It started with a toe problem. Tokyo is a city best seen on foot, getting around around on the JR train and subway lines. There is usually quite a bit of walking involved. I am convinced that people stay slender and healthy in spite of the amazing culinary offerings because of the walking requirements here.
The average person with a narrow/wrong shoe issue causing toe injury might simply change shoes. Ike, however, horrified at the prospect of a misshapen toe, demanded rectification in the form of a visit to an orthopedic shoe shop. This led us to the quaint neighborhood of Ogikubo – also known as ‘Ramen Town’. The famous shops here were featured in famous 1985 Japanese movie, Tampopo タンポポ by director Junzo Itami.
There is a huge concentration of Ramen shops in this suburban part of Tokyo’s Suginami ward. I hear the ramen in this area are all quite well rated. Our attention, however, was focused squarely on Harukiya 春木屋.
Coming out of the Ogikubo station, I enjoyed the comparatively sparser environment. Turning onto the street Harukiya was supposed to be on, we saw a long line before we saw the actual shop and knew our destination was near.
Harukiya opened its doors in 1949 and is one of the oldest ramen shops in Tokyo today. The original owner used to be a soba chef but switched to ramen after the war, selling authentic, shoyu ramen with handmade noodles.
Old black and white photos of their history hanging on the walls of this small shop.
Finally after a half hour wait, we were near the entrance and placed our order before entering :
Chuka Soba 800 yen (their signature)
Wontonmen 1200 yen (ramen with wontons, most popular)
Harukiya Ramen in Ogikubo
The broth, people have said over and over, is balanced. How the heck does one balance broth? (I always wondered.) Foodies, explain?? Well, it was very flavorful without being overwhelmingly thick or salty, I could taste the – I guess that’s balanced. Like you could keep going and not get sick of it.
Their noodles lived up to the hype and the texture was firm and elastic.
“Koshi ga aru,” Ike said, “meaning, the noodles got back bone.” (Another Japanese Foodie slang??) But I was too busy slurping to ask.
The wontons were most skin and very silky, meat portion was small, but this combination was surprisingly enjoyable. I am usually very *very* fussy about wontons (and not a big fan) but I stole so many of these from Ike.
Add on ingredients like Ajitsuki Tamago (Marinated Egg), Negi (Spring Onion)and Menma cost 100 yen each.
Harukiya, like most such ramen shops, accept neither reservations nor credit cards, but was relatively easy to find!
Tokyo Ramen seekers, go for it here:
1-4-6 Kamiogi, Suginami-ku, Tokyo
Nearest train station: JR & Tokyo Metro Ogikubo (2 min walk)
Website: http://www.haruki-ya.co.jp/ (Japanese only)
Open: Daily 11am – 9pm
Wait, what happened to that hurting toe? Or was this trip a ploy just to eat Ogikubo Ramen? Nah, we got to the shoe shop, but not before I had my turn at checking out another traditional yummy staple this hood had to offer here – Tokyo Hunts : Ogikubo – Traditional Sweets