Underneath Tokyo Station is a maze. It has many shops selling bentos for the commuters on the Shinkansen as well as eateries for the local commuters. And a cluster of ramen stores form the famous Tokyo Ramen Street 東京ラーメンストリート.
It is said that they are more than 10,000 ramen stores in Japan, but they can be generally be categorised by four major types, decided by the tare, or base flavor: shio (salt-based ramen), shoyu (soy sauce-based ramen), miso (fermented soybean paste-flavoured ramen), and tonkotsu (pork bone broth ramen). But non traditionalists have came up with more tares that included dried sardine base, seafood base, vegetarian to name a few. And every one of the major types is represented in this ramen street.
東京煮干し らーめん 玉
This shop specializing in fish broth ramen is brought to you by Gyoku, renowned for their rich seafood creations. The thick broth is packed with savory chicken flavors and combined with several dried fish ingredients to create a delectable treat that’s fast becoming a new Tokyo tradition.
Chuka Soba Soranoiro Nippon 中華そば ソラノイロ•NIPPON
The main restaurant is Michelin Guide listed. Created with the intention of providing a welcoming space for women wishing to eat alone, it serves up Tanrei Shōyu Ramen, an incredibly popular dish that uses Amakusa Daiō, the largest locally raised chickens in Japan.
Dipping Ramen Rokurinsha つけめん 六厘舎
The restaurant that put dipping ramen on the map. This renowned shop is constantly pushing forward to create ramen so delicious that it’s crave-worthy to the last drop–and doesn’t care what it has to do to get there. It owes its wild popularity and success to its original, super-thick broth recipes, which are fast becoming the standard in the world of dipping ramen.
Shio Ramen Senmon Hirugao 塩らーめん専門 ひるがお
A famous shio (salt) ramen store in Tokyo with an endless queue. The soup brings out the richness and flavor perfectly, using flavorful noodles made from Hokkaido wheat and carefully-selected ingredients.
Tsujita Miso no Sho つじ田 味噌の章
Rich miso ramen carefully crafted bowl by bowl. This miso ramen specialist came out of Tsujita, a shop that makes dipping ramen with a thick tonkotsu seafood broth. They import their special noodles straight from Hokkaido and use only the finest ingredients to make a premium broth that blends together several types of miso. Enjoy a premium ramen experience that’s been carefully crafted from start to finish.
Tokyoeki Ikaruga 東京駅 斑鳩
This seafood tonkotsu ramen shop is famous for striking the perfect balance between meat and seafood flavors in its broth. This satellite shop captures the essence of the original Ikaruga in Ichigaya while adding a slew of original menu items that add pizazz and a perfect finish. The concept of the new location is to create lasting memories for the crowds of people who pass through Tokyo Station.
Tokyo Ramen Street has a limited time only restaurant so customers can easily enjoy flavours that are well loved across the country in the convenient location of Tokyo Station.
This time I tried the limited period Ramen pop-up store called Hirokoya Kiboshi ひらこ屋 㐂ぼし. Because many couldn’t go to famous Ramen stores nationwide due to the pandemic, Tokyo Ramen Street brought famous stores from all over the country and hosted them for a limited time. The store will be replaced every 100 days.
The ramen is prepared with house-dried small sardines soup 煮干し. Various dried sardines, including Hirako sardines, are carefully selected by connoisseur from production areas in Ehime and Totori prefectures. Bamboo shoots メンマ are made of special bamboo shoots cooked slowly with dried sardines broth.
The most important thing in Hirakoya is “soup”. By using carefully selected 4 kinds of dried sardines and preparing them in 3 times, the signature soup stock is full of depth and multi-layeredness in the taste. Hirakoya’s synonym “Hirako sardine” is limited to Sakaiminato, Tottori Prefecture, and the amount of dried sardines used per cup of ramen soup is about 80 g or more.
The pork used is domestic pork, and specially for the Tokyo edition, the pork was from Hokkaido Meigaraton 北海道 銘柄豚. Each part of the pork is prepared in a different way to bring out their flavours.
In order to make use of the soup stock of dried sardines, the ramen is made with as little water as possible by using two types of wheaI. All noodles were still made in the main store and transported daily to this store. It has a finish that feels like a unique texture, sweetness and flavour.
This is a Tsugaru Joppari egg 津軽のたまごじょっぱり, which means “stubborn old man” in Tsugaru dialect. The chickens are fed astaxanthin, a red pigment found naturally in shrimp, krill, and even salmon. It’s an antioxidant, but it has the big benefit of giving the yolk that intense colour and deep flavour from soaking in the thick broth.
And finally, it was topped with dried mozuku seaweed, which gave the bowl of ramen another type of umami.
An absolutely fabulous bowl of ramen, I thoroughly enjoyed every bit of it. I would have added a bowl of rice (a traditional way of enjoying the remaining broth) but I was already full from the original portion.
I come to Tokyo Station and try a different ramen every time I am in Tokyo. Unlike the Yokohama Ramen Museum where the portions are tasting size and you can try more varieties, these ramen stores served the authentic, original experience that you would get at their honten. Highly recommended.
Visited Nov 2022