Translated by Jasmine Nishino
Ichiran Ramen - Eat Japan's World-Famous Tonkotsu Ramen
Ichiran is a highly recommended ramen restaurant specializing in authentic tonkotsu pork broth. With locations in Tokyo, Fukuoka, and through Japan, this unique chain has solo dining booths and a distinctly traditional, festival-like interior where diners can experience traditional ramen.
Written by Keisuke Yamada
Ichiran Ramen - Internationally-Renowned Tonkotsu Ramen in Japan
Ichiran Ramen is a highly-acclaimed, international ramen restaurant chain with tonkotsu, or pork-bone broth ramen that started in Fukuoka, Japan. It is one of the most popular ramen chains in not only Tokyo and Fukuoka, but in several locations all over Japan. It is highly recommended to try this ramen for its distinct flavor and unique restaurant atmosphere.
All About Ichiran
In addition to its high-quality ingredients and exquisite bowls of pork-bone broth ramen, Ichiran is famous for its unique settings. Most restaurants have a single seating system, and some have a festival-like dining area as well.
Pictured above is Ichiran Yatai, casual table seating that is part of some locations. It is designed to emulate the atmosphere of Japanese yatai, or food stands common at festivals and markets. In the Nakasu area of Fukuoka, locals and visitors have enjoyed meals together at these outdoor food stalls for decades.
Even the menus at Ichiran Yatai are different. Beer is normally offered at all Ichiran restaurants, but the Ichiran Yatai menus have bottled beer and cocktails. You will be able to enjoy the festival atmosphere along with the retro, Showa period-feel.
The Counter Seats
As mentioned above, there are partitioned counter seats at Ichiran. This type of seating is original to Ichiran and helps customers focus on the flavor of the ramen, without getting distracted by the people around. It is ideal for solo diners.
The picture above shows the Natural Tonkotsu Ramen. The aromatic tonkotsu pork broth soup matches well with Ichiran's specially-made wheat noodles. The rich flavor of the ramen is enhanced by a secret sauce made with chili peppers and a blend of over 30 different ingredients. Ichiran is known for its simple but exquisite taste that satisfies many.
As of June 2019, two restaurants in Japan--Ichiran in Nishi Shinjuku and Namba Midosuji Ichiran--offer tonkotsu-style ramen made without pork, suitable for diners who are avoiding or cannot eat pork, but want to try ramen.
Diners with a sweet tooth can order Matcha Green Tea Almond Tofu. The pleasant sweetness and a soothing aftertaste of the almond tofu match well with the rich flavor of the matcha green tea sauce. This decadent dessert is simply delicious and an ideal way to end your meal.
How to Order at Ichiran
When ordering ramen at Ichiran, first buy a meal ticket at the vending machine. The machine has labels written in multiple languages and separate menus to help you pick what you like. You can always look at the menu if you want to make additional orders as well.
The menu is simple, with exclusively tonkotsu ramen. Diners are also encouraged to get added toppings, like eggs and extra pork.
Like at most ramen restaurants in Japan, you can also order a second helping of noodles if you are feeling especially hungry.
After getting your ticket from the vending machine, you will fill out a short order sheet at your seat. You can adjust how rich you want the soup to be, as well as how much green onion or garlic you want, to order a bowl that's just to your liking.
This type of customization is unique to Ichiran and makes the dining experience all the more fun.
Experience A Bowl of Iconic Japanese Ramen
Ichiran restaurants are found throughout Japan, such as locations in Tokyo, Fukuoka and Kyushu, and Nagoya, and a must-try for any ramen or food enthusiast. For a directory of where to find store locations, please click here.