My third day in Osaka started with me walking around Dotonbori, trying to find a ramen place. If there is one Japanese food that I absolutely love, it is ramen. It doesn’t matter how warm the weather is. I would gladly slurp up noodles and broth in an instant. I had several ramen bowls in Japan, not just in this place but in several ones I saw as I walked around. I was there at the beginning of Autum. The weather was cooler. Ramen weather. It kept me warm and it was something familiar and delicious and oh so comforting.
The particular place that I looked for that day intrigued me, partly because of very good reviews about the taste of the ramen, partly because of the concept of the place. As with a lot of ramen places in Japan, once you enter the establishment, you are greeted by a vending machine, where you select your order. I don’t have pictures of this. Every time, I was in Ichiran, there was always a line. It’s not a long line, mind you. Turn over rate is pretty quick. I’ll explain why later.
After you’ve selected your order and paid for it and have your order tickets, you are led to an open seat. The seat is one in a long counter that is separated by wooden partitions. The idea is that you will be focused only on your own bowl of ramen and not be distracted by anyone else’s. I liked this concept. Since I was traveling Japan on my own, and usually had my ramen meals by myself, I didn’t mind not having to chat with anyone while I ate.
When you get to your seat, you can personalize your ramen using a slip of paper. Think the order slips that they have in Ramen Nagi. It’s similar to that. After you’ve done all that, you give the ticket and the piece of paper to the person at the other side of the booth. You don’t really see them by the way, just their middles and their hands.
After they’ve prepared your order, they slide it thru the partition, wish you a good meal, and close the curtain. You are left to savor this yummy concoction in front of you.
The reason I say that the turnover is quick is because it is. Except for the few tourists I stumbled across who started the meal with a quick picture (guilty as charged), the locals seemed to just enjoy their bowl in relative silence and then leave very quickly after they finished their meal. In fact, the only sounds I heard on my side of the counter were usually the sound of noodles and broth being slurped quite eagerly and some people blowing their noses into tissues because of the runny noses caused by the hot, delicious broth.
I’m no food blogger, or food critic, so I’m not going to attempt to review the ramen in so many ways. I would just like to say that it’s really, really good—the broth, the noodles, the meat. There’s a reason I went back to this place several times—I visited the Dotonbori branch twice, and the Shibuya branch three times—during my 15 day stay in Japan. I think this is my favorite ramen place so far.