Hakata, The Land of Tonkotsu Ramen
It is no surprise that you can find many tonkotsu ramen shops on the streets of Hakata. In recent years, restaurants specializing in different types of ramen have opened up for business. In this article, we introduce everything you need to know about the best ramen in Hakata.
1. Hakata Issou (Hakata Station East, Main Store) - Ramen with the Longest Line
Hakata Issou is one of the most popular tonkotsu (pork bone broth) ramen restaurants you can find in Hakata. They have a simple menu with only one type of tonkotsu ramen, additional toppings, and side dishes (ramen above is 650 yen plus tax).
Tonkotsu ramen at Hakata Issou is special as it has a frothy broth brimming with luxurious flavors. Despite its oily appearance, it is actually mild and easy to eat. The uniqueness of the broth is what captivates customers. Hakata Issou is definitely a must-try ramen shop when visiting Hakata!
The shop also has a lively atmosphere and superb customer service. It is a short distance from Hakata Station and is the perfect location for easy access. One thing to be aware of is the waiting time required at Hakata Issou. It is not uncommon to see a line outside the shop. Also, if you visit the store late in the day, tonkotsu ramen might be sold out.
2. Hakata Ikkousha (Hakata Main Store) - An International Ramen Shop
Hakata Ikkousha is a ramen restaurant with several branches around the world, including in different parts of Asia and America. Out of the three types of ramen offered in their menu, tonkotsu ramen is highly recommended (ramen above is 700 yen plus tax).
The tonkotsu ramen served at Hakata Ikkousha is creamy and packed with a salty, savory umami flavor. It contains just the right amount of richness. The homemade noodles sit harmoniously in the broth. These noodles are thin and textured as a result of intensive research and study. The largely sliced char siu (stewed pork) does not disappoint, either!
In addition to the tonkotsu ramen, a wide variety of side dishes including fried rice and gyoza (dumplings) are also available. We suggest trying the gyoza as they are a must-try! One of the best ways to enjoy ramen at night is to first have a glass of beer with gyoza, followed by a bowl of ramen. Hakata Ikkousha also offers a wide variety of set meals.
3. Butaya (Hakata) - Bold, Aromatic Tonkotsu Ramen
Amongst the myriad number of tonkotsu ramen shops in Hataka Butaya is the place to go for a bowl of bold aromatic tonkotsu ramen (pictured ramen is 600 yen plus tax). Upon arriving at the shop, you might think Butaya is a small ramen shop. However, don't be fooled by its cozy entrance, as its interior is surprisingly wide and spacious!
Tonkotsu ramen served at Butaya has a translucent broth loaded with plenty of umami flavor. The use of thin noodles goes well with the viscosity of the broth, making the perfect match. At the end of your meal, you will discover an umami aftertaste that will keep you coming back for more.
In comparison to other ramen shops in Hakata, Butaya's tonkotsu ramen stands out for its unique broth. It is a must-try for those who appreciate a genuine bowl of tonkotsu ramen. With irregular opening dates and hours, confirm the shop hours before visiting.
4. Hakata Menya-tai Tagumi (Hakata) - Ramen, Drinks, and Appetizers!
Out of all the ramen shops in this article, Hakata Menya-tai Tagumi is a restaurant we can recommend to everybody (pictured above is the tonkotsu ramen, 600 yen plus tax).
Tonkotsu ramen served at Hakata Menya-tai Tagumi is no-frills and contains a mild and light broth. It is ramen that is accommodating to everyone's palette. Without the pungent smell of pork bones, you can savor the simple yet distinctive flavors. The subtle fattiness and appropriate amount of noodles make Hakata Menya-tai Tagumi's tonkotsu ramen ideal for consuming after a long night.
A wide variety of appetizers and alcoholic beverages are at Hakata Menya-tai Tagumi. They serve a wide variety of side dishes that pair well with alcohol from gyoza to fish and potato salad. Set meals for customers who want to enjoy a drink and ramen are also available. Hakata Mentai-ya Tagumi is indeed a ramen shop that can cater to all types of visitors.
5. Nagahama Number One (Gion) - Ramen throughout Japan
Established over half a century ago, Nagahama Number One is a long-standing ramen shop in Hakata (pictured above is Nagahama ramen for 550 yen plus tax). Several branches are found not only in Hakata but in other parts of Fukuoka and Tokyo.
Unlike typical tonkotsu ramen, Nagahama Number One's tonkotsu ramen specialty lies in its slightly thick and creamy broth. Not only is the mellow broth delicious, it is also easy to eat. The menu is also inexpensive and affordable. Even with additional toppings such as char siu, seasoned soft boiled eggs, wantan(*1) and many more, the total bill for a bowl of ramen would only add up around 1,000 yen.
Each restaurant location is easy to access. Nagahama Number One also has long operating hours. You can find them open for business from afternoon to midnight. This restaurant is ideal for those looking for easy access to a magnificent bowl of tonkotsu ramen when they visit Fukuoka City.
*1: Wantan: boiled dumplings filled with minced meat wrapped in thin flour.
6. KENZO cafe (Gion) - Local Market Atmosphere
Originally a yatai (food cart) selling ramen, KENZO cafe is a ramen shop that embodies traditional yatai atmosphere with its unique interior (KENZO ramen, shown above is 540 yen plus tax). If you want to encounter local yatai culture of Japan, we recommend a visit here.
Not only is the tonkotsu ramen easy to eat, it is also available at an affordable 540 yen per bowl, a price unheard of in Fukuoka's city center. If you are looking for a bowl of delicious and affordable tonkotsu ramen, KENZO cafe is the place for you!
In addition to classic tonkotsu ramen, another famous item at KENZO cafe is yaki (grilled) ramen. It is an original dish exclusive to KENZO cafe that is popular with celebrities. KENZO cafe is also equipped with extra dining space on the second floor, making it an excellent venue for gatherings where customers are able to indulge in their course menu.
7. Shina Soba Tsukiya (Gofukumachi, Main Store) - Fuss-free Soy Sauce Ramen
If you are looking for shoyu (soy sauce) ramen in Hakata, Shina Soba Tsukiya, one of the few restaurants specializing in shoyu ramen in Fukuoka, is for you (pictured above is shina soba, 600 yen plus tax)!
From one sip of broth, you will relish its sweetness, which comes from the use of sweet soy sauce. Sweet soy sauce is a seasoning exclusively used in cities like Fukuoka in the Kyushu region. Due to its addictive flavor, Shina Soba Tsukiya's shoyu ramen is well-loved by locals in a region known for its tonkotsu ramen.
In addition, instead of commonly-used thin noodles, Shina Soba Tsukiya uses flat noodles, making an excellent combination with the decadent broth.
During the day, you will find reasonably-priced set meals, which are ideal for visitors with a large appetite. At night, Shina Soba Tsukiya transforms into an izakaya with a la carte dishes and alcohol on their menu in addition to ramen. The interior is bright and clean, welcoming to all customers.
8. Ramen Shifuku (Enokida) - Fukuoka's Best Shio Ramen
Situated in a quiet location briefly outside Hakata,
Ramen Shifuku stands out amongst its tonkotsu ramen shop competitors with its ramen that specializes in the use of chicken and salt (pictured shio
(salt) ramen with seasoned soft boiled egg is 700 yen plus tax).
As gentle as it looks, the broth is smooth and light. Despite its clear and transparent appearance, it is filled with rich and luxurious flavors. With customers coming in from all over Japan, it is doubtlessly a must-visit destination for a good bowl of ramen. The noodles served at Ramen Shifuku are also handmade, firm and chewy, a compatible addition to its outstanding broth.
Another specialty at Ramen Shifuku is the karaage (fried chicken) set that comes with three pieces of chicken and a bowl of rice, with free refills. It is recommended that one orders the appropriate portion required as a form of respect to restaurants providing free refill services.
Let's Enjoy The Ramen of Hakata!
We hope that you now have a greater understanding of the different types of ramen shops available in Hakata. Please use this article as a reference for when you are searching for a good bowl of ramen to enjoy the next time you visit Fukuoka!
With the surge of new ramen shops constantly opening in Hakata, we will be updating the information on this article when necessary.