Kyushu-style Ramen: In the Heart of Tokyo

by on August 28, 2009

tonkotsu kyushu ramen

We were thrilled to be in the land of ramen, where it’s nearly impossible to find a bad bowl of noodles.  However, even amongst the all the subtle, delicious variations of ramen that Japan has to offer, there are some styles that stand out above the rest.  Kyushu Ramen is one of them.

While exploring Tokyo, we had the great pleasure of meeting up with Chika from She Who Eats, and she was kind enough to offer her favorite food finds while we were in her hometown. She not only has a gorgeous blog in English, but she doubles her blogging panache by having a second site in Japanese as well. Chicka definitely knows her food ways around Tokyo and we were lucky enough to have her offer her time to show us around.

After an awesome walking tour of Shibuya and Harajuku, Chika took us to one of her favorite ramen shops that specialized in Kyushu style ramen, which, in one of Japan’s top ramen styles and this noodle slurping goodness is all about the rich pork broth and delicate, thinner-than-normal ramen noodle.

kyushu-ramen

Kyushu style ramen is notibly different from other style of ramens because of it’s rich, cloudy and hearty broth that’s mostly done with Tonkotsu (pork bone) broth and sometimes combined with a chicken and/or vegetable broth. Kyushu broth is deep, flavorful and it is balanced nicely with a beautiful sheen of fat on top. The depth of flavor and richness of Kyushu ramen broth is definitely for the hungry and the hearty.

Each sip of the distinctly heavier and flavorful Kyushu ramen broth was a fuel for our souls, especially after shaking off the jet lag and walking for about 2 hours in the flamboyant Shibuya district.

tonkotsu ramen noodle soup

The young gent at the Kyushu Jangara Ramen shop told us that tonkotsu ramen is originally from Kyushu, Japan. The noodles that we had were slightly thinner than the other Kyushu style ramens we’ve had back in the States, but it seemed to match up with the rich broth perfectly.

Each bowl had generous slices of melt-in-your-mouth stewed pork belly and topped with various kinds of bamboo shoots, fish cake, roe, seaweed and other tasty condiments. All the noodles and condiments were happy to bathe in the amazing broth and we were thrilled to be slurping it up. Rameniac has a great explanation of Kyushu ramen here.

Although we were in Tokyo, (Kyushu is Japan’s most southern-western island) the man who opened this shop was a Kyushu local and brought his homeland specialty to Japan’s thriving epicenter of Tokyo.  What a treat for us to be able to experience such a delicious regional specialty in the heart of the street fashionably-stylish Harajuku.  Old Japan meets new Japan.  Thanks Chika, for the great tour, wonderful company and delicious ramen experience.

–Todd & Diane

kyushu ramen totonksu

Kyushu Jangara Ramen shop in Harajuku, Tokyo. Bowls ranged from about ¥640 – 1,100. (about $6.50- $11.50)

http://www.kyusyujangara.co.jp/

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    { 19 comments… read them below or add one }

    1 jen August 28, 2009 at 7:41 am

    filled with envy!! [and now...a little bit of hunger!]

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    2 David August 28, 2009 at 7:45 am

    Can you ask someone there why they always make a peace sign when you lift up a camera to take their photo?

    But aside from that, I LOVE Tokyo and am, of course, insanely jealous. Don’t forget to hit the 99 yen (99 cent) stores!

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    3 Chef Gwen August 28, 2009 at 8:00 am

    Sounds like a fabulous way to slurp up the culture. Thanks for taking us along with you!

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    4 chika August 28, 2009 at 8:02 am

    Hello Diane & Todd,

    It was such a pleasure meeting you and exploring the town with you! I don’t go to Harajuku THAT often (it’s too busy and hectic for me and trust me, if you thought it was crowded, wait until you go there in the weekend…), and even a cliche like eating a crepe in Harajuku was fun when I was sharing it with you. I was glad to find Jangara doing well and living up to its name after all these years. Have a great time in Kyoto and everywhere else and hope to see you real soon!

    P.S. David – It’s in our genes. That’s the only explanation I can give. Ever since I can remember everyone was flashing a peace sign (or two, with the both hands) whenever they find a camera facing them. Although it can be a bit age-specific and lots of people feel embarrassed doing it once they are of a certain age.

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    5 エリック December 12, 2010 at 10:02 am

    Next time you all should take a trip to Shin Yokohama Ramen museum! Ramen from all over Japan. It is more ramen shop and less museum, but very good! The web site is here: http://www.raumen.co.jp/ramen/. I recommend Ryushanhai, the miso based ramen from Yamagata-ken.
    新横浜ラーメン博物館 日本語ウェブサイト:http://www.raumen.co.jp/home/
    楽しいと 美味しい!!

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    6 alice August 28, 2009 at 8:25 am

    so jealous, but we’ll be heading there in october (well, to osaka). have a fantastic time and don’t forget to eat takoyaki!

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    7 Toni August 28, 2009 at 9:08 am

    Oh dear….Now you’ve gotten my envy as well as my hunger up. Never been to Japan, but it’s on the list. I’d be slurping up every variety of noodle dish on their menus!

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    8 noelle (simmer down!) August 28, 2009 at 9:33 am

    I got to travel to Japan about 8 years ago, and your posts are bringing back so many fond memories (as well as making my mouth water)! Thanks for letting me re-live my trip vicariously through your photos and posts. Hope you’re having a blast.

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    9 Food Woolf August 28, 2009 at 3:12 pm

    I knew I shouldn’t have started reading about your journey with an empty stomach. Now it’s really growling! I have definitely got to try this ramen. I suppose that since I’m so cash poor I’ll have to start doing some early investigating of this ramen style here in LA. Much research to do! Can’t wait to try it out chez-Todd and Diane, I’m sure.

    xoxox,B

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    10 Anna August 28, 2009 at 4:13 pm

    Oh, I’m so jealous! I would love to go to Japan! Are you finding it expensive?

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    11 Peter August 28, 2009 at 5:32 pm

    I would disagree with your statement about the lack of bad bowls of noodles here in Tokyo. There are soooo many ramen places and, though many of them really are excellent, an even larger number of them are really no better than fast food.
    That being said, Kyushu Jangara Ramen is one of the standout ramen joints in Tokyo. After reading this, I might have to stop by for lunch there some time next week…

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    12 mycookinghut August 29, 2009 at 11:24 am

    I wish I could have a bowl now!! I love noodles!!! Any type..!! :)

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    13 Lisa E. August 29, 2009 at 12:24 pm

    Yum! Thanks for the tip!

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    14 Marc @ NoRecipes August 29, 2009 at 9:44 pm

    Mmmmm I’m from Kyushu and so naturally, tonkotsu ramen is my fav. I love the thinner Hakata style noodles too! Will have to check this place out when I’m there in October.

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    15 Allison Day August 29, 2009 at 11:15 pm

    I’m so very jealous! Son and I have been getting our ramen fix quite often lately… we’re not too picky with our ramen, but I’ll bet it would be AMAZING to get to have ramen in Japan. Would you be ashamed of me if I went and made a bowl of instant ramen right now? ;)

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    16 CKM September 3, 2009 at 1:07 pm

    You can get the best ramen in Tokyo at Komen (Ebisu) or Santoka (Ebisu and LA). Or take the train down to the ramen museum in Yokohama and eat at Shinasoba-ya.

    Yamagata-ya ( go early to get the Shio as it usually sells out ) between Kanda and Akihabara ( Electric District ) is also great.

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    17 Peggy September 4, 2009 at 8:05 am

    this looks so delicious! the ramen museum sounds like a great idea!

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    18 georgia September 7, 2009 at 9:18 pm

    really enjoyed checking out your blog. I shared you with my facebook friends.

    Reply

    19 Reiz March 17, 2010 at 1:19 am

    I’m marking your site down when i’m heading to Tokyo in May! ^_^ Thanks for sharing!!

    Reply

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