Shibuya has many tourist spots and is one of the must-visit areas for Tokyo sightseeing. It's full of attractions such as the Shibuya Scramble Crossing, the Hachiko statue, and Shibuya Center Street, always crowded with people on weekends and weekdays alike.

Recently, it has become the setting for world-renowned anime works, gaining attention as a pilgrimage site. With many fashion buildings and cultural facilities, it attracts people day and night, and is also characterized by numerous restaurants, izakayas, bars, and cafes.

While there are various restaurants such as Japanese-style izakayas for tourists and scenic restaurants perfect for dates, ramen is particularly popular. Ramen, with its unique characteristics for each shop, is so popular that specialized guidebooks are sold and tours are organized. Let's introduce some popular ramen shops.

The Ramen Scene in Japan

Ramen, one of Japan's national dishes, is loved by people of all ages and genders worldwide. The origin of ramen is said to have started in the 1880s when a Chinese person served it in Yokohama.

Gradually, Japanese-run shops began serving it, and it quickly spread throughout the country. In the 1970s, the familiar cup noodles went on sale and became a huge hit.

Ramen comes in various soup flavors, with the most common being soy sauce, salt, miso, tonkotsu (pork bone), and chicken paitan. While tastes vary from person to person, tonkotsu is popular among those who prefer rich flavors. Particularly popular for tonkotsu soup is Ichiran, which originated in Fukuoka Prefecture and now has shops all over the country, captivating fans.

Features of Ichiran

100% Natural Tonkotsu Soup

Source: Official website

Ichiran is known for its 100% natural tonkotsu soup. Luxuriously made from 100% pork bones, the soup is characterized by its lack of peculiar odor and easy drinkability. Soup specialists use Ichiran's unique techniques to remove excess scum, successfully retaining only the umami of tonkotsu.

While it has the richness of tonkotsu, it doesn't leave a heavy aftertaste and can be drunk up easily even just the soup. It's rich in natural collagen, making it good for beauty and health, thus popular among women.

To maintain the taste and quality of the soup, concentration and temperature checks are conducted regularly. The finished soup is thoroughly checked for concentration, taste, and aroma using numerical values and the tongue of skilled artisans. If even one aspect fails, it's remade.

Counter Seats for Focusing on Taste

Source: Official website

The "Taste Concentration Counter" was created with the belief that "to discern true taste, you need an environment where you can focus on the flavor." Conceived by Ichiran's founder, these seats are partitioned on both sides, allowing you to face your ramen as if you were at home.

This system is highly rated by women who tend to be conscious of others' eyes, explaining why Ichiran has many female fans among ramen shops. Even those who usually feel shy about ordering extra noodles or toppings find it easy to do so here. At first, it may feel unusual, but you'll notice that you can directly sense the flavor and texture more than at other shops. It's recommended as it allows you to relax and savor the ramen without unnecessary information or preconceptions.

Customizable to Your Liking

Order Sheet
Source: Official website

While Ichiran only serves tonkotsu ramen, you can customize the richness and ingredients to order your original bowl. There's an order form where you can choose from 7 categories: flavor strength, richness, garlic, green onions, char siu, red secret sauce, and noodle firmness.

It's not difficult as you just circle the applicable items. With detailed options, first-timers are recommended to choose the "basic" option. Order forms are available in English, Korean, and Chinese, so overseas visitors can use them with ease. My recommended order is: strong flavor, extra rich, one clove of garlic, mixed green onions, with char siu, triple secret sauce, and extra firm noodles.

Ichiran's Menu

Natural Tonkotsu Ramen

Tonkotsu Ramen
Source: Official website

Extra noodles, essential for ramen, are also available. This service allows you to order additional noodles while leaving just the soup. There are two types of extra noodles: a full portion "Kaedama" and a half portion "Half Kaedama". The prices are 210 yen (tax included) for "Kaedama" and 150 yen (tax included) for "Half Kaedama".

Ordering extra noodles seems more cost-effective. To order extra noodles, you can either purchase a ticket from the vending machine in advance or place the extra noodle plate on top of the call button at your seat.

When the extra noodle plate is set on the button, a chime sounds, and the staff will bring your extra noodles. Many people who usually hesitate to order extra noodles find themselves doing so here, as the concentration counter makes them less conscious of others.

Abundant Toppings

You can add various toppings to your natural tonkotsu ramen as you like.

<Topping Menu>
- Half-boiled salted egg (140 yen)
- Extra char siu (4 slices) (260 yen)
- Extra green onions (130 yen)
- Wood ear mushrooms (130 yen)
- Extra garlic (2 cloves) (130 yen)
- Secret spicy sauce (130 yen)
- Oscaran's sourness (130 yen)
- Nori (2 sheets) (130 yen)

Wood ear mushrooms are popular. Their crunchy texture and light taste go perfectly with the rich tonkotsu soup. My recommendation is Oscaran's sourness, an Ichiran original vinegar based on black vinegar. It allows you to enjoy a flavor change in the tonkotsu soup, letting you enjoy the soup twice!

How to Order at Ichiran

Now that I've thoroughly introduced Ichiran's charm, let me explain how to actually order at the shop. When you enter the shop, you'll see a ticket vending machine. First, purchase your meal ticket.

The menu has pictures, so it's easy to purchase without confusion, even in English or Chinese. You can buy extra noodles at your seat too, so you don't have to buy them in advance if you want to judge based on your appetite.

After purchasing your ticket, check the seating chart yourself and find an empty seat. During busy times or at popular shops, staff may guide you.

Once seated, mark your preferences for each item on the order form. When you're done, press the call button and hand your meal ticket and order form to the staff to complete your order. Then, just wait for your ramen to be prepared.

There are Two Ichiran Shops in Shibuya

Shibuya Store

It's a 3-minute walk from Shibuya Station on JR and Tokyo Metro lines. After crossing the Shibuya Scramble Intersection, go along 109-2 towards Harajuku, and it's next to Marui JAM.

- Address: B1F, 1-22-7 Jinnan, Shibuya-ku
- Closed: Never
- Phone: 050-1808-2546
- Hours: 24 hours
- Official website:

Shibuya Spain-zaka Store

It's located on Shibuya Spain-zaka, a 5-minute walk from Shibuya Station (West Exit) on various lines.

- Address: B1F, 13-7 Udagawacho, Shibuya-ku
- Closed: Never
- Phone: 050-1808-2279
- Hours: 10:00-6:00
- Official website:

After Eating Ramen, an Izakaya Tour is Recommended

After eating ramen, a national dish of Japan, in Shibuya, how about a light drink on an izakaya-hopping tour? The Tokyo Shibuya Bar Hopping Night Tour allows you to visit 3 popular izakayas and pubs with a knowledgeable guide.

You can enjoy meat-focused dishes along with alcoholic drinks such as sake, Japanese whiskey, and beer. The chosen restaurants are local favorites not found in guidebooks. Enjoy Japanese food culture while walking through the bustling streets of Shibuya. You can choose between 18:00 and 19:00 start times, and the tour lasts 3 hours. It costs 15,500 yen per person, including meals, drinks, and photos.

For tour details, click here >> Shibuya Bar Hopping Night Tour in Tokyo