Searching for the best ramen in Nagoya? In this article we give you 5 recommendations of ramen that you must try when being in Nagoya.
Even if there are now many very good and authentic ramen restaurants in Germany in cities like Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Munich or Berlin, nothing beats the variation and quality of the ramen served in Japan. Standard dishes in perfection, local specialties or specialties of a single store, all this can be found in Japan in many cities.
Among our 5 recommendations are:
- Tsukmen Honmaru
- Karamiso Ramen Fukurou
- Dandanmenya Tenbin
- Niku Soba Keisuke
- Ramen Mazesoba Arashi
So if you are in Nagoya as a tourist or on business, we recommend a visit to one of these restaurants.
The city of Nagoya
Nagoya is centrally located on the main island of Honshu between Tokyo and Osaka and is connected to the Shinkansen. Nozomi trains also stop here.
At least before the pandemic, the Central Japan International Airport just outside Nagoya was served directly by European airlines. This will certainly be the case again with increasing travel and the opening of Japan.
Touristically certainly not as well known as other cities, Nagoya nevertheless offers tourist and culinary highlights and is worth a stay. The highlights are certainly red miso and miso katsu, a breaded pork with red miso sauce. We will discuss other local specialties in more detail elsewhere. In this article we focus on ramen.
Taiwan Ramen and Taiwan Mazesoba
A Nagoya original when it comes to ramen are the so-called Taiwan Ramen. These have nothing to do with Taiwan. So are characterized by hot and spicy minced meat as a topping. The Taiwan Ramen itself is a typical ramen, i.e. a noodle soup. In the restaurant “Hanabi” an extremely delicious variation, the so-called Taiwan Mazesoba, was invented. Mazesoba are ramen without soup, only with sauce (tare). The ingredients are all arranged sorted in a bowl, but not mixed. To start, you can taste everything individually before mixing everything. This mixing is called “maze” in Japanese.
So these Taiwan Mazesoba are made with the same ingredients as Taiwan Ramen, but without the soup. In addition, there is a visual as well as taste highlight on top: a raw egg yolk.
For me, these Taiwan Mazesoba are perhaps the best ramen dish I have eaten in Japan so far. In the meantime, they can also be found in other cities in Japan, but the best ones are in Nagoya. Besides the inventor, the restaurant “Hanabi”, they are also served in other restaurants.
Below are some of our favorite restaurants for Taiwan Mazesoba and other ramen in Nagoya.
A guide to 5 must taste Ramen in Nagoya
The restaurants featured here are all located in central Nagoya in the Sakae and Nagoya Station neighborhoods. We visited all of them in the summer of 2022.
Best Ramen in Nagoya #1 – Tsumeken Honmaru
These are the best Taiwan Mazesoba in Nagoya in our opinion. The restaurant is called Tsukemen Honmaru and is located in the middle of Sakae. As the name suggests, it specializes in tsukemen, or noodles and soup separately. But the macesoba are also simply delicious. The ingredients of Taiwan Mazesoba are: Spicy ground beef, onion, a kind of chives, bean sprouts, fresh garlic (Optional), garlic chips and nori. Plus the yellow of a raw egg. The noodles are hidden underneath and mixed with the tare (sauce). The order button for these on the machine is labeled “本丸台湾まぜそば” (Honmaru Taiwan Mazesoba) and they cost 800 yen (August 2022).
The restaurant itself is quite small and has only single counter seats. Just a traditional ramen restaurant for a quick but extremely tasty meal.
Best Ramen in Nagoya #2 – Karamiso Ramen Fukurou
Also in the heart of Sakae is the “Karamiso Ramen Fukurou” restaurant. Their specialty is as the name suggests “Karamiso”. The Japanese word “Kara” means “spicy”. When ordering, you can choose the level of spiciness. This goes from 0 to 6, with level 2 being the staff’s recommendation on the first visit. The red paste at the top of the bowl in the picture is the “Karamiso”. We opted for level 2. This was spicy, but not too much so. So still good to eat and extremely tasty. There is both a ramen, or noodle soup, and a macesoba versions. We had ordered the macesoba for 920 yen (August 2022).
The restaurant itself looks fairly new, and is bright and chic. It is within walking distance of Sakae subway station.
Best Ramen in Nagoya # 3 – Dandanmenya Tenbin
Another specialty we found in Nagoya. Tan Tan Men are actually noodles in a spicy soup. At Dandanmenya Tenbin there is again a variant without soup. The dish focuses entirely on the taste and quality of only a few ingredients. The crispy roasted beans are especially delicious. As a bonus, there is a small dessert for free. The spiciness level can be chosen. For the first try, a medium level is recommended.
The restaurant is close to Shinsakae station. It can be reached on foot or by subway from Sakae.
Best Ramen in Nagoya # 4 – Niku Soba Keisuke
The restaurant “Niku Soba Keisuke” is located next to Nagoya’s main train station in the basement of the Dai Nagoya Building. It can be reached directly underground from the station. The Dai Nagoya Building has been completely rebuilt. There are many restaurants in the basement, all new and beautiful. The location makes it a good place to visit before leaving or after arriving in Nagoya. The Japanese word “Niku” means meat. “Soba” actually stands for special buckwheat noodles but is often used for noodles in general.
Meat is really the program here. Especially if you choose the extra meat garnish like we did. Orders are placed here at the vending machine. For the dish in the picture, you first choose “肉そば醬油” (Niku Soba Shoyu), soy sauce-based ramen for 880 yen…. In addition, the “スペシャルトッピング” (Special Topping), so extra meat for 500 yen. What you get then is a wonderful bowl full of meat and noodles in a delicious, strong and dark brown soup.
Best Ramen in Nagoya #5 – Ramen Mazesoba Arashi
And one more Mazesoba recommendation. Right behind Nagoya Station is “Ramen Mazesoba Arashi”. Even though they also serve the famous Taiwan Mazesoba, we opted for their “house style” Mazesoba during our visit. Garlic and hot spices can be found as toppings. Those who don’t like this should pay attention when ordering. A nice mix of toppings, delicious noodles in fantastic sauce.
Since the restaurant is within walking distance of Nagoya Station, it is recommended to visit after arrival or before departure or even after a day of shopping.
Kanban no Mazesoba （看板のまぜそば）950 yen.
Accommodation in Nagoya
Nagoya is home to many of the typical Japanese business hotels. These are characterized by little space but comfort, good location, cleanliness and reasonable price. If you want to stay centrally, the area around the main station and Sakae are recommended. At the station, however, you have to pay attention to the side. Direction Sakae is good, the back side rather not recommended. I usually prefer one of the hotels near the Sakae subway station and the TV tower. From this station you are very mobile and can reach any destination quickly with two different subways as well as the Meitetsu line. In addition, there are many shopping opportunities and restaurants right outside the door.
Those traveling with children will have a bit of a hard time finding good places to stay in Japan. The business hotels are really only designed for sleeping and offer little space for children. As a family, an apartment via AirBnb is therefore recommended.
What else is there to see in Nagoya
Nagoya may not be the first place for tourists. However, it still offers many highlights and shows a Japan with fewer tourists than, for example, Kyoto. The area around Nagoya is mainly characterized by industry around the car manufacturer Toyota.
In the city of Nagoya there is the possibility to visit a factory of the car manufacturer. Reservations are necessary, but a visit is very worthwhile.
Near the main station of Nagoya you will find a museum that deals with the history of Toyota. Especially the origins with automated sewing machines are surprising and interesting.
The station itself is also an attraction. It is the largest station in the world in terms of area. This is due to the fact that the JR Towers were built on top of the station. Two high-rise towers with more than 50 floors. Since they are part of the station, their area is counted on each floor.
Nagoya Castle is one of the most magnificent in Japan. It is completely renovated and contains a museum. It is located in the middle of a large park, the Meijo Koen, which is especially inviting for a visit and a picnic during the cherry blossom season.
If you want to see a traditional Japanese castle, the best place to go is Inuyama. This smaller town outside Nagoya offers one of the most beautiful castles in Japan on a small mountain with a wonderful view.