Takasaki Ramen! Takasaki is Gunma’s largest city, about an hour bullet train ride from Tokyo. It’s home to several impressive ramen shops. These are 5 that you have to visit.
1. Seijinken – Handmade, Handcut Noodles
Since 1953, Seijinken (手打ちラーメン 清仁軒) was a local ramen favorite. They unfortunately closed their doors in 2016. But someone that worked there kept the recipes and decided to reopen it! I’m so glad they did.
In Seijinken’s signature ramen, a lighter soy sauce carries a soup with delicious richness from boiled pork bones and chicken skin. The simple toppings are fantastic. But the handmade (teuchi) noodles are the clear star.
Thick, wavy, and high in water content, the noodles take 4 hours to prep. They’re perfect for slurping and are an important part of Takasaki ramen history.
2. Kuromatsu – Beauty in a Bowl
Ramen shop Kuromastu (自家製麺 くろ松) made a huge (but delicate) splash since opening in Takasaki in 2016. Pictured is their famous white soy sauce (shiro shoyu) seasoned ramen.
With its soft pastel colors and pristine presentation, it’s hard to picture a more beautiful ramen. A delicately flavored soup matches the look, with extremely subtle hints of fish (dried and flakes) and kelp.
Among toppings, the excellently tender meat (chicken and pork) and shiso herb-filled dumplings stand out. Also, Kuromatsu makes their noodles in-house. Of course they do.
3. Menya Joutaro – Gravy-Like
Menya Joutaro (麺屋 承太郎) goes in a heavier direction. While they do serve lighter ramen, its the heavier styles on their menu that get top billing. Below is their salt-seasoned, chicken-gravy like ramen.
It’s on the saltier side, with an oilier, fattier soup that will leave you full and satisfied. Raw onions and spring onions add pop and a pleasant contrast.
Lastly, enjoy the interior – there are manga (comic books) and anime figurines everywhere. Apparently the owner is a big fan of manga “JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure”.
4. Nakajima – an Upgraded Classic
The owner at Nakajima (支那そば なかじま) trained at one of my favorite Tokyo ramen shops, Kazuya. Both Nakajima and Kazuya are directly descended from Tokyo ramen shop Tantantei. Long story short, this means quality!
More specifically, their ramen broth is well-balanced, with a slight richness that playfully collides with niboshi (dried sardines). Think of this bowl has an upgraded classic.
To be clear, this is essentially what “Tantantei style” is all about (upgraded classic ramen). This is right down to the red colored pork chashu.
5. Chuukasoba Aoki Second – Modern and Fishy
This last shop, Chuukasoba Aoki Second, is more modern in its approach. They carefully season their main ramen with salt. This allows the crystal clear soup to set the stage for the central attraction – niboshi (dried sardines).
If you haven’t tried niboshi before, not to worry. This ramen soup also includes chicken. In other words, you don’t only get the slightly bitter niboshi flavors. Raw red onions also break up the bitterness.
Other great toppings include a tasty chicken meatball (tsukune) and a patch of dried seaweed (aonori). Also – “second” was tacked on to the end when they moved.
We hope you’ll get to try some of these amazing Takasaki ramen shops!