Shibuya ramen! Shibuya is on everyone's radar when visiting Tokyo. Amidst the endless array of neon lights are a number of tasty ramen shops. Here are our top 5 picks for ramen in Shibuya.
As per usual, we're leaving out any ramen shops that we visit on a Tokyo Ramen Tour.
1. Hayashi (はやし)
Many regard Hayashi to be the heavyweight ramen champ in Shibuya. The owner is somewhat strict - the unspoken rule is that you eat quickly and leave. But don't let this turn you off. The pork, chicken, and fish based soup is thick, rich, and addictive.
The orange peel in the middle provides a welcome jolt of acidity to contrast with that strongly flavored soup. Keep in mind that Hayashi is only open for lunch. Due to this, you'll likely have to wait a little bit. But it'll be worth it.
Shop Hours: 11:30 am ~ 3:30 pm (closed on Sun)
2. Kugatsudo (九月堂)
One great thing about Kugatsudo is its relaxing, cafe-like atmosphere. Of course the ramen is tasty too. Unlike Hayashi, they have a bigger menu, with everything from dipping ramen to spicy ramen. But their soy sauce seasoned ramen is most popular.
Choose between a lighter (pictured) or heavier style. You can't go wrong with either. They use pork and chicken bones, assorted veggies, black soy beans, bonito fish flakes, and niboshi (dried sardines) in the soup. This all amounts to lip-smacking goodness.
Shop Hours: 11 am ~ 8 pm (closed on Mon)
3. Usagi (うさぎ)
Usagi has been a big player in the Shibuya ramen scene since 2007. Their ramen is also shoyu (soy sauce) powered. But it has stronger chicken flavors and a more velvety consistency. It's overall well-balanced, with seafood going into the soup as well.
Among toppings, the paper thin, sous vide-style pork slices impressively stand out. Usagi was one of the first to popularize pork toppings like this. In addition, Usagi is run by the brother of the late DJ Nujabes.
Shop Hours: 11:30 am ~ 2:30 pm / 6 pm ~ 10 pm (only lunch on Sat, closed on Sun)
4. Menya Nukaji (麺屋ぬかじ)
Similar to entry #1 (Hayashi), Menya Nukaji serves richer, pork bone based ramen. Both their ramen and tsukemen (dipping ramen, pictured) are carried by a bold soy sauce. But there's also a slightly bitter flavor from niboshi (dried sardines).
Feel free to use many of Nukaji's fun condiments, including curry powder and yuzu spice powder. As a bonus, Nukaji's owner loves playing old-school soul and R&B music.
Shop Hours: Mon-Fri: 11 am ～ 4 pm / 6 pm ~ 8 pm (Wed only lunch), Sat, Holidays: 11 am ～ 4 pm
5. Nakajima (麺飯食堂なかじま)
We end our list with the legendary Nakajima. With their classic-leaning ramen, you'll get a greater sense of ramen's Chinese roots. Among their many options, order the tantanmen (dan dan noodles). Don't worry - it's not as spicy as it looks.
It's the perfect balance between sesame paste creamy and chili oil spicy. Thick noodles, beautifully seasoned minced pork, the list goes on...it's a great bowl. Lastly, do visit Nakajima hungry. All their ramen are massive!
Shop Hours: 11 am ~ 2 am (Every day!)
When you're hanging out in Shibuya, make sure to swing by one of these ramen shops! You won't be let down.