House made soba on a rainy day in Kyoto at SOBANOMI YOSHIMURA πŸ‡―πŸ‡΅

It was the 29th of October and it was my birthday. To celebrate I wanted to go sightseeing in Kyoto wearing a kimono, so first order of the day was to go to Yumeyukata to rent one.

It was lunch time by the time Jan and I finished getting dressed up and we were hungry. Jan said he thought he saw a Yoshinoya chain store just down the road on our way to the rental shop so we were going to head there next.

Unfortunately, it was pouring with rain by the time we got out of Yumeyukata. We ended up finding shelter at the very first food place we came across while walking and it was this — SOBANOMI YOSHIMURA.

The inside of the restaurant had a traditional yet elegant feel to it and the thought that we might have gone somewhere that’ll blow our budget did cross my mind… my worries would be put to rest later on.

The staff greeted us warmly and brought us to the second floor to be seated.

I’ve just recently read that there can be a wait time of up to 15 minutes to eat here, but maybe because it was raining that day there weren’t as many customers so we were accommodated straight away despite us not having a reservation.

I ordered the shrimp soba (Y1,204) and Jan ordered the tempura rice bowl (Y1,343). Although not exactly cheap, we found the price to be okay. Converted to New Zealand Dollars, it’s about 16-18 NZD per meal. Considering that we normally spend at least 20 NZD (mostly even more) when eating out in Wellington, this wasn’t really bad in comparison.

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The soba noodles are made from scratch — On the first floor of the restaurant, you can see them being made by the soba chefs through a clear glass window. The whole process is pretty interesting to watch.

I made the mistake of ordering cold soba noodles instead of having something warm — not exactly the best choice on a rainy autumn day, but the whole dish was pretty tasty so nothing to complain about really. Still, I think I would enjoy this even more on a hot and sunny summer day. As for Jan, he was well pleased with his order.

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The quintissential old-Japan look of the place was also something we delighted in. Dining here felt like being transported back in time… and with us dressed the way we were, it just made the whole experience more enjoyable and memorable.

To Summarize:

  • Did we like the food? βœ”
  • Was the overall ambience of the place good? βœ”
  • Was the price worth it for the food that we had? βœ”
  • Were the staff friendly? βœ”
  • Did we have a good time? βœ”
  • English speaking staff and english menu available? βœ”
  • Will we recommend this place to other people? βœ”
  • Are we eating here again? Most definitely πŸ‘

Seriously Good Ramen at Ichiran.

After exploring the Imperial Palace East Gardens that morning, next on our list was to visit Harajuku — the Tokyo district in Shibuya internationally known for its Japanese youth culture and fashion.

But first, we needed to grab some lunch.

A quick google search showed a list of top food places within the Harajuku area, one of them was Ichiran. They served ramen, which sounded like a good idea (RAMEN IS ALWAYS A GOOD IDEA!) so Ichiran ended up being our choice.

The restaurant was located on the second floor of a building near Omotesando Street. When we reached the top of the stairs, we saw the ticket machine outside the door but were not really sure what to do with it or if we even needed to do anything with it at all.

Were we meant to order from the machine first or do we just go in? Maybe the machine was for people wanting to buy Ramen for takeout? We were stumped.

There was a group of people standing behind us at the time, so what we did was make them go ahead of us so we can observe what they were going to do. Haha!

Apparently, we were meant to choose our orders from the machine first in order to get a ticket for our orders. There were different ramen choices/sizes/combos to pick from. We selected the ones we wanted, got our tickets, then proceeded to go inside.

Once we got in, one of the lady staff greeted us and started talking to us in Japanese — (I think because we’re Asian they automatically assume we’re fluent with the language. Hehe.) After politely saying we didn’t understand, she then started talking to us in English and then handed us a piece of paper to fill up for later.

After that, all we needed to do was to wait to be seated. It didn’t take long. Ramen restaurants generally have a fast turnover of customers because people just eat and go. We were also quite lucky that day as there wasn’t a long line of people at the time waiting to eat… so after just a few minutes, the lady was already ushering us to our seats.

Jan and I each had our own little cubicle to sit in with a small window/opening — from what we know, the reason behind this is so that each customer can thoroughly savor and enjoy their ramen without any bother from anyone else.

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We had two pieces of paper to fill up before handing over our order to the staff. The first one, (photo above) was the paper we got given earlier. Here, we were to choose our preferences for how we wanted our ramen to be made.

This is the main reason why I loved eating in Ichiran… because we were able to “customize” our Ramen just the way we liked it!

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The second paper was the Extras Order Sheet where we got to select the things we wanted to add. Things ordered from here had extra charge and had to be payed for by cash as soon as we handed over the paper to the staff.

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Once we were done with filling up the papers, we pressed the green button that was on top the table and gave the servers on the other side of the window our tickets, order forms, extras order sheets and money.

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It didn’t take long for our orders to arrive. Once we got our food, the servers closed the windows of our cubicles so that we can enjoy our Ramen without any distractions.

His: medium flavour strength and richness with medium noodle texture; with green onions, sliced pork, no red sauce and a little garlic with extra order of simmered pork belly with dried seaweed.

Hers: medium flavour strength and richness and medium noodle texture; with green onions, sliced pork, 1/2 red sauce and a little garlic. Also ordered simmered pork belly with dried seaweed as an extra.

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THE FOOD WAS AMAZING!

I’m usually teased by my friends because I normally can’t finish whatever I order… Well, that definitely was NOT the case this time around! I loved the food so much that it didn’t even take me long to finish all of it! Haha!

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Also had a little bit of room (more like FORCEFULLY MADE ROOM) for this Matcha Almond Pudding with Green Tea Sauce dessert.

Our bellies were aching from being so full by the end of the meal. Haha!

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The happy face says it all. We thoroughly enjoyed our Ramen experience in Ichiran and definitely recommend it to other Ramen lovers out there.