After breakfast the next morning, we started off the day by exploring the Hamarikyu Gardens (浜離宮恩賜庭園) directly across from the Conrad. After checking out the majority of the garden, we made our way towards Zojoji Temple (増上寺), and the Tokyo Tower (東京タワー). In the afternoon, I stopped by a coffee shop called Blue Bottle Coffee Aoyama Cafe (ブルーボトルコーヒー青山カフェ) for an energy refill, and then made our way towards Omotesando Station (表参道駅).
With a cup of coffee in my hand, we walked from Omotesando northwest towards Yoyogi Park and the Meiji Shrine. After spending a few hours in the park, we walked towards Shibuya to check out the famous crossing.
It’s around 17:00 (5:00pm) and we have not had any food since breakfast at 9:00am. After walking around Shibuya and checking out the Tokyu Food Show, we were starving. Since we still have not had any ramen yet this trip, I quickly located the nearest ramen place: Ichiran (一蘭)!
Finding it was sort of difficult because it’s located in the basement of another building. However, with some good directions from reviewers online, we found it directly across from the Modi building. The line was not long, but we did wait for a good 30 minutes. As you enter, there are two machines where you are suppose to pick what ramen, toppings, etc, that you want. You walk up to the machines, insert your money first (very important, because we just kept pushing buttons and thought it was broken), then pick what you want. A meal ticket is printed out, in which you take with you to your seat. During the wait, you will fill out a form of how you want your ramen, and also have an extra form to order kae-dama if you wish. Kae-dama (替え玉) is the system of ordering extra noodles if you are not full.
For me, I went with a regular bowl of ramen with medium-firm noodles. Of course, I didn’t know what I was doing at the machine, so I missed out on extra toppings, but that’s what I had kae-dama for!
First bite of noodles, chashu, and soup was very delicious. The noodles were medium-firm as I wanted, and I do love thin noodles. I can only compare to what I have had in Texas and New York, and I’d have to say the soup from Ichiran was better. I have had ramen in Texas where the soup base was a bit salty. I have also tried one ramen place in Paris, France and that soup was particularly salty. The chashu was soft and flavorful as well. This meal at Ichiran would set my standard of ramen for the rest of the trip, and it had set the bar pretty high.
After a hearty meal that covered both lunch and dinner, we went back out to roam Shibuya as the sun disappeared in the horizon and the city lights flipped on.
一蘭 – Ichiran: http://www.ichiran.co.jp/english/html/kt_shibuya.html
For a complete map of all locations featured in this blog, please follow this link: The Grand Appétit Map