JAPAN EATS: 11 Must-Try Regional Ramen Varieties

One of the most famous dishes in Japan is ramen. This noodle dish has spread all over the world as many Japanese restaurants have opened in different countries with ramen as its main offering. Tourists in Japan look for ramen as part of their cultural immersion. It’s easy to find a hole-in-the-wall restaurant or a proper sit down one while exploring the streets of Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, Nagoya, Fukuoka and any town or city in the country.

Each region or city has its own personal touch to this beloved Japanese dish. Learn more about the country’s cultural heritage through its food. These are just some of Japan’s ramen varieties in terms of region or location.

Tokyo Ramen

Tokyo ramen was the gold standard of what ramen is for quite some time. Its simple but delicious combination of soup, noodles, chicken, and seafood will make foodies want more. The dashi soup will warm your body and soul during a cold day in autumn or winter. The signature dark tinge of this bowl of ramen gets its color from the shoyu (soy sauce) and chicken simmered with it.

Tsukemen Ramen

Tokyo is a haven for ramen lovers because of the many types you can find in the city; one of them is tsukemen. This distinguishes itself from the others because the soup and noodles are served separately. The “soup” here is more like sauce; the idea behind this ramen type is to dip the cold noodles into the “soup.” Some establishments serve dashi with this dish to dilute the sauce’s intense flavor.

Hakata Ramen

Fukuoka is famous for ramen — hakata tonkotsu. It is a must-eat while exploring the region. It has a distinctly milky white color and a delectable pork taste. The technique that gives this bowl its taste is the boiling of pork bones for several hours. The noodles used are hard and thin which makes them firm enough to last for the entire meal.

Kumamoto Ramen

Hakata ramen dominates the ramen scene in Kyushu. However, for those who want to taste a different type of ramen while in the region, get a bowl of Kumamoto ramen. The taste and texture are similar to typical tonkotsu, but the differences are that it has a milder taste and it contains fried garlic oil.

Asahikawa Ramen

This Hokkaido ramen is one of the bowls you’ll have in the country. This shoyu or soy ramen is simply delicious. Locals in Japan’s northern region made this dish with the brutal winters in mind (often below 0 degrees). The soup has an oil coating on top to keep the heat inside. Dip your spoon and get a spoonful of warmth.

Sapporo Ramen

Sapporo ramen is one of the most famous in the country because of its rich taste. It is made the way it is because of the freezing temperatures that Hokkaido experiences during winter. The miso soup, seafood, and butter give it its salty flavor while the spoonful of sweet corn balances it. Some have it with pork cut toppings. Make sure to try this dish during your visit to Sapporo.

Hakodate Ramen

It’s no surprise that Hokkaido has some of the best ramen in the country because of its cold weather. Hakodate ramen’s yumminess is muted; the clear salty soup and thin noodles are topped with onions, pork and bamboo shoots. Have a bowl during your trip around Japan’s northern island.

Onomichi Ramen

Try this delicious bowl of ramen in Hiroshima that has melted lard and flat noodles. The shoyu broth is hot, perfect for cold weather. You can find this ramen in restaurants in Hiroshima. Get a bowl to cap off your day visiting the city’s main attractions or after a short trip to Miyajima.

Wakayama Ramen (Chuka Soba)

Most foodies will make their way to Osaka to sample soba and other dishes. However, just south of Japan’s Kitchen is another city where you can try its own ramen. Wakayama is a small city that has its own brand of ramen. The Wakayama’s ramen uses thin noodles in a tonkotsu-shoyu broth, you can find this in restaurants all over the city. Some would say that it is one of the best bowls of noodles you’ll have, not just in the region but in the country!

Kitakata Ramen

This bowl of noodles is smooth with its soy soup, dried sardines, and pork. You can find this dish in the Fukushima region of the country. The noodles are thicker but just right and will satiate your hunger pangs. Its warmth and mix of ingredients will keep you wanting more.

Takayama Ramen

What sets this ramen type from the others is that it uses various ingredients such as veggies, chicken and bonito flakes as a flavoring for its broth. On the other hand, many types of ramen use tonkontsu or niboshi as flavoring for their broth. You can get this delicious bowl of ramen in Gifu Prefecture.

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