Osaka City is becoming more and more of an attractive destination for people going to Japan. Since the number one thing to do in Osaka is to EAT, I will be listing three ramen shops I visited and recommend to travelers. Check them out!
Ichiran Ramen is a popular ramen chain in Japan, often posted on social media for its excellent spicy ramen. There are two locations in Dotonbori. At 10:00 PM, both had lines out the door but I ended up choosing the more hidden location.
I was greeted by the staff before standing in a winding line of people. I had to wait about eight minutes before I got to use the ticket vending machine.
There is only one type of soup base. Popular side purchases are extra pork (four slices for 250 yen), extra chopped green onions (130 yen), soft boiled egg (130 yen), and a glass of beer (580 yen).
The seating area is upstairs so I had to wait in line again. While waiting, an employee will give you an order sheet where you can customize your order according to your preferences of dashi (seasoning stock), broth richness, garlic, green onion, chashu (sliced pork), noodle firmness, and spice level. Spice levels 1 to 10 are free of charge but anything over level 10 will have an extra fee.
After about 30 minutes, it was time to eat! At this establishment, they have “booths” suitable for one person. If you’re traveling with other people, you can fold the wooden divider so your party can enjoy each other’s company.
At Ichiran, you will not see the face of your server. Instead, you place your order sheet and order tickets in front of you and your server will grab them to fill your order. When your order is ready, the server will set the dishes down, then lower the bamboo curtain to give you privacy. The server will leave an extra form you can use to order more food such as noodles, chashu, or eggs. Fill out the form and place your money next to the curtain and push the button to alert your server.
I purchased a ramen (890 yen) and a soft boiled egg (130 yen). I like things spicy but didn’t want to pay extra so I chose level 10 with medium dashi, medium richness, a drop of garlic, green onions, chashu, and medium noodles.
I liked that they used thin noodles, but the medium was still a little firm so I’d drop to soft next time. The soft boiled egg was perfectly cooked with a slightly runny yolk, and the portions of green onions and chashu were just right for me. I’ve never been given a choice for broth richness before and I would’ve ordered a richer broth if I had known. Spice level 10 wasn’t spicy for me. It had a kick but if it didn’t cost extra for more spice, I definitely would have gotten more.
On one of the main roads near Dotonbori sits Ramen Ajidono. I was staying at a hotel down the street and happened to cross paths with this place. It seats about six people and reminds me of a hole-in-the-wall Japanese ramen spot where businessmen stop by for a quick bite after a night out drinking.
The ticket vending machine is situated outside the establishment and offers a small variety of dishes and side dishes. My Japanese reading skills are minimal so I ordered the first chashu ramen set (990 yen) I could read. They do have a bunch of other items for purchase such as draft beer (450 yen), bottled beer (580 yen), gyoza (five pieces for 300 yen), and more.
Sitting down, you leave your ticket on the counter and the chef will take it to begin preparing your food. There was only one other person waiting for their dinner so my meal came out rather quickly.
The ramen set contained nori (seaweed), wakame (cooked seaweed), chashu, and a soft boiled egg. I usually don’t order ramen unless it’s spicy because I tend not to like it. I added some red powdered spice not enough to make it taste spicy, but enough to make me want to dine there again.
Address: 1 Chome-4-10 Sennichimae, Chuo-ku, Osaka-shi, Osaka
Hours: Monday – closed
Tuesday to Friday – 5:00 PM to 5:00 AM
Saturday and Sunday – 12:00 AM to 5:00 AM
Michelin reviewed in 2016, Ramen Hayato was an amazing find! For those who haven’t heard of a Michelin-starred restaurant, a simple definition is, Michelin stars are awarded to a select few restaurants around the world for outstanding service and dishes. It is very difficult to earn a star and if a restaurant loses a star, they may suffer greatly. Michelin-starred restaurants run very expensive. So when I came across Ramen Hayato, who hadn’t earned a star but did receive recognition in the Michelin Guide, I knew I had to eat here.
Arrive early if you plan to eat at Ramen Hayato because they only have about seven seats, which can make the wait long. I arrived 30 minutes after opening and had to wait for 50 minutes. A few chairs are placed at the entrance but guests will mainly be standing. An employee will walk down the line with menus, both an English and a Japanese menu. The employee will take your order before you reach the restaurant so that once you sit down, the chef already knows what you want.
They have miso, shio, and shoyu soup bases, rice bowls, classic Sapporo beer (700 yen), draft Sapporo beer (550 yen), and extra chashu for purchase. The dish reviewed by Michelin was the miso ramen (930 yen) so I had no choice but to try it as well.
I repeat, I only eat spicy ramen but I didn’t want to add anything to this meal without trying it first. It was amazing! The pork was tender and the broth was rich. Very addicting to eat. After slurping the noodles, I finished the entire bowl of broth.
If I had gone to this establishment earlier during my trip, I definitely would’ve made time to go again. Any future visits to Osaka will include a trip to Ramen Hayato.
Address: 1 Chome-2-2 Minamimorimachi, Kita-ku, Osaka-shi, Osaka
Hours: Monday – closed
Tuesday to Sunday – 11:00 AM until they run out of dishes
There are way too many ramen restaurants to count in Osaka City but if you have the time, definitely stop by these three establishments. Ichiran Ramen for ramen that will make you sweat in your own private booth, Ramen Ajidono for a delicious and quick bowl of ramen, and Ramen Hayato for a simply incredible serving of miso ramen.