Whether you eat ramen to recover from a hangover or instant cup style to tie you over until payday, there’s no denying a warm bowl of noodle does the soul good.
Forty-five minutes south of Tokyo’s metropolis in Yokohama, the name of the game is “iekei” ramen—a combination of tonkotsu (pork bone) and soy sauce broth.
While the combo may not initially sound like it would be very good, the decadent mashup may damn well surprise you.
The hearty soup overflows with flavor, and many iekei shops offer heaps of unique toppings such as spinach, cabbage, and ground chicken balls in addition to the typical ramen pork slices.
Devour your way through Yokohama at these five shops to try iekei ramen that are soon to become cult-classics—you heard it here first.
All good things come to those who wait and at Yoshimura, it’s more than worth it. Widely considered as the birthplace of iekei ramen, you’ll see locals lined up here from the moment the shop opens its doors. At only ¥690 for a regular bowl, it’s a good option to fill your stomach without emptying your wallet.
Go for the ramen with the works, topped with spinach, seaweed, a soft boiled egg, green onions, and tender pork belly. Just press the 全部のせトッピングラーメン (ramen with all the toppings) button on the vending machine where you order. You can thank us later.
This shop is open 24 hours, making it a lifesaver after a night of heavy drinking. Their intense rich broth and thick pork slices will soak up all the booze floating around in your belly. If you’re feeling frisky, try their spicy ramen which has four levels of heat to burn your tastebuds.
Another shop where dedicated locals line up in cult-like fashion waiting to receive their blessing from the ramen messiah. If the heavy broth at other shops feels a bit too indulgent, Suzuki-ya’s soup may be better for you. The broth is much lighter but still packed with lots of flavor.
More of a ramen food court than a museum, here you can try ramen from all over Japan. Head straight to the bottom floor, which is modeled to look like a ramen alley from the 1950s, and pick your poison.
The post-war Showa-era advertising will transport you back to simpler times and give you that humble grandma and grandpa-owned shop feel. While the museum doesn’t specialize in iekei ramen, it’s an important stop on your Yokohama culinary pilgrimage.
How to order your iekei ramen
Many shops offer a variety of ways to customize your ramen. You can choose the amount of fat, firmness of the soup, and richness of the broth. When in doubt, ask for “futsu” everything, which means normal or regular in Japanese. It’s the best way to try iekei ramen the way it was intended.
Browse real-time ramen recommendations in Yokohama
Ready to slurp your way through Yokohama’s ramen-scape? Make use of the Yokohama West Gate Restaurant Guide to help you navigate your way from store to store.
This online map lists over 100 foreigner-friendly dining options in the area and recommends different options depending on what you want to eat and drink via a customized chatbot. This means that you can find a sweet dessert spot once you’ve had your oodles of noodles. In Japan dessert goes in a separate stomach, known as “betsu bara,” and you should always embrace the local customs!
The Yokohama West Gate Restaurant Guide is available in English, Cantonese and Mandarin, Korean, and Japanese. To access the map and concierge, you just need to scan the QR code, displayed just in front of Yokohama Station’s west exit.