Ogikubo ramen! Ogikubo might just be Tokyo’s most important ramen neighborhood. It’s literally overflowing with delicious ramen.
But I’ve properly sifted through this rushing ramen river – below are my top 10 picks.
1. Harukiya – Since 1947
We have to begin the list with a legendary ramen shop. Going strong since 1947, Harukiya (春木屋) more than fits the bill. In fact, it’s one of the few Tokyo ramen shops that I visit at least once a year (I’m always visiting new places).
Haruikya has updated their recipe hundreds of times. Their shoyu (soy sauce) is as relevant today as it was in 1947. It’s a colorful tapestry of flavors – niboshi (fish), chicken and pork bones. It’s simple but amazing.
2. Goryokaku – Light but Lively
These guys do proper Hakodate style ramen. Hakodate is Hokkaido’s third largest city. The city loves its shio, or salt-seasoned ramen. Goryokaku (函館塩ラーメン 五稜郭) does a wonderful job of replicating what you get there.
You have a broth that’s punchy from elements like chicken and fish. But it’s also delicate from elements like kelp. Lastly, it includes toppings you won’t find in other ramen – Kagome kelp (middle) and fluffy wheat gluten (right)!
3. Hook – Rich Miso Ramen
Hook (味噌っ子ふっく) specializes in thick and rich miso ramen. The soup is gentle tasting. But a bright miso flavor regularly surfaces. They use two types of miso – Shinshu (white) and Sendai (red).
Pictured is the spicy miso ramen. The river of sweet chili oil lights up the soup. Enjoy the stir-fried, smoky bean sprouts and broiled pork. The thick, straight noodles are a delight too.
4. Marucho – Historical Dipping Rmaen
We’re going back in time for this one too. Marucho (丸長中華そば店) is one of the most historical, influential ramen shops in all of Tokyo – not just Ogikubo! They serve both ramen and tsukemen (dipping ramen). Try their tsukemen.
Seasoned with soy sauce, it’s on the lighter side. But it’s packed with flavor – sweet, salty, and sour all at once. It even has a peppery kick. Much like older style tsukemen, the noodles are fat, round, and slippery.
5. Nanairo – Like Holiday Gravy
Naniro’s (らーめん なないろ) shoyu (soy sauce) ramen soup is like a thick and oily holiday gravy. This meaty soup is made up of chicken and pork knuckles. Furthermore, it’s held up by a bold and salty soy sauce.
Big, thick noodles match the thick, intense broth. The owner makes them himself. Among toppings, the flavored white negi (spring onions) stand out most. They’re hard to miss – you’ll have a bit of them with every bite!
6. Neiroya – Michelin Recommended
The Michelin Guide includes Neiroya (ねいろ屋) in its ramen section. The relaxing, cozy interior I’m sure helps. The owner here actually used to be a musician. You’ll find records and music memorabilia hanging on the walls.
Among ramen choices, the shoyu is a popular choice. We are in shoyu ramen territory after all (Ogikubo). But feel free to try their miso ramen, which is gentler than entry no. 3. It’s also infused with ginger from Kouchi prefecture.
7. Uchoku – Top-Ranked Tsukemen
Out of all the ramen entries, expect the longest wait here! Uchoku (迂直) has been rocking the Tokyo ramen world with their delicately modern tsukemen (dipping ramen). The noodles themselves sit in a complex dashi (stock).
This dashi includes kelp, chicken and different fish. They even use RO (reverse osmosis) water! The dipping soup on the left includes 6 types of soy sauce. Left and right come together majestically when the dipping takes place.
8. Kosaimen Inosho – Calorie-Topping Ramen
Kosaimen Inosho (濃菜麺 井の庄荻窪店) serves the heaviest ramen bowl on this list. The thick, creamy rich pork bone soup hits hard. But it’s also smooth-tasting and the crunchy veggies make you feel healthy for a second.
The soft chicken and pork chashu almost melt into the stew-like soup, making it even richer. Finally, thick and straight noodles more than adequately mop it all up.
9. Juhachiban – Clear and Garlicky
Juhachiban (手もみラーメン 十八番) is another classic Ogikubo ramen restaurant, open since 1966. They have a unique way of greeting customers…a long, drawn out “Haiyooo”. Their top selling ramen has a transparent soup.
It’s mostly pork bones boiled for 4-5 hours. It’s on the oilier side, but is delicious and with strong garlic notes. The soy sauce seasoning is there, but is more in the background. Enjoy the HUGE chunks of negi (spring onions)!
10. Bingiri – Lava Hot
Bingiri (担々麺 ビンギリ) is only open for lunch. They specialize in Katsu-ura Tantanmen. This spicy ramen style hails from the fishing town of Katsu-ura. Bingiri’s version more than does it justice…the owner is from Katsu-ura.
There’s a whole lot of raiyu chili oil, along with sansho numbing pepper. But you still get traces of soy sauce. This one is especially filling because of an endless amount of fried onions and minced pork. Do visit hungry!
There you have it - the best of Ogikubo ramen!