Dining Review: Ichiran Ramen – Japan

Dining Review: Ichiran Ramen – Japan

June 2023

Dining Review: Ichiran Ramen – Tokyo and Kyoto, Japan

When researching food in Japan, Ichiran Ramen is an establishment that cannot be missed. While it is a chain restaurant, many tout that is is one of the best ramens you can get. It is known not just for its rich tonkotsu ramen but for their unique solo dining experience.

We visited twice during our two weeks in Japan and were lucky enough to not have a line at either visit. We also visited at off times which is recommended but I have read and seen the lines pile up.

When you arrive, the first step in the process of getting your ramen is ordering on a touch screen. At this step, you are selecting the general food items you want – you will have the ability to customize when you are seated. You can change the language to one you understand and the kiosk also takes your payment of either cash or credit card. The ramen is pretty inexpensive for a dish that leaves you completely full – 900 yen for the regular bowl which is under 7 USD. In exchange, the kiosk gives you a ticket with your order that will be presented when you are seated.

After you have your ticket, a staff member escorts you to your ramen booth. There are several rooms that you can be seated in but they all look the same. The room is set up with a dozen or so individual stalls to sit in for your ramen experience. That’s right, each person sits solo. Ichiran says it is so you are not distracted and can focus your attention on enjoying the ramen. As with many things in Japan, the dining room is silent as everyone enjoys the ramen.

Once you are seated, each person is given a paper to customize our ramen order – how much seasoning, richness, firmness of the noodles, spice level – everything is customized to your liking with the dotted line circles being the recommended option. This paper also has english which was very helpful for me ensuring I did not pick the wrong thing (like making it spicy!).

Once the form is completed, a staff member on the other side of our stall took the paper and our ticket. If this is not done, you can press a button that alerts the staff that your order is done. And then we waited!

The stalls are equipped with everything you need:

  • On the right, there are extra papers where you can add more items to your order – even ordering more noodles. There are also little placards that communicated different things to the staff which have Japanese on one side and english on the other.
  • On the shelf in front of you, there are napkins and chopsticks.
  • And on the left was my favorite feature – a water spout for unlimited water. 

Minutes later, the giant bowl of ramen appeared, the staff bowed, and closed our curtain for your privacy.

The ramen was amazing and I like to think it was more than just because it was 2AM because it was just as good the second time we ate it. The broth was so flavorful and had a thick texture, the noodles were thin and perfectly cooked, the pork was tasty and not chewy – everything was perfect. We quietly ate our ramen and it did not take long for the bowls to be empty.

When you are done, you simply leave. Now, we are not ramen experts by any means but we really enjoyed the entire experience and the ramen. We talked about it the entire trip and were so happy we were able to get it again before we left. The ordering process is very easy and it is very approachable and not intimidating for tourists. Of note, both times we visited there were locals there enjoying their ramen as well. I know if we lived near one, we would be here all the time.

Continue reading all the details of our trip – here!

To see our full itinerary – here!

Read what to expect in Japan – here!

My complete packing list for Japan – here!

See all blog posts for Japan – here!

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