A Must-Read for Ramen Lovers! A Guide to Local Ramen Around Japan

Publish-date: Jan 30 2019 Update-date: Aug 06 2019
Author: SAVOR JAPAN

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A Must-Read for Ramen Lovers! A Guide to Local Ramen Around Japan

If you're talking about Japanese food, you absolutely can't forget about ramen! In particular, local ramen, a version of ramen that has uniquely evolved due to the local region's influences, has been attracting a great deal of attention. Here are some of the major local ramen across Japan.

1. Sapporo Ramen

 Sapporo Ramen
Among the many local ramen around Japan, Sapporo ramen has long been known and adored across the country. Slightly thick curly noodles and a tonkotsu (pork bone) soup with rich miso flavors comprise the fundamental style of Sapporo ramen. In addition to standard toppings such as chashu (braised pork), menma (fermented bamboo shoots), and scallions, sauteed vegetables such as cabbage, onions, and bean sprouts, an absolute must for Sapporo ramen, are typically served on top. The rich miso-flavored tonkotsu soup is sure to warm you from the core!

Ramen Sapporo Ichiryuuan

Ramen Sapporo Ichiryuuan
A Must-Read for Ramen Lovers! A Guide to Local Ramen Around Japan
Ramen Sapporo Ichiryuuan prides itself in serving ramen prepared with carefully chosen ingredients from Hokkaido. Their noodles are outstanding as they are made in-house with 100% Hokkaido flour. Highly recommended is the [Genki Miso Ramen DX] (1,200 JPY), a voluminous dish that is satisfying and energizing. The amount of noodles can be adjusted, so it's great even for those who don't have large appetites.

Ramen Sapporo Ichiryuuan

Open: Lunch 11:30 am - 3:00 pm, Dinner 5:00 pm - 9:00 pm / Closed every Sunday
Closed: Sunday
Average price: [Dinner] 1,000 JPY
Access: 2 minute walk from the south exit of Sapporo station. It is directly above the Sapporo Municipal Subway Sapporo Station (Touhou line). It is contiguous to exit 23.
Address: BF1 Hokuren Building, 1-1 Kitashijonishi, Chuo-ku, Sapporo, Hokkaido (Map)
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 Reservation 

2. Hakodate Ramen

2. Hakodate Ramen
Hakodate ramen is considered to be one of the three great ramen of Hokkaido. Its most distinguishing feature is the clear and light, salt-flavored soup. The soup recipe varies by restaurant, but is usually made with tonkotsu or chicken bones, herbs, and ingredients that can be procured due to Hakodate's location as a port town, such as kombu seaweed and scallops. The salt flavor is light yet rich with a depth of flavor, so you won't get sick of it. It's quite common for people to drink the soup to the last drop! Another feature of Hakodate ramen is the thin, straight noodles that go down smoothly. The thin noodles, which are smooth and capture just the right amount of flavors, have the rich aroma of wheat, and are sure to get you hooked!

Ajisai Noodles JR Hakodate Eki Branch

 Ajisai Noodles JR Hakodate Eki Branch
A Must-Read for Ramen Lovers! A Guide to Local Ramen Around Japan
Ajisai Noodles is a ramen shop that was established more than 80 years ago. The soup, which is made with dashi (broth) pulled from kombu seaweed from southern Hokkaido, is clear and light in flavor. The chic interior is welcoming to all customers, even those who are dining alone. The popular [Shiro Miso Ramen] (850 JPY) is a superb, rich dish showcasing the smooth texture of Hokkaido butter.

Ajisai Noodles JR Hakodate Eki Branch

Open: 10:00 am - 7:30 pm *Closes at 3:00 pm on 12/31 and 5:00 pm from 1/1 - 1/3.
Closed: None
Average price: [Dinner] 880 JPY
Address: 2F, JR Hakodate Eki, 12-13, Wakamatsu-cho, Hakodate-shi, Hokkaido (Map)
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3. Kitakata Ramen

3. Kitakata Ramen
Sano ramen is distinguished by a unique method called "aodake uchi". A super thick green bamboo (aodake) longer than a person's height is placed on a ball of kneaded flour dough. The artisan drapes a leg over the bamboo, then uses his body weight to roll it out. This gives the noodles a strong structure, and the small air bubbles that form inside increase heat conductivity so that the flat noodles can be cooked properly in a short period of time. The shoyu (soy sauce) soup is light in flavor and clear. Common toppings are scallions, chashu, menma and naruto (fish cake slices). The toppings of Sano ramen differ by restaurant, so try out all the different variations for yourself!

Raimu Main Branch

 Raimu Main Branch
A Must-Read for Ramen Lovers! A Guide to Local Ramen Around Japan
Raimu pride themselves in their tender and buttery cured chashu. It is a popular local restaurant in Fukushima with six branches in the prefecture. Highly recommended is the [Thick Grilled Chashu Ramen] (900 JPY (plus tax)), a stunning dish topped with a generous serving of the restaurant's specialty ingredient, cured chashu.

Raimu Main Branch

Open: 11:00 am - 10:00 pm (L.O. 10:00 pm)
Closed: None
Average price: 900 JPY
Address: 7, Aza Inarinomiya, Kitakata-shi, Fukushima (Map)
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4. Sano Ramen

4. Sano Ramen
Sano ramen is distinguished by a unique method called "aodake uchi". A super thick green bamboo (aodake) longer than a person's height is placed on a ball of kneaded flour dough. The artisan drapes a leg over the bamboo, then uses his body weight to roll it out. This gives the noodles a strong structure, and the small air bubbles that form inside increase heat conductivity so that the flat noodles can be cooked properly in a short period of time. The shoyu soup is light in flavor and clear. Common toppings are scallions, chashu, menma, and naruto (fish cake slices). The toppings of Sano ramen differ by a restaurant, so try out all the different variations for yourself!

Takumiya

Takumiya
A Must-Read for Ramen Lovers! A Guide to Local Ramen Around Japan
Takumiya is a popular restaurant frequented by many guests from around the prefecture and beyond. Their ramen is distinguished by a refreshing shoyu-base soup typical of Sano ramen that goes perfectly with their noodles, which the owner has carefully tailored to his specific preferences. The restaurant closes when the soup runs out, so be sure to get there early! Be sure to also try the [Chewy Handmade Gyoza] (400 JPY) - they're a perfect side to ramen!

Takumiya

Open: [Saturday, Sunday, National Holidays] 11:00 am - 8:00 pm Closed when the soup runs out.
[Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday] Lunch 11:00 am - 2:00 pm Closed when the soup runs out.
[Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday] Dinner 5:00 pm - 8:00 pm  Closed when the soup runs out.
Closed: Wednesday
Average price: [Dinner] 1,000 JPY / [Lunch] 1,000 JPY
Address: 3-4-10, Yoshimizu Ekimae, Sano-shi, Tochigi (Map)
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5. Wakayama Ramen

5. Wakayama Ramen
Wakayama ramen is referred to as "Chuka Soba" in Wakayama Prefecture. It is largely split into 2 different types based on the soup. One has a light shoyu soup, and the other has a tonkotsu shoyu base with the prominent savory taste of tonkotsu. The toppings are green scallions, menma, chashu and kamaboko (traditional Japanese fish paste product), and the noodles are straight and thin. Wakayama ramen is also unique for the way it's supposed to be eaten. At many restaurants, it is standard to eat it with a boiled egg and [Haya Zushi], mackerel sushi pressed in a mold. Be sure to try it for a truly local, cultural experience.

Homare

Homare
A Must-Read for Ramen Lovers! A Guide to Local Ramen Around Japan
Homare is a restaurant serving sake (Japanese alcohol) and a la carte dishes. At this hideaway-like restaurant with a modern Japanese-style interior, you can enjoy ramen made with local Wakayama ingredients. The signature menu item, [Red Sea Bream Shio-Ramen] (880 JPY), is a truly outstanding dish with a fantastically rich flavored stock made from the bones of red sea bream from Wakayama. Another dish not to be missed is the [Tonkotsu Shoyu Tsukemen] (880 JPY), which is a tsukemen (noodles served separately from the dipping sauce) version of Wakayama ramen with a rich dipping sauce and medium-thick noodles that are extremely satisfying.

Homare

Open: [Weekdays, Saturday, National Holidays, Day before National Holidays] Lunch 11:30 am - 2:00 pm
[Weekdays, Saturday, National Holidays, Day before National Holidays] Dinner 5:00 pm - 12:00 am
Closed: Sunday
Average price: [Dinner] 1,500 JPY / [Lunch] 900 JPY
Address: 20, Nishonotana, Wakayama-shi, Wakayama (Map)
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6. Takayama Ramen

6. Takayama Ramen
Takayama ramen is known as the local ramen of Takayama City, which is located in the Hida area of Gifu Prefecture. It is characterized by flat and thin curly noodles that have low water content, so they soak up the soup well to enhance its depth of flavor. The soup, which is the key to the ramen's flavors, is a light, shoyu soup with Japanese-flavored dashi (broth) comprised mainly of chicken bones, as well as bonito flakes, dried sardines, and vegetables simmered in. It is also unique in that the soup and sauce are cooked together, which is not a common method with other ramen. The toppings are usually simple, and include menma, chashu, and local Hida scallions. Takayama ramen was originally served at food stands, but is now served in approximately 30 shops around the city. Be sure to give it a try!

Yayoi Soba Main Branch

 Yayoi Soba Main Branch
A Must-Read for Ramen Lovers! A Guide to Local Ramen Around Japan
Yayoi Soba is a restaurant that retains the simple flavors of Japanese ramen. The ramen is prepared with the same method used when the restaurant first opened in 1948, so you'll be able to savor authentic Takayama ramen. The dashi's flavors are evident in the light, shoyu flavored soup, and you will never tire of it no matter how many times you eat it.  It also goes perfectly with the house-made noodles! The recommended menu item is the [Chuka Soba Regular Size] (750 JPY), in which the subtle touch of fish sauce stimulates your appetite. The voluminous [Chashumen] (1,050 JPY) and [Nameko Oroshi] (900 JPY), which is made with large nameko mushrooms from Hida Takayama, are also popular. Be sure to enjoy these traditional flavors when visiting the Takayama area.

Yayoi Soba Main Branch

Open: *Main branch [Monday, Wednesday - Friday] 11:00 am - 2:00 pm
[Saturday, Sunday] 11:00 am - 3:00 pm *Kado branch
[Monday, Wednesday - Sunday] 11:00 am - 6:00 pm (April - November), 11:00 am - 5:00 pm (December - March)
Closed: Tuesday
Average price: [Dinner] 800 JPY / [Lunch] 800 JPY
Access: Go east toward Miyagawa from Takayama station on JR Takayama Main Line. Head north at a street along a river. Turn right toward Yayoi bridge.   
Address: 4-23, Honmachi, Takayama-shi, Gifu  (Map)
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7. Tenri Ramen

7. Tenri Ramen
Tenri ramen originated in Tenri City in Nara Prefecture. Saika, the originator of Tenri ramen, and [Tenri Stamina Ramen], affectionately referred to as "Tensta," are 2 famous restaurants that serve it. The key distinguishing feature of Tenri Ramen is the volume! It is topped with an abundance of sauteed napa cabbage, garlic chives, and pork flavored with Chinese chili sauces and pastes. The richly flavored soup is made with stock taken from tonkotsu (pork born) and chicken bones, and then finished with a shoyu-based sauce. Saika first opened as a food stand about 50 years ago in 1968. The original flavors have been handed down to this day. Be sure to try Tenri ramen, a dish known for its umami (Japanese savory taste) flavors, richness, and the volume and outstanding flavors of the toppings.

Saika Ramen Main Branch

Saika Ramen Main Branch
A Must-Read for Ramen Lovers! A Guide to Local Ramen Around Japan
Saika Ramen is a well-established ramen shop that first opened in 1968. They originally opened as a food stand in Tenri City, Nara Prefecture, and are said to be the creators of Tenri ramen. Their ramen is distinguished by their style of topping ramen with napa cabbage, and many people visit to enjoy the flavors that have been maintained since the restaurant's establishment. The [Saika Ramen] (from 699 JPY) is a recommended item on their menu that has a wonderful, garlicky secret soup. Be sure to try the fried rice and gyoza (dumplings) as well - they go perfectly with the ramen!

Saika Ramen Main Branch

Open: 11:00 am - 3:00 am
Closed: None
Average price: 800 JPY
Address: 91, Iwamuro-cho, Tenri-shi, Nara (Map)
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8. Tokushima Ramen

8. Tokushima Ramen
Tokushima ramen is divided into three types depending on the color of the soup: White, black and yellow. The white soup is made with tonkotsu and is considered to be the original version of Tokushima ramen. Although it's made with the same tonkotsu base as tonkotsu ramen in the Kyushu and Kanto regions, it has a lighter and sweeter taste. The black soup is a version where sauce made with dark soy sauce added to the white soup. The yellow soup is a light soup made by adding light soy sauce to a soup made with chicken bones and vegetables. Tokushima ramen is also distinguished by the toppings, which include the standard scallions, menma, and bean sprouts, but replaces chashu with pork belly cooked in a rich sauce. The black soup version of Tokushima ramen often has a raw egg on top as well. The noodles are soft and short with light curls regardless of which soup type you pick. Be sure to try all three types when in Tokushima!

Marufuku Kawauchi Main Branch

Marufuku Kawauchi Main Branch
A Must-Read for Ramen Lovers! A Guide to Local Ramen Around Japan
Marufuku is a popular restaurant serving an evolved take on Tokushima ramen. The soup is made not only with tonkotsu, but it also mixes chicken in for a wonderfully soft, rounded flavor that will leave you wanting more. The richness that fills your mouth the moment you take a sip will get you hooked. Be sure to try the [Spicy Ramen] (800 JPY). The combination of the homemade chili oil, sauteed kimchi and noodles is outstanding! The [Marufuku Meat Ramen] (small: 850 JPY, medium: 950 JPY, large: 1,050 JPY) is also a popular item on the menu, with the meat being cooked just after an order is placed. The tender texture of the meat only serves to further enhance the flavor of the ramen.

Marufuku Kawauchi Main Branch

Open: 11:00 am - 12:00 am
Closed: Irregular
Average price: 700 JPY
Address: 402, Omatsu, Kawauchi-cho, Tokushima-shi, Tokushima (Map)
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9. Hakata Ramen

9. Hakata Ramen
Hakata ramen from Kyushu is one of the most famous local ramen specialties in Japan. The major distinguishing feature is the tonkotsu soup. An indispensable component of Hakata ramen, the cloudy, white tonkotsu soup is made by thoroughly cooking the pork bones for prolonged periods of time in a large pot. The noodles are straight and thin with low water content. Hakata ramen is also known for its unique "kaedama" system for ordering an additioanl helping of noodles once you've finished your initial serving. Common toppings are chashu, cloud ear mushroom, chopped thin green onions, white sesame seeds, and ginger, but it's quite common for many restaurants to add a variety of different toppings. Hakata ramen, which has long been enjoyed in the local area and at food stands, became famous nationwide from around the end of the 1980s and has been a big hit since then. The white soup of Hakata Ramen, which is made by patiently simmering tonkotsu, garnered great support among the younger generation, resulting in a huge Hakata ramen boom. Today, it can be enjoyed not just in Hakata, but all around the country.

Hakata Ikkousha Hakata Deitos

Hakata Ikkosha Hakata Deitos
A Must-Read for Ramen Lovers! A Guide to Local Ramen Around Japan
Hakata Ikkousha Hakata Deitos is a popular Hakata ramen restaurant loved by the locals. At this restaurant, you can enjoy dishes that preserve the flavors of traditional tonkotsu ramen, while also incorporating original flavors. The rich soup, which is made by blending 3 different types of local soy sauces, more than 20 seasonings, and 5 different types of seafood, is said to be the ultimate soup. The recommended dish here is the [Ajitama Chashu Noodles] (1,050 JPY). The 4 large slices of chashu go perfectly with the soup! If you want more than just ramen, get the [Hakata Set] (1,000 JPY). Gyoza and rice come with the ramen, so it's a really great price for what you get!

Hakata Ikkousha Hakata Deitos

Open: 11am - 11pm (last order 10:30pm)
Closed: Sundays
Average price: [Dinner] 900 JPY / [Lunch] 900 JPY
Access: In the Mengaido (noodle street) on the 2nd floor of Hakata Station
Address: 1-1 Hakata Eki Chuo-gai, Hakata-ku, Fukuoka, Fukuoka ()

10. Kumamoto Ramen

10. Kumamoto Ramen
Among the different local ramen in Kyushu, Kumamoto ramen is one of the most popular. Distinguished by its mild and creamy flavor, the soup is made up of a tonkotsu base with chicken bones and vegetables added. The aroma of cooked garlic adds a strong accent and elevates the flavor of the soup. The noodles are medium-thick, straight noodles. They are much thicker than the noodles used for Hakata ramen, and the delicious taste of the noodles themselves makes you want to keep eating! Toppings include chashu, chopped thin green onions, cloud ear mushrooms, and nori seaweed. Be sure to try the comforting yet exciting flavors of Kumamoto ramen.

Kokuryukou JR Kumamoto Eki-mae Branch

Kokuryukou JR Kumamoto Eki-mae Branch
A Must-Read for Ramen Lovers! A Guide to Local Ramen Around Japan
This restaurant serves ramen made with carefully prepared soup and local ingredients. The soup is made by blending 10 types of vegetables, seafood, and herbs into the tonkotsu base, creating a deep and rich flavor that will have you wanting more. They have a high standard for their ingredients, primarily using local ingredients such as tonkotsu from Kyushu, local chicken bones, dried seafood from the nearby ocean, and jidori chicken from Miyazaki, with more than 90% of the ingredients being produced in Japan. Be sure to try this authentic Kumamoto ramen that's packed with love for their hometown. The recommended item is the [Ryu Chashumen (Spicy)] (1,000 JPY). You are sure to be hooked on the deliciously spicy soup. Don't forget to try the a la carte dishes as well! Packed with high-quality collagen, the [Pig's Feet] (350 JPY) has no odor and goes perfectly with the secret house vinegar sauce!

Kokuryukou JR Kumamoto Eki-mae Branch

Open: 11:00 am - 12:00 am (L.O. 11:30 pm), Lunch 11:00 am - 3:00 pm (L.O. 3:00 pm)
Closed: Irregular
Average price: [Dinner] 1,000 JPY / [Lunch] 750 JPY
Address: 2-5-7, Kasuga, Nishi-ku, Kumamoto-shi, Kumamoto (Map)
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Hopefully you've gained some knowledge about the different types of local ramen available all around Japan! There are still many more varieties out there that haven't been covered, so if you see a ramen shop while traveling in Japan, be sure to walk in and try their local specialty!
Disclaimer: All information is accurate at time of publication.
Publish-date: Jan 23 2019 Update-date: Aug 06 2019
Author: SAVOR JAPAN

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