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Ichiran Ramen – A Unique Dining Experience in Tokyo

Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden
Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden

My last weekend in Tokyo didn’t end with a bang…it was more of a quiet goodbye. I wanted to remember how at peace I felt here, and not cram a bunch of activities into my last few days. But I did make an effort to finally head over to Shinjuku Gyoen National Gardens (Gorgeous!)…and then topped off the day with one heck of an experience at Ichiran Ramen! I’ll first tell/show my experience at Ichiran Ramen, and then I’ll end the post with a photo gallery of Shinjuku Gyoen.

Ichiran Ramen

Ichiran Ramen
Ichiran Ramen

I ate a lot of ramen in Tokyo…but I can’t say I ate at every single ramen shop in the city. So, for the sake of argument, I won’t say this is “the best ramen” in the city…but it was pretty darn good, in my opinion. And the experience of eating here was certainly memorable!

Ichiran Ramen Individual Dining Booths
Ichiran Ramen individual dining booths.

Ichiran is a ramen franchise in Japan that serves amazing tonkotsu ramen. Ichiran is especially unique because the dining setup here limits your interaction with those around you, so you can concentrate on the flavor of the ramen. You are seated in an individual booth (pictured above) and the only interaction you have with any waitstaff is when they direct you to your table and ask you to fill out a form about your ramen preferences (how soft do you want your noodles, how spicy, how much garlic, etc.).

Ichiran Ramen
You first make your ramen selection at a vending machine.

And like most ramen places in Japan, you first make your selection from a vending machine and then hand the ticket to the waiter. And then…you wait patiently for your ramen! Also, if you wanted extra noodles, tea, beer, etc. there was a little piece of paper you could fill out and then buzz for a waiter to come by and take your paper and money. You can’t actually see the waitstaff, though, as they only open up the little curtain on your table, just enough to give you your food or beverage! (And you had your own water faucet in your booth…so drink all the water you want!)

Ichiran Ramen
How you communicate any additional requests with the waitstaff.

Tonkotsu Ramen is made from pork bones, which are boiled for hours, and create a creamy, white liquid. And Ichiran also has its own dry red sauce they put in their ramen – it was so good! The perfect amount of spicy for me!

Ichiran Ramen
My ramen! Yum!

There are several Ichiran locations in Tokyo, the one I went to was in Shinjuku…because it was within walking distance of Shinjuku Gyoen. This was a really fun experience for me, and the ramen was delicious! Again, I have no idea what “the best” ramen in Tokyo is (it was always good, in my opinion)…but Ichiran Ramen was certainly a fun place to try out. Click here to check out their website.

Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden

Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden is a great big park with gorgeous gardens, and it’s a short walk from Ichiran Ramen. You have to pay a few dollars to get in, but it’s worth it! It’s very tranquil, beautiful and clean…and it has some really good Pokemon hunting, haha.

Shinjuku Gyoen originated during the Edo Period (1603-1867) as a feudal lord’s Tokyo residence. It was almost completely destroyed during World War II, but it was rebuilt and then reopened as a public park in 1949. It is said to be especially beautiful in the spring when the cherry blossoms are in bloom. (You can click on the photos in the gallery below to make them full-sized.)

And while this is technically the last “travel” post I have from Tokyo (and my last outfit post from Tokyo can be found here), I do have one more random post about Tokyo that I will share on Wednesday. I’m going to be talking about what surprised me the most about Tokyo as an American, and showing photos and descriptions of these random differences between the countries!

I will also be sticking with the 3 posts a week format for right now (Monday, Wednesday, Friday)…my current WiFi situation in Sydney is a bit spotty, so I don’t want to over-commit to daily posting again, just yet. (Who knew decent WiFi was so hard to come by in Sydney?!)

What do you guys think about Ichiran Ramen? Do you like the idea of individual booths for dining? And how does Shinjuku Gyoen compare to parks in your country? (Do you ever have to pay to enter them?) Let me know in the comments!

a unique ramen experience in tokyo, japan Ichiran Ramen
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  1. Joanna Joy says:

    The photos from this park are so beautiful and clean. I bet the air is so fresh and clean too.
    I love tonkotsu ramen,especially spicy tonkotsu ramen. It is my favorite. However, I don’t like the idea of individual dividers when dining because I enjoy more social interaction when dining with friends or family. What did you think about that?


    1. haveclotheswilltravel says:

      Thank you, Joanna! And oh yes, I agree. When I’m with friends and family the dividers wouldn’t work the best. But if I’m alone…or just on a mission to get some food (like I was at that time), I actually kind of liked the dividers. 🙂

  2. Beautiful photos – sounds like a great send-off <3

    -Clarissa @ The View From Here

    1. haveclotheswilltravel says:

      Thank you, Clarissa! 🙂

  3. Amanda Brezovsky says:

    The gardens are beautiful and the dining is actually pretty interesting. I’ve never seen anything like that with individual boots all around and you don’t even see the waiters. I like how the water is right there for you at your little table. Very convenient!


    1. haveclotheswilltravel says:

      I thought so too! It was quite the experience! And I loved having the water right there…I drink a ton of water, so that was very convenient! 🙂

  4. The ramen looks good. I don’t like the idea of individual booths. I like to chat with the people I’m going out with.

    1. haveclotheswilltravel says:

      Oh yes, if I’m with a group of people the individual booths would not be fun. But if I’m going for the purpose of just getting food (which was the case when I went), I actually kind of like it. It was a rather relaxing and nice to just take a break from people and concentrate on some yummy ramen. 🙂

  5. denisesplanet says:

    I am eager to read about what impressed you in Tokyo, as an American. Ichiran sounds great, although I don’t eat meat (so, the sauce/clear liquid from pork bones), but I am impressed because of the curtains (just to give food, enough space for it 🙂 and how you want the noodles (softer, etc). I loved to read about the ramen, because I eat ramen at least 3 times a week and I simply love ramen. And everywhere I go I look for shops that sell ramen. One day I will tell you what ramen has to do with me (and family) 🙂 I loved the gardens! I have a mosnter migraine today, so I will skip further comments, soooorry, Lindsey! But waiting for the next post!

    1. haveclotheswilltravel says:

      Thank you, Denise! I’m glad you enjoyed the post! Oooh yummy, that’s great that you are able to eat ramen so often! It’s so good! I’m looking forward to hearing your story! 🙂 I hope you feel better soon.

  6. Laurie Duncan says:

    I’m really intrigued by ramen, they have a bunch of ramen restaurants opening up in the Twin Cities, but I haven’t tried one yet. I’ve only ever paid to get into National and State parks. Hope your wifi situation improves! 🙂

    1. haveclotheswilltravel says:

      Oooh definitely give one a try! It’s so good! I’m thinking I’m going to have to hunt down a ramen restaurant tonight, haha. And thank you so much, Laurie! 🙂

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