Ichiran Ramen in Fukuoka
Learn About and Eat Japan’s Most Famous Ramen Brand at Its Birth Place
Say ramen and Japan in a single sentence and Ichiran Ramen will most likely be the first thing that comes to mind. Almost a synonym to Japan as Mount Fuji is, Ichiran Ramen is one of the most famous Tonkotsu (pork-based soup) ramen restaurants found all across the country. Known for their single seating, polling booth-like arrangements, consistently delicious standards of ramen with the option to customise the ramen to your liking, it is no surprise Ichiran outlets in Japan and even abroad often command long queues around the clock.
If you are a big fan of Ichiran Ramen, then Fukuoka should definitely be high up on your next Japanese destination. Fukuoka is well-known for being the birth place of Hakata ramen and also where Ichiran Ramen first started. From its massive headquarters in Nakasu to the unique bowls at specific outlets, going to Ichiran Ramen in Fukuoka elevates itself from more than just an eating experience to one of a culinary and cultural adventure.
To kick off this ramen pilgrimage, where else better to start than the first Ichiran outlet ever at Nanokawa. Located close to a bus stop and a train station, the Nanokawa outlet is actually quite easy to reach and even easier to spot. It is located in a simple old building cladded in brown timber that looks like a blast from the past. The nostalgic would find slurping on a bowl of ramen at the place where it all started a beautiful experience.
Next up, take a stroll around Nakasu and keep an eye out for the attention-grabbing 10-storey building that is Ichiran’s headquarters. The first two floors make up the restaurant with its signature ticketing machine waiting to greet customers. The first floor offers a unique Yatai-style seating as well as delicious pan-fried dumplings that are not available at other outlets. At best, come in the evening to see the lanterns outside light up.
About a 40-minute drive from the city is Ichiran no Mori where Ichiran has opened its manufacturing plant, museum and restaurant all-in-one location in the countryside of Itoshima. Set amidst a forest of bamboos and serene music playing as you head up the pathway, Ichiran no Mori was opened in July 2014 for all fans of the brand. Here you can learn about its history and many other fun tonkotsu ramen facts. This manufacturing factory is also where components that make up Ichiran’s delicious bowl of ramen are carefully curated, tested for quality, and shipped out to the entire country. From 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., you can see for yourself how the noodles are made. The recipe for its broth however is only for the knowledge of the CEO of Ichiran and three artisans. After slurping down a bowl of ramen at the onsite restaurant, walk it off in the souvenir shop where you can buy Ichiran no Mori exclusive products.
Like a bonus round of an adventure game for ramen lovers, Fukuoka has three Ichiran outlets that serves up the iconic ramen in two unique bowl designs exclusive to those particular outlets. First is the pentagon-shaped bowl only found at Ichiran Dazaifu Sando, just a stone’s throw away from Dazaifu Tenmangu shrine. As many students visit the shrine to pray to the deity of scholarship, Ichiran has stated that they want to support them with its good luck theme at this outlet. Finally, Ichiran fans should have no trouble looking for the two outlets in the city center that exclusively serve their ramen in a box-style bowl. The bento-inspired bowls can only be found at the easily accessible Canal City and Tenjin outlets.
Be it just to pop it for a convenient bowl of delicious ramen or to really experience a culinary journey, Ichiran in Fukuoka promises more than just a simple treat for your tastebuds with its historical background so deeply embedded in the prefecture.