Noodling about: Nagoya’s Ramen Discoveries

ByBert Wishart
Jan 13, 2022

Noodling about: Nagoya’s Ramen Discoveries

When I first came to Japan, I answered the standard “what Japanese food do you like?” question with “I absolutely love ramen!” I wasn’t sure why I was typically met with a look of disappointment, as if I had let them down in some way. It took me a few months to realize that Japanese consider ramen not a dish of their own creation, but instead of Chinese extraction, hence the spelling of the word ラーメン [ramen] in katakana, the alphabet of loan words. However, as it uses Chinese-style wheat noodles, ramen is actually a Japanese dish, and here in Nagoya, you can find some fantastic restaurants that serve up fantastic bowls of steaming noodle soup. Here are just a few of them.


Misen isn’t strictly a ramen restaurant, as it does a wide array of excellent Taiwanese dishes at their three venues in Meieki, Yabacho, and Imaike. However, their Taiwan ramen is a local institution (don’t let the name fool you, this dish is as Nagoya as Ichiro and red miso).

Ground pork, Chinese chives, green onions, and bean sprouts are seasoned with hot red peppers and other spices, fried, and placed on boiled ramen noodles in a soy sauce-based soup. The profuse use of garlic is another characteristic of this ramen that is a must for spicy food lovers. It comes in three spice levels, with ‘American’ being the weakest, ‘Italian’ the spiciest, and original Taiwan in the middle. While I love spicy food, I’d recommend avoiding the Italian as a lot of the flavor is lost in searching for fire.

Hongo Tei

Hongo Tei was the place that first ignited my love for ramen. Tucked away behind Bic Camera on the Shinkansen side of Nagoya station, Hongo Tei is two stories of amazing ramen. There are various flavors to choose from, which you do through a ticket vending machine.

I’d recommend going at lunchtime when, as well as your massive bowl of ramen (and it is huge) filled with great big slabs of chashu pork, half an egg, and perfectly done noodles, there are also free pickles, rice, and kimchi. If you’re feeling particularly glutenous, gyoza are a good accompaniment. If you can stomach it all…

  • Where: 5-12 Tsubakicho, Nakamura Ward (map)


If you are looking for ramen that is a bit out of the ordinary, something a bit extravagant, you should give Shishimaru a try. Located equidistant between Nagoya Station and Kamejima, Shishimaru is a casual drop-in restaurant with counter seating, but what it lacks in dining comfort, it more than makes up for in taste, because here you luxuriate in their rich lobster-broth ramen.

The broth itself is a light, aerated and frothy cream, a style known as espuma, while the noodles are made in-house with Japanese flour and Okinawa salt. It is highly recommended also to get the zeitakumori, which comes with roast beef, stewed beef, an egg, and a side dish.

Ichiran Ramen

Ichiran Ramen is one of the best-known ramen restaurants in Japan, but with good reason. With one Forbes contributor calling it the best ramen in the world, it comes as no surprise that there is generally a queue outside the Sakae branch of this national chain.

One of the great things about Ichiran is that you can really customize your dish. Want strong flavor but only a little richness? You’ve got it. How about extra friend pork but no garlic? That’s fine too. Just circle your options on your preference sheet, and you’ll get your ramen just as you like it. Or you can even experiment to find a new combination to blow your mind!

Menya Hanabi

While the Misen mentioned above is perhaps the best-known place for Taiwan Ramen, Menya Hanabi took this well-loved dish and revolutionized it, in doing so becoming the first shop to serve Taiwan Mazesoba.

Taiwan Mazesoba tastes almost exactly like Taiwan Ramen but is, in fact, soup-less. With thick-cut noodles served with spicy meat, raw egg yolk, and negi onion, it packs a punch right at the bottom where all the extra spice hides. Another great place famous for its Taiwan Mazesoba is Anzutei in Meieki.


When national TV shows come to Nagoya to sample the local ramen, Josui is where they head. They use a combination of chicken and mackerel as their broth base, creating a salty clear soup.

The prices range from 700 JPY for the regular shoyu or shio broth – the latter of which is the most popular – or 950 JPY for ramen ‘with the lot.’ There are huge slabs of chashu pork that go well with the deliciously sweet bamboo, and there are over 30 styles of ramen to choose from, coming from all over the country. Check out this article by JIS’s favorite Chris Glenn for a full review.

Yokohama Kakei Ramen Ume Oni

While the name is a bit of a mouthful, it is pretty fitting because the ramen is very much also that way inclined. Following the traditional kakei style, the noodles are of medium thickness and cut lengthwise, and the broth is sumptuous, made from boiled pork bones, trotters, and choice vegetables.

Added to this is a homemade soy sauce, created with a secret recipe and lashings of thick chashu pork dipped in a special sauce made in-house. But that’s not all, because there are three sizes, from regular to large to huge. Also, want a bit of piquancy? Just ask, and the chef will spice it right up for you!

  • Where: 2 Chome-42-7 Meieki, Nakamura Ward, Nagoya (map)
  • Contact: 052-526-5808

Image by ayustety (Own work) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via (modified)
Image by darren elliott (Own work) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via (modified)
Image by Keegan Berry (Own work) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via (modified)
Image by 炭素 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via (modified)
Image by Chris Glenn, via (modified)
Images by Mark Guthrie (Own Work)

About the author

Bert Wishart editor

Novelist, copywriter and graduate from the most prestigious university in Sunderland, Bert whiles away his precious time on this Earth by writing about popular culture, travel, food and pretty much anything else that is likely to win him the Pulitzer he desperately craves.

Leave a Reply