Ramen in Japan doesn’t mean the same thing it does in North America. These soulful bowls of noodles are lovingly made by masters of their craft, and are a far cry from the instant stuff students subsist on!
Ramen in Kyoto: nattawit.sree / Shutterstock.com
Like most major cities in Japan, Kyoto takes its ramen seriously. Competition is stiff, and you’ll find many tasty, affordable ramen joints dotted around the city. The procedure at ramen shops in Kyoto is the same as most stores around the country. You’ll purchase tickets from a vending machine at the entrance, and hand them to the staff. Expect to pay an average of JPY800–JPY1100 for a bowl of ramen. The more expensive the bowl, the more toppings you’ll get.
Kyoto’s cuisine is associated with elegance and refinement, so it often comes as a surprise to many that the predominant ramen style in town leans towards rich, fatty broths. But, you’ll find that most of Japan’s regional ramen styles are represented in Kyoto. Whether you’re craving fatty, hearty, meaty tonkotsu styles or more refined, lighter soups, there’s something for every ramen lover in town. Our list of ramen shops will have you covered for all your noodle needs when you’re visiting Kyoto.
- Ippudo (Downtown Kyoto; budget)
Ippudo Ramen is our favorite ramen joint in all of Kyoto. The soup and noodles are sublime and the accompanying dumplings crispy and delicious.
- Karako (Northern Higashiyama; budget)
For a hearty bowl of ramen noodles in the Okazaki Museum District, Karako is the obvious choice.
- Ramen Muraji (Southern Higashiyama; budget)
For a surprisingly good bowl of ramen in relaxing surroundings in the heart of Gion, you can’t go wrong with Muraji. But be prepared to wait unless you go off peak.
- Inoichi (Downtown Kyoto; budget)
For a great bowl of ramen right downtown, duck into this wonderful 10-seat joint.
- No Name Ramen (Downtown Kyoto; budget)
This ultra-hip ramen joint might seem gimmicky at first, but one taste of the ramen and you’ll know that it’s the real deal.
- Towzen (Central Kyoto; budget)
If you’ve always avoided ramen because you’re vegetarian or vegan, you no longer have to worry. Towzen serves up one of Kyoto’s most delicious bowls of soy milk ramen, and it’s completely vegan!
- river ramen (Downtown Kyoto; budget)
This sleek, chic ramen restaurant tucked away in Kyoto’s backstreets serves a phenomenal chicken yuzu ramen. The best time to hit up river ramen? On a cold, rainy weeknight, when everyone else stays home.
- Kobushi Ramen (Kyoto Station; budget)
If you need a quick meal when exploring the Umekoji-koen Park area, this excellent ramen restaurant is a great choice.
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Kyoto Vacation Checklist
- For all the essentials in a brief overview, see my First Time In Kyoto guide
- Check Kyoto accommodation availability on Booking.com - usually you can reserve a room with no upfront payment. Pay when you check out. Free cancellations too.
- Need tips on where to stay? See my one page guide Where To Stay In Kyoto
- See my comprehensive Packing List For Japan
- Buy a data-only SIM card online for collection when you arrive at Kansai International Airport (for Osaka and Kyoto) or Tokyo's Narita Airport. Or rent an unlimited data pocket wifi router.
- Compare Japan flight prices and timings to find the best deals
- If you're visiting more than one city, save a ton of money with a Japan Rail Pass - here's my explanation of why it's worth it
- A prepaid Icoca card makes travelling around Kyoto easy - here's how.
- Get travel insurance for Japan - we recommend World Nomads (and here's why)