Every year thousands of tourists find their way to the busiest intersection in the world, the Shibuya crossing. What most visitors don’t know is that there is a popular ramen house just steps away. It’s called Ichiran Shibuya and they specialize in Tonkotsu Ramen.
Ichiran’s ramen houses have successfully spread throughout Japan, and the company recently opened its first U.S. location in New York. I’ve had the opportunity to eat at Ichiran’s Shibuya location in both 2012 and 2016. In both cases, I left wondering, “Why haven’t they opened a ramen shop in California!?!”
Ichiran has undoubtedly gained popularity from its great tasting ramen, but I also attribute Ichiran’s success to its individual eating experience. Besides the brief view of the top of your server’s head, you’re pretty much on your own. Don’t expect any sort of interaction here. From start to finish, it’s just you and your ramen.
How to order Ramen at Ichiran Shibuya
Upon entering, you’ll see a ticket machine. This machine is where you would order your meal. These devices are very common in Japan so don’t be afraid to use them. Even if the machine isn’t written in English, most have pictures to help you select what you want.
The first thing you have to do is insert the money. After that, you want to start from the top and work your way down. First, choose your bowl. Followed by selecting your sides and then any additional add-ons. Each time you press a button the vending machine will spit out a ticket for that item. Once you’ve made all your selections, you’ll see your total in Japanese Yen. Press the receipt button and then collect your tickets and change.
Steps to order from the machine
- Insert the money
- Select your Ramen
- Pick your toppings or side items
- Collect all your meal tickets
- Press the Receipt button
- Collect your change
Now just take your tickets and head to an open seat. To find a seat, look at the shop’s layout map. The map has red and green lights next to every seat. If a seat is occupied, the light will be red. Open spots will be flashing in green. Once you’ve found a spot, head over to it and settle in.
Customizing your Ramen
Once seated, the last thing left to do is fill out your ramen preference card. On this card, you will be able to customize your ramen to your liking. You can add on items like garlic, green onion, pork and red sauce. It’s also your choice in flavor strength, richness, and noodles firmness. When in doubt, just choose medium across the board.
I enjoy my ramen with a strong broth and firm noodles, but everyone is different. Once you have made your selections, press the call button and place everything near your screen door. A cook will roll up the screen and take your tickets and form.
Not long after they’ve taken your order, the screen will roll up, and your bowl of ramen will appear in front of you. The only thing you have to do now is to enjoy it. The ramen is quality Tonkotsu, full of body and flavor. Also, be sure to order an egg with your bowl. The eggs are fresh and cooked to perfection here.
- Sun : Open 24 hours
- Mon : Open 24 hours
- Tue : Open 24 hours
- Wed : Open 24 hours
- Thu : Open 24 hours
- Fri : Open 24 hours
- Sat: Open 24 hours
https://www.ichiran.co.jp/english/ (Currently not working)
- Ichiran Shibuya is open 24 hours.
- If you aren’t familiar with the Ichiran signage, the ramen house can easily be missed. The front of the store is down a narrow flight of stairs.
- If you are planning to order more noodles, save your broth. Extra noodles are meant to be dropped into your existing bowl. No extra broth will be given.
- Ichiran Shibuya usually has a line. Our wait was about 30 minutes around dinner time.
- It’s a quick meal. Expect ten to fifteen minutes of heaven.
That was helpful right? Hopefully, this information will save you from the confusion I experienced when I ordered ramen in Japan for the first time.