Noodle Quest: Discovering Tokyo's Best Tsukemen
7 places to go for tsukemen in Tokyo
· 6 min read
Get ready to indulge in the ultimate noodle adventure in Tokyo! Japan is famous for its delicious ramen, udon, and soba, but if you want to experience a true Tokyo specialty, then you must try tsukemen. Whether you prefer rich and savory broth or creamy and flavorful soup, Tokyo has a tsukemen shop that will satisfy your cravings. So grab your chopsticks, and let's go on a delicious and exciting journey to discover the best tsukemen in Tokyo!
What is Tsukemen?
Tsukemen, also known as dipping ramen, is a Japanese noodle dish that consists of thick, chewy ramen noodles, served separately from a bowl of concentrated broth. The soup is made with chicken, pork, or fish broth, soy sauce, mirin, and other ingredients, and is usually more concentrated and flavourful than the soup used in ramen. The ramen noodles are often served cold for better texture and to lock in the flavour. And when the cold noodles are dipped in the hot broth, creates a perfect balance of temperature, making it a great dish to cool you down in summer.
Tsukemen originated in the early 1960s in Tokyo, and today, is popular all over Japan. It also started gaining popularity worldwide in the 2000s. Many variations of tsukemen can be found today, with some places also serving dipping udon.
How to Eat Tsukemen?
To eat tsukemen, you dip the noodles into the soup and enjoy the contrasting flavors and textures of the broth and noodles.
Best Places for Tsukemen in Tokyo
Now that you know what tsukemen is and how to eat it, let's explore some of the best places for tsukemen in Tokyo.
Ramen Shima, Nishi-Shinjuku-Gochome
Although Ramen Shima is new to the scene and only opened its doors in 2020, it is probably one of the hottest ramen restaurants in Tokyo right now. Since its opening in 2020, it has been nominated as one of Tokyo's top 100 restaurants in 2021 and 2022, and it even won a Tabelog Bronze Award in 2022! The shop is very small with only 6 seats, so you might have to wait up to 2 hours. Reservations are not accepted and you will have to register for a queue. It is advised to call to register for the queue as early as possible, as the registration for the queues may close early due to its sheer popularity — do keep a look out for announcements on their official twitter account.
Ramen Shima is best known for its ramen in special sauce, but its bonito kombu water-based tsukemen has also received high praises. By itself, the noodles at Ramen Shima is already very tasty. But the broth complements the noodles very well and enhances the overall flavour. Its char siew is also grilled to perfection and melts in your mouth.
🕤 Opening Hours: 9.30am - 4pm on Monday to Friday; closed Saturday and Sunday
Menya Ittou is a common name on lists for top tsukemen in Japan. It uses a seafood and chicken broth, with a stronger emphasis on chicken. This makes it less fishy, while retaining its creaminess. The soup has a good balance of flavour, without being too salty. The thick noodles are firm and chewy, and the tsukemen broth sticks well to the noodles, giving a burst of flavours with each bite. Menya Ittou is a very popular restaurant, so you can expect to have to wait, especially during peak dining hours.
🕤 Opening Hours: 11am - 3pm, 6pm-9pm daily
A small and cozy shop located in Shinjuku, Fuunji is best known for its tsukemen. Its chewy noodles, along with the creamy and thick broth that is rich with umami, makes a very satisfying meal. If you find the taste of the broth too rich, you can dilute it by adding some water. It has also been nominated as one of Tokyo's top 100 restaurants on Tabelog (Japan's restaurant guide) for 6 consecutive years since 2017. The shop only has a capacity of 15 people and there is almost always a queue, but the queue is known to move fast.
🕤 Opening Hours: 11am - 3pm, 5pm - 9pm daily
Menya Kissou, Kiba
Menya Kissou is another ramen restaurant that consistently makes the list of popular ramen restaurants in Tokyo. Although it is located slightly out of the way of central Tokyo, it still attracts long queues everyday. Their noodles are made in-house and are thick and chewy, and their tsukemen broth is flavourful but not too overpowering, perfect for those who prefer something that is not too rich. When placing your order, you can choose your toppings and also if you want extra noodles. Their most popular toppings are the menma bamboo shoots, so be sure to give that a try!
🕤 Opening Hours: 11.30am - 3pm on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday. Closed on Wednesday, Friday, Sunday
Rokurinsha, Tokyo Station
Rokurinsha has a few branches across Tokyo, but its most popular branch is the one that is located in the Tokyo Ramen Street at Tokyo Station. Rokurinsha offers a variety of ramen noodles, but is best known for its tsukemen. It is a small shop with only 26 seats, but also one of the most popular tsukmen restaurants in Tokyo, so be prepared to have to queue for a meal there. The tsukemen broth is very rich and savory, though some might find the broth slightly overpowering. It is also known for its large serving sizes and the chewy and soft texture of the noodles. If you arrive in the early morning from 7.30am - 9.30am, take note that only the morning set is available.
🕤 Opening Hours: 7.30am - 9.30am, 10am - 10.30pm daily
Tsukemen Michi, Kameari
The tsukemen at Michi is one of the most highly rated tsukemen in Tokyo. Its broth is creamy and very rich, but also less fishy than some of the other restaurants. The noodles that are made in-house are also very thick and chewy, giving it a very good texture. When ordering, just tell them you want “tokusei”, which means that it includes all toppings. Not only is the food good, Tsukemen Michi is also known for its superior service. You will still need to place your order on the ticket machine, but if you need help with the menu, feel free to check with the staff! Take note that their eggs are slightly sweeter, so it may not be for everyone. As with most popular ramen places, be prepared to have to wait for a seat here.
🕤 Opening Hours: 11.30am - 6pm, Wednesday to Sunday; closed Monday and Tuesday
The tsukemen at Warito is known to be more traditional, much like the original types of tsukemen. The broth here is a mix of pork and seafood, though some people might find it to be a little fishy. The queues at Warito are often much shorter than some of the other popular ramen restaurants, and it is conveniently located near Shibuya, making it a great choice for those who want to have some tsukemen, but without the queue. Warito is also known for its huge portions, and if your soup is getting cold, you could ask for some hot stones to add to your soup to heat it up!
🕤 Opening Hours: 11am - 3.30pm, 6pm -9pm on Thursday to Tuesday; closed Wednesday