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20 Great Ramens from the Land of Tonkotsu

| Visit Kyushu , Kyushu
20 Great Ramens from the Land of Tonkotsu

Kyushu is famous in Japan as the birthplace of tonkotsu ramen. It would be a waste to visit the region without trying some of its signature noodles! Since it’s difficult to say which place is "best," per se, the delectable restaurants below are simply listed in order from north to south.

1. Najimatei — Chikurogamadashi Tonkotsu (Fukuoka City)

1. Najimatei — Chikurogamadashi Tonkotsu (Fukuoka City)

This is very simple ramen contains nothing superfluous. The thin noodles go perfectly with the soup, which is low in fat content—“just right,” without being too creamy. Owner Mr. Kido says he aims for a flavor that makes customers want to come back the next day!

Address: 2-41-7 Najima, Higashi Ward, Fukuoka
Access: Three-minute walk from Najima Station on the Nishitetsu Kaizuka Line (From JR Hakata Station head to Chihaya Station → At Chihaya Station transfer to Nishitetsu Chiyaha Station and continue on to Najima)

- www.najimatei.com (Japanese)

2. Hakata Ippudo — Akamaru Shin-aji (Fukuoka City)

2. Hakata Ippudo — Akamaru Shin-aji (Fukuoka City)

Ippudo’s homemade fragrant oil, extracted from salty miso and a variety of vegetables, adds a unique accent to its tonkotsu ramen. The shop’s akamaru shin-aji (new flavor) offers an innovative taste when compared to their orthodox ramen (shiromaru base flavor). The result is an interesting flavor that changes as you work your way through the dish—and gets you right in the stomach!

Address:10F JR Hakata City, Hakataeki Chuogai 1-1, Fukuoka City, Fukuoka Prefecture
Access: Hakata City is directly connected to Hakata Station!

- www.ippudo.com (Japanese)

3. Horin Ramen — Tonkotsu Ramen (Fukuoka City)

This was the first restaurant in Japan to top its tonkotsu ramen with chili peppers. The soup stock is fine-tuned according to the season and the weather, and the pure tonkotsu soup has a light taste. Between the thin noodles and delectable soup, you'll drink the bowl dry!

Address: 3-21-15 Haruyoshi, Chuo Ward, Fukuoka City, Fukuoka Prefecture
Access: 10-minute walk from Tenjin Subway Station

4. Hakata Ikkousha — Ajitama Ramen (Fukuoka City)

4. Hakata Ikkousha — Ajitama Ramen (Fukuoka City)

This delicious ramen will appeal to both people who like the old-fashioned style of smelly tonkotsu ramen and to people who don't like their ramen too rich. The soup here contains not only pork bones, but is also blended with seafood.

Address: 1F Kowa Building, 3-23-12 Hakata Ekimae, Hakata Ward, Fukuoka City, Fukuoka Prefecture
Access:: Five-minute walk from JR Hakata Station toward Nishi-Nippon City Bank

5. LaLaLa-Ramen (Saga Station North Exit Branch) — Assari Tonkotsu (Saga City)

While the ramen name contains the word “assari” (lightly seasoned), the thick soup here is rather rich. It works well with the thin noodles. The soup is light and easy to drink while the thick, soft char siu pork will melt in your mouth.

Address: 1-13-21 Ekimae Chuo, Saga City, Saga Prefecture
Access: Just outside JR Saga Station North Exit

- tabelog.com (Japanese)

6. Gyoza Kaikan — Tonkatsu Ramen (Takeo City, Saga)

This surprising combination is unexpectedly tasty, with the typical, smelly soup of tonkotsu matching up perfectly with thick, springy noodles. It's like ramen from the good old days, fragrant and fried to crisp perfection. The shop's ageyaki gyoza dumplings also have a distinctive round shape and go great with beer.

Address: 3-4 Takeocho Showa, Takeo City, Saga Prefecture
Access: Five-minute walk from JR Takeo Onsen Station

- white-gyouza.co.jp (Japanese)

7. Ichigen Ramen — Tonkotsu Ramen (Saga City)

The characteristic umami flavor of Saga tonkotsu goes well with these soft noodles. The thick yet unexpectedly mild soup and the soft, thinly sliced char siu are perfect.

Address: 925-1 Oaza Nishikoga, Kawasoe-machi, Saga City, Saga Prefecture
Access: 21 minutes by Saga City Bus (heading toward Inuido–Odakuma–Odakuma) from Saga Station Bus Center. Alight at the Nishikawa-soe Shogakko-mae stop and walk three minutes.

8. Konotori — Toribaitan Ramen (Oita City)

8. Konotori — Toribaitan Ramen (Oita City)

The chicken that tops this ramen will catch your eye! The flavor of the soup stock still comes through strongly amid the ramen’s white, cloudy toribaitan broth, cooked at high heat. It's both rich and refreshing, with thin, springy noodles that go down easy.

Address: Maki Royal Plaza 102, 2–17–5 Maki, Oita City, Oita Prefecture
Access: 15-minute walk from Maki Station on the Nippo Main Line

- www.facebook.com (Japanese)

9. Ichoume Ramen — Tanrei Umashio Ramen (Oita City)

We recommend this restaurant for its full-bodied shio (salt) ramen, which is a rare variety of ramen for Oita. Various soup flavors can be savored here, including shio ramen for people who light a light soup and tonkotsu ramen for folks who like heavy flavors. Expect the taste of burnt oil and garlic.

Address: 1159-1 Koikebaru, Oita City, Oita Prefecture
Access: Seven-minute walk from JR Takajo Station

- www.ichoume.com (Japanese)

10. Haguruma — Tsukemen (Oita City)

This restaurant has kicked up a storm in Kyushu. The medium-thick noodles, made by hand in-house, go really well with the soup, which has a chicken stock base. The garnishes are also quite generous. The mini-tsukemen, which has two-thirds the regular amount of noodles, is great for those feeling less peckish. The noodles are so good you could eat them alone with just salt and soy sauce!

Address: 4776-4 Nakahetsugi, Oita City, Oita Prefecture
Access: Five minutes by taxi from Nakahanda Station

- www.facebook.com (Japanese)

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