Ramen Street, Tokyo Station location
Tokyo Skytree location
It had been 3 whole days in the land of ramen and a slurp of noodles had yet to pass these lips. It felt criminal. It felt like I let the Michelin guide get the better of me. It was high time I get down to some more unpretentious eats. I had a good number of ramen places I wanted to hit up and I started with Rokurinsha, famous for its tsukemen ramen. It’s location on Tokyo Station’s “Ramen Street” gave me the illusion of an easy central location. Central is accurate. Easy is not. The ONLY times we ever got lost in Japan was when we were in the train stations. Everywhere else, Google Maps was precise and on point, but the GPS signal died in those multilevel sprawling behemoths of food, shopping, and transportation. The stations are the pulsating life centers of the city and they will swallow you whole. We spent a frustrating amount of time trying to find this famed mecca for ramen fiends. Had I done my research, I would have discovered that it was near the Yaesu South exit, and saved myself a lot of time.
More like a “ramen hallway”
At last we found Rokurinsha, and to our delight, without the reported hour long wait.
Take note of the tri-hexagonal logo. That was my only way of identifying the place since there was no English signage.
Our first experience ordering ramen through a machine. It was a little nerve wracking at first.
Our view of the kitchen from our seats.
The noodles arrive ice cold accompanied by piping hot broth. The noodles are the thickest, chewiest ramen noodles I have ever tried. They were reminiscent of udon noodles in a way. I loved the heft and thought, “How am I ever going to finish this giant bowl of noodles?”
We tried one with the addition of special shredded pork, buta hogushi. That’s the sinking blob between the fish cake and seaweed. It didn’t add that much, but it only cost $1 extra.
And without. I’ve had tsukemen 2 other times, and never has the broth been so AMAZINGLY FLAVORFUL. Like this was CRAZY FIREWORKS in my mouth! It was really one of the tastiest things I’ve eaten in my life. There were strong fish notes here, which I wasn’t expecting because I expected just straight pork. They actually use a combination of pork bones, chicken bones, and fish (dried baby sardines, mackerel, and bonito) to create an utteryly delectable bowl of umami insanity. The broth is fairly concentrated, thick, and heavy. It’s not for slurping alone because it can lean salty.
The cold noodles did bring down the temperature of the hot broth, which was a bit of a nuisance. I think its supposed to be more refreshing eating tsukemen, so it is best eaten in Summer. I did not struggle to finish the whole bowl of noodles by myself, but I was really full at the end. I really wish Rokurinsha would make the great leap and open up a branch in America. Writing about this meal makes me want a bowl of tsukemen right now. Tsujita in LA may come the closest to replicating a tasty bowl of tsukemen, but it does not have nearly the same bold umami flavors as Rokurinsha. If you like your ramen delicate and light, DO NOT come here. For everyone else…
9 – Awesome
8 – Very good
7 – Good
6 – OK
5 – Average
4 – Not bad
3 – Not good
2 – Terrible
1 – Do NOT eat here