Higashi-Nakano area ramen! From Michelin recommended ramen with balsamic vinegar to refined classic ramen, here are 3 amazing shoyu (soy sauce) ramen shops in the area.
1. Koujitsu (好日)
We’re starting with a ramen restaurant that screams classic – the interior, exterior, and of course the ramen itself. While the shoyu ramen at Koujitsu (好日) is indeed classic, it also boasts some 21st century fine-tuning.
The light shoyu (from Chichibu) seasoning is paired with a 3 year matured honmirin from Gifu. It carries a soup that’s chiefly whole chickens (from Daisen), kelp, and dried fish (sardines, scallops, and shrimp).
This ramen is delicately and deliciously “wafu” (Japanese), with a subtly deep flavor. To round on this bowl, the fairly thick and square-shaped noodles have a wonderful bite to them.
Shop Hours: Tue – Fri: 11:30 am ~ 2:30 pm / 5:30 ~ 8:30 pm // Sat: 11:30 am ~ 2:30 pm (closed on Mon, Sun)
2. Mendokoro Kinari (メンドコロ キナリ)
Mendokoro Kinari (メンドコロ キナリ) goes in the opposite direction! Their modern shoyu ramen even has the attention of Michelin (it’s mentioned in their Bib Gourmand Guide). Just like the previous entry, their ramen has an overall gentle tasting soup.
The masterchef here has years of experience in French cuisine…and it shows. He blends 4 types of shoyu (soy sauce) together. 1 of them is a dark shoyu from Shimane prefecture. Furthermore, the broth includes touches of balsamic vinegar and sherry.
The noodles are quite thin. Among the toppings, the melt-in-your-mouth pork and chicken slices are ridiculously tasty. This ramen is an elegant meeting of East and West.
Shop Hours: 11:30 am ~ 2:30 pm / 6:00 pm ~ 9:00 pm (only closed on Wed)
3. Kashiwagi (かしわぎ)
Ramen shop Kashiwagi (かしわぎ) is completely different in its ramen approach. They take more inspiration from Chinese cuisine. This time around, the masterchef blends 3 types of shoyu. 1 of them is a Chinese tamari shoyu (more soy beans than wheat).
The result is a bold, salty, and slightly sweet seasoning. On top of this, they prepare two complex soups. One is a heavier pork and chicken soup. The other is a lighter soup where they’ve extracted flavors from minced chicken (a Chinese cooking technique).
All these ingredients come together to provide an explosion of layered flavors. As to toppings, the chashu pork are closer to Chinese style and carry an aromatic smokiness. Lastly, the space was a sushi restaurant before. The counters at Kashiwagi are therefore low – it makes for a fun experience!
Shop Hours: Sun, Mon: 11:30 am ~ 3 pm / Wed – Sat: 11:30 am ~ 3 pm / 6:00 pm ~ 9:00 pm (only closed on Tue)
Video on these shops below:
There you have it – 3 excellent Higashi-Nakano ramen restaurants that display the power of shoyu (soy sauce) in ramen!