- The “best” ramen is different for everyone
- Here are some recommendations to discover new ramen in Shinjuku
Table of contents
I often get asked where the “best” places to eat ramen in Tokyo are. I find this question impossible to answer effectively.
Because the best is different for everyone.
What I may love you might hate, and vice-versa. So here’s what I’m going to do. This article will be a bit of a living document.
I’ll post amazing, hand-picked ramen shops for you to try — and you can determine if the ramen is your best — and I’ll add more as I complete the research and find new shops worthy.
In this article, I’ll focus on the Shinjuku area. Originally I was going to write about Tokyo overall, but there are too many shops to pile into one article. In the future, I’ll craft a guide to find delicious ramen shops in other areas of Tokyo.
I’ll also focus on the area immediately nearby the train station so you can easily get there without needing a taxi, bus, or driving yourself.
Before we get started, if you’re interested in learning all about ramen in Japan — and I do mean all — check out my guide “What Is Ramen? Everything You Need To Know About Ramen In Japan.”
Alright, let’s get started. First up is this super busy, teeny-tiny, little ramen shop I’m sure you’d walk right past if you didn’t know it was there.
Fuuunji is a ramen/tsukemen shop about a 7-10 minute walk from the Shinjuku station.
Here is a link to open Google Maps with walking directions already setup. I will provide a link to walking directions for every place.
There also is no parking if you choose to drive here. You’ll have to find a nearby paid parking lot.
Hours and Cost
Fuuunji is open for lunch and dinner: 1100-1500 and 1700-2100. It closes a bit earlier than most ramen shops so keep that in mind.
Expect to spend about ¥1,000 per person and they do not accept credit cards — bring cash. They use the standard ramen ticket machine.
The craziest thing about this place is the size. It’s teeny tiny — counter seating only. And the people waiting will often line up behind the people eating… sort of hovering.
You know if people are hovering then it must be good right? It’s weird having people standing behind you waiting while you eat… but it’s worth it.
You have to check this place out, but I wouldn’t plan on bringing a large group here.
If you want to see lots of photos and more details, I found Fuuunji on Tabelog for you.
Menyakaijin is about a 4-5 minute walk from the South exit of Shinjuku station. The walk is interesting as the route appears to loop back over itself due to the structure of the Shinjuku station.
No parking lot here either, the best way to get here is by train and walking from the station.
Hours and Cost
Menyakaijin is open for lunch and dinner: 1100-1500 and 1630-2330. Notice it is open quite late, unlike Fuuunji above.
Expect to spend about ¥1,000 per person here as well — and bring cash, they don’t accept credit cards.
Menyakaijin is primarily counter seating, but they do have a couple of tiny tables that seat 4 (four Japanese people). It’s a little place — which is a common theme you’ll find in many downtown Tokyo shops in crowded areas like Shinjuku.
The color of the room is much lighter than Fuunji. It feels larger without being significantly larger.
There are a lot of paper signs hanging on the walls — signatures of Japanese celebrities who have visited the shop — as well as specials and recommended menu items.
It gives the place a down-home feel — as if it’s a place run by a good friend.
Ramen Tatsunoya (ラーメン 龍の家)
Tatsunoya is a 10-12 minute walk from the Shinjuku station. It’s a little further away than the previous two shops but is a straightforward walk.
Of course, as is usual with crowded downtown shops, there is no parking here.
Hours and Cost
Tatsunoya is open from 1100-2330 so you can eat here if you missed lunch and can’t wait for dinner.
It’s a bit more expensive on average, look at between ¥1,000-¥2,000 per person — and as usual, bring cash. They don’t accept credit cards.
The carved wood sign and earthy exterior are welcoming. The interior feels classic with a yellow and red theme.
Space is limited with mostly counter seating, but they do have a tiny corner with two tables. One for four people, the other for just two people.
You get the sense this place has seen a lot of traffic. While it is well kept, the floor appears to be worn and the walls marred.
Here is Tatsunoya on Tabelog where you can see lots of photos and learn more.
Bankara is a tonkotsu ramen shop about a 6-8 minute walk from Shinjuku station. No parking here either, I definitely recommend you take the train here — or you’ll have to find nearby paid parking.
Hours and Cost
Bankara is open 7 days a week from 1100-0800 the next day — yes, it is open nearly 24 hours.
Expect to spend between ¥1,000-¥2,000 per person but guess what — they do accept credit cards here — but it appears only JCB and American Express (weird, I know).
The atmosphere here is really nice. From the cobblestone floor to the traditionally carved wood accents. The earthy, woody feel is a fantastic match for the tonkotsu aroma.
One thing to keep in mind here though. After 1700 they do have a sectioned off smoking area. You may smell some smoke.
Being a late-night type of place they do serve alcohol as well. Well, most ramen shops will serve beer, but Bankara has cocktails and wine as well.
Here’s Bankara on Tabelog where you can find lots photos and more.
Takahashi is a shio ramen shop about an 8-10 minute walk from the Shinjuku station. As you have come to expect from these downtown shops, there is no parking here either.
Hours and Cost
Takahashi is open from 1100 to 0500 the next day so it’s a great place for a late night bowl of ramen if you missed dinner.
Expect to spend about ¥1000 per person. They don’t accept credit cards so bring cash — they use the standard ramen ticket machine.
The atmosphere at Takahashi is very nice. The place feels new and well-maintained. The use of wood crafting and the patterns on the walls are appealing.
Plus they use traditional handcrafted looking ramen bowls too — adding to the appeal.
You can discover more about Takahashi here on Tabelog.
Ramen Ouka (らーめん桜花)
Ouka is a bit further than the other ramen shops in this article. It’s about a 15-20 minute walk from the Shinjuku station. And as you can guess, there is no parking here either.
Hours and Cost
Ouka also has some complex hours. Monday to Thursday they’re open for lunch and dinner: 1230-1500 and 1800-2200.
Then they’re closed Fridays. Opening for Saturday and Sunday 1230-2200.
Expect to spend between ¥1,000-¥2,000 per person. Finally, a ramen shop that does accept standard credit cards too — Visa, MasterCard, and American Express.
Probably the most notable thing to say about Ouka is that they offer vegetarian and halal options. If your diet preferences require this, Ouka is one of the few ramen restaurants you can enjoy.
The atmosphere here is quite nice. It’s darker than most ramen shops. The dark brown walls with warm lighting. The cherrywood counter and stainless steel kitchen.
Here’s Ouka on Tabelog for pictures and more.
Manrai (らあめん 満来)
Manrai is a ramen shop about a 6-8 minute walk from the Shinjuku station. Of course it no parking lot of its own, but there are nearby parking lots in the neighborhood.
Hours and Cost
Manrai has very simple hours, especially compared to Ouka. They’re open 1100-2300 every day.
Expect to spend between ¥1,000-¥2,000 per person. Bring cash, they don’t accept credit cards and they use an old-fashioned ramen ticket machine — with no English.
Manrai is a well-kept, clean, and very Japanese looking ramen shop. It’s not a dive place where it feels ancient even though it opened in 1961. — and doesn’t allow smoking at all.
I mentioned it opened in 1961, but it did close and for moves and renovations to re-opened again in 2008.
Oh, and a fun touch is the sink in the bathroom looks like a big ramen bowl.
Here is Manrai on Tabelog for more info and lots of photos.
No, not the end.
As I mentioned in the intro, this will be a living document. As I discover more ramen shops in the Shinjuku station area worth discussing I’ll add them to this page.
For now, enjoy the ramen. Maybe one of these shops in the Shinjuku station area will be your new “best” ramen.
If you’ve been somewhere I haven’t discussed, please let me know about it. I’d love to check it out. I set up a form where you can pass me the details.
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