If you’re in Asakusa over the Japanese holidays and you need a place that’s open for business, Ramen Yoroiya serves a very decent classic Tokyo shoyu ramen year-round. It’s a good place to have on your list when you’re in the area.
Special zaru ramen - cold ramen with toppings and hot broth alongside. - image © Florentyna Leow
Here’s a Japanese summer challenge: find a restaurant open during Obon around Asakusa without a 2-hour lunch queue. It’s tough. For one, barring fast food or chain restaurants and convenience stores, most restaurants shut down during the second week of August for the Obon holidays.
You need salty ramen broth to replace all the salt you’ve lost. - image © Florentyna Leow
The other problem is the fact that it’s a Japanese summer you’re facing, with daily temperatures around 34 - 38C. When it’s this hot out and you’re sweating buckets of water and salt and overheating quickly, you know you need something salty and filling and you need it *fast*.
Outside Ramen Yoroiya. - image © Florentyna Leow
Ramen is one obvious choice - specifically, Asakusa Ramen Yoroiya when you’re near the temple. Turnover at ramen restaurants is fast, so you won’t be kept waiting forever in the line. The average wait when it’s busy is probably around 20 minutes.
Information in English is available outside the shop. - image © Florentyna Leow
Yoroiya is accustomed to tourists, so English menus are available, and some of the staff members speak English.
Before you’re seated, you’ll order and pay for your meal. The staff will give you these ramen tickets. - image © Florentyna Leow
Yoroiya specializes in classic Tokyo-style shoyu ramen. This means a dark, moderately salty soy sauce-flavored broth - in this case, made with meat and fish - and curly noodles, with a ramen egg, slices of charshu pork, and simmered bamboo shoots. A bowl of hot ramen may not be your cup of tea (or bowl of noodles) in this heat, so you have your choice of seasonal cold specials, like hiyashi chuka (Chinese-style cold noodles with sesame sauce) or zaru ramen (cold ramen with hot broth alongside).
A close-up of the cold ramen. - image © Florentyna Leow
The special zaru ramen comes with all the usual toppings you find on the hot ramen, but on top of the cold noodles. Incidentally, the ‘zaru’ is a reference to ‘zaru soba,’ meaning that it should technically be served on a bamboo mat like cold buckwheat noodles. It’s not, but it’s not a big deal.
Yoroiya’s eggs are worth mentioning because they’re a little gimmicky but fun - much like the vicinity of Asakusa Temple. Every single egg they serve on their ramen, for whatever reason, manages to be double-yolked. This makes absolutely no difference to the taste - it’s a perfectly serviceable egg that’s not as gooey as I like - but definitely makes diners sit up and take notice.
Yoroiya’s pan-fried gyoza - image © Florentyna Leow
The gyoza are also worth ordering. These crispy pan-fried dumplings are filled with a mixture of minced chicken and glass noodles, giving it a lightness that pork gyoza doesn’t always have. They’re not exceptional, but they are large, juicy, meaty, and very moreish dipped in the sansho pepper-salt mix alongside. Yoroiya’s selling point here is that they contain no garlic, which I suspect appeals to Japanese diners more than it does to tourists.
Behind the counter at Yoroiya. - image © Florentyna Leow
Many people describe Yoroiya’s ramen as ‘traditional,’ which is a bit of a cop-out as a description. It’s certainly straightforward and simple in terms of flavour, without many complex layers or too much faffing with the toppings. But that doesn’t mean Yoroiya serves bad ramen. On the contrary, it’s a very decent bowl of ramen, especially for a shop in a touristy area like Asakusa.
Inside the ground floor of Yoroiya with counter-only seating. There is a second floor with more tables to accommodate larger groups. - image © Florentyna Leow
Don’t expect artisanal ramen here. For that, visit a place like Mugi to Olive in Ginza. But if you’re looking for a simple ramen joint that’s guaranteed to be open during Obon (and New Year’s!) when nothing else is, Yoroiya is the shop to hit up. It’s a good introduction to the idea of classic Tokyo shoyu ramen, and it’s perfect for filling up on a hot and humid day.
The two-story restaurant sandwiched between two modern, narrow buildings. - image © Florentyna Leow
Directions: From Exit 1 of Asakusa Station on the Ginza line, turn right and walk through the shopping arcade and onwards. When you see a parking lot on your left (it will be on the corner of a small intersection), turn left. Asakusa Ramen Yoroiya is a few doors down on your left.
Asakusa Ramen Yoroiya
Name in Japanese:
1 Chome-36-７ Asakusa, Taitō, Tokyo 111-0032
11:00am - 8:30pm. Open year-round.
Subway: 5-minute walk from Exit 1 of Asakusa Station on the Tokyo Metro Ginza Line. 7-minute walk from Exit A5 of Asakusa Station on the Tobu-Asakusa Line.
:: Read customer reviews of Asakusa Ramen Yoroiya on TripAdvisor
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