, this hugely popular tsukemen (dipping ramen) restaurant has hungry customers lining up an hour before the opening time, especially on weekends.

Starting at ¥880, the ebi (shrimp) tsukemen is the hero here – unlike regular ramen, this is eaten by dipping thick, chewy noodles into a hot, dense soup made with a heavy helping of shrimp. There are a few variations on the theme, including ebi miso tsukemen and the more daring ebi tomato tsukemen (both ¥950)...

Akanoren 赤のれん
Photo: Kisa Toyoshima

8. Akanoren

Restaurants Ramen Nishi-Azabu

Akanoren was the first Hakata-style ramen shop to arrive in the Kanto region, making its debut way back in 1946. Its standard ramen (¥750) comes with thin, flat noodles swimming in a tonkotsu (pork-based) soup enriched with soy sauce – it manages to be light but still has a good depth of flavour. (Tip: soak up any leftovers with a ¥150 kaedama noodle refill, just like they do in Fukuoka.) The shop also lets you customise the richness of the soup as well as the firmness of the noodles...

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Jun Teuchi Men to Mirai 麺と未来
Photo: Kisa Toyoshima

9. Jun Teuchi Men to Mirai

Restaurants Ramen Shimokitazawa

A shop with a name like ‘noodles of the future’ has to be doing something different, and the noodles here are like an udon-ramen hybrid. Handmade fresh every morning from mochi-hime wheat sourced from Mie prefecture, the noodles have a wonderfully chewy, or mochi mochi, texture that keeps ramen fans coming back for more.

The speciality is the shio (salt) ramen, which costs ¥850 and comes with a hearty helping of the shop’s signature hand-cut noodles and a broth that isn’t too salty, so you can slurp up every last drop...

10. Takano

Restaurants Ramen Shinagawa

With a diverse range of dishes and a reputation going back more than 15 years, it’s clear Takano is doing more than one thing right. Not sure what to go for? The basic chuka soba ramen is a good starting point for nervous newcomers: the combination of rich Akita free-range chicken with sweet niboshi (dried sardines) makes for a full-flavoured broth that's not too greasy. Topped off with thick slices of chashu pork and a gooey parboiled egg, it's a masterpiece of Tokyo-style ramen. Other equally enticing options include the butagamo no tsukesoba (dipping ramen with pork and duck), aguni no shio tsukesoba (dipping ramen with salt-based broth)...

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Menko Ushio
Photo: Kisa Toyoshima

11. Menko Ushio

Restaurants Ramen Awajicho

If you’re tired of having too many ramen options to choose from, this is the place for you. Menko Ushio gives you a simple choice between shiro (white) or kuro (black).

The shop is best known for its tori paitan soba – a cloudy, white chicken ramen (¥890) with a flavour reminiscent of pasta carbonara. In fact, the rich creamy chicken broth is finished off with toppings you normally see on a plate of pasta: bacon-wrapped asparagus grilled to a perfect crisp, a softly poached egg, broccoli, fried onion and bacon bits. If that’s not enough flavour for you, the shop recommends adding a dollop of their homemade garlic butter (¥100) and a dash of pepper on top. It makes for a wonderfully flavour-packed bowl of ramen that is inventive as it is delicious.

トイボックス
Kisa Toyoshima

12. Toy Box

Restaurants Ramen Minami-Senju

It’s easy to spot Toy Box with its signature red noren curtains marking the entrance. The shop offers shoyu (soy), shio (salt) and miso ramen (¥850 each), but the shoyu is the star here. The handpicked Aizu chicken and high quality soy sauce give the broth a gentle and uncomplicated, yet deep, flavour. The thin, flat noodles complement the soup well and the bowl is topped off with menma bamboo shoots and a chashu pork slice...

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13. Shibata

Restaurants Ramen Sengawa

After completing his noodle apprenticeship at Kichijoji's now-closed Rakuraku, the owner of Shibata set up shop in Chofu, serving his innovative chuka soba (¥830) to a steady stream of both locals and faraway visitors. The double soup here is made with both duck and seafood, and seasoned to perfection with a punchy, soy sauce-based tare sauce. Toppings are kept simple – chashu pork, menma bamboo shoots and green onion – while the thin noodles are nicely firm and chewy...

14. Ichijoryu Ganko Ramen Souhonke

Restaurants Ramen Yotsuya-Sanchome

Just a short walk from Yotsuya-sanchome Station, this ramen joint is tucked away on the ground floor of an apartment block in a residential street. Opened in 1983, the shop quickly won fans for the intense salty and umami flavours of its original seafood ramen broth. On Sundays, there’s a special bowl featuring delicacies like anglerfish liver, shrimp, softshell turtles and scallops.

Aside from that, there are just three ramen options, all priced at ¥1,000. The 100 Ramen uses only the house broth, the Gehin adds some soy sauce, and the Akuma adds even more – we’d recommend it for die-hard soy fans. To top it all off, each bowl comes with thick chashu slices and a mountain of sliced pork belly...

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15. Hakodate Shio Ramen Goryokaku

Restaurants Ramen Ogikubo

This shop in Ogikubo specialises in authentic shio (salt) ramen made by a Hakodate native – that’s the port city in Hokkaido which invented shio ramen.

A bowl of ramen costs ¥750 and the light broth of pork and chicken also includes seaweed and scallops sourced from Hokkaido, giving it a rich flavour that will have you planning a trip to Hakodate. The shop also offers classic ramen toppings from Hokkaido, including a slice of fu (wheat gluten) and gagome kombu (kelp, ¥150). When soaked into the soup, the kelp turns into a slippery algae – a unique texture for a bowl of ramen...

Hanamichi
Photo: Kisa Toyoshima

16. Hanamichi

Restaurants Ramen Nogata

Just three minutes’ walk from Nogata Station on the Seibu-Shinjuku line, this noodle shop is best known for its rich miso ramen (¥850). The basic broth is made with white miso, garlic and lard, then mixed with pork, chicken and vegetable stock and cooked into a soup. The result is a rich but not overbearing ramen, with a taste that clearly keeps Hanamichi’s customers coming back.

If you’ve got a big appetite, you can add in the house mix of leek and bean sprouts at no extra cost – just make sure you can finish all the food in your bowl. Other options on the menu include miso dandan noodles, niboshi (dried sardines) spicy miso and abura soba (soupless ramen noodles). A ramen stamp card is also available if you’re thinking of becoming a regular.

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Tsukemen Michi
Photo: Keisuke Tanigawa

17. Tsukemen Michi

Restaurants Ramen Katsushika

There's always a queue for the tsukemen at Michi and it's not due to some passing fad: this is a traditional, greasy variety combining tonkotsu (pork-based) and seafood soups to great effect. Despite the high fat content, the soup tastes mild, almost sweet, and gives off a refined, time-honoured air. The dipping noodles are thick and fluffy, and can be ordered in quantities up to 400g.

A basic order of tsukemen starts at ¥750, but for ¥1,000 you can get your tsukemen with all toppings which range from the standard (egg, chashu pork) to the peculiar (look out for the daily specials), so go ahead and mix freely. The shop is also known for its fruit vinegar, which is served alongside the noodles – it's a great way to change up the flavour of the soup to your liking. This is a dish every tsukemen enthusiast should try at least once.

Kikanbo
Photo: Chiemi Shimizu

18. Kikanbo

Restaurants Ramen Kanda

Kikanbo translates as an 'ogre’s iron club' and this corner-lot ramen-house feels suitably demonic with its black-painted interior, taiko music and festival-style devil masks on the walls. The spice heat here can also feel like purgatory if you choose a dish that’s above your threshold. You order through a vending machine, then the staff will ask for your preferred spice level on a scale of five – for two types of spice mix, ‘kara’ and ‘shibi’.

‘Kara’ refers to the chilli heat and ‘shibi’ the numbing spice of sansho pepper mix (the Japanese version of the closely related sichuan pepper). This combination is a classic spice pairing in China's Sichuan province, where the numbing effect on the palate is called ‘ma-la’

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Kiraboshi
Photo: Kisa Toyoshima

19. Kiraboshi

Restaurants Ramen Musashino

This Musashi-Sakai haunt serves up ramen in a decadent, thick and rich pork-bone soup. Customers queue up every day at lunch to get a bowl of this delicacy, made by cooking large quantities of pig trotters and heads for a good 30 minutes.

The menu includes dishes like tonkotsu-men (¥700), noukou (thick) tsukemen (¥800) and kiraboshi Kumamoto-style ramen (¥750) featuring three different types of garlic. Servings are topped with cabbage and bonito-flavoured anko (bean paste), which will melt into the soup to add a touch of seafood to offset the heavy pork flavour.

Chinchintei
Photo: Keisuke Tanigawa

20. Chinchintei

Restaurants Ramen Musashino

Located a brisk walk away from Musashi-Sakai Station on the Chuo line, this ramen shop is easily identified by its yellow-and-red-striped awning. In fact, Chinchintei is hailed as the ancestor of abura soba, which is essentially ramen served without soup.

Chinchintei has offered the same menu since 1965 and is always bustling with customers. Its signature abura soba (¥700) looks extremely simple and is served with medium-thick noodles topped with menma bamboo shoots, chashu pork and naruto fish paste. At the bottom of the bowl is a special sauce full of meaty flavours, intended for mixing with the noodles...

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Ramen Tasting Tour

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Got a big appetite and an even bigger love for ramen? This tour gives you a sampling of a whopping six mini bowls of ramen. Your guide, a ramen aficionado, will take you to three award-winning restaurants in Nakameguro, Ebisu and Shibuya where you’ll try small, manageable portions of signature bowls. 

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Photo: Masahito Hirano

Make Your Own Ramen and Gyoza in Asakusa

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This two hour class teaches the basics of making ramen from scratch, including the noodles and umami-rich broth. With the help of a Japanese cooking instructor, you’ll learn the details and nuances to keep the ramen fresh until you devour it. 

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