Ichiran in Shibuya is the quintessential solo ramen dining experience. And if you like personalized tonkotsu ramen, this is the place for you.
Ichiran - image © Florentyna Leow
One of the most popular styles of ramen outside of Japan is tonkotsu, where pork bones are simmered for hours until they break down into a creamy, fatty broth. Ichiran is one of the most well-known chains specializing in tonkotsu ramen, having exported their ramen and unique dining style to cities abroad, such as New York, Taipei, and Hong Kong. But there’s no beating the experience of eating Ichiran in Japan. There’s no need to go all the way to its birth city of Fukuoka - just pop down to the Shibuya branch of Ichiran.
Provided you want to eat tonkotsu ramen, Ichiran’s basic tonkotsu ramen with red pepper sauce can be personalized in numerous ways. You can add all manner of toppings - seaweed, pickled vegetables, a marinated egg, more red pepper sauce, extra spring onions and garlic. (We highly recommend the latter.) You can order an extra portion of noodles (this is called ‘kaedama’) either at the vending machine or at your seat. Most importantly, you can specify the firmness of your noodles. Tonkotsu lovers tend to order ‘bari katai,’ which is Hakata slang for ‘extra firm.’ What’s great about Ichiran is that the final bowl is entirely personal to you - no two bowls will taste exactly the same.
There are few places like Ichiran when it comes to dining. You eat your ramen in a booth, alone. You queue up and buy a ticket at the vending machine near the entrance. Fill out a questionnaire on exactly how you’d like to customize your ramen, while you wait for a booth to open up. Turnover here is fast so you’ll rarely wait more than 10 - 15 minutes for a seat. Find an empty booth. They’ll slide your ramen through a window in front of you and shut the blinds after. Slurp in silence, and exit when finished. It’s an iconic experience that shouldn’t be missed.
B1F Iwamoto bldg., 1-22-7 Jinnan, Sibuya-ku, Tokyo, 150-0041
〒150-0041 東京都渋谷区神南1-22-7 岩本ビルB1F
Train: 3-minute walk from Hachiko exit of Shibuya Station.
Official website (English)
:: Read customer reviews of Ichiran on TripAdvisor.
Where Are These Places Located?See these places on the Truly Tokyo Google map:
- Open the Tokyo map
- You will see the list of places on the left hand side. (Click the 3-line icon in the top left corner if not). Scroll down or use the map search (the magnifying glass icon) to find the place you want.
- Click the name of the place in the list. Its location pin will be highlighted on the map.
- Map pins are color coded - BLUE: Hotels / Ryokan / Guesthouses | VIOLET: Ryokan | PINK: Places to Eat | GREEN: Shops | YELLOW: Things to See and Do
- If you're using the map on your phone, open the map and then search for the name of the place. The map will then zoom in on its location.
Tokyo Vacation Checklist
- For all the essentials in a brief overview, see my First Time In Tokyo guide
- Check Tokyo accommodation availability and pricing on Booking.com - usually you can reserve a room with no upfront payment. Pay when you check out. Free cancellations too.
- Need tips on where to stay? See my one page guide Where To Stay In Tokyo
- You can buy a Japan SIM card online with Klook for collection on arrival at Tokyo Narita or Haneda airports. Or rent an unlimited data pocket wifi router.
- See my comprehensive Packing List For Japan
- Compare airline flight prices and timings for the best Japan flight deals.
- If you're visiting more than one city, save a ton of money with a Japan Rail Pass - here's why it's worth it
- It's essential you have travel insurance for Tokyo - we recommend World Nomads