All About Japan

20 Great Ramens from the Land of Tonkotsu

| Ramen , Kyushu

11. Hinokuni Bunryu (Sohoten Branch) — Kurokotteri (Kumamoto City)

Enjoy fatty roast pork sitting on top of your rich tonkotsu soup. This is thick, hearty soup, even for Kumamoto—but at the same time, not too heavy, and with a flavor that's addictive. It's topped with salty miso and karashi takana (pickled takana mustard ith chili).

Address: 4−2−47 Toshima, Higashi Ward, Kumamoto City, Kumamoto Prefecture
Access: About six minutes by taxi from JR Musashizuka Station

- tabelog.com (Japanese)

12. Komurasaki (Kamitori Chuo Branch) — Osama Ramen (Kumamoto City)

12. Komurasaki (Kamitori Chuo Branch) — Osama Ramen (Kumamoto City)

This well-established restaurant opened back in 1954. It serves Kumamoto ramen that's a perfect balance of tonkotsu soup, roast garlic and thin noodles. The refined soup has nearly no smell, and is satisfying to drink, while the bone broth reveals its flavor slowly. It tastes refreshing and doesn’t leave you feeling heavy even if you’ve eaten the lot. We recommend the special char siu and the Osama Ramen, which comes with a full range of toppings.

Address: 8-16 Kamitori, Chuo Ward, Kumamoto City, Kumamoto Prefecture
Access: Five-minute walk from the Torichosuji City Tram stop

13. Kokuryukou (Kumamoto Ekimae branch) — Ryu Char Siu Men (Kumamoto City)

13. Kokuryukou (Kumamoto Ekimae branch) — Ryu Char Siu Men (Kumamoto City)

The ramen here is distinctive for its soup, with a well-balanced blend of vegetables and seafood with a tonkotsu base. It has a refreshing aftertaste, and the medium-thick noodles go down superbly. The fatty roast pork is the appeal point! Just one spoonful of the soup will fill your mouth with rich tonkotsu flavor, while adding garlic chips partway through makes for a truly powerful taste experience.

Address: 2-6-31 Nihongi, Nishi Ward, Kumamoto City, Kumamoto Prefecture
Access: Five-minute walk from the Nihongi-guchi Route A City Tram stop

- hellonet2.sakura.ne.jp (Japanese)

14. Kokutei — Tamago Iri Ramen (Kumamoto City)

This long-established shop opened shop in 1957. The ramen is served with special burnt garlic oil that has a bittersweet aroma on top of the tonkotsu soup. The char siu, which has been marinated in a secret sauce, also goes well with the soup. Sipping this soup, with its punchy, garlicky aroma, really gives you a sense that you're in Kumamoto! Eat the eggs mixed with the noodles for a fantastic burst of flavor.

Address: 2-1-23 Nihongi, Nishi Ward, Kumamoto City, Kumamoto Prefecture
Access: Seven-minute walk from JR Kumamoto Station

- www.kokutei.co.jp (Japanese)

15. Ramen Hiiragi — Aosa Ramen (Nagasaki City)

15. Ramen Hiiragi — Aosa Ramen (Nagasaki City)

Here you can try gentle-flavored tonkotsu soup topped with aosa seaweed (a.k.a. "sea lettuce"). Although many people are surprised by this odd combination—you won't find this kind of seaweed used in other shops, which typically favor nori—the compatibility is outstanding. The aosa seaweed and the thick texture of the soup will fill your mouth, and you'll wonder why aosa isn't used everywhere!

Address: 1F Hana Building, 6–8 Dozamachi, Nagasaki City, Nagasaki Prefecture
Access: One-minute walk from the Kankodori stop on the Route 1 tram from Nagasaki Station

16. Satoimo Ramen — Kodawari Pork (Miyazaki City)

16. Satoimo Ramen — Kodawari Pork (Miyazaki City)

Despite what that name might suggest, the ramen here doesn't contain satoimo (taro). This is Miyazaki ramen, featuring a light soup and slippery, medium-thick noodles with a mild taste. The char siu is called “select pork” (Kodawari Pork), and its mellow flavor is just what you would expect.

Address: 1445-107 Haranomae, Oshima-cho, Miyazaki City, Miyazaki Prefecture
Access: Approximately 10-minute walk from Miyazaki-Jingu Station on the Nippo Main Line

- www.satoimo.co (Japanese)

17. Furaiken Kan Honten Ramen — Tonkotsu Ramen (Miyazaki City)

This restaurant serves a classic tonkotsu ramen that's a little on the thick side. In addition to tonkotsu, other soup flavors such as soy sauce (shoyu), miso, shio (salt) and tantanmen are also available to be enjoyed. Customers can select their desired thickness of noodle to achieve that perfect noodle-soup balance.

Address: 1836-2 Kiyotakecho Oaza Kano, Miyazaki City, Miyazaki Prefecture
Access: 10-minute walk from JR Kano Station

- www.furaiken.co.jp (Japanese)

18. Menfu Vagabond — Aburi Char Siu Tsukemen (Kagoshima City)

This restaurant is distinctive for its sweetish dipping soup, which is made from blended seafood, fragrant with the flavor of small, dried sardines. The aroma of the char siu and the seafood-based soup create an unexpected harmony. Other ramen varieties are also available.

Address: 12-27 Yamashita-cho, Kagoshima City, Kagoshima Prefecture
Access: Two-minute walk from Shiyakusho-mae tram stop

- tabelog.com (Japanese)

19. Ramen Kokinta — Tonkotsu Ramen (Kagoshima City)

This restaurant serves tonkotsu ramen with well-braised char siu and straight, thin noodles that have a delightful texture. Even though it’s sliced thinly, the char siu is moist and juicy, melting in your mouth when you eat it. If you're not feeling too hungry, smaller portions are also available.

Address: 11-5 Tenokuchi-cho, Kagoshima, Kagoshima Prefecture
Access: Seven-minute walk from the Temmonkan-dori or Koto Chugakko-mae tram stops

- www.kokinta.com (Japanese)

20. Satsuma Shimuja (Kagoshima Chuo Station West Exit Branch) — Satsuma Ramen (Kagoshima City)

The tonkotsu soup at this ramen shop is creamy but leaves a refreshing aftertaste, with a flavor that’s easy to get hooked on. The noodles are medium-thick, curly chijire noodles paired with chewy char siu. You'll wonder how long it's been since you've had something this good!

Address: 2-21-23 Nishida, Kagoshima City, Kagoshima Prefecture
Access: One-minute walk from Kagoshima Chuo Station

- shimuja.com (Japanese)

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