Ramen Pro Tips
Use these tips to make the most of your ramen experience in Tokyo.
1. Best Time To Visit
Tokyo ramen shops are usually most crowded at lunch, especially around 12 pm -1:30 pm. This is when nearby office workers have their lunch.
LUNCH - visit right before they open or after 2 pm
DINNER - visit right before they reopen or after 8 pm
e.g. If a ramen shops hours are 11 am - 3 pm / 6 pm - 9 pm, visit at 11 am or 2 pm for lunch or 6 pm or 8 pm for dinner
But do bear in mind that this can depend on the ramen shop or simply depend on the day you're visiting! The icons below should help. If a ramen shop is Top Ranked, there's a higher chance of a bigger line.
2. Google Reviews - Be Cautious
You might be using Google maps in tandem with this guide, at least to figure out the location of certain ramen shops.
In Japan, the sweet spot is usually from 3.7-4.2 when it comes to Google reviews. This would probably be unheard of in other countries.
If you come across a 4.5 or above, it's probably a restaurant frequented by tourists. This is fine of course - that place may serve great ramen! But the point is don't dismiss a ramen shop because it's lower than 4 on Google. You'll be missing out on amazing ramen shops. This whole guide is about sharing ramen shops that aren't just on the radar of tourists. That sort of info you can find anywhere online.
3. How to Order - Bring Cash
Tokyo ramen shops either have:
- TICKET MACHINES
Ticket machines are actually most common.
Most ramen shops use the "standard" ticket machine. They're simpler, put your money in first and press the button for what you want.
- Bring Cash (1,000 Yen bills)
- Push Top Left for their Signature Dish (usually)
- Ramen is top half, Drinks and Toppings are bottom half
4. Lining Up
5. Taking Photos
In my many years of taking photos and videos at ramen shops, I've never had any issues. But I do always ask if I can take photos. This is especially the case of the kitchen or of staff. Some places will be more sensitive about this and even have rules posted about not taking photos of anything but the ramen. Respect the rules.
6. One Ramen Per Person
7. Eating etiquette
Raise bowl to counter
Don't Wait to Eat