If you’re anything like me, you probably love food and might be a wanna-be foodie. But actually picking somewhere to eat can be an overwhelming process because there’s simply so many options to choose from. I usually end up Googling “best…” and whatever I feel like eating and read through a handful of different reviews.
So as such, I’ve made a handy little guide of my personal favorite ramen restaurants in Shibuya! But full disclaimer, and before true foodies come to criticize my list, this is just out of personal preference. Don’t ever let anyone tell you how to enjoy your ramen; that’s the beauty of a bowl of ramen! Let’s get right into my five best ramen spots in Shibuya!
It would be hard to not include Ichiran on this list for best ramen in Shibuya, as it’s one of, if not, the most popular ramen bars in Tokyo. Its famous tonkotsu broth (pork) ramen was founded in Fukuoka Prefecture over 50 years ago, but can now be found all over Japan.
Ichiran is somewhat like the McDonald’s of ramen in Japan; when you think of a simple yet delicious bowl of noodles, Ichiran is kind of the first one that comes to mind. Not just because of its taste and many options, but because it’s open 24 hours, and is largely popular to grab a bowl after a night out!
The Ichiran experience can be quite personal! If you feel like eating alone, that’s not a problem., as each seat has dividers so you can eat unbothered (the dividers can open up if you’re eating in a group). And once you’re at your seat, you get an order sheet to give you endless ramen options, from how much seasoning stock you want, to noodle texture.
This Tokyo original’s first location opened near Ebisu Station (one stop from Shibuya on the JR line, but still in Shibuya City) almost 20 years ago, and it’s still one of the best and most popular spots for Japanese ramen. Their signature is a light, yuzu-flavored dashi and chicken broth, and won’t leave you feeling super stuffed. You can even find instant Japanese cup ramen versions of Afuri stocked all over Tokyo’s konbinis (Japanese convenience stores)!
With Japan’s hot summers coming up, Afuri’s citrus blended ramen bowls are sure to be a hit, as Japan’s citrus fruit season is upon us! Topped with chashu pork, soft boiled egg, menma bamboo, mizuna greens, and shredded yuzu, it’s one of the more distinct flavored ramens you can try in Shibuya.
One of their biggest draws, though, is that there are vegan options, which can be pretty hard to find in Tokyo for many foods! They boast their natural and organic ingredients, so you don’t need to feel as guilty having a big bowl of ramen to try.
Many might consider this the best Shibuya ramen joint, and for good reason! Hayashi takes pride in all natural seasoning and serves only one dish on the menu, two variations adding either soft boiled egg or chashu. You know a Japanese restaurant is good when it only sells one dish that they’ve perfected!
Their rich, pork based broth is combined with a fish broth, and topped with menma bamboo shoots, chopped green onions, and dried seaweed. The noodles are made by Mikawaya Seimen, which is a popular noodle factory in Tokyo.
While the ramen itself is amazing, the shop owner has a number of rules, which may be hard to grasp if you’re looking for a laidback experience. And as it’s only open Monday to Saturdays from 11:30am to 3:30pm, there will surely be a line to grab a bowl. It was tough, but I had to put it right in the middle of this list.
The penultimate shop is Menya Nukaji, which serves richer, pork bone ramen and tsukemen (ramen you dip in soup). This shop has a number of fun condiments, like curry powder and yuzu spice powder, and if you’re like me and love music, the owner loves playing old school R&B and soul! Bonus points for the vibes!
With the use of medium thick noodles, tonkotsu gyokai W soup (extra rich pork bone broth base), bamboo, wrapped pork belly chashu, chopped green onion, and a slice of seaweed, it’s the rich broth version of a traditional ramen!
While W soup (W standing for double) style is perfected by places like Hayashi, Nukaji slightly edges it for its wider variety of options, less waiting time, and again, the vibes!
Anyone else extremely hungry like I am? Well, if you’ve made it this far, I don’t know how you wouldn’t be!
Topping my list is Usagi, which has been in Shibuya since 2007. By no means is it a true OG in the ramen game, it’s the all over feeling this place has that puts it at number one.
Their bowls of shoyu ramen, or soy sauce based soup, has a more velvety consistency which is different from the creamier rich soups of many of the others on this list. Usagi’s specialty is adding sous vide-styled chashu, one of the first shops to popularize this topping.
But the biggest draw for this place for me was the atmosphere. The owner of the shop is the brother of the late DJ Nujabes. Hip hop heads and general fans of music, you can come to appreciate Nujabes’ music playing in the background, along with memorabilia to commemorate the influential record producer.
There is nothing more “Shibuya” than combining the traditional Japanese food and modern pop culture, which is why I think Usagi is the top ramen shop in Shibuya! Have you been to any of these spots, or are there any that interest you? Let me know in the comments below!
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