Japan is known as the “Ramen” capital of the world. You can find ramen restaurants almost everywhere all around the country. With there being so many restaurants selling ramen, how does one stand out from the competition? Well, one ramen restaurant managed to do just that! That restaurant being Ichiran Ramen.
Ichiran Ramen is a chain of Ramen restaurants in Japan that specializes in selling ramen. Their signature ramen is the “Tokatsu Ramen”. However the thing that sets apart from other ramen restaurants is that you can actually eat in peace. By this I mean, instead of regular long tables or booths for people to sit together on, over here you sit in a booth. Each booth separated by dividers so you don’t have to look at anybody or talk to anybody. You won’t ever even see your own waiter. It’s the perfect place for people who just want to be alone.
I am a lover of all types of ramen. I have waited ages to come to Japan to try out all of the ramen the country has to offer.
As I was looking around the internet for ramen places to go to, Ichiran peaked my interest. After all, we don’t have anything like this back in the states. So I definitely had to make a trip out to Ichiran and try it out.
I managed to find an Ichiran down in Shibuya and was excited to try!
The minute I walked in I was met with a vending machine. I was confused at first as I had never used one of these machines before to order food. So I had a server come help me out.
As you can see from the picture above, the left side is a menu telling you how to order your ramen. The right side is the vending machine where you can pick what ramen you want, what items you want added inside etc..
After you have picked out everything that you want, you will need to put in the money for everything you ordered. The price for the ramen was pretty good as it was a fair pair to pay for a bowl of ramen. The machine will then give you a ticket to which you take to your booth.
As you can see, every seat is sectioned off into its own booth. This way you don’t have to face your neighbors or talk to anybody.
This is how the booth looks like when you sit down. It has two walls on each side so you don’t have to look at your neighbors. It also has a flip cover in front of you where your waiter takes your order and gives you your food. No talking is required as all you have to do is give them your ticket and they will bring you your food.
When I first sat down, I was pretty impressed. It truly gives you the feeling of isolation. Before I handed my ticket to them, there was a paper on the table with a pen that I had to fill out. Basically it was to tell the servers how firm I wanted the noodles, how I wanted the soup to be, what condiments I wanted inside, and also how spicy I want it to be.
You can see the form to fill out below.
After selecting what I want, I handed both the form and my tickets to the server. Then they closed the flap in front of me and thus began my wait for my delicious ramen.
It didn’t take long for them to bring me my ramen. Probably closer to 5 minutes and it was amazing.
As you can see, my ramen came out looking fantastic. With my extra items on the side.
Now I ordered the tonkatsu ramen with three eggs and extraa chashu. Everything tasted just like I imagined. It felt like I was in heaven.
After I finished eating my ramen, I still felt a little bit hungry.
Good thing there was another form asking if you wanted anything else.
I opted for the green tea pudding.
I rang the notice bell and a server promptly came by and I handed him my order for the pudding. I also had to pay for the pudding right there and then because it was an extra item.
The pudding came really fast and I was surprised at how neat it looked. It also came with some green tea sauce that you pour onto the pudding. The pudding was really good as it was soft and delicate and had a nice green tea flavor. I really liked it.
After I had finished the green tea, I got up and left.
It was that easy.
How it works
As soon as you walk into the restaurant, you will notice a big vending machine with lots of ramen ingredients on it. You will have to select what ramen you want and also what you want inside of it. You can select as much as you want from the vending machine, although it will increase the price for each one you select. After you have selected all that you want for your ramen bowl, the machine will list a price. You need to pay the machine the same amount of money for the cost of the ramen. After that, you will get a ticket and head down to your booth.
Once you pick out your booth and sit down, you will notice that you are entirely by yourself. There are two forms on the table, one for how you want your ramen made, and also one for additional items. The table also has a faucet where you can dispense water into the cups you see above it. There is also a button you will notice in the front of the table near the middle. This button will notify the server to come to your booth and see what you need.
First thing you do when you sit down on the booth is to fill out the form for how you want your ramen made. After that, just put your form on the button in front of you and a server will come collect the form.
After a short while, the server will come back and bring you all that you ordered.
If you are still wanting extras or dessert, than fill out the other sheet you have and ring the button again to get them to serve you. If you do use the other form for additional items, be sure to have some money with you as you have to pay the server immediately for these extra items.
After you are done, just get up and leave.
All in all, it is a relatively simple process where you can go in and out fast. Nobody will bother you and nobody will talk to you. You just eat and go.
When you first enter the restaurant you will notice that everything is clean and in tip top shape. The servers were also really quick and attentive to your needs which made things even better.
The quality of the food here is also really good. They also specialize in tonkatsu ramen so you can expect the tonkatsu ramen to be really good. Soup had just the right amount of richness, noodles were exactly the firmness that you want and the chashu was so so delicious, and eggs were nicely soft boiled. Everything tasted fantastic.
The price for the ramen was also really good as it was really fair for what you are getting.
Although this review is mainly for the Japanese restaurant that I went to, I have heard of people saying the new branches that opened up in New York were really expensive for what they were getting.
So I guess different places will have different prices.
Would I come back?
I think I would definitely come back here. Everything was nice and tasted amazing. Food came out quick and looked really good. It was a really great restaurant. I know the main attraction here is to eat by yourself with nobody bothering you, but that doesn’t matter to me. I just want to eat some ramen!
Overall, this ramen restaurant is pretty good. Everything was in top top shape and tasted fantastic. If you ever want to go somewhere and eat by yourself with nobody bothering you, than this is the place to be.
Can’t wait to come back!
Also if you are interested in reading some of my other posts about traveling, you can do so by clicking these links:
- Essential steps for planning a trip
- How to find cheap flights
- There is no such thing as a perfect time to travel
Or you can check out all my blog posts by click this link.
Hope you have a safe and fun trip~