Ichiran Ramen Review – Shinjuku, Japan

There are certain must-dos when you visit Japan. Whether it’s for your first visit or your umpteenth time, eating at Ichiran is one of those priorities.

This is what the line looks like just 30 minutes after opening at the Shinjuku central east [station] exit location.
At the bottom of the stairs, there’s a set of doors that leads to a hallway with a couple shokken jidouhanbaiki, or food ticket machines.

These signs let you know how much longer you have to wait.
Keep in mind that – like all other signs like this – these are just estimates.
We actually waited another 30 minutes from the time we saw this sign.

Almost there!

At the bottom of the stairs is the menu on a podium as well as their recommendation.
You can order from the 3 specials, A through C, on the left, or you can order a la carte.

I opted to order a la carte instead since I didn’t want extra items… which I regretted after devouring my bowl.

Ordering from the shokkenki is always a fun experience. Each item is labeled in both Japanese and English.
Simply add the items you want, pay, and retrieve your shokken, or meal tickets!

I ordered a la carte:
Ramen for ¥890
Half-boiled salted egg for ¥120
Matcha annin tofu for ¥390
For a total of ¥1400, which is just under $13.

The host will hand you a clipboard with order form for your preference.
You can specify the strength, richness, and amount of the seasoning, broth richness, and spicy red sauce, as well as the noodles texture.

Along the right side of the hallway (not pictured) is a row of seating. Beyond the noren, which is the traditional green “curtain”, are the booths.

This neat device tells the host which seats are available for easy seat assignment.

A picture of the seating.

Only one type of seating, which are the booths. There are no tables, but don’t let that stop you from going with a big group of family and friends!
A couple of booths are set up for handicapped seating, although I don’t know exactly how it’s set up.

Your personal booth with wall partitions on both sides that you can slide open.
The water dispenser with cups is on the left.
You can see the cooks on the other side hurriedly preparing everyone’s meals.

Close-up of my egg and ticket.

Serving time is fairly quick. I waited maybe three minutes before my yummy and absolutely beautiful bowl of tonkotsu ramen was presented to me.
You could see the matcha annin tofu dessert to its left, which I highly recommend.

Close up of the broth.

  The broth was not too thick but not too thin. It was just perfect.
Unlike Hanamaruken in Dotonbori, Ichiran’s broth was thinner but still very tasty.

With the partitions folded, you can still have a somewhat intimate dinner with your party.
I’m eagerly awaiting my meal.

Located east of Shinjuku station in the heart of Shinjuku.
There are several other locations throughout, including two in Shibuya, Ikebukuro, Roppongi, Shinbashi, and more.

Ichiran info!

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