Located inside Tokyo Station, Ramen Street has eight of Tokyo’s best ramen shops. We loved this ‘street’ for its selection of cheap and delicious bowls of soup.
Tokyo Station was an important spot in our recent visit to Tokyo. It’s where we entered Tokyo via the monorail ride from Haneda Airport. It’s where we caught the Shinkansen (bullet) high-speed train to Kyoto. And, most importantly, it’s where we twice ate exceptional ramen.
The station is big. Really big. In fact, it’s arguably the busiest rail station in Japan (Shinjuku Station, on the other side of town, may be busier.) In the underground mall, near Character Street, is Ramen Street. The name is not misleading – Ramen Street is home to eight of the best ramen shops in Tokyo. In a nutshell, Ramen Street is Tokyo’s tastiest indoor street.
As fans of ramen in Philadelphia, eating ramen was high on our list of things to eat in Tokyo. After a morning of touring, we headed to Ramen Street for lunch on our second day in Tokyo. We weaved our way through the bustling Tokyo Station complex until we found the mecca for soup lovers such as ourselves.
Our first stop on Ramen Street was the sign with photographs and descriptions of the eight ramen shops and their chefs. Since the descriptions were in Japanese, we ended up picking our first ramen shop by gut instinct.
Selecting a Ramen Shop
Our first thought was to go to the shop with the longest line. But then, on second thought, we were drawn to the only shop where the chefs were making handmade noodles from scratch. It turns out that we picked Shichisai 麺や 七彩 which is known for its handmade noodles, lack of preservatives and chasu pork.
Step one was to order our soup via a vending machine. This was easier said than done since there was no English on the vending machine, but we ordered successfully.
We paid for our lunch, got our tickets and then got in line to wait for our turn to eat. The others in line were all local businessmen. After we were seated in one of the few booths, we promptly ordered a large bottle of Asahi to share.
Daryl ordered a bowl of shoyu ramen brimming with chasu pork and an egg that oozed orange goodness when broken.
Mindi ordered her ramen tsukemen style with the noodles and light, broth like sauce served in separate bowls.
While Daryl slurped his ramen, Mindi enjoyed hers by dipping, slurping and repeating until gone. We were struck by the depth of flavor in such deceptively simple food, and we especially loved the handmade noodles. In other words, the ramen was delicious.
Our Second Visit
Our second visit to Ramen Street was different, as we knew exactly how to get there and where we were going. We had decided in advance to try Honda 本田, and we found it by matching the letter symbols. Since it was later in the day, the lines were shorter. We ordered our lunch by vending machine again, which was a bit of a crapshoot without English. For this lunch, we both ordered bowls of ramen with pork and eggs. The soups were simply composed with broths possessing complex flavors marrying dark soy and pork. As the peppy music played in the brightly lit shop, we happily slurped our way to the bottom of the bowls.
Ramen is originally from China. Trust the Japanese to borrow a concept and then perfect it. Perfection in a bowl to be precise.