Besides our fun sushi dinner at Uobei, there was another popular spot I’ve always wanted to try. It was a cool morning with a light drizzle of rain which was perfect weather for ramen. I luckily just noticed Ichiran Ramen in a side alley near our hotel.
I went downstairs where there were a couple ticket machines. Almost everything in Japan is cash-only. With some help from the pictures, I obtained a few small paper tickets for the ramen and a few add-ons.
What makes this place unique? Customers enjoy their ramen in individual booths with a small curtain. You never see the servers’ faces. You go in, sit down, and slurp your ramen in the comfort of your own little station.
There’s an order sheet where you circle your preferences from the richness of the broth to the texture of the noodles.
You can also add extra items to your ramen. I added kikurage mushrooms, a soft boiled egg, and their special vinegar.
When you’re ready to place your order, you push the small red button and a server briefly appears to take your order sheet.
My order was in. Every station had their own water tap. I helped myself to as much water as I wanted.
After a bit, my curtain went up and a bowl of their classic Tonkotsu Ramen was carefully placed in front of me.
A lot of work and time goes into making this particular ramen and Ichiran is where it all began. I honestly wasn’t expecting much from the super popular ramen, but I was pleasantly surprised once I tasted it.
The server bows and the curtain is lowered once again. Time to eat!
The natural tonkotsu soup is extracted from 100% pig bones. The milky white broth had so much flavor. The broth is constantly monitored, simmered and skimmed. The freshly made noodles are tailored to the climate, temperature, humidity, and other conditions of the day. They’re then stored in special boxes until right before going into the pot.
The perfectly cooked noodles with the green onions, soft egg, sliced pork, mushrooms, and spicy red sauce was a bowl of harmonious deliciousness. The depth of flavors was so nice and comforting. I tried practicing my slurping, but couldn’t compete with my expert neighbors. Good thing nobody could see me!
I had no problem finishing this ramen. It was incredible. I’m all about a social dining experience, but there’s no shame in the solo game at Ichiran!
You can even take their yummy ramen home with their instant packs. I eventually ended up buying a box from a store before leaving Japan.
I left at the perfect time because a long line began to form upstairs. I just missed the lunch rush!
I met my sister at the vegan restaurant and it was time to check out Shimokitazawa for a bit!
Ichiran Shinjuku Kabukicho
Shinjuku-ku Tokyo, Japan 160-0021