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Prettiest Ramen in Japan? - Jikitan Momiji in Saitama

Is this the prettiest ramen in Japan? It might be. Jikitan Momiji also serves one of the tastiest bowls of tsukemen out there.

Prettiest Ramen in Japan?
Maple-shaped (Momiji) Kelp in the middle of the noodles

Background on Jikitan Momiji

Ramen shop Jikitan Momiji (食煅 もみじ) is nestled between rice fields in the little town of Kuki, Saitama (North of Tokyo). It's an hour to an hour and a half from Tokyo, depending on where you're coming from.

Outside Jikitan Momiji

It happens to be one of the top ranked ramen shop shops in all of Japan.

They open in-person reservations every morning from 10 am. In other words, you can put your name on their list after 10 am and then return after 11 am to eat.

Ramen shop used to be a soba shop
Soba Shop Remnants

On the day I went, I wrote down my name right at 10 am and was part of the first group to be seated at 11 am. First come, first served - going early definitely makes a difference. Do note that they close at 3 pm.

Additionally, the restaurant space used to be a soba shop. It's nice to see some noodle continuity!

Japan's Prettiest Ramen?

There's no doubt that Momiji serves pretty bowls. You almost don't want to eat their ramen, for fear of spoiling the art. Momiji has regular ramen on the menu (which we dive into later). But their top seller is actually a tsukemen (dipping ramen).

Tsukemen Drone View
Tsukesoba (Tsukemen) with All Toppings

The thin, slippery noodles contain 5 types of wheat flour. Furthermore, they elegantly rest in a bed of seaweed dashi (soup).

You're first meant to eat just a little bit of the noodles. Their flavor is just as delicate as the presentation would suggest. After this, it's time to dip these noodles into the soup.

Ramen Noodle Closeup
One of the prettiest folds in the business

The dark-colored soup is a concentrated blend of chicken, pork, and fish (including clams). Rich chicken flavors are particularly noticeable. But the shoyu (soy sauce) seasoning leads the way. It hits you with saltiness, sourness, and a little bit of sweetness at the same time.

Noodle Pullup

The sweetness also comes from the negi (spring onions) floating about in the soup.

As one would expect from a deconstructed ramen, there's a separate plate of toppings.

Prettiest Tsukemen (Dipping Ramen) in Japan?

This plate has komatsuna (Japanese spinach) and several cuts of pork, including smoked pork belly and kakuni pork. There's even a little mound of yuzu citrus to change up the flavors in the soup.

The tsukemen (or tsukesoba, as they call it) is outstanding. The flavors more than match the beautiful presentation.

A Ramen Sidekick

If you're wanting something soupier, order the ramen. It'll be quite similar to the tsukemen, but with a less concentrated soup. The maple-shaped piece of kelp is still there in the middle, as are the delicious cuts of pork.

Shoyu Ramen

One highlight of this ramen (vs the tsukemen) is that all the toppings remain warm since they're in the soup itself. Like pork blankets that have been spread out for a picnic, they take up a bigger portion of the bowl.

View of their Shoyu Ramen from above
Owner trained at Tokyo ramen group Menya Musashi

This is an equally fantastic dish. But I give the tsukemen a slight edge.

Closing Remarks

Staying true to the momiji (maple) theme, there are several maple trees outside by the entrance. This garden is a relaxing place to wait if you're not seated immediately and there are many others in front of you on the list.

Momiji (Maple) Tree Outside

There's not a whole lot around Jikitan Momiji. But there is a 7-Eleven if you're looking to kill some time.

The surroundings are farm fields

In summary, Jikitan Momiji delivers the ramen goods. The serve one of the prettiest ramen in Japan. But it also happens to be one of the tastiest.


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