With a food culture so diverse and unique like in Japan, people tend to gravitate to familiar eats that they’ve had a chance to taste back home. Ask anyone and ramen will top the list of a must-try on a trip to Japan. Hot, comforting and basically Japan’s food-for-the-soul, ramen is a poster child of Japanese cuisine.
But with the myriad of ramen joints in Japan, where does one start their ramen journey? May I suggest heading over to Ichiran?
Ichiran is a very famous 24-hour ramen chain with branches scattered all over Japan. Having a hankering for ramen at 2 am? Head to Ichiran and there will be a hot bowl lovingly prepared for you. Ichiran’s specialty is Tonkotsu (pork bone soup) ramen that has been gaining quite the popularity in recent years.
Upon entering Ichiran, you will be greeted by a vending machine, where you can order your noodles and other add-ons such as extra noodles and an extra egg. You can also customize your ramen the way you want it, starting from the strength of your soup’s flavor to the firmness of your noodles. This can be decided as you’re completing a form that you will hand over to your server.
What makes dining in Ichiran stand out? Aside from the delicious ramen, they feature personal booths for every customer.
Each booth gives you privacy to slurp your ramen in peace. It also comes with your own water tap for drinking and a call button to call for attendants – you never actually see them, they just slide your food in and out through a small window in your booth. Dining with friends and still want to chat while eating your ramen? You can fold the divider!
Ichiran has been a common fixture in Japan since the 60’s, so it is safe to say they KNOW their ramen. For snobs, it may not be the most authentic way to experience ramen, but it is a good head start for ramen lovers anywhere. They are located in various cities in Japan and all are open 24/7 to serve you delicious ramen.