Ramen, one of the most iconic foods in Japan, is something you just try when visiting. A dish with a complicated history, ramen has evolved to be a stable and popular food in Japan.
Rich and thick broth, tender yet “al dente” noodles, along with traditional Japanese seasoning, ramen is surely going to claim the heart of food lovers.
One of the best places to try Ramen is Kyoto. As the cultural capital of Japan, Kyoto is not only filled with beautiful Geishas walking down these traditional alleys, but also some of the best ramen restaurants in Japan.
Without further ado, here are 6 BEST Ramen in Kyoto, as suggested by fellow travel bloggers!
Make sure you add them to your Kyoto itinerary!
Planning A Trip To Kyoto Last Minute?
Make sure you book your tours, places to stay, and airport transfers ahead of time to ensure availability!
Our recommended airport transfer to Kyoto:
Our recommended tours in Kyoto:
- Kyoto Full-Day Private Tour with Government-Licensed Guide (Must-have if you want to learn in-depth about Kyoto Culture)
- Tea Ceremony at Jotokuji Temple (Unique part of Japanese culture)
- Guided Night Walk in Gion: Kyoto’s Geisha District
Our recommended places to stay in Kyoto:
- Onyado Nono Kyoto Shichijo (Has its own natural hot spring!)
- Hotel Forza Kyoto Shijo Kawaramachi (Great value-for-money)
- Ryokan Hostel Gion (Where we stay every time we’re in Kyoto!)
Where To Find The Best Ramen In Kyoto
1. Shinpuku Saikan
Opened in 1938, Shinpuku Saikan (Main Shop) is one of the oldest ramen shops in Kyoto. In fact, the place hasn’t been renovated for a long time, and it feels like you have just stepped inside a time machine the moment you walk in.
Located near Kyoto Station, Shinpuku Saikan focuses on soy sauce based ramen, or shoyu ramen in Japanese. Though it might sound very salty, it is far from so. It has a very rich and hearty flavor, and is one of the most unique ones you’ll find in Kyoto. There is a reason why this ramen shop is still here after all those years!
Because this noodle shop is so famous, it is recommended that you allot extra time when visiting. There is almost always a queue!
2. Honke Daiichi-Asahi
Located next door to Shinpuku Saikanm Honke Daiichi-Asahi is another one of the old-time classics when it comes to ramen in Kyoto. This Kyoto ramen restaurant also focuses on soy sauce-based ramen, but the color of the broth is more brown than black thanks to all the other ingredients used.
The broth for the ramen at Honke Daiichi-Asahi is so rich you want to drink it and lick the bowl clean. The homemade ramen noodles are firm, but not too firm. Overall, this is a great place to try ramen in Kyoto, especially if it’s your first time.
The price is quite affordable compared to some of the other restaurants in Kyoto, but be aware that you might need to wait up to an hour during rush hour. Honke Daiichi-Asahi also has so amazing gyozas (Japanese dumplings)!
3. Menbaka Fire Ramen
If you are looking for a unique dining experience while enjoying some spectacular ramen noodles, then check out Menbaka Fire Ramen. As the name suggests, this ramen shop is related to fire, and that is because there is a fire show.
It is quite a spectacle, and something worth taking the kids to if you get the chance. The ramen is quite decent, and the restaurant also serves gyozas, fried rice, and more. There is also a vegetarian option for the ramen, which is always nice.
4. Ramen Sen-no-Kaze Kyoto
Ramen Sen-no-Kaze Kyoto is often praised as one of the best ramen shops in Kyoto, and it is not surprising why. Their tonkotsu ramen has some of the richest broth you’ll find in Kyoto, and their chashu pork is grilled to perfection.
The boiled eggs aren’t as good as some other places, so you can skip that if you wish.
This ramen restaurant in Kyoto is one of the highest-rated on TripAdvisor, which means that you are also guaranteed to have a queue of foreigners waiting. The wait is usually no more than 45 minutes to an hour during peak hours, which is quite good for one of the best restaurants in the area!
Read More: How Many Days To Stay In Kyoto?
5. TowZen or Mamezen
TowZen or Mamezen is a traditional Japanese ramen restaurant with tatami mat seating as well as Western-style tables. But unlike most ramen restaurants, Towzen is 100% plant-based! It’s obviously a great choice for vegetarians and vegans in Japan, but meat-eaters will love the ramen here too.
You can choose between two types of soymilk ramen: Musashi (made with mushroom and nori) and tantan (made with tantanmen-style soy meat). Then you choose how much noodles you want. Small (120g), medium (180g) and large (240g) are all the same price. You only pay extra if you want an additional 80g of noodles beyond the large portion.
After that, you choose the type of noodle: regular thin ramen noodles; gluten-free rice noodles, or chlorella noodles, which are similar to udon. For the traditional ramen experience, we recommend the thin noodles. For an additional nutrition boost, you can also choose to add chlorella, vitamin B12, hemp or charcoal to the broth.
It’s not easy to find vegan ramen in Japan , but thankfully the Chabuton ramen chain has both vegan ramen and gyoza. Chabuton is in a convenient location close to Kyoto Station in the food hall on the 6th floor of the Yodobashi camera store.
You order and pay at the vending machine then give the ticket to a waiter before sitting down. Although the machine is in Japanese, there’s an English menu (with the vegan ramen highlighted in green) that you can use to work out which button to press.
The vegan ramen is inexpensive, huge, and delicious. It’s packed with vegetables including avocado, okra, tomato, and radish. There are condiments like chili and sesame seeds on the table to spice it up. You can ask for a second portion of noodles for free. The gyozas are well worth ordering too.
After traveling to Japan, I’ve learned that just because a restaurant is a chain doesn’t mean that it’s not delicious. Ichiran, a Japanese ramen chain with locations all around the country, is believed by many to be the best ramen in the world. In my opinion, it’s definitely one of the best ramen spots in Kyoto.
Ichiran specializes in tonkotsu ramen, meaning that it’s a pork broth made from pork bones. The dining experience at Ichiran is unique.
You’ll first order your bowl of ramen and any extras you’d like (sliced pork, soft boiled eggs, matcha tea, etc.)
After ordering, you’ll be directed to an empty seat, which is more like a personal ramen booth, and given a form where you can customize your ramen to your liking. You’ll be able to select the richness of the broth, the amount of garlic added, the spiciness, and more.
Once you’re ready, you can call the server using a button in your booth to take your sheet; soon after, a hot bowl of delicious ramen will be brought to you! If you need anything else during your visit, such as a kaedama (noodle refill), you can fill out the extra items order sheet and call back your server.
There are two Ichiran locations in Kyoto: Kawaramachi and Karasuma. No matter which one you choose, you’ll be in for a delicious meal!
When eating ramen, make sure you are slurping loudly! Slurping is a sign of appreciation and it is important that you know if you are eating out in Japan!
Ichiran is open 24 hours, 7 days a week so don’t worry if you are craving ramen in Kyoto at night!
Menkiya ramen restaurant, located in the Gion neighborhood of Kyoto, just on the outskirts of the Nishiki market, served one of the best ramen I had throughout my whole Japan trip.
The restaurant is split over three floors, but all of them are fairly small. On the ground floor you’ll find the kitchen, a counter where you can pay and a counter where you can eat on tall stools.
The middle floor has a few separate tables and seats along the windows and the top floor has one big table. If you’re visiting with a big group you can ask them to reserve you the top floor all to yourself for free.
All the staff are Japanese and speak very minimal English, and we were the only non-Japanese people eating there when we visited (usually a good sign)! They have some English menus though so don’t worry, you’ll be able to order even if you don’t speak Japanese!
We had the curry ramen with pork and egg and loved it. It was a little bit spicy for us (despite being advertised as a 2 out of 5 on their spiciness scale) but the overall taste was great. Menkiya offers a genuine Japanese experience and tasty ramen, I recommend it to anyone visiting Kyoto!
9. Gogyo Ramen
The intimate Gogyo Ramen is a popular option amongst locals. You can expect to queue for 30-60 minutes during peak periods, but put your name down on the door and brave the wait.
When the door finally opens for you, the aroma will smack you in the face. I’m sure the wood panels help keep the scent alive in a way a French Oak barrel makes a wine taste so much better.
There are a couple of options here, but it is difficult to go past the burnt miso ramen (Kogashi Miso ramen). There’s a magic to scent, the anticipation as it greets your lips and then that sensation when it hits your taste buds.
We’re not sure what the Japanese word for ‘al dente’ is, but the noodles are exactly where they need to be. The soup is thick and super-rich. There’s no doubt the flavor is strong, and if it’s your first ramen ever may be a little overpowering. For those with a taste for ramen though, you won’t look back after this one.
10. Ramen Factory
When it comes to finding the best ramen restaurants in Kyoto, there’s one in particular you shouldn’t miss. This is because it’s the only restaurant in Kyoto where you can actually cook your very own ramen from scratch!
We absolutely love learning more about the local culture through experiences (and of course food), but taking our own Kyoto cooking class made us a little nervous. We are definitely not chefs, but the lovely staff at Ramen Factory Kyoto make everything super easy for amateurs like us.
Ingredients are pre-measured and each table has a step-by-step instruction guide in English. You even get to create a custom ramen broth flavor, with traditional white miso paste that’s exclusive to the Kyoto region. It’s perfect with chicken!
The most enjoyable part (aside from eating) was kneading the ramen noodle dough. Actually, I should say punching it into shape no less than 100 times. What a workout! The experience gave me a whole new appreciation for ramen and I was quite proud that even I managed to create something so delicious!
Map of Our Favorite Ramen Restaurants In Kyoto
Above is a map of all of the ramen restaurants we talked about. There is a small star symbol next to the map, which allows you to save it onto your own device for personal use. This is perfect for finding the perfect restaurant when you are in Kyoto!
Where To Stay In Kyoto, Japan
Best Hostel in Kyoto – K’s House Kyoto: Backpackers Hostel
K’s House Kyoto: Backpackers Hostel is the most popular hostel in Kyoto for backpackers. You must stay at this place if you want to meet other travelers. The facilities are clean and sufficient.
There is also a bar linked to the restaurant that serves good and reasonably-priced drinks. The terrace also gives an amazing view of Kyoto.
Best Airbnb in Kyoto – Private Kyomachiya with Garden
(Images Courtesy of Vrbo)
If you want an all-encompassing experience in Kyoto, then indulging in its food is not enough. You must stay at one of the traditional Japanese homes! Luckily, there are plenty of vacation rentals and Airbnbs in Kyoto.
This private Kyomachiya is a traditional Japanese wooden house that originates from Kyoto. It combines the two words Kyoto and Machiya (Japanese wooden houses) to form the word Kyomachiya.
This Airbnb features a total of 5 tatami mats and 1 queen, so a group of nine can comfortably experience this lifestyle. If you are traveling in Kyoto as a family, the kids will love the garden with the old Japanese water display.
Best Luxury Hotel in Kyoto – The Share Hotels Rakuro Kyoto
The Share Hotels Rakuro Kyoto is a meticulously clean and modern hotel. You won’t find a speck of dust in your room. The hotel has nice and comfortable decor, creating a feeling of home. Breakfast is included, free coffee throughout the day, a bar on-site, and much more are offered here at The Share Hotels.
Kyoto Ramen FAQs
Does Kyoto Have Good Ramen?
Though not the best city for Ramen (Tokyo is), the ramen in Kyoto is incredible. Many of the ramen shops in Kyoto there have been there for nearly a century, serving up some of the flavors locals have been eating since they were a kid.
What Is A Good Place To Try Ramen In Kyoto?
There are plenty of amazing places to try ramen in Kyoto, but we recommend Honke Daiichi-Asahi, Menbaka Fire Ramen, Ramen Factory, and the iconic Ichiran. Make sure you come inside and check out our full list.
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These are the 6 BEST ramen restaurants in Kyoto! Have you tried ramen in Kyoto? Let us know in the comments!
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2 thoughts on “10 BEST Ramen Restaurants in Kyoto”
This is a great little roundup! Now you’ve made me crave ramen 😉 Chabuton and Menkiya look awesome, I’ll take a look for myself next time i’m in Japan. Thanks for including me on this list!
Thank you for your contribution! Writing this post made me so hungry!