Trip To Japan

Where to Find the Best Ramen in Kyoto: Top 10 Restaurants

Mika Kaibara
Feb 14, 2024
SHOYU RAMEN chicken and pork with noodles

Kyoto, renowned for its historical significance, also boasts a distinguished ramen scene characterized by unique regional flavours and meticulous preparation methods. Unlike the heavier, richer styles found in other parts of Japan, Kyoto ramen typically features lighter broths and delicate, artisanal noodles, making it a must-explore aspect of the city's gastronomic offerings. 

This guide to the top 10 ramen restaurants in Kyoto will introduce you to the diverse array of ramen available, from traditional soy-based broths to innovative, modern interpretations, each restaurant delivering a distinct experience that reflects the city's culinary excellence and innovation.

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Top 10 Ramen Restaurants in Kyoto

1. Ichiran Ramen

Tonkotsu Ramen
Tonkotsu Ramen

Ichiran Ramen is a renowned chain that has perfected the art of Tonkotsu ramen, a rich and creamy pork bone broth beloved by ramen enthusiasts worldwide. Ichiran's unique dining setup, featuring individual booths, allows guests to enjoy their meal in solitude, focusing entirely on the flavour and quality of their ramen. 

Diners are encouraged to customize their bowl according to their preference, from the firmness of the noodles to the level of spiciness and richness of the broth. This level of customization, combined with the high-quality ingredients and the chain's proprietary blend of spices, ensures a memorable dining experience tailored to each individual's taste.

  • Opening Hours: 10 am–10 pm

  • Address: Japan, 〒600-8006 Kyoto, Shimogyo Ward, Tachiuri Nakanocho, 102-3 2F ビル ミューズ389京都

  • Speciality: Tonkotsu ramen

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2. Ramen Sen No Kaze Kyoto

Shoyu and Shio ramen
Shoyu and Shio ramen

Ramen Sen No Kaze Kyoto, nestled in the heart of Kyoto, is a cozy establishment that has garnered a loyal following for its exceptional ramen, particularly its Shoyu (soy sauce) and Shio (salt) ramen varieties. What sets Sen No Kaze apart is its dedication to using high-quality, local ingredients to craft a bowl of ramen that is both comforting and sophisticated. 

The restaurant's Kyoto-style chicken ramen, featuring a clear, flavorful broth and tender chicken, is a testament to the chef's mastery and attention to detail. The warm and inviting atmosphere of Sen No Kaze, combined with its delicious offerings, makes it a must-visit spot for anyone looking to explore the depth of Kyoto's ramen scene.

  • Opening Hours: 11:30 AM - 9:30 PM

  • Address: 580 Nakanocho, Nakagyo Ward, Kyoto, 604-8042, Japan

  • Speciality: Shoyu and Shio ramen

3. Ippudo

Hakata-style Tonkotsu ramen
Hakata-style Tonkotsu ramen

Ippudo Nishikikoji, a branch of the globally recognized Ippudo ramen chain, is celebrated for bringing the authentic taste of Hakata-style Tonkotsu ramen to Kyoto. The hallmark of Ippudo's ramen is its silky, rich pork bone broth paired with ultra-thin noodles that are both firm and smooth, providing the perfect slurping experience. 

Ippudo also stands out for its modern and inviting interior, where diners can witness the bustling activity of the open kitchen. The menu offers a variety of ramen options, allowing patrons to customize their bowl's richness, garlic presence, and noodle firmness. Additionally, Ippudo's side dishes, including pork buns and gyoza, complement the ramen perfectly, making for a well-rounded meal.

  • Opening Hours: 11:00 AM - 9:30 PM

  • Address: Japan, 〒600-8008 Kyoto, Shimogyo Ward, Naginatabokocho, 31 B1F

  • Speciality: Hakata-style Tonkotsu ramen

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4. Men Baka Ichidai

Fire Ramen
Fire Ramen

Men Baka Ichidai offers a unique and unforgettable ramen dining experience with its signature fire ramen. This spectacle involves the chef igniting Negi (green onions) on top of the ramen bowl, creating a dramatic flame that enhances the smoky flavour of the broth. The spectacle is not just for show; it adds a distinct charred taste to their savory shoyu (soy sauce) based broth, making it a must-try for adventurous foodies

Beyond the theatrics, Menbakaichidai is committed to quality, using fresh, local ingredients to craft their dishes. This combination of thrilling presentation and exceptional flavours has cemented Menbakaichidai's reputation as a unique culinary destination in Kyoto.

  • Opening Hours: 11 am–3 pm, 5–9 pm

  • Address: 757-2 Minamiiseyacho, Kamigyo Ward, Kyoto, 602-8153, Japan

  • Speciality: Fire ramen

5. Takayasu

Kyoto style ramen
Kyoto style ramen

Takayasu is revered for its traditional approach to Kyoto-style ramen, offering a delicate and refined taste that stands in contrast to the richer broths commonly found in other regions. The restaurant prides itself on its light, clear broth that is meticulously prepared to highlight the umami of its ingredients without overpowering them. 

Takayasu's ramen is characterized by its elegant simplicity, featuring thin, firm noodles and a selection of classic toppings such as bamboo shoots, green onions, and slices of tender pork. Located in a quiet neighbourhood, Takayasu provides a serene dining atmosphere where guests can savour the subtle flavours and craftsmanship of Kyoto ramen.

  • Opening Hours: 11:30 AM - 2:00 AM

  • Address: 10 Ichijoji Takatsukicho, Sakyo Ward, Kyoto, 606-8185, Japan

  • Speciality: Kyoto-style ramen

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6. Kyoto Gogyo

Special burnt black soup ramen in kyoto
Special burnt black soup ramen in kyoto

Kyoto Gogyo stands out in the ramen landscape of Kyoto for its unique offering of burnt miso ramen, a dish that has intrigued and delighted culinary adventurers. The process involves caramelizing miso paste at a high temperature before blending it with a rich chicken and pork broth, resulting in a complex, smoky flavour that's both bold and unexpectedly harmonious. 

The dark, almost black broth, paired with thick noodles and a variety of toppings, provides a hearty and satisfying meal. Kyoto Gogyo's modern and chic ambiance adds to the dining experience, making it a popular spot among both locals and tourists seeking something out of the ordinary.

  • Opening Hours: 11:30 AM - 3:00 PM, 5:00 PM - 12:00 AM

  • Address: Jumonjicho, Nakagyo Ward, Kyoto, 604-8121, Japan

  • Speciality: Burnt miso ramen

7. Shinpuku Saikan

Ramen with Soy Sauce Based Soup
Ramen with Soy Sauce Based Soup

Shinpuku Saikan is celebrated for its soy sauce-based ramen, a classic dish that has been perfected over decades. The restaurant's broth is known for its depth and intensity, achieved through a meticulous brewing process that combines multiple types of soy sauce with a rich chicken and pork stock. The result is a savoury and aromatic bowl that epitomizes the essence of traditional Japanese ramen. 

Shinpuku Saikan's commitment to preserving the original taste and quality of its ramen has made it a beloved institution in Kyoto, offering a taste of history in every bite. The no-frills, retro atmosphere of the restaurant transports diners back in time, adding to the authenticity of the experience.

  • Opening Hours: 09:00 AM - 08:00 PM

  • Address: 569 Higashishiokoji Mukaihatacho, Shimogyo Ward, Kyoto, 600-8213, Japan

  • Speciality: Soy sauce-based ramen

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8. Honke Daiichi Asahi (本家 第一旭)

Soy sauce ramen
Soy sauce ramen

Honke Daiichi Asahi, located near Kyoto Station, is a favourite among early risers and those seeking a hearty start to their day, known for its Tokyo-style ramen with a Kyoto twist. The restaurant's signature dish features a soy sauce-based broth that is both light and rich in umami, perfectly complementing the thin, springy noodles. 

Regulars often rave about the chashu (roasted pork) that tops each bowl, praised for its tenderness and flavour. Honke Daiichi Asahi's bustling, no-nonsense atmosphere is part of its charm, offering a genuine experience of Japan's fast-paced ramen culture.

  • Opening Hours: 6:00 AM - 1:00 AM

  • Address: 845 Higashishiokoji Mukaihatacho, Shimogyo Ward, Kyoto, 600-8213, Japan

  • Speciality: Tokyo-style soy sauce ramen

9. Ramen Kairikiya

Ramen Kairikiya is a testament to Kyoto's ability to blend tradition with innovation, serving bowls that satisfy purists and explorers alike. This chain, with several locations across Kyoto, is best known for its Kyoto-style ramen, characterized by a clear yet flavorful chicken broth. 

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The option to customize your ramen, from the firmness of the noodles to the level of oil and spice, ensures that each visit can offer a new experience. Additionally, Ramen Kairikiya's gyoza (dumplings) are a popular side dish, often recommended as the perfect complement to their ramen.

  • Opening Hours: 11:00 AM - 10:00 PM

  • Address: 17 Ichijoji Mukaibatacho, Sakyo Ward, Kyoto, 606-8126, Japan

  • Speciality: Kyoto-style chicken ramen

10. Musoshin Gion

SHOYU RAMEN chicken and pork with noodles
SHOYU RAMEN chicken and pork with noodles

Musoshin Gion stands out in Kyoto's ramen scene for its commitment to traditional ramen preparation methods and its focus on using high-quality, local ingredients. This restaurant is best known for its refined approach to ramen, featuring a clear yet flavorful broth that beautifully showcases the natural tastes of its components. 

Musoshin's signature dish is its shoyu (soy sauce) ramen, which is both light and aromatic, offering a delicate balance of flavors that is both satisfying and sophisticated. The Gion district location adds to the charm of dining here, providing an ambiance that is as culturally rich as the food. Musoshin Gion is a testament to the artistry of ramen, making it a must-visit for those seeking an authentic and elevated ramen experience.

  • Opening Hours: 11:30 AM - 12:00 PM, 

  • Address: Japan, 〒605-0933 Kyoto, Higashiyama Ward, 大和大路四条下ル小松町558-2

  • Speciality: Shoyu ramen

Ramen Toppings and Side Dishes

In Kyoto, the art of ramen extends beyond the broth and noodles to include a diverse array of toppings and side dishes, each adding its own layer of flavour, texture, and colour to the dish. These components are not merely garnishes but integral parts of the ramen experience, allowing diners to customize their bowls to their taste preferences. Here's an exploration of the most cherished toppings and side dishes that contribute to the complexity and enjoyment of Kyoto's ramen.

Popular Ramen Toppings:

  • Chashu: Thinly sliced, marinated, and braised pork belly, chashu is prized for its tenderness and savoury flavour, melting into the broth for a rich taste.

  • Ajitsuke Tamago: A marinated soft-boiled egg with a runny yolk, adding a creamy texture and a hint of sweetness to the ramen.

  • Menma: Seasoned bamboo shoots provide a crunchy contrast to the soft noodles, offering a slightly tangy and earthy flavour.

  • Negi: Chopped green onions are a refreshing addition, contributing a sharp bite that cuts through the richness of the broth.

  • Nori: Seaweed sheets add a briny depth and slight crunch, enhancing the umami profile of the ramen.

  • Kikurage (Wood Ear Mushrooms): These mushrooms bring a gelatinous texture and a mild, earthy taste that complements the savoury broth.

Must-Try Side Dishes:

  • Gyoza: Pan-fried dumplings filled with ground pork and vegetables, gyoza are a crispy and flavorful side that pairs well with the slurpable noodles of ramen.

  • Karaage: Japanese-style fried chicken, known for its light, crispy batter and juicy interior, offers a savory counterpoint to ramen's complex flavors.

  • Rice: A bowl of steamed rice may accompany ramen to balance the meal, especially useful for sopping up any leftover broth.

  • Tsukemono: Pickled vegetables, ranging from cucumber to radish, provide a refreshing, tangy contrast to the savory, often fatty, components of ramen.

  • Edamame: These steamed and salted soybeans in the pod are a simple, nutritious snack that adds a fresh, green element to the dining experience.

A Culinary Journey Through Kyoto's Ramen Landscape

Exploring Kyoto's ramen scene is a journey through a spectrum of flavours, textures, and culinary creativity. Each restaurant we've visited offers an exceptional interpretation of the iconic dish, showcasing the diversity and depth of this humble bowl of noodles and broth. 

As you embark on your own ramen adventure in Kyoto, remember that the best bowl isn't just about taste—it's also about the experience, the atmosphere, and the people you share it with. Happy slurping!

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Frequently Asked Questions

Does Kyoto have good ramen?

Absolutely! Kyoto is home to a variety of exceptional ramen restaurants. From the rich, creamy tonkotsu at Ramen Sen-no-Kaze and Ichiran to the unique offerings at Kyoto Engine Ramen and Goichi Pizza, the city boasts a plethora of delightful ramen experiences.

What is Japan's number 1 ramen?

While it's hard to declare a definitive number one, one of the most popular ramen restaurants in Japan is Ichiran, specifically their Hakata-style Tonkotsu Ramen. This restaurant has branches all over Japan, including Kyoto, and is a must-try for ramen enthusiasts.

What food is Kyoto famous for?

Kyoto is renowned for its traditional Japanese cuisine, known as 'Kaiseki'. It's also famous for matcha (green tea) and sweets, yuba (tofu skin), and sushi. However, in recent years, it has also gained fame for its diverse and delicious ramen.

How much is a bowl of ramen in Kyoto?

The price of a bowl of ramen in Kyoto can vary depending on the restaurant and the type of ramen, but generally, you can expect to pay between ¥700 to ¥1,500. Some specialty or gourmet ramen might cost more.

How is Kyoto Ramen different?

Kyoto Ramen often features a rich, soy-based broth, although there are myriad variations across the city. What makes Kyoto Ramen stand out is the quality of ingredients and the meticulous preparation by skilled chefs who are masters of their craft.

Is food better in Kyoto or Osaka?

Both Kyoto and Osaka have fantastic food scenes, each with their unique specialties. Kyoto is known for its traditional Kaiseki cuisine and ramen, while Osaka is famous for street foods like takoyaki (octopus balls) and okonomiyaki (savory pancake). It's not so much a question of 'better' but rather about the different culinary experiences each city offers.