【2018 Edition】Top 10 Must-Visit Famous Ramen Joints in Kyoto
Ramen is a dish that is popular in Japan and abroad. Kyoto has many shops where you can eat ramen. Below are 10 handpicked ramen restaurants in Kyoto, from long-established places to original and popular restaurants.
Nidaime Gozan is a restaurant that is famous for its "toroniku char siu" (roasted pork) which is said to melt in your mouth in 5 seconds. You can enjoy the goodness of this roasted pork in dishes such as the Atsugiri Aburi Toroniku Ramen (766 JPY (incl. tax)) which has thickly sliced char siu made from the boned rib of Kyo no Miyako Mochibuta, a brand of pork from Kyoto. Another recommended item on the menu is the Rare Char Siu Men X (820 JPY (incl. tax)). It is a dish topped with plenty of "rare char siu", which is made by putting the meat in a vacuum condition along with a homemade soy sauce based sauce, so even when the char siu is thinly sliced, it is still full of condensed umami.
Gion Kyoto Ramen is a popular shop in Gion, which is the leading sightseeing area in Kyoto. Aside from its filling signature dish, Tokusen Gion Ramen (1,000 JPY (incl. tax)), the Toridoro Ramen (700 JPY (incl. tax) for regular portion) with the umami of the chicken, and the Tokusen Shoyu Ramen (700 JPY (incl. tax) for regular portion) with condensed flavors are recommended. There are also great-value set menus with karaage (deep-fried chicken) and gyoza (dumplings).
Yuhi no Kirameki is popular on the Kyoto's ramen scene. Their standard dishes are the Ramen and Mazesoba (mixed noodles), both of which use the shop's homemade noodles that contain no preservatives. Of all the dishes on the menu, the most recommended would have to be the Mazesoba Naotaro (Shimegohan-tsuki) (prices start at 750 JPY for small serving). It is a dish that mixes together smooth, boiled noodles, with spring onions, minced chicken and egg yolk as well as ingredients that have a small amount of white chicken broth over them. You can choose the size according to your preference – small, regular, large, special and mega.
Kyoto Takabashi Honke is a long-established restaurant that was founded in 1953. A short 5-minute walk from Kyoto Station, this restaurant is open from 5:00 am until 2:00 am, and is popular among the locals as well as tourists. Its famous dish is the Tokusei Ramen (special ramen) (800 JPY) that contains double the volume of a standard ramen. It has straight, fine noodles, and a light soy sauce-based soup with just a hint of fat. It is also loaded with five pieces of char siu to make it even more delicious!
Established in 1938, Shinpuku Saikan is a long-established shop that has continued to be loved over the years. Situated in a prime spot that is just a 5-minute walk from Kyoto Station, it is a popular restaurant that usually has a long queue of customers outside, including tourists. Its signature dish is the Chuka Soba (Chinese noodles) (700 JPY and up for the regular serving). The black soup that packs a punch is a flavorful soy sauce-based soup that is not too thick but full of umami. The soup goes really well with the chewy noodles and char siu. The famous Yakimeshi (fried rice) (500 JPY), known for its moist texture and delicious aroma, is also recommended here.
Seabura no Kami is a popular shop that is just 3 minutes away from Omiya Station on foot. Its name comes from the term "se-abura" which refers to the fat from the back of a pig, and the surface of their soup of the ramen is covered in back fat. The soup base is soy sauce that uses niboshi (young sardines that are boiled and then dried), giving it a delicious flavor that makes it taste lighter than it looks. Here, the Seabura Niboshi Soba (700 JPY) is one of the recommended items on the menu. There are dishes where you can choose the kind of noodles you want – thick or medium-thick noodles.
Tentenyu is a famous restaurant founded in 1971, and is located in the Ichijoji area, which is known as the leading ramen area of Kyoto. Their bestseller is the Chuka Soba (650 JPY and up for regular portion), which consists of white chicken-type soy sauce-based soup that is slowly and thoroughly cooked with various vegetables and chicken. It has been captivating a lot of fans for so many years with a pleasant richness and sweetness of the chicken. The noodles in the ramen are fine, straight noodles. As for the toppings, it has soft homemade char siu and green onions from Kyoto, among other toppings.
Menya Gokkei is one of the leading shops in the Ichijoji area, which is known as one of the biggest ramen scenes in the region. Customers are raving about the large amount of chicken in the ramen and the addictive, rich, thick soup, so this shop has a long line of customers outside their doors every day. Some of the ramen that you can order here include Gokkei Toridaku (700 JPY) with white chicken soup, Gokkei Akadaku (700 JPY) with an addictive spiciness created by the large amount of chili pepper on top, and the Gokkei Kurodaku (700 JPY) with homemade mayu (garlic oil) with a tinge of garlic. The noodles here are also superb, as they have the perfect chewiness that are not overpowered by the strength of the soup. Make sure to try this deliciousness that is not too strong despite its robustness.
This shop is popular not just among the local customers, but also among tourists from abroad. Its signature dish is the Ginjo Tsukemen Miso (870 JPY for regular portion). It is a filling dish that is eaten by putting thick, curly noodles in a thick soup that is made with a blend of salty-sweet miso sauce and seafood broth. Turn the remaining soup into a “soup-wari” by adding seafood-based broth and you will enjoy the soup down to the last drop. You’d be happy to know that you can choose the amount of noodles to put in your dish - Nami (regular), Sho (small, minus 50 JPY) and Dai (large, plus 100 JPY).
This is a popular shop that is frequented by a wide range of customers. There are three types of ramen here - the Ramen (650 JPY) with elastic, fine noodles in a light chicken-based soup, Shio Ramen (750 JPY) with tasty soup and springy, flat noodles, and Tsukemen (700 JPY) with chewy, thick noodles and chicken and seafood-based dipping sauce. Each dish uses a different kind of noodles to bring out the delicious flavors of the soup.
Be sure to drop by any one of the above restaurants for lunch or dinner in between your sightseeing outings.
*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.