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5 Tokyo Ramen Shops That Tourists Love - But Are They Any Good?

Tokyo Ramen Shops That Tourists Love

There are over 7,000 ramen shops in the Tokyo metro area. But tourists only visit about 5 of them. From Ichiran to Kikanbo; the question is...are these places any good?

Tokyo Ramen That Tourists Love - Ichiran's Bowl

Kikanbo - Fire Hot Ramen

Ramen shop Kikanbo (鬼金棒) has become synonymous with spicy ramen in Tokyo. While being massively popular with tourists, Kikanbo is also adored by locals. It's easy to understand why.

Outside Kikanbo in Kanda

Kikanbo serves one of the best bowls of spicy miso ramen in Tokyo. They blend several types of miso and an array of spices together to hold up a complex and rich soup. The noodles are thick and the toppings are as equally delicious as the soup.

Kikanbo's Devil Level Spicy Miso Ramen

What's more is that Kikanbo allows customers to customize their bowls in terms of spiciness and numbing pepper levels. "Oni", or devil level, is the craziest you can choose for both. Be warned though - you might need a gallon of milk afterwards.

Dark Interior Decorating

In summary, Kikanbo serves a well-balanced bowl of spicy miso ramen. Even though they get a lot of tourists, their ramen is no joke. Kikanbo has branches in Tokyo's Kanda and Ikebukuro areas, along with some overseas ones.

Ichiran - Tourist Friendly Experience

Ichiran (一蘭) has 9 overseas branches and over 70 branches in Japan. They're business savvy and have resultantly done well. For example, they've been smart about their Japan locations, with big ones around touristy areas like Shibuya and Shinjuku stations.

Ichiran's Private Booths

But how good is Ichiran's ramen? In short, we are fans. This is not to say that Ichiran has the best tonkotsu (pork bone) ramen in Tokyo. There are countless non-chainy, boutique ramen shops in Tokyo that serve less manufactured tonkotsu ramen.

Ichiran's Tonkotsu Ramen

Ramen shops Kanaya and Tanaka Shoten are two such examples.

Back to Ichiran - would we wait 2 hours in line for Ichiran? Probably not. But Ichiran does serve tasty ramen. Furthermore, they provide a fun experience - from the ramen customization to the individual seating booths.

Ramen Delivery

Again, Ichiran has done everything right and it's no wonder that tourists love them. More on Ichiran here.

Afuri - Stylish Ramen

Afuri goes in a much lighter direction with their ramen, specializing in a shio (salt-seasoned) bowl with yuzu citrus notes. They have about 30 shops in Japan and abroad. In Tokyo, they're conveniently located in areas like Ebisu and Nakameguro.

Afuri in Ebisu

Afuri has a nice looking logo, snazzy decorating, and Instagram-worthy, photogenic ramen. They do charge more for all of this. Whether the Afuri juice is worth the squeeze will come down to the individual customer.

Afuri's Yuzu Shio Ramen

The signature yuzu shio ramen is solid. However, we much rather prefer their spicy yuzu tsukemen. In it, the thicker noodles harmonize with a sweet and spicy soup. Afuri also has vegan ramen available - this is another reason why they tend to get many tourists.

Afuri's Spicy Tsukemen

Besides loving their spicy yuzu tsukemen, we love that Afuri created lighter ramen at a time when heavier ramen was more popular. They've stuck to their ramen guns.

Rokurinsha - Thanks to Netflix

Managed by ramen group Matsufuji, tsukemen (dipping ramen) specialist Rokurinsha (六厘舎) has several locations in Tokyo. Their most popular location is on Tokyo Ramen Street (underneath Tokyo station).

Outside Rokurinsha

Tokyo Ramen Street Street is undeniably touristy, with its convenient location and theme park layout. Among the ramen shops there, Rokurinsha is touristy thanks to David Chang and Netflix. Such shows often claim that Rokurinsha serves Tokyo's best tsukemen.

Rokurinsha's Tsukemen

Let's just say that there are arguably more complex and elevated bowls of tsukemen in Tokyo. But Rokurinsha is deliciously convenient if you're going through Tokyo station. There's nothing like grabbing their tsukemen before you hop on the bullet train.

Extra Thick Noodles

But you'll need to arrive early! The have a long line, one that often snakes around the restaurant. The line is also long because the thick tsukemen noodles take a long time to boil.


Being located in Shinjuku, Fuunji gets heaps of tourists too. Like Rokurinsha, they're all about tonkotsu gyokai tsukemen (dipping ramen). Tonkotsu gyokai tsukemen is rich from chicken or pork bones but also includes sharper fish flavors.

Outside Fuunji in Shinjuku

A big source of the fish flavors is the big mound of fish powder in the soup. The noodles are slightly thinner than at Rokurinsha and they're more round. Outside of these differences, the bowls are quite similar.

Tsukemen at Fuunji

But where Fuunji perhaps beats Rokurinsha is their atmosphere. They have a long wooden counter and every seat offers a glimpse of the kitchen. Everyone has to line up behind those already eating at that counter. It's almost like a Disneyland ride.

Cozy Vibes

In a nutshell, Fuunji does an incredible bowl of tsukemen. It might no longer be the best tsukemen in Tokyo. But just like Rokurinsha, it has stood the test of time for a reason.

In summary, these 5 Tokyo ramen shops are ones that tourists love. Putting this aside, they serve fantastic ramen. But whether you're ok waiting in line alongside a lot more tourists is up to you!

Honorable Mentions: Kagari, Gonokami, and Ippudo


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