Ramen Regions of Japan
If you’re in Japan and find yourself looking for authentic ramen to enjoy, there really is no shortage of delicious restaurants to choose from! Your only limitation is where you are during your visit and how much ramen you think you can handle in a day. Whether you’re in the north, south, east, or west, Japan’s authentic ramen restaurants will be sure to provide you with what you need – ramen!
Here are just a few of our favorite regional ramens from all over Japan!
Coming straight from one of the coldest places in Japan, Sapporo Ramen is sure to warm the soul (and stomach!). This ramen is one of the few tonkotsu-base ramens with a clear broth! Flavored with salt and miso and topped with vegetables and meat, seafood lovers will rejoice to know that this ramen is also commonly garnished with crab! There’s even a bit of butter thrown into the mix to give the broth a nice, sweet, fatty, authentic ramen taste! If you love thick, curly noodles, then this is the perfect ramen for you.
Less thick and hearty than its brethren, Hakodate is also referred to as “shinasoba”. This shio, or salt, ramen is a plain looking dish. The clear broth allows you to keep an eye on your straight noodles during the meal, and toppings such as bamboo, pork, leeks, spinach, corn, naruto fish cakes, and scallions. Though it looks demure and simple, the broth is actually quite flavorful and a joy to consume.
If you’re not in the mood for shio or tonkotsu ramen, then grab a bowl of this soy-based authentic ramen. Complete with a healthy heaping of lard to make the soup fatty and filling, this ramen has seafood, pork, and chicken in its broth. Made specifically to stave off the cold, this ramen is sure to warm up anybody. Topped in a similar manner to Hakodate ramen, the Asahikawa ramen is a delightful experience and a perfect meal for anyone visiting the northern end of Japan.
A perfect shoyu broth, sardines, chicken, and vegetables all work in tandem to make Yonezawa ramen a delicious and delightful experience. The authentic ramen taste is only further amplified by the thin, curly noodles and light, flavorful broth. If you can’t find this ramen at first, try using the local name: Chinese Soba.
If you’re looking for noodles of a different variety, then you’ve got to try Shirakawa ramen. This ramen is a truly authentic reman experience and is sure to not let anyone seeking great bowl of ramen down. The clear broth is both tasty and flavorful and is accented by the usual toppings of corn, bamboo, onions, fish cakes, and spinach.
Perfect for anyone who thinks that most ramens are too ‘overpowering’, this gentle, soothing ramen is almost therapeutic for those looking for a less intense meal. The thick curly noodles soak up the clear, refreshing broth in the most delightful way. The broth has both pork and sardines in it, which give a delightful combination of both meat and fish taste.
Mixing together miso, garlic, and chili, this ramen is perfect for anyone who’s ever thought, “Is it possible to get a bowl of spicy ramen?” The simple answer: yes! The story goes that the creator of this authentic ramen threw together some leftover ingredients one night, and Akayu ramen was born. To give customers the option to adjust the spice level, a spicy ‘ball’ tops the bowl and can be dissolved or removed at any time.
If you want authentic ramen that’s been through sometime most other ramens can’t lay claim to, grab a bowl of Sano ramen! The noodles are created by pounding the ramen dough with a giant bamboo pole! How crazy is that? Each restaurant has their own preference for their soup bases or thickness of noodles, but generally, the ramen has a soy sauce brother and is topped with vegetables and fish cakes.
Ever felt like there’s just too much broth in your ramen? Then tsukemen might just be the ramen for you! Instead of the traditional soup type meal, tsukemen is actually just a plate of cold noodles served alongside a shallow bowl of ‘dipping broth’. Often times a dashi is served alongside to dilute the dipping broth while eating or to help with drinking the broth after the noodles are finished. Don’t think you’re getting out of toppings just because the noodles and broth are separated; tsukemen is commonly topped with seaweed, bamboo, pork, and vegetables.
For many years, Tokyo ramen was synonymous with ‘authentic ramen from Japan’. In more recent years, ramen has branched out far and wide, though people still refer to Tokyo ramen as the ‘original ramen’. Staying true to its roots, Tokyo ramen is served in a chicken and soy sauce broth that gives the soup its recognizably dark color. The noodles are medium sized and curly and have been the model for authentic ramen noodles since the beginning of ramen.
Also known as Ie-kei ramen, this authentic ramen is made with pork, chicken, and soy sauce. Boasting a thicker noodle than most other bowls of ramen, the dish is generally topped with spinach, seaweed, and scallions. If you find yourself walking around Yokohama with a hunger for good ramen, you can be sure to find plenty of places that serve this delicious dish.
You can call it Hida ramen, authentic ramen, or a delicious bowl of ramen innovation; all three are technically correct. This ramen is a bit different from most others because the creation of this flavorful meal involves adding the base of the ramen in a hot soup. Noodles can be flat or thin, and the whole thing is commonly topped with scallions, pork, vegetables, and bamboo shoots.
Breaking free of the normal mold of flavor for Kyoto, this authentic Japanese ramen is thick and rich. Chicken and pork bones are boiled down with vegetables and added to soy sauce to create the broth. Each restaurant has their own idea of the perfect toppings for this dish, but almost everyone agrees on using straight noodles with medium thickness. Bring your appetite, because you’re not likely to leave hungry!
Referred to as “Chuka soba” by locals, Wakayama ramen is a tonkotsu base ramen with a bit of soy sauce added in. This ramen is topped with a special kind of fish cake called sendai-maki, which is said to be truly delicious and a great addition to the ramen. With thin straight noodles and an assortment of toppings, Wakayama ramen is a delicious dish that everyone can enjoy!
Hailing from Onomichi city, you’ll find it hard to locate two bowls of identical ramen in two different restaurants. Most prefer to use firm, flat noodles as well as garnish the soup with pork and vegetables. Along with all of the delicious ingredients you can see, there is generally also a generous helping of pork fat mixed into the soup to give it a rich, authentic ramen taste.
Even though Hiroshima ramen may seem like just another tonkotsu and soy sauce ramen, it’s far from ordinary. Unlike traditional tonkotsu ramen, this broth is often prepared in such a way that it’sl ighter and less heavy. There are actually several varieties of Hiroshima ramen throughout the area, but each chef knows exactly how to prepare the ramen in a pleasing, tasteful way.
Known better as Chinese Soba, this ramen commonly comes in three different soup varieties: clear, dark, and cloudy! The clear variety is honey colored and flavored with amber soy sauce and chicken, the dark variety is a tonkotsu ramen flavored with dark soy sauce, and the cloudy variety is a white tonkotsu ramen with both amber and light soy sauce added in. No matter which one you get, all of them are delicious, authentic Japanese ramens that are sure to satisfy!
Hailing from Kurume City, this ramen has a flavorful tonkotsu broth and straight, thin noodles. Interesting enough, the white, cloudy coloring of the broth was once a sign of failure for making correct tonkotsu soup, but is now regarded as one of the factors for this meal’s amazing taste. As the pork bones are boiled all the way down to the marrow, you might even find some left over bone particles in the bottom of your bowl!
This is authentic tonkotsu ramen at its finest. The broth is made by slowly boiling down pork bones for hours to get a rich flavorful infusion of pork and soy. The noodles are thin and hard and are best eaten quickly after being served. If you want to read more about how tonkotsu ramen broth is made, check out our blog “Tonkotsu Ramen” to learn more!
All Over Japan
If you’ve read about any of the above ramens and are bummed that you might not get to try them all on your next trip, fear not! We highly recommend these two amazing ramen museums located in Japan that do almost all of these varieties of ramen justice! Head over to the closest museum and eat your way across the regions of ramen!
Shin-Yokohama Ramen Museum
You can eat your way from the top to the bottom of Japan with the amazingly delicious and authentic ramen varieties offered at this museum. Easy to get to, easy to navigate, and easy to order, this museum was created with non-natives in mind! You can try traditional regional ramen from around Japan, but also have the freedom to customize most ramen any way you see fit! You can even try ramen from around the world in this amazing eatery, so don’t think you’re limited to just what Japan has to offer! Head over to Yokohama City if you have time and don’t want to trek all over the country for delicious varieties of ramen.
Address: 2-14-21 Shinyokohama, Kohoku-ku, Yokohama-City, 222-0033, Japan
Tokyo Ramen Kokugikan Mai
Come one, come twice, come as many times as you can to sample authentic ramen from various regions in Japan. Located in Tokyo, it’s much more accessible to most travelers and brings in both locals and tourists on a regular basis. If you want a happy ramen experience with more variety than most other restaurants in the area can compete with, Tokyo Ramen Kokugikan May fits the bill!
Address: 1-7-1 Daiba | Aqua City Odaiba 5F, Minato 135-0091, Tokyo Prefecture