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Premium Instant Ramen Noodles on Convenience Store Shelves in Japan

Not able to travel within Japan now? No problem! These delicious, premium instant noodles are from famous ramen restaurants.

By 5 min read

Bursting with flavor, these five premium Japanese instant ramen are the best in the market now. I say this as someone that’s literally sampled hundreds of different instant ramen up to now. These five are instant ramen from Japan’s ramen powerhouses. While there’s nothing like enjoying an actual ramen restaurant, it’s crazy how close these bowls are to the real thing.

We’re talking “premium” instant ramen, which means better quality soup, noodles (not flash-fried) and toppings. There’s also a little more assembly required to get everything as close to the ramen restaurant as possible! In other words, these instant ramen bowls are several grades above the packet or cup-shaped variety!

They’re all available at the big convenience stores in Japan. They’re deliciously diverse, from authentic Sapporo miso ramen to spicy tantanmen (Szechuan noodles with sesame paste and chili oil) from a Tokyo ramen restaurant with a Michelin star.

1. Yukikaze garlic-powered miso ramen

One of the top ramens, but now at home.

Located in snowy Sapporo, ramen restaurant Yukikaze is consistently ranked among Japan’s top miso ramen restaurants. Since 2019, they’ve been on the Tabelog Top 100 Ramen list for East Japan (Japanese).

Their official instant ramen sold at Lawson doesn’t disappoint. Much like what they serve in Sapporo, the soup is thick, rich and smooth tasting. Alongside a pleasant miso flavor, there’s also a strong undercurrent of garlic. As a result, the soup is the clear winner. But the toppings are no slouch either. They include a big slab of pork and a lot of green and white spring onions. Overall, it’s a hearty bowl, complete with super thick, filling noodles.

2. Nakiryu spicy tantanmen

Will you fancy one of the fanciest ramens?

Nakiryu is one of only three Tokyo ramen restaurants to boast a Michelin star. Furthermore, they’re the only one from the three to have their own instant ramen. So what’s instant ramen from a Michelin star ramen restaurant like?

It’s fantastic. The soup has deep layers of flavor. There’s a warmth from chicken bones intermingling with chili oil spiciness and a milder nuttiness from sesame paste. In addition, there’s a little bit of sourness via apple vinegar. In summary, a lot is going on with the soup. But it’s all well balanced. This one features thin noodles. Instead of chashu (braised pork) slices, it showcases minced pork (most common in Chinese tantanmen).

3. Yoshimura-ya tonkotsu shoyu ramen

An extra punch of Yokohama style ramen.

Yoshimura-ya is one of Japan’s most celebrated ramen restaurants. In the 1970s, they invented what’s known as “Yokohama style” ramen, a robust, creamy, tangy soup made from shoyu (soy sauce) and tonkotsu (pork bones). The noodles are typically extra thick.

They try to pack all that flavor inside their instant ramen—and mostly succeed. It even includes chicken oil, which gives the soup extra punch. Other trademarks of this Yokohama-style ramen are there, too, such as seaweed, spinach, and fat noodles to mop up the nourishing soup. The pork chashu, in particular, stands out. It’s one of the finest I’ve enjoyed in instant ramen.

4. Tenka Ippin ‘rich chicken’ ramen

A real heavy hitter.

Kyoto-based Tenka Ippin has become one of Japan’s largest and most famous ramen chains— known for having some of Japan’s most passionate ramen fans. They serve assari (light) and kotteri (heavy) chicken ramen, but the decadent kotteri soup is overwhelmingly the most popular choice. So naturally, their instant ramen is based on the heavier option.

Brimming with a robust chicken flavor, it’s pretty crazy how close the instant ramen soup is to the soup you can get in an actual Tenka Ippin. However, the instant version is sweeter, with green and white spring onions contributing to this sweetness. Bite-sized pieces of pork and crunchy bamboo shoots round out the toppings. The noodles are thin but not quite as thin as in Nakiryu’s tantanmen.

5. Santouka silky tonkotsu ramen

Silky tokotsu soup is heavy but delicious.

Santouka is headquartered in Asahikawa, Hokkaido. When they started in the 1980s, they were one of the first ramen groups to go aboard. They now boast more branches outside of Japan (41) than in Japan (13). While their fame has recently faded in Japan, they’re still a historically important ramen group.

They’ve created one of the best instant ramen ever. Santouka’s salt seasoned, silky tokotsu soup is supremely addictive and properly replicated in their instant ramen. It even includes their signature ume plum topping. This provides a fun, sour jolt against the otherwise rich soup.

Honorable Mentions

Below are two equally tasty, honorable mentions. Like Nakiryu’s Spicy Tantanmen, they’re part of 7-Eleven Japan’s “Premium” lineup.

Sumire ‘lardy’ miso ramen

A favorite for spicy lovers.

This instant ramen from Sapporo-based group Sumire has been one of 7-Eleven’s best sellers over the years. The soup features a thick layer of pork lard—this is just like you’ll find at any of Sumire’s miso ramen restaurants. This pork lark is as functional as it is tasty. Sapporo winters are notoriously harsh. The pork lard traps the heat, keeping your instant ramen hot from start to finish! The thick Sapporo miso ramen noodles in this one are a real treat too.

Tsuta truffle shoyu ramen

How about some truffles in your ramen?

This instant shoyu ramen has a truffle and porcini mushroom oil! If there were a title for “most luxurious instant ramen,” Tsuta would probably get it. Tsuta was the first Tokyo ramen restaurant to receive a Michelin star.

Although they no longer have a star, they still play an essential role in Japan’s ramen world. Tsuta’s official instant ramen reflects their modern, boundary-pushing approach. Also, who can say no to truffle oil?

There you have it – the best instant ramen in Japan available at convenience stores! Have you tried any of these? Or even visited the ramen shops they’re from? Let us know!   

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