In Japan, most ramen is made using chicken or pork as a base. However, there are numerous shops that specialize in gyokai （魚介）or seafood broth. Although, normally a seafood base broth isn’t too radical, we wanted to try to find a few shops that use ingredients from the sea in a more unusual manner. We know that it can be hard to navigate the menus in Japan sometimes, so we decided to compile a list of some of the more unique seafood using ramen shops in the Tokyo area.
Saichi Ramen (Kinshicho)
This ramen shop specializes in making ramen out of oysters. This shop starts with making the broth out of the tasty little shelled suckers to really boost the umami goodness of the sea. The process used to cook the ramen impressively gives enough natural msg that they don’t need to add any additional chemical ajinomoto flavoring.
This ramen is creamy oyster goodness with the added chopped seaweed dissolving into the broth as the meal goes on you’ll be in an underwater paradise eating at Saichi. Even though the bowl comes with a slab of chashu, the oyster is the real star at this restaurant. We recommend ordering some additional oysters as an appetizer to really get the full experience of this joint.
If you want to read more about the Japanoods experience at Saichi then follow this link: https://japanoods.com/dangerously-good-oyster-ramen-in-kinshicho-at-saichi/
Ayu Ramen (Futako-Tamagawa)
Ayu is one fish that I never really had much back when I was in America, but in Japan, you see it everywhere during festivals. Eating grilled ayu is one of my favorite foods to eat during the summer and luckily at Ayu Ramen you can enjoy this fish year-round.
If you’re wondering what kind of flavor ayu has just know that its English namesake is “sweetfish.” The name comes from how soft and plump the fish flesh is, but at Ayu Ramen this fish is grilled to perfection.
If you want to save some money they serve a smaller bowl with select cuts of the fish for under 1000 yen, but if you want the full experience we recommend getting the ayu-goto ramen which comes with a full grilled ayu for your enjoyment. Whichever bowl you choose, is topped with a sprig of tade, a traditional plant served with ayu.
This location may seem a bit random for most Tokyo travelers, but it makes sense that this small local spot is known for its ayu. Considering its proximity to the Tama river, this is an area that used to be abundant with the small fish in the past. If you’re looking for an authentic Japanese ramen experience, slurping noodles in a classy off-beaten spot with locals then you need to stop by this ramen shop.
Menya Maishi (Ginza)
This shop specializes in a sea bream broth, which is a great fish to make a ramen soup out of. The shop is in sort of a legendary location where Ramen Kagari used to be a really popping tori-paitan or chicken broth restaurant. This shop is all about seafood though, which makes sense because they are owned by the same people who run Nihombashi Maishi a popular sushi restaurant in Tokyo.
The shop has a clear fish base broth, but the real appeal is the toppings they offer here. You can order ramen with shirasu, shrimp tempura, oysters, fried fish, scallops, or even chashu if you want something a little more traditional. The real reason most people stop by here is to eat some of their legendary uni ramen, which comes with three different varieties of locally caught sea urchin.
The normal ramen starts at a reasonable price of about 1000 yen, but if you want to get the full experience it’ll set you back about 2500 yen. Considering how expensive uni can get in a sushi restaurant, it may not be a bad deal, but it’s definitely more expensive than your average bowl of ramen. If you love uni or want to splurge on a classy bowl of ramen while you’re shopping in Ginza, we definitely recommend stopping by this shop to taste how delicate ramen can be with fine dining ingredients.
Ramen Nagi (Shinjuku —Golden Gai, Various Locations)
If you ever talk to anyone who knows ramen, you know sooner or later the name Nagi will come up into the conversation. This shop is named after “the wave” that the shop owner wants to create within the ramen world. Judging from all of the different locations and the fact that the shop is now world-wide having expanded a few new locations in the USA, the Philippines, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Taiwan.
Although the U.S. locations may be a bit different, Ramen Nagi is famous for its niboshi (dried sardine) ramen. They use over 20 different kinds of sardines for their recipe. Some people claim that Ramen Nagi is the best spot for niboshi ramen and the fact it spread so quickly worldwide is only a testament to the complexity of the flavor of its noodles.
Despite it being a fish base broth, the soup at Nagi is thick and really rich standing toe-to-toe against any tonkotsu broth in terms of richness. One great thing about Nagi is the fact that they use a flatter noodle to accentuate the dish instead of just sticking with the normal chukamen style noodles of most shops. It almost tastes like they added a strip of kishimen noodles, which are my favorite noodles in Japan.
If you do go to Nagi, we recommend stopping at the original location in Shinjuku’s Golden Gai. The line is by an alleyway and there are a ton of cute cats hanging around the area, so you’ll feel entertained albeit a little cramped while you wait. But if you make it out to that area for drinks there’s no better place to get the authentic Japanese late-night ramen experience than here.
Onisoba Fujiya Premium (Shibuya)
Onisoba Fujiya Premium is quite the name and it only follows that the ramen at this shop would be just as extravagant. This shop has been making rounds around town and its known for its lobster miso ramen. The shop is run by a celebrity impersonator named Hey! Taku-chan who decided to trade fame for noodles.
The broth at this shop is made out of miso, lobster, shrimp and amaebi (which is basically just a really sweet shrimp found in Japan). The chef also adds butter, which is also commonly found in Hokkaido ramen, another place famous for seafood. It’s unclear whether the butter is used within the broth or just for cooking the delicious whole lobster that is placed on the outer rim of every bowl.
Yeah, you heard that correctly. At this shop with each bowl of ramen you can get a whole lobster and unlike the ramen at Maishi, this bowl is made for even the most budget-conscious traveler.
One bowl will set you back about 1000 yen, which is ridiculously cheap considering you’re getting a whole lobster with a slice of some chashu and noodles. It really makes me wonder where Hey! Taku-chan has been hiding all of those lobsters.