For Kagoshima ramen, here are 5 must visit ramen shops in Kagoshima City. From rich and fatty tonkotsu ramen to modern miso ramen, they’ve got you covered!
#1 Noodle Laboratory Kintoun
Kintoun (ヌードル ラボラトリー 金斗雲 荒田本店 ) has held the top spot on Tabelog (Japan’s Yelp) since opening its red doors in 2012.
They have 4 ramen “clouds” to choose from – Yellow (Miso), White (Light), Black (Soy Sauce) and Red (Spicy).
Yellow is most popular and features a sweeter miso broth with plenty of cabbage and bean sprouts to soak it up. A contrasting crunch is bestowed by green negi and white onion toppings.
Delicious broiled chashu and softer, thick noodles round out this action-packed ramen.
Tontoro’s signature ramen looks heavier than it tastes. Their hearty tonkotsu shoyu broth includes Kagoshima pork, chicken, bonito fish, and a whole lot of fried garlic. Ground sesame also adds a milder, nutty flavor.
“Tontoro” literally refers to the cut of pork behind the head and in between the shoulders. This cut is what they famously use for their in-house fatty pork chashu.
As the chashu melts in your mouth, you’ll be thankful you visited Tontoro (鹿児島ラーメン豚とろ 天文館本店). Bonus – they’re open until 3:30 am every day.
#3 Nori Ichi
Nori Ichi (のり一) is the grandfather of Kagoshima ramen. Operating since 1949, their ramen starts at at a lovely ¥400. They can’t be beaten on price…or nostalgia.
Their ramen broth is light and salty and both chicken and pork bones. While you’re waiting for it, you’ll get pickled radish and tea. This is not unusual among classic ramen shops in this part of the country.
The noodles in the ramen are medium-thick and thoroughly absorb the broth. Little bean sprouts add texture and fried onions add some punch.
#4 Zabon Ramen
Kagoshima ramen truly varies from shop to shop. But Zabon’s ramen is more of that pork bone goodness associated with Kyushu.
Their ramen is a creamier tonkotsu blended with shoyu. There’s a good deal of vegetable toppings and a sweet smoky flavor comes from caramelized fried onions.
Zabon has over 70 years of history in Kagoshima. They have several shops, including one conveniently located at Kagoshima Chuo Station (ざぼんラーメン 鹿児島中央駅店).
Last but not least, this is yet another Kagoshima ramen shop with an impressive history. Komurasaki (こむらさき) has been around since 1950. At first sip, their Kurobuta (special local pork) and chicken bone broth is sweet and salty. But a buttery flavor hits you a few seconds later.
As you tackle the mountain of cabbage and Kagoshima black pork, you’ll find a stronger meaty flavor towards the bottom. Shiitake mushrooms slices are also a unique addition in the toppings department.
Their noodles contain no kansui (alkaline water) and are softer and almost like soumen. All in all, Komurasaki serves a historic bowl you don’t want to miss.
Kagoshima ramen indeed punches above its weight! If you’re in Kagoshima, make sure to visit these 5 fantastic shops.