Ramen: Great Ramen Shops in Kyoto

(6 posts) (2 voices)
  • Started 8 years ago by Michael
  • Latest reply from Nils von Barth
  1. Places to 'Ramen' in Central Kyoto

    Ippudo Nishiki-koji Store (一風堂 錦小路店)
    -- excellent, excellent ramen --
    Ippudo came to Kyoto about five years ago from Hakata, Kyoto and has been a big hit. Ippudo is located on the north side of Daimaru Department Store near the Shijo-Karasuma intersection in central Kyoto. It is one block south of Nishiki Market (shopping arcade).

    Gogyo, Kyoto (五行 京都)
    -- great Kyushu ramen in historic Kyoto machiya house --
    New and elegant ramen restaurant in Kyoto. Gogyo offers other 'ippin' dishes lots of drinks.

    [Now Closed, Nov. 2011] Takaraya Ponto-cho Store (宝屋 先斗町店)
    -- original, elegant 'Kyoto' ramen--
    Takaraya is located near Sanjo Bridge in Ponto-cho neighborhood. No ramen lover would want to miss Takaraya's 'Sumashi Ramen' while they are in town. If you can handle underdone eggs, do try their 'Demachi-no-Tamago-kake Gohan'.
    KyotoFoodie review: http://kyotofoodie.com/takaraya-ramen/

    Ponto-cho Store: http://www.takaraya.info/shops/pontocho.html

    JR Kyoto Station Store: http://www.takaraya.info/shops/kyotosb.html (*this location does NOT offer Sumashi Ramen)

    Kyoto Ramen Koji (Little Ramen Street) - Kyoto Station
    -- seven of the best regional ramen flavors in Kyoto --
    Located on the 10th floor of the Kyoto Station Building, this is a great place to take your pick from 7 of Japan's regional tastes of ramen.

    Japanese language site only: http://www.kyoto-ramen-koji.com/towa.html (photos and graphics give you the idea)

    Posted 8 years ago #
  2. Samata Oike Ramen

    I just put a review of a very 'Kyoto' tasting ramen shop up on OpenKyoto. This shop has a very interesting history, it started out as a night stand ramen cart and moved to a sit down location about 10 years ago. It is located just north of the Kyoto Gosho Imperial Palace, near Doshisha University.

    The interior is cleverly designed. The design of the main table recalls the ramen cart.

    Samata's ramen soup includes skim milk and evaporated milk among other novel ingredients. If you are in Kyoto and want to taste some unique and Kyoto style ramen, this undiscovered shop ought to be on your itinerary!


    Posted 7 years ago #
  3. Ramen Shops NOT in Central Kyoto (But worthy of consideration)

    Inoshishi Ramen Captain Kyoto North Mountain Wild Boar Ramen!
    Recently I tried what I have come to think of as 'lumberjack ramen' in the north mountains of Kyoto. It was good ramen but fairly conventional in taste, just more oily. The wild boar didn't really taste 'wild'. The only downside of visiting this restaurant is that it is about an hour by car from the city. If you are a REAL ramen fanatic, it is probably worth visiting.

    KyotoFoodie article: http://kyotofoodie.com/kyoto-wild-boar-ramen/

    Genya Ramen Sake Brewery District Ramen!
    Genya Ramen uses sake kasu (sake lees) in their ramen broth. Conceptually I like it a lot but the sake kasu taste is just too understated for me. Sake kasu tastes good and I want to taste it! If you have a few days in Kyoto and are interested in sake, going down to Fushimi is well worth it. Fushimi is very historic and you can tour many of the sake breweries and taste sake.

    KyotoFoodie article: http://kyotofoodie.com/fushimi-sake-kasu-ramen/

    Posted 7 years ago #
  4. Mamezen Soba Soy Milk Ramen

    Mamezen offers a very nice soy milk based ramen, that is very unlike conventional ramen. While the ramen is very good and worthy of your attention, Mamezen is very often closed without notice. Call the 'Zen master' owner on his mobile phone before you go and make a reservation!! 090-1153-5297

    KyotoFoodie article: http://kyotofoodie.com/mamezen-soba-soymilk-ramen/

    Posted 5 years ago #
  5. Nils von Barth

    Thanks for the recs! My thoughts:

    Ramen is not traditional Kyoto food, but there is good ramen to be had in Kyoto, and something of a local style (see next post).

    Top recs:

    • Ippudo Nishiki-koji Store – classic Hakata ramen, I consider this definitive (tonkotsu = pork bone broth) ramen. American readers, you can get this in New York (there’s now a branch there).
    • Kyoto Ramen Lane (拉麺小路) – this is fun! There are 7 stores, which change over time; I’ve especially enjoyed Tomiyama Black (富山ブラック) from Menya Iroha (Iroha Noodle House) (麺屋いろは), which won best of show at the Tokyo ramen show 3 years running (2009/10/11)
    • Mamezen Soba: Kyoto-style Dashi Soymilk Ramen (my comment) – nice tofu-focused ramen (soy milk broth, yuba topping), nice change of pace, not v. ramen in feel

    None of these are very “Kyoto” ramen – the first two are top national chains, while Mamezen is much more of an innovative tofu restaurant (its ramen is more a twist on presenting tofu, rather than it being a special ramen).


    • Gogyō – I have not been here yet, but it’s on my list!
    • Isshindo – apparently v. tasty, unfortunately closed (but can get some dishes next door), may re-open
    • Samata Oike Ramen – not recommended. I’ve been here a couple of times, but it’s nothing special – standard ramen
    Posted 4 years ago #
  6. Nils von Barth

    Now, as for Kyoto-style ramen. Perhaps surprisingly, Kyoto-style ramen is typically strong and thick, often soy-based, and the most distinctive feature is the Kujō negi (9th street scallions, a Kyoto varietal – sweet and fat) as a topping. When going to Kyoto-style ramen, ordering extra negi (“negi ōme”) is recommended.

    There is in fact a (Japanese) wikipedia page on this topic: 京都ラーメン (admittedly, in Japanese, but listed noted restaurants and references).

    Of these, the most notable (AFAICT) are as follows. None are exceptional, but they’re all ok.

    A big national chain:

    • Tenka Ippin (天下一品) – Kyoto-based (actually Ōtsu-based) national chain (have a building in Kamigamo, which a few small old buildings on the ground). Main attraction is very thick broth (こってり, kotteri), and lots of negi. Solid Kyoto-style, good in winter, but not otherwise exceptional, and rather heavy.

    Two diner-ish places, next to each other, by Kyoto station (go east (right) from street in front of terminal building, then south (right) at first big intersection – there’s a massive sign for 新福 that’s very visible), each with a devoted following, and usually lines out the door. These are both small, v. casual, fast service places – think “diner”. The food’s not great at either, but it’s ok, and you may like the atmosphere.

    • Honke Dai-ichi-asahi 本家 第一旭 (open 5 am ’til 2 am!). Fans include TANIGAWA Yoshimi (as per this KyotoFoodie story). Daiichiasahi is the better of the two shops, and accordingly usually has the longer lines. It has savory broth (due to onions, and a lot of salt, I suspect) and pretty tasty meat. The service and ambiance is also rather friendly “family restaurant” (there’s a Shinto shrine hanging from the ceiling in the corner, say, and if you order sake, it’s poured at your table from the large bottle standing on the counter).
    • Shinpuku Saikan (新福菜館) – very dark black broth, in an overflowing bowl (served on plate to catch overflowing broth). Not impressed – kinda boring, and noodles rather soft (for my taste). There is also a branch shop (taberogu) just east of the imperial palace (on east-west street, just north of Kyoto Prefectural Center for Arts and Culture, just west of huge Kyoto Prefectural Medical College Hospital). There are other stores of this name (and perhaps company?) in town, but only this branch store is under the main store’s management.

    Two others that Wikipedia mentions (but I’ve not checked out) are:

    • ラーメン横綱 Rāmen Yokozuna (top Sumo rank) – tonkotsu (pork bone) and soy broth, with garlic and red pepper (tōgarashi) mixed in
    • ますたに Masutani – original by Ginkakuji – broth based on chicken carcass, back fat, and soy sauce
    Posted 4 years ago #


You must log in to post.

ContactCopyright © Kyoto Support, All Rights Reserved.