In Kyoto’s ramen world, a “ramen shop without a name” is currently in the limelight. These ramen shops really do not have names or signs, but they are not secretive stores, and you can find a lot of information about them on TV and food logs, including the store’s location, recommended menu, and word-of-mouth.
Relying on those information, one evening I visited “Ramen shop without a name” located in Kiyamachi Sanjo. This store is in the same family as Menya Takakura Nijo and Wajo Ryomen Sugari, both of which have recently taken the Kyoto market by storm. Located on the basement floor of a commercial building, there are no signs or lines of customers, so the first time you go there, you may wonder, “Is this really the right place? You will probably get lost in the crowd. However, after hesitating for a while on the street, one after another, accustomed customers go down to the basement and open the door of the restaurant…
Ramen shop without a name｜The ultimate hideout with no signboard or signage… Stylish not only for ramen, but for your entire stay!
Upon opening the door, you will find yourself in a modern space with brightly arranged concrete flooring and greenery. Hip-hop and other trendy music plays in the background, and in the kitchen in the back, three young men dressed in casual clothes are running the restaurant.
In such an uncharacteristic space for a ramen shop, there are only 12 seats at the counter for customers. There is enough space for more seating, but the restaurant uses more than half of it for spatial presentation.
And there is a waiting area for customers on the opposite side of the kitchen (this is the reason why there is no line outside the restaurant)… benches are placed in a lower position, looking up at the kitchen and the audience. During the waiting time, you can look at the kitchen as if you were watching a stage, and when your turn comes, you can go up on the stage and play the main cast…what a neat staging, isn’t it?
Customize Your Ramen to Your Taste from Three Types
At Ramen hop without a name, you place your order using the automatic ticket vending machine at the rear of the restaurant in the form of customizing your ramen to your liking. Customization is completed in the following three steps…
Step 1: Select Ramen Style
On the first screen, you choose one of three menu items: Ramen, Tsukemen, or Curry Tsukemen. It is like deciding the style of ramen you want to order. In this case, I chose the regular “Ramen”.
Step 2: Select soup consistency
On the next screen, select the density of the ramen soup from three choices. In order from lightest to thickest…
- “Light”, extracted only from chicken thighs
- “Layered,” a well-balanced blend of thick and light soups
- “Thick” made by slowly simmering chicken bones.
The “Thick” was selected this time.
Step 3: Select the amount of noodles and toppings
On the last screen, select the amount of noodles and toppings. You can choose either “Normal” or “Large (+100 yen)” amount of noodles, and three types of toppings: “Motsubo”, “Chashu”, and “Kuroge Wagyu”. The price depends on this combination, but if you do not choose the Japanese black beef, the price will be under 1,000 yen. In this case, I chose the “Chashu pork, large portion”. Present the ticket at the counter and wait for the dish to be ready.
Juso Ramen：Chicken and seafood broth in a well-balanced, thick soup
Now, here’s how my customized “Juso Ramen” Large size with Chashu pork on top was ready in about 10 minutes after I took my seat…
At a glance, the volume seems small, although it is a large portion. There are blackish grains kneaded into the noodles, which appear to be crushed burdock root. On top of this are vegetables such as green onions and cherry tomatoes, and two pieces of pink-colored chashu pork. The contrast between the cloudy soup, the red of the pork and cherry tomatoes, and the green of the vegetables is magnificent.
Now, let’s eat…but where are the chopsticks? The “ramen shop with no name” was created with not only the ramen, but the entire space of the restaurant in mind. Perhaps to spoil the aesthetic impression, nothing superfluous is placed on the counter.
So where are the chopsticks, seasonings, and other necessities? Stylish, isn’t it?
Taking the chopsticks out of the drawer, let’s eat… The soup is not all chicken, but a rich and well-balanced broth with a good amount of seafood broth as well. I feel a slight roughness on my tongue, is it because of the fishmeal in it?
The noodles, on the other hand, are medium-thick and straight with high water content. The noodles have a pleasant wheat aroma as well as a sticky texture and a slippery feel.
Here is the item I mentioned earlier that changes the flavor…four kinds of seasonings: iichimi, shichimi, sansho, and garam masala. They are stored in a long, thin silver container, and the proper amount can be sprinkled by knocking on the button on the head like a mechanical pencil.
After finishing about half of the dish, I tried changing the flavor by sprinkling sansho in the bowl. The combination of ramen and sansho that I got hooked on at Kishimoto Yanagizo Ramen…powdered sansho goes perfectly with the rich chicken and seafood broth. The rich chicken and seafood broth is quickly combined with the refreshing flavor of sansho, which tightens up the taste and accelerates the chopstick action. Although the volume of the dish was small, I finished it all at once and headed home fully satisfied.
A large typhoon hits Japan… Aiming for a day with few customers to eat tsukemen with thick soup and motsu
Our second visit to the nameless ramen restaurant was on a stormy day when a large typhoon hit western Japan. On days like this, the number of customers is sure to be fewer and the waiting time is shorter, no matter how good the restaurant is, so I often aim for such days to visit popular restaurants.
Sure enough, when I arrived at the restaurant, there were only two customers inside. Moreover, they looked like they had already finished eating, and it looked like my order would go through quickly.
The question was what to order… I decided not to order the Juso soup and ramen I ordered last time. So, it would be either tsukemen or curry tsukemen, and the soup would be either light or thick. I had curry tsukemen at Takakura Nijo the other day… I am tempted by the light soup, which is not available at the affiliated restaurants, but the light soup in tsukemen somehow lacks impact. After much deliberation, I decided to give up on the light broth this time and have tsukemen with a thick broth this time. The price was exactly 1000 yen for 2.5 bowls of noodle and toppings of pork.
I put my meal ticket on the counter and my tsukemen was ready in about 5 minutes…
Like the Takakura Nijo, the soup is heated in a stove-top bowl and has roasted roasted motsu (small fish balls) floating in the broth. In addition, the core of a Chinese cabbage was also in the soup. I was surprised and surprised.
The soup is a chicken broth with the same strong seafood flavor as the layered soup. The roughness of the soup was a little stronger than that of the layered soup, but the thicker soup was not as thick as the layered soup. It is thick enough to drink as it is, but you can also enjoy it by adding hot water to the soup when you finish eating the noodles.
The noodles are medium-thick, straight noodles with high water content, which are as smooth as ever. They scoop up the thick soup and bring it to your mouth.
And then there is the burner-roasted pork chops. The plump, fatty surface is charred and fragrant, further accentuating the addictive flavor of the pork chops. It has a presence that does not lose to the strength of the broth in the thick soup, making you want to eat as many pieces as you can. Personally, I definitely prefer this to chashu pork.
Even without a store sign, the presence of this ramen shop is outstanding… Access to Ramen shop without a name is a 2-minute walk from the nearest station, Kyoto City Subway Kyoto Shiyakusho Mae Station!
Now, here are the details of the restaurant…
Address: B1F CEO Kiyamachi Building, 534-31 Emisu-cho, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto
Phone number: Not disclosed
Business hours: 11:30-14:50 LO, 18:00-21:50 LO (last order at 20:50 on weekends and holidays)
Closed: Year-end and New Year holidays (12/31-1/3)
Parking: No parking lot
Credit card payment: Not accepted (meal ticket system)
It is also easily accessible from Sanjo Keihan Station, a 5-minute walk across the Sanjo Ohashi Bridge. To get there from the direction of Kyoto Station, take Kyoto City Bus No. 5 bound for Iwakura Yushirojo-mae, get off at Kawaramachi Sanjo bus stop, and walk 2 minutes.
P.S. If you are looking for delicious ramen in Kyoto, please stop by this article below…