We’re covering the best Tokyo shio ramen, or salt-seasoned ramen! Shio ramen is one of the hardest ramen styles to get right. From Michelin star ramen to ramen that almost tastes like sashimi, let’s dive in!
1. A Work at Art – Motenashi Kuroki (饗 くろ喜)
Near the electronics district of Akihabara, Motenashi Kuroki serves a shio ramen that’s a complex work of art. A bold 5 salt seasoning conducts a delicious soup that’s mainly chicken, duck, pork, vegetables, and kelp.
The toppings themselves are a sight to behold, with plentiful Kujo negi (spring onions) and modern touches like dried tomato. The owner has a background in French cuisine and this sensibility definitely shows up.
Shop Hours: Mon, Wed, Fri: 11 am ~ 2:30 pm // Tue, Thu, Sat: 11 am ~ 2:30 pm / 5:30 ~ 7:30 pm
2. Earthy-Flavored – Enya (えんや)
Enya is farther North, in Tokyo’s Kita City. Like the previous entry, their shio ramen has a punchy salt seasoning. But the chicken bone and niboshi (dried sardines) soup is more earthy in flavor.
This wonderful earthiness is compounded by a unique topping – light green-colored celtuce stems. In addition, Enya’s shio ramen is under-appreciated. For this reason, it doesn’t get as crowded as the other spots on this list!
Shop Hours: 11 am ~ 1:30 am (Every day)
3. Soft and Subtle – Shinka (進化)
In Shinka‘s shio ramen, the five salt flavoring is softer. It allows the chicken in the soup to really come out and play. But the soup isn’t just chickens – it’s also kelp and various fish elements, whether flying fish or mackerel.
Some ramenheads might put Shinka at the very top of a Tokyo shio ramen hit list. Located in Machida, southwest Tokyo, Shinka is a bit harder to get to…but it’s totally worth the trek.
Shop Hours: Mon – Sat: 11 am ~ 3 pm / 6 pm – 9 pm // Sun: 11 am ~ 5 pm
4. Sashimi-Like? – Gantetsu (ラーメン巌哲)
Gantetsu might just have the most unique shio ramen bowl here. In it, the soup is a blend of chicken bones AND dried maguro (tuna). The maguro gives it a sashimi-like freshness and vitality.
Toppings-wise, everything is top-notch of course. However, shining star of a topping the cube of maguro tuna. Soft on the inside and cooked slightly on the outside, it’s heaven when it melts in your mouth.
Shop Hours: 11:30 am ~ 2:30 pm / 6 pm ~ 9 pm (closed on Sun)
5. Michelin Star Ramen – Soba House (Soba House 金色不如帰)
Soba House Konjiki Hototogisu has the distinction of having a coveted Michelin star. Their ramen restaurant is close to the ever popular Shinjuku station. Naturally, their shio ramen is outstanding.
The salt seasoning carries a soup of clams and sea bream. But that’s not at all – there are little pools of black truffle oil, French porcini mushroom oil, and Inca berry jam. Each of these politely changes the soup’s flavor!
Shop Hours: 11 am ~ 3 pm / 6:30 pm ~ 9:30 pm (closed on Weekends)
6. Eighty Clams per bowl – Kohaku (宍道湖しじみ中華蕎麦 琥珀)
Just like at Shinka (entry 3), Kohaku employs a more delicate salt seasoning. This seasoning brings to life a beautiful 80 clam (per bowl) soup. They use brackish water shijimi clams, handpicked from Lake Shinjiko in Shimane.
Ramen authority “Ramen Walker” named Kohaku the best new 2020 ramen shop. But even before this distinction, Kohaku was big making waves. You can find them in South Tokyo (closest to Kamata station).
Shop Hours: Weekdays: 11:30 am ~ 2:30 pm / 6 pm ~ 9 pm (on Sat only ramen kits sold, closed on Sun)
7. Japanese-Styled – Daiki (らーめん天神下 大喜)
Tenjinshita Daiki does amazing shio ramen. The shio leans towards salty and the soup has a lovely chicken oiliness that clings to your lips. Furthermore, there are light fish flavors that make it taste very Japanese.
Another noticeable Japanese element is the chicken sorobo floating about in the soup. These are little bits of minced chicken, which provide the soup with even more meatiness and chicken richness.
Shop Hours: Mon, Tue, Thur, Fri: 11 am ~ 2:30 pm / 6 pm ~ 9 pm // Wed: 11 am ~ 2:30 pm // Sat: 11 am ~ 3 pm / 6 pm ~ 8:30 pm / Natl Holidays: 11 am ~ 3 pm (closed on Sun)
8. Sea-Inspired – Goryokaku (函館塩ラーメン 五稜郭)
Goryokaku is in Tokyo’s ramen-heavy Ogikubo neighborhood. Their shio ramen is inspired by Hakodate, a city known for shio ramen. The soup primarily uses kelp, dried scallops, and chicken (bones) from around Japan.
Maintaining a “sea” theme, the haystack-like green colored kelp is a fantastic topping. Another topping that stands out is the fluffy “fu” (wheat gluten), which is popular in Hakodate. Overall, this a light but tasty bowl!
Shop Hours: Wed-Fri: 11:30 am ~ 3 pm / 6 – 9 pm // Sat-Sun: 11:30 am – 7 pm (closed on Mon and Tue)
9. Silky Chicken Ramen – Menya Syo (麺屋 翔)
In Menya Syo‘s legendary shio ramen, they blend 4 types of shio (salt) from around the world, including Mongolia and France! This salty base commands deeply-flavored chicken soup.
Among the crunchier toppings like mizuna and menma (bamboo shoots) are wonderful chicken chashu and pork chashu slices. This is if you order all toppings! Menya Syo is conveniently close to Shinjuku station as well.
Shop Hours: 11 am ~ 3 pm / 6 pm ~ 10 pm (5 pm ~ 9 pm on Weekends, open every day)
10. Personal Favorite – Nijubun no Ichi (Ramen にじゅうぶんのいち)
Nijubun no Ichi is touted as one of the best for shio ramen in Tokyo. This is for good reason. The flavor in the seasoning and soup amusingly wavers being between punchy and soft. It’s almost like eating two ramen in one.
They use 3 types of seaweed salt, scallops, bonito, mackerel, horse mackerel, and other ingredients in the soup. But the chicken flavor here is most radiant and oh so delicious. Lastly, the duck slices are a particular treat!
Shop Hours: Tue, Wed, Fri: 11:30 am ~ 2:30 pm / 6:30 pm ~ 9 pm / Weekends: 11 am ~ 3 pm (closed on Mon, Thu, national holidays)
Bear in that mind that there an endless number of great Tokyo shio ramen shops! As per usual, I’ve removed any ramen shop I have a close relationship with or work with on any Tokyo Ramen Tour 🙂