Mao Goto is a Japanese freelancer who was born in Hayama, Kanagawa prefecture, and raised in Tokyo. Since 2016 she lives in the Taito Ward, home to a lot of Japanese culture hotspots such as Asakusa, Akihabara, and Ueno. She has been interested in the field of English education in Japan and got her Master’s degree in March 2020. A lover of photography, travel, sweets, and cross-stitch. Contact her via Facebook.
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Ramen is one of the most well-known Japanese dishes, and you will find ramen shops throughout the country, from Hokkaido in the north to Okinawa in the south. Classics include the fragrant shoyu ramen (soy sauce-based), the lighter shio ramen (salt-based) and the rich tonkotsu ramen (pork bone-based) with countless regional varieties within each category.
But your choice of ramen doesn’t stop here! Recently chefs are experimenting with flavors and combinations, and have created some pretty unique types of ramen, a concept that is becoming more and more popular in Japan. Here’s our list of 10 places in Tokyo to savor some of these unique bowls of steaming goodness!
- 1. Taiyo no Tomato Men (Multiple Locations)
- 2. Tsukumo Ramen (Ebisu)
- 3. Vegan Ramen UZU Tokyo (teamLab)
- 4. Kipposhi (Shibuya)
- 5. Mensho San Francisco (Shinjuku)
- 6. Due Italian (Multiple Locations)
- 7. Aroma (Katsushika)
- 8. Papapapapine (Machida)
- 9. UMA TSUKEMEN (Tachikawa)
- 10. Ayu Ramen (Futako Tamagawa)
- Japan Wonder Travel Food Tours
- Other articles you might be interested in
1. Taiyo no Tomato Men (Multiple Locations)
First up is Taiyo no Tomato Men, an Italian-style ramen that combines Italian flavors with ramen noodles. Their signature dish is the “Taiyo no Tomato Ramen” with a perfect combination of slightly acidic tomatoes and rich chicken broth used as the base. and the base of the ramen soup used here is tomato. The sourness of the fresh tomatoes and the richness of the chicken broth are a perfect combination. The bright red ramen is a feast for the eyes, and some varieties also come with a topping of grated cheese.
Official website: Taiyo no Tomato Men
2. Tsukumo Ramen (Ebisu)
Speaking of cheese, we highly recommend this ramen shop for all cheese lovers as Tsukumo Ramen in Ebisu is known for their cheese ramen. The most popular dish is their “Ganso Cheese Ramen”, where powdered cheese is piled high in the center of the bowl. The cheese is Gouda cheese, which is made from 100% Tokachi milk from Hokkaido and aged for about six months. The cheese goes perfectly with the rich chicken and tonkotsu broth and is great for those wanting to try a ramen with a somewhat Western flavor.
Official website: Tsukumo Ramen
3. Vegan Ramen UZU Tokyo (teamLab)
Ramen broth is often based on ingredients such as chicken or pork bones, making the dish unsuitable for those trying to avoid products derived from animals in their diets. Recently, however, a few vegan and vegetarian options have started to appear, and the vegan ramen offered at teamLab, is one such option. Famous for its digital art museum, teamLab serves up a tasty bowl of ramen made entirely from plant-based ingredients. The broth is made by simmering Hokkaido kelp, Japanese shiitake mushrooms and several types of vegetables for a long time, creating a rich and flavorful dish. Take your time and enjoy your vegan ramen in a fantastic setting, surrounded by teamLab’s amazing digital art.
Official website: Vegan Ramen UZU Tokyo
4. Kipposhi (Shibuya)
Blue food is a rare sight in general, but Kipposhi in Shibuya is committed to the challenge and serves up an unusual, blue ramen. The soup takes on such a beautifully clear blue color, it is almost as if you were looking at a calm tropical sea. The unique soup is chicken-based, and you won’t find blue ramen anywhere else in Japan except here!
Official website: Kipposhi
5. Mensho San Francisco (Shinjuku)
A very popular ramen restaurant in San Francisco, this US take on the classic Japanese dish has now been introduced to the country it once originated from! Mensho San Francisco in Shinjuku is a stylish ramen restaurant whose Western-style interior with decorative plants and marble countertops is especially popular among young people. The recommended dish to try is the “Chicken Paitan Ramen”, which is based on soy milk cream.
Official website: Mensho San Francisco
6. Due Italian (Multiple Locations)
Melting cheese drifting in golden broth. A piece of prosciutto ham on the edge of the bowl as a garnish. For a moment, it seems like a Western-style soup, but there are noodles lying at the bottom of the bowl: this is unmistakably a ramen. Due Italian is a very popular ramen restaurant proudly offering an Italian-inspired ramen with cheese melting in the clear chicken broth for a complex and rich flavor.
Official website: Due Italian
7. Aroma (Katsushika)
Aroma is perhaps the one shop serving up the most original take on ramen we have ever seen. Essentially a coffee shop, rather than a restaurant, Aroma has decided to combine coffee and ramen and make it into a dish of its own! Aroma’s coffee ramen uses coffee in everything from the noodles to the broth, and the toppings are also out of the ordinary: ice cream, bananas, kiwi, and more. It’s a completely new (and some would say controversial) type of ramen, but you should give it a try at least once if you get the chance!
8. Papapapapine (Machida)
The “Pineapple Shrimp Shio Ramen” offered by the oddly named Papapapapine restaurant, gives off an almost tropical feel with its bright yellow color and topped with slices of sweet and sour pineapple. For an additional charge, you can also add a pineapple-seasoned egg. The salt-based soup and pineapple slices make for a perfect flavor combination which is simply irresistible!
9. UMA TSUKEMEN (Tachikawa)
Tsukemen is another popular noodle dish where extra-thick noodles are dipped in the broth rather than being served in it. However, the tsukemen at UMA TSUKEMEN is different as the bowl is covered with a huge, freshly baked pie! At first glance, the pie looks just like a normal one, but opening it will give you access to a thick, mouthwateringly delicious seafood broth with sticky noodles. This tsukemen is influenced by both Western and Japanese cuisines, and its appearance certainly makes an impression too!
Official website: UMA TSUKEMEN
10. Ayu Ramen (Futako Tamagawa)
Ayu (sweetfish) is a popular type of fish in Japan, so what comes to mind when you hear the words “ayu ramen”? Noodles swirling in a sweetfish-based broth? Or perhaps ramen topped with bonito flakes, like okonomiyaki? The ayu ramen at Futako Tamagawa is neither. This dish sure leaves an impact as the bowl is served with a whole ayu in the light broth, grilled to perfection for the ultimate way to savor this delicious fish.
Official website: Ayu Ramen
We have introduced 10 different types of ramen that surely stand out from the crowd, but which one would you like to try during your stay in Tokyo?
Traditionalists among the ramen fans may claim that some of these unusual creations offend the original dish, but the chefs making these unique ramen are working hard on pursuing not only great appearance, but also ultimate flavor in their bowls. You could almost say that ramen-making has been elevated to an artform!
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Japan Wonder Travel is a travel agency that offers guided tours throughout Japan.
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In addition, we can provide you with any assistance you may need for your upcoming trip to Japan, so please feel free to contact us if you have any questions or need some help!
▶Tokyo Fish Market Tour @Tsukiji – Enjoy Local Food and Drink
Explore the most lively and popular fish market in Tokyo where you will have the chance to try some of the local’s favorite street foods and sake along with your friendly English speaking guide!
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This food tour will take you to one of the lesser-known areas of Tokyo, that is Sunamachi Ginza. You will walk through the shop filled street with your guide and be able to try some of the delicious local street foods including tempura, inari sushi, oden, among others!
▶Kyoto Food and Drink Tour @Nishiki Street & Gion
If you’re looking to learn more about the culture and the local cuisine of Kyoto, this is the perfect tour for you! Take part in this Kyoto food and drink tour and explore the 400-year-old market and the famous Gion district.