Home » Food » I tried Ichiran Ramen in Tokyo: Who Can Say No to their Rich, Creamy, and Spicy Broth?

I tried Ichiran Ramen in Tokyo: Who Can Say No to their Rich, Creamy, and Spicy Broth?

Is it worth the hype? I'll be the judge of that.
Ichiran Ramen_Staff bows after serving the ramen bowl

To most tourists, Ichiran Ramen is probably one of the top food to eat in their Tokyo bucket list because it’s been consistently hyped up in social media – and since I don’t want any fomo, of course I had to try it myself. 😉

I went to their Ueno Branch by chance as it’s very near Ueno Park and JR Ueno station where I was and it was around after lunch time (around 1:30PM) so I gave it a go.

Long queue at Ichiran Ramen Ueno
The queue when I went to Ichiran Ramen’s Ueno branch.

Although they had a good 10 to 15 people in the queue at the time, everything went quickly and everyone got seated efficiently as other customers finished their meal so I got attended to after just about 15 minutes of wait time.

Instant Ichiran Ramen products for sale
You can also check out their instant ramen products while waiting. 😉

Once inside the waitress first directed me to the vending machine which was very easy to figure out because each button had pictures so you pretty much already know which button to press and the machine had English as an option. I chose the basic Ichiran Ramen without the add-ons as I wanted to focus on the actual basic ramen bowl with the bright red dot that they’re very much known for.

Vending Machine at Ichiran Ramen
The vending machine at Ichiran Ramen. Sorry for the blurry photo as I was rushing and didn’t want to take too much time at the vending machine because there were other people waiting for their turn.

After printing the ticket I showed it to the waitress who then gave me a form to fill out to mark my preferences. The form asked the level of dashi (seasoning stock), richness, garlic, green onion, chashu (sliced pork), spiciness, and noodle texture. I basically went medium / normal on everything except the garlic which I maxxed out on since I love me some garlic and it won’t hurt to have another clove or two on my ramen. 🙂

After giving the form to the waitress she then directed to my seat which was on the far end of the row, giving me additional privacy and space to move in. She put the form on my table where the crew probably will get it.

The seats at Ichiran Ramen
The private, solo seats at Ichiran Ramen.

The interior was exactly as I had imagined it – wooden tables with hardwood privacy partitions, wooden screens for when they serve me my ramen, soft lighting, and solo swivel chairs all lined up and they had coat hangers at the back.

The small private dining area at Ichiran Ramen
I like how they designed their Ueno branch. It’s quiet, private, and cozy.

It wasn’t long when the crew open the wooden screen right in front of me and gently took my ” ramen preference form” and confirmed my preferences, then gently closed the privacy screen, then after shouting to the crew in the back what my order was. I got really excited this time as that was the moment I’ve been craving for – a nice, hot bowl or Ichiran Ramen and now they’re prepping it.

It was then my opportunity to look around my tiny but private table space and see what’s in the placards that were there and tinker with the tiny wooden planks and the features of my semi-private solo place.

Ichiran Ramen_Extra Item Order Sheets and message planks
Aside from a dedicated water tap just for me at my table where I can get some self-service water for myself, in my table there were also some extra item order sheets for when I need some more serving, and some funny wooden planks in both Japanese in English that I can simply show to the staff.

Time went by so fast as I explored my seat and after just a few quick minutes of waiting, it was the final moment – the ramen reveal.

True to the Japanese omotenashi spirit, the crew gently pulled up the wooden privacy screen and announced something in Japanese, gently presented me my ramen as if I was someone very important, then gave a low bow that lasted 2 seconds (yes, I counted it), gave an additional final bow, then stood straight up and gently pulled down the privacy curtain one final time.

Ichiran Ramen_Staff bows after serving the ramen bowl

I was like, dang, you wouldn’t get this kind of service in any other Japanese restaurant in Tokyo that I know of (please please let me know if there’s any other so I can try it) at this price point so this kind of solo ramen dining experience and service alone is worth the ¥980 that I paid for.

Of course I examined the iconic ramen bowl and its noodle and broth and took the mandatory photo-op, albeit very quickly so that I could already have my first sip of the broth while it’s still hot.

It was that first sip of the broth for me – it was rich, creamy, garlicky, and it was hot and spicy that it was sinus clearing and left me with a bit of a runny nose. The broth was just so tasty, I did eventually drink it all.

The ramen bowl at Ichiran Ramen
It’s just so iconic!

The not so exciting thing about it? Well, I had to say it – the chashu wasn’t as I wanted it. I wanted thicker, meaty chashu that just falls of as you pick it up with chopsticks, but instead I got thinly-sliced meat that didn’t have enough fattiness in it. It was tender alright and it tasted good, but I really wanted the full chashu that I got from other ramen shops. Maybe I’m just not a ramen expert so I know there’s a reason why they have thinly sliced meat on their ramen, or maybe it’s not worth complaining about since the entire ramen bowl cost only ¥980.

Since it was quiet although the place was packed (I only heard random heavy slurping which didn’t bother me at all since it meant the ramen’s good), I had a great time focusing on my ramen and enjoy every sip and slurp while chowing down on the chewy noodles and tender chashu.

Ichiran Ramen broth
The rich, creamy broth tho.

Ichiran Ramen rightfully has its place in the ramen scene and it’s indeed a great culinary experience when you’re visiting Japan. I understand what the hype is all about and would not hesitate to go back to try their other menu items.

Is it a must eat ramen when you’re in Japan? Probably not “must” eat, but it’s definitely worth a try. Don’t get me wrong – it’s really good and I enjoyed it so much I finished the entire bowl.

Emptied by ramen bowl at Ichiran Ramen
Ahhh! It was good while it lasted.

Just saying that with all the ramen out there in Japan (each prefecture having their own specialty), you just gotta try them all.

Go here for the experience? Definitely yes. Ichiran Ramen is Cheapnik approved and I highly recommend you try when you’re in Japan. 🙂

How to avoid the long lines at Ichiran Ramen

With the hype comes long lines, so expect to wait a bit to get a taste of that Ichiran Ramen. But to be honest, even if the line is long it really doesn’t take long for the line to move.

And thankfully, Ichiran Ramen is now everywhere in Tokyo especially in heavily touristed areas such as Shibuya, Harajuku, Shinjuku, Ueno and Asakusa so the customers get spread out among its many branches. *Just note that in Ichiran Ramen in Asakusa there are mostly normal table seating that’s for groups (few solo seats) so if you’re looking for that iconic semi-private, solo dining experience at Ichiran Ramen, it’s best to avoid their Asakusa branch.

Just to be sure though, try to go there after lunch or after dinner time as the queue tend to be shorter (or next to none) outside the main dining hours. In my experience at Ichiran Ramen Ueno (near Ueno Park and just beside JR Ueno station), there was a long queue when I went at 1:30PM. When I finished my ramen and went out of the store at around 2:30PM, there was virtually no line at all.

No queue at Ichiran Ramen Ueno
Go there outside the busy hours and you wouldn’t have to wait at all.

Also try to avoid very heavily visited areas such as the one near Shibuya crossing as there definitely will be lines even outside the busy hours. There are other places such as Harajuku/Omotosando area where there was no queue at all when I went.

Ichiran Ramen in Shibuya
Customers waiting in line in the afternoon from across Ichiran Ramen near Shibuya crossing.

Have any questions, or tips to share? Feel free to comment down below! 🙂

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Leave the first comment

Ichiran Ramen_Staff bows after serving the ramen bowl
Home » Food » I tried Ichiran Ramen in Tokyo: Who Can Say No to their Rich, Creamy, and Spicy Broth?

I tried Ichiran Ramen in Tokyo: Who Can Say No to their Rich, Creamy, and Spicy Broth?

Is it worth the hype? I'll be the judge of that.

To most tourists, Ichiran Ramen is probably one of the top food to eat in their Tokyo bucket list because it’s been consistently hyped up in social media – and since I don’t want any fomo, of course I had to try it myself. 😉

I went to their Ueno Branch by chance as it’s very near Ueno Park and JR Ueno station where I was and it was around after lunch time (around 1:30PM) so I gave it a go.

Long queue at Ichiran Ramen Ueno
The queue when I went to Ichiran Ramen’s Ueno branch.

Although they had a good 10 to 15 people in the queue at the time, everything went quickly and everyone got seated efficiently as other customers finished their meal so I got attended to after just about 15 minutes of wait time.

Instant Ichiran Ramen products for sale
You can also check out their instant ramen products while waiting. 😉

Once inside the waitress first directed me to the vending machine which was very easy to figure out because each button had pictures so you pretty much already know which button to press and the machine had English as an option. I chose the basic Ichiran Ramen without the add-ons as I wanted to focus on the actual basic ramen bowl with the bright red dot that they’re very much known for.

Vending Machine at Ichiran Ramen
The vending machine at Ichiran Ramen. Sorry for the blurry photo as I was rushing and didn’t want to take too much time at the vending machine because there were other people waiting for their turn.

After printing the ticket I showed it to the waitress who then gave me a form to fill out to mark my preferences. The form asked the level of dashi (seasoning stock), richness, garlic, green onion, chashu (sliced pork), spiciness, and noodle texture. I basically went medium / normal on everything except the garlic which I maxxed out on since I love me some garlic and it won’t hurt to have another clove or two on my ramen. 🙂

After giving the form to the waitress she then directed to my seat which was on the far end of the row, giving me additional privacy and space to move in. She put the form on my table where the crew probably will get it.

The seats at Ichiran Ramen
The private, solo seats at Ichiran Ramen.

The interior was exactly as I had imagined it – wooden tables with hardwood privacy partitions, wooden screens for when they serve me my ramen, soft lighting, and solo swivel chairs all lined up and they had coat hangers at the back.

The small private dining area at Ichiran Ramen
I like how they designed their Ueno branch. It’s quiet, private, and cozy.

It wasn’t long when the crew open the wooden screen right in front of me and gently took my ” ramen preference form” and confirmed my preferences, then gently closed the privacy screen, then after shouting to the crew in the back what my order was. I got really excited this time as that was the moment I’ve been craving for – a nice, hot bowl or Ichiran Ramen and now they’re prepping it.

It was then my opportunity to look around my tiny but private table space and see what’s in the placards that were there and tinker with the tiny wooden planks and the features of my semi-private solo place.

Ichiran Ramen_Extra Item Order Sheets and message planks
Aside from a dedicated water tap just for me at my table where I can get some self-service water for myself, in my table there were also some extra item order sheets for when I need some more serving, and some funny wooden planks in both Japanese in English that I can simply show to the staff.

Time went by so fast as I explored my seat and after just a few quick minutes of waiting, it was the final moment – the ramen reveal.

True to the Japanese omotenashi spirit, the crew gently pulled up the wooden privacy screen and announced something in Japanese, gently presented me my ramen as if I was someone very important, then gave a low bow that lasted 2 seconds (yes, I counted it), gave an additional final bow, then stood straight up and gently pulled down the privacy curtain one final time.

Ichiran Ramen_Staff bows after serving the ramen bowl

I was like, dang, you wouldn’t get this kind of service in any other Japanese restaurant in Tokyo that I know of (please please let me know if there’s any other so I can try it) at this price point so this kind of solo ramen dining experience and service alone is worth the ¥980 that I paid for.

Of course I examined the iconic ramen bowl and its noodle and broth and took the mandatory photo-op, albeit very quickly so that I could already have my first sip of the broth while it’s still hot.

It was that first sip of the broth for me – it was rich, creamy, garlicky, and it was hot and spicy that it was sinus clearing and left me with a bit of a runny nose. The broth was just so tasty, I did eventually drink it all.

The ramen bowl at Ichiran Ramen
It’s just so iconic!

The not so exciting thing about it? Well, I had to say it – the chashu wasn’t as I wanted it. I wanted thicker, meaty chashu that just falls of as you pick it up with chopsticks, but instead I got thinly-sliced meat that didn’t have enough fattiness in it. It was tender alright and it tasted good, but I really wanted the full chashu that I got from other ramen shops. Maybe I’m just not a ramen expert so I know there’s a reason why they have thinly sliced meat on their ramen, or maybe it’s not worth complaining about since the entire ramen bowl cost only ¥980.

Since it was quiet although the place was packed (I only heard random heavy slurping which didn’t bother me at all since it meant the ramen’s good), I had a great time focusing on my ramen and enjoy every sip and slurp while chowing down on the chewy noodles and tender chashu.

Ichiran Ramen broth
The rich, creamy broth tho.

Ichiran Ramen rightfully has its place in the ramen scene and it’s indeed a great culinary experience when you’re visiting Japan. I understand what the hype is all about and would not hesitate to go back to try their other menu items.

Is it a must eat ramen when you’re in Japan? Probably not “must” eat, but it’s definitely worth a try. Don’t get me wrong – it’s really good and I enjoyed it so much I finished the entire bowl.

Emptied by ramen bowl at Ichiran Ramen
Ahhh! It was good while it lasted.

Just saying that with all the ramen out there in Japan (each prefecture having their own specialty), you just gotta try them all.

Go here for the experience? Definitely yes. Ichiran Ramen is Cheapnik approved and I highly recommend you try when you’re in Japan. 🙂

How to avoid the long lines at Ichiran Ramen

With the hype comes long lines, so expect to wait a bit to get a taste of that Ichiran Ramen. But to be honest, even if the line is long it really doesn’t take long for the line to move.

And thankfully, Ichiran Ramen is now everywhere in Tokyo especially in heavily touristed areas such as Shibuya, Harajuku, Shinjuku, Ueno and Asakusa so the customers get spread out among its many branches. *Just note that in Ichiran Ramen in Asakusa there are mostly normal table seating that’s for groups (few solo seats) so if you’re looking for that iconic semi-private, solo dining experience at Ichiran Ramen, it’s best to avoid their Asakusa branch.

Just to be sure though, try to go there after lunch or after dinner time as the queue tend to be shorter (or next to none) outside the main dining hours. In my experience at Ichiran Ramen Ueno (near Ueno Park and just beside JR Ueno station), there was a long queue when I went at 1:30PM. When I finished my ramen and went out of the store at around 2:30PM, there was virtually no line at all.

No queue at Ichiran Ramen Ueno
Go there outside the busy hours and you wouldn’t have to wait at all.

Also try to avoid very heavily visited areas such as the one near Shibuya crossing as there definitely will be lines even outside the busy hours. There are other places such as Harajuku/Omotosando area where there was no queue at all when I went.

Ichiran Ramen in Shibuya
Customers waiting in line in the afternoon from across Ichiran Ramen near Shibuya crossing.

Have any questions, or tips to share? Feel free to comment down below! 🙂

Related Posts

Leave the first comment

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