Tokyo is known as a fierce battleground for ramen, and it is full of budget-friendly shops where you can eat ramen for just a single coin (500 JPY). Here are five shockingly cheap but delicious ramen shops in Tokyo.
Kiwami, which is situated in Ginza Nana-chome, serves food under the motto “safe, inexpensive, and delicious”. You will be surprised by their Kiwami ramen (320 JPY (incl. tax)) if you take into account that this shop is actually located in Ginza. This ramen that looks like Chinese noodles from long ago has gotten a reputation for its fresh, delicious taste that is quite hard to resist. Its soy sauce-based soup that is made from chicken bones is complemented perfectly by the curly medium-thick noodles. Complete the taste with roasted pork, nori (dried seaweed), menma (fermented bamboo shoots), and green onions on top. It has such an authentic taste that you cannot tell that it is so cheap! This shop’s most famous ramen is the reasonably priced Kiwami set (520 JPY (incl. tax)). With that price for a set, there’s nothing else to say except that you'll be satisfied. Various other sets are also available.
2. Ramen Sankichi
Ramen Sankichi is a long-established ramen shop that is located in Ginza Hatchome. The secrets to its really low prices are the reduced personnel overhead expenses because it is run by a husband-wife team as well as the lower cost in making the soup, noodles, and roasted pork that comes about because they are all homemade. The ramen (300 JPY (incl. tax)) is cheap, and although it has a light soup from the carefully simmered chicken, pork and aromatic potherbs, it has a robust taste. This ramen uses this shop’s own homemade thin curly noodles, which go extraordinarily well with the soup. At Ramen Sankichi, the ramen set (650 JPY (incl. tax)) and the ladies' set (700 JPY (incl. tax)) that can also be ordered by men are popular. This ramen shop has also been featured in foreign TV shows and guidebooks, so you might see foreign tourists eating here, too.
Seiya is a chain ramen shop that has more than 30 branches in Tokyo and its surrounding areas. It is known for having clean shops and all its branches are always crowded with customers. The ramen (500 JPY (incl. tax)) comes in their special soup made from pork bones, chicken bones and soy sauce, giving it a strong but light taste. The flavored egg ramen (560 JPY (incl. tax)) that has more flavor thanks to the addition of a seasoned soft-boiled egg is famous for its huge, filling servings. Even the toppings put on the ramen are reasonably priced. The otsukaresama set (400 JPY (incl. tax)) comes with draft beer and ramen toppings. Drinking alcohol before eating ramen is really not a bad way to go about it. Aside from the main shop in Kyodo, Seiya has 27 branches inside Tokyo, including in Harajuku and Shimokitazawa.
There are many ramen shops standing side by side in the Kotakibashi area of Nishi-Shinjuku, but Korai is one that has been in business for more than 60 years. It enjoys steady popularity as it stubbornly preserves the flavors from the past. One of the reasons behind its longevity is the sense of security that its being directly operated by a noodle factory gives people. The ramen (400 JPY (incl. tax)) has soy sauce-flavored soup that is made from chicken broth thereby giving it a mild kind of sweetness. The noodles are chewy and medium-thick, and they go well with the soup. This shop only serves standard toppings such as boiled egg. The wonton noodles (550 JPY (incl. tax)) and the fried rice (280 JPY (incl. tax)) are also popular here.
5. Chuka Mihara
Chuka Mihara, which is located between Ginza and Higashi-Ginza, is known for having an endless stream of repeat customers who come for "Showa-style ramen" in terms of shop atmosphere and flavor. (The Showa era lasted from 1926 - 1989.) The ramen (500 JPY (incl. tax)), its most famous item, is delicious and affordably priced, so you can easily eat your fill. The reduced-fat roasted pork on the ramen, which uses the top round part of pork, is also popular here. The fried rice (850 JPY (incl. tax)) is loved for its heaping servings. Meanwhile, the tanmen noodles (700 JPY (incl. tax)) is filled with vegetables, so it is apparently popular with women. If you take into account that it is located near such spots as Ginza, then you will definitely be impressed by its extraordinary prices!
*Image is for illustration purposes
Tokyo has an image of having a high cost of living, but there are still a lot of shops in this city where you can eat ramen with just one coin. The shops listed here have virtually managed to preserve their tastes from old times, which has now become one of their main selling points. What are you waiting for? Head out and try to eat at these shops that still have a retro vibe!
*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.
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