Types of Japanese Ramen: Find Your Favorite


Hi there, it’s Mr. Wada on duty. Once in a while I really crave for noodles such as ramen. Do you like ramen? Yeah, I do. In fact, I used to have ramen very often on the way home from high school.

What is Japanese Ramen like?

Ramen has been one of the most popular Japanese foods (I’m not talking about origins here). Many people are addicted to it and always looking for better ones. Since it has been so much competitive, you may see ramen restaurants on every corner in big cities like Tokyo.

What are the Differences?

When it comes to having ramen, you realize there are different ramen, but you aren’t sure what the differences are. Let’s take a look and hopefully this would be the first step for you to discover your favorite ramen!

Types of Japanese Ramen Soups

Basically there are four types of soups.

Shoyu (Soy Sauce)

It has its origin in Tokyo and from since then it has become standard of ramen. It’s available anywhere in Japan. As it tastes very simple, having shoyu ramen would be the easiest way to tell if a store serves good ramen.


That’s standard!


Hokkaido Ramen represents Miso Ramen. It’s miso-based soup…I suppose I don’t need to explain what miso is right? It’s rather rare to see it lately. It tastes mild and sorta light, easy in other words.


Miso isn’t only for Miso soup!

Shio (Salt)

Hokkaido is also known for Shio Ramen, plus as rare as Miso Ramen compared to Shoyu and Tonkotsu Ramen. Though there are some restaurants that only serve Shio Ramen. Light and easy soup.


(Photo credit: stu_spivack)

Tonkotsu (Pork)

It seems to be the most popular ramen in Japan. Its rich pork broth gives it great flavor. Hakata (Fukuoka Prefecture) ramen represents Tonkotsu Ramen. However, we see it anywhere in Japan today. I personally prefer this Tonkotsu Ramen to others.


Looks yummy!


This is my favorite Bari Ramen in Okayama city.

Extra: Jiro-kei (Jiro-style)

Ramen Jiro is one of the most popular ramen resutaurants in Tokyo where it serves a new type of ramen (that’s what people say). It comes with tons of veggies, garlic, super rich soup (Tonkotsu-based, I think), and thick noodles. Many people (especially men) are addicted to it. After Ramen Jiro, any ramen alike is called Jiro-Kei (Jiro family/style), and fans of Ramen Jiro are called Jirolian(s). I’ve tried it but failed (couldn’t finish). Damn, I’m disqualified to be a Jirolian!


(Photo credit: KID the Euforia)



There are even more new types of ramen. Tsukemen (Dipping Ramen) has been next-classic already. Perhaps you might want to try this out also.


It’s all yummy, though it’s evil for having it in the middle of the night…but no worries, there is always a way out by Mrs. Wada’s method.


Find your favorite Ramen and please share with me! Hmmm, now I’m craving for some noodles. See you around!


(Photo credit: M Murakami)

You may also be interested in these.
Guide to Sushi Restaurant in Japan
A Guide To Self-Service Udon Restaurant

A Quick Guide To Japanese Fast Food

Hola, it’s Mr. Wada on duty. Got no time for lunch? Or you are craving but in a budget? Both applies to me! (crap) Here’s a list of reasonable Japanese restaurants. You could say Japanese fast food!

As usual, rating is all based on my own point of view.

1. Gyu-don

Gyu-don has always been the most popular Japanese fast food.

Gyudon (Wikipedia)

“Gyu” means beef and “don” means rice bowl. Yoshinoya, Sukiya, Matsuya are the biggest chains. fastfood_01

(Photo credit: Hajime NAKANO)

Mostly sizes come by Shou (small), Nami (regular/medium), Ohmori (large). Even “Mega mori” (needless to explain right?) is available at Sukiya. A regular size Gyu-don mostly costs 270-300 yen. Quite cheap, isn’t it?

Tip: If you’d like to have extra soup in your Gyu-don, add “Tsuyu-daku” to your order.
Example, “Gyu-don Nami, Tsuyu-daku” for medium Gyu-don with a lot of soup. I’d prefer regular though.

These places used to be more for guys but their efforts (marketing) of such a long-time has resulted more female customers today. Time has changed.

Matsuya serves breakfast from 200 yen and other places also serve similar. For me it’s the place to go in the morning while traveling. I can’t recall if I’ve experienced a long line-up for Gyu-don. It’s normally quick and cheap!

Breakfast at Matsuya


2. Katsu-don

By the way, “YA” means store, so many store names (even other than restaurants) come with “YA” at the end. If you have heard of Tonkatsu (Ton=pork, Katsu=cutlet), there is a well-known place called Katuya that serves Tonkatsu on rice (Katsu-don) from 500 yen. If you aren’t in a budget, you should try “Hire”?(fillet) Katsu-don, a higher grade of Tonkatsu. It’s way more tender and yummier.


This place always gives away coupons for 100 yen discount for a NEXT TIME. Note: The coupon expires in a month! How evil! (I usually miss it) Katsuya often gets busy. Perhaps not the best place for very last minute lunch time.



3. Udon

Udon could be the quickest. I just picked this bowl of Udon noodles at the counter, paid, then threw it into a hot water myself, strained and poured Udon soup (again myself). It’s sorta DIY (we call it “Self Udon”). I may tell you how it is like another time.


4. Ramen

I suppose I don’t need to explain what this is. In average, it costs like 600-700 yen though some places serve cheap ramen from 400-500 yen. It quite depends. It’s definitely one of the foods you should try in Japan. The more popular the ramen place is, the busier. It’s hard to say. We wanna good stuff but don’t wanna line-up. Yeah, dilemma.

Japanese Fast Food: Ramen


Other options (not Japanese but reasonable)

Family restaurants as I mentioned in another entry. “Fami-res” offers great deals as well. Lunch is especially cheap. One I know of (because there’s one near work) serves “Today’s Lunch” deal for about 400 yen (main dish and bread/rice). Again, I wouldn’t say it’s super great but it’s always been helpful for emergency.

Convenience Stores

You may think convenience stores might cost you lesser than at any restaurants, but like a Japanese quote says “Many a little makes a mickle”, grabbing a bunch of cheap stuff at convenience stores would end up cost you as much as it would at restaurants. It’s tricky.

Enjoy your meal

Lemme know how you find them. They are always waiting for busy bees who have only a minute for a meal! Opps, Running out of time. I’ve got to go grab something….See you around!

Related links


Guide to Sushi Restaurant in Japan

5 Great Japanese Convenience Store Services