Woman's hand pouring soy sauce over plate and ready to enjoy the fresh Japanese seafood rice bowl in restaurant

Best ramen in Tokyo

Hayashi in Shibuya, Tusta in Sugamo, Afuri in Roppongi, Toripaitan Kageyama in Takadanobaba and Mugi to Olive in Ginza are the best ramen shops in Tokyo.

1. Hayashi, Shibuya – the tourist-hub one

Moments from famed, frenetic Shibuya Crossing, suited office workers on their lunch break queue outside hayushi to slurp up a bowl of hearty noodle-based soup. It has just 10 seats in its basic black-and-white interior, so you’ve got to plan ahead. Go for a serving of rich tonkotsuramen, brimming with pork slices, thick noodles, and a complex broth of meat and fish. Arrive by 11.30am; it stays open until 3.30pm – or until the soup supply runs dry. Mains about £8.

2. Tsuta, Sugamo – the Michelin-star one

You’ll need to get up early to eat at Tsuta. The city’s first ramen joint to win a Michelin star works on a first-come, first-served ticketed system and seats for the day are usually fully allocated before lunch service even starts. Arrive at 8am to get a ticket, calling back at the appointed time. You’ll still need to expect long waiting times, then order from a machine, but the effort is worth it: the house specialty – truffle ramen with miso broth, delicate pork slices, ethereal dumplings and bobbing boiled egg – is pure noodle-soup poetry. Mains about £12.

3. Afuri, Roppongi – the shop-stop one

Buried in the basement of a building in swish shopping district Roppoingi Hills, Aduri is easy to miss. But its delicate ramens – made with a clear broth and laced with spring onion and a caramelised swirl of braised chasu pork are the perfect fuel for a heavy-spend afternoon. Order at the machine out front: you’re after yuzi shio ramen, a salty broth with chewy noodles and a dash of Japanese citrus. Hop on a stool at the small counter and await your steaming bowl. Mains about £8.

4. Toripaitan Kageyama, Takadanobaba

Most ramen is made with pork, but Toripaitan Kageyama, a lantern-lined eatery east of Takadanobaba station specialises in a hearty chicken and miso version – as full-favoured and satisfying as tonkotsu, but lighter. Tuck into the chicken and egg-topped bowls. And don’t ignore the lemon slices served on the side – a small squeeze makes the soup sing. Mains about £6.

5. Mugi to Olive, Ginza

In the heart of Tokyo’s ritzy shopping district, sandwiched between a 7-Eleven and an apartment block, you’ll find cosy Mugi to Olive, buzzing with locals. They’re here for the hamguri (clam) ramen, which is for proper seafood lovers only: the savoury broth is made with the bivalves, and toppings include whole clams and fried fish cake. Olive olive is served on the side to dribble over your ramen, adding to its richness. Purists may scoff – but that’s only because they haven’t tasted it. Mains about £7.

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Next departure: October 19th 2019
Next departure: February 27th 2020

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