There are numerous theories about the birthplace of ramen, and here’s one: A century ago, this port city Yokohama is where Japan’s first ramen shop opened. 19th-century Chinese traders brought with them a noodle dish and somehow, the locals of Yokohama built on this recipe to make it their own.

If this theory turns out to be true, ramen fans all over the world owe Yokohama a lot. Though nowadays ramen is served all over Japan, it is quite nostalgic to enjoy a ramen bowl in a place rumored to be where it all started. If you do decide to go on a ramen hunt in this city, be sure to include any of these 10 best ramen shops. You are in for a fantastic noodle experience, no doubt about it.

1. Ramen Mu (らぁめん夢)

Any ramen aficionado would know better than to judge a ramen shop by the looks of its store. Ramen Mu’s 7-seater counter dining space is as no-frills as it can get, but when it comes to the eating part, it is quite interesting. Unlike most traditional ramen joints where bowls are served ready-to-eat, here, some tinkering to the recipe is highly encouraged. Aside from the choice of toppings, each shoyu-based bowl is served with lemon juice, sugar, and a syringe of dried sardine oil. These seasonings are provided so that diners can adjust the taste of the broth to their liking. If you’re the type to be burdened by such a set-up, then this place is not for you. Otherwise, feel free to experiment to get your desired taste.

Address: 1-21 Futatsuyacho, Kanagawa-ku, Yokohama, Kanagawa

Price: ~ ¥999

Website: https://twitter.com/_mu_2014 (Japanese only)

2. Ramen Suehiroya (ラーメン 末廣家)

These days, practically each region in Japan has its own signature style for serving ramen. For Yokohama, its trademark is the Iekei or “house-type” ramen characterized by its fat-rich shoyu base, thick and flat noodles, and generous toppings of roast pork slices, seaweed, and spinach. Among the best places to sample this particular ramen tradition is Ramen Suehiroya. The shop owner was trained at Yoshimuraya – the ramen restaurant where the Iekei-style originated. Though successful at carving its own success in the local ramen scene, Ramen Suehiroya stays true to the classic way of preparing an Iekei bowl.

Address: 1-14-7 Rokukakubashi, Kanagawa-ku, Yokohama, Kanagawa

Price: ~ ¥999

Website: https://twitter.com/2525_2929 (Japanese only)

3. Ikkouya (一酵や)

For some creative ramen, head to Ikkouya. This restaurant tries to go beyond ramen stereotypes from their store ambiance to their ramen recipes. Expect to find here rather luxurious ingredients such as Oyama chicken and Iwakuni pig. Do watch out for limited offerings that vary per season. Toppings and spirits are likewise listed on the menu to complement their noodle offerings.

Address: 10-7 Hamamatsucho, Nishi-ku, Yokohama, Kanagawa

Price: ~ ¥999

Website: https://tabelog.com/en/kanagawa/A1401/A140301/14044352 (Japanese only)

4. Hechikan (丿貫)

In a predominantly shoyu ramen heaven like Yokohama, ramen shops like Hechikan is a welcome change. Those more inclined to slurp on briny broth can delight in Hechikan’s famous Niboshi ramen. They serve it with quail eggs, and deli sliced rare pork.

Address: 2-4 Fukutomicho Nakadori, Naka-ku, Yokohama, Kanagawa

Price: ~ ¥999

Website: https://tabelog.com/en/kanagawa/A1401/A140104/14062435 (Japanese only)

5. Yoshimuraya (吉村家)

If Yokohama was the birthplace of ramen, Yoshimuraya is the birthplace of Iekei ramen – the representative ramen of Yokohama. Taste the said ramen style in its original and most delicious form; one that is heavy on the pork bone shoyu soup and filled with thick noodles and other toppings. Upon order, you can further customize your bowl. Specify the strength of taste, the amount of fat, and the noodle texture to suit your preference.

Address: 2-12-6 Minamisaiwai, Nishi-ku, Yokohama, Kanagawa

Price: ¥1,000 ~ ¥1,999

Website: http://ieke1.com (Japanese only)

6. Shimomae Shoten (下前商店)

Shimomae Shoten innovates by combining two favorites into one bowl: ramen and Japanese curry. This secluded restaurant is famous for its Curry Ramen – a perfectly balanced soup of chicken-based broth, curry, and spring onions, topped with delicious meat and noodles. It is a unique ramen experience definitely worth going out of the way for. You can also order curry rice, wonton, and barbecued pork.

Address: 1-54-1 Motomachi Naka-ku, Yokohama, Kanagawa

Price: ~ ¥999

Website: https://tabelog.com/en/kanagawa/A1401/A140105/14011334/ (Japanese only)

7. Kuriyama (くり山)

Though many ramen shops in Yokohama also serve Tsukemen, not too many stores actually have it as their specialty. Luckily, there’s Kuriyama – the best place to go in the city if you’re craving for dipping noodles. The soup here is very thick and heavy on fish essence instead of the usual pork bone broth served in most shops. It is then countered by the store’s chewy handmade noodles resulting in a perfect balance of flavors.

Address: 1-17-29 Rokukakubashi, Kanagawa-ku, Yokohama, Kanagawa

Price: ¥1,000 ~ ¥1,999

Website: https://tabelog.com/en/kanagawa/A1401/A140205/14012001/ (Japanese only)

8. Shina Sobaya Honten (支那そばや本店)

Shina Sobaya Honten is the brainchild of a popular Japanese chef, the late Minoru Sano. He was called the “Ramen Devil” and his signature creation is one that uses more than 30 ingredients to achieve a harmonious bowl of simple yet flavorful ramen dish. The most accessible branch is located inside the popular tourist attraction Shin-Yokohama Ramen Museum. But if you can, it is highly recommended to visit their main branch in Totsuka to enjoy this special ramen in a very atmospheric dining space.

Address: 4081-1 Totsukacho, Totsuka-ku, Kanagawa

Price: ~ ¥999

Website: https://tabelog.com/en/kanagawa/A1401/A140305/14014445/ (Japanese only)

9. Trick (鶏喰)

Trick is a standout not just in Yokohama’s ramen scene, but also in the whole of Kanagawa. Since opening in 2012, it has consistently ranked in Japanese review site Tabelog’s Top 50 list of ramen shops in all of Japan, making it among the highest-rated ramen shops from the region. The signature dish is the Tori no Shoyu Ramen, which is a soy sauce and chicken broth based ramen. The Tokusei version comes with a fully loaded set of toppings like char siu (roast pork), roast beef, chicken meat ball, as well as chicken wonton and Ajitama (seasoned boiled egg). Trick’s success is not surprising as it serves one of the most inventive bowls around. With just a sip of its delicately flavored broth, you will understand the hype around this unique ramen restaurant.

Address: 4-20 Yoshinocho, Minami-ku, Yokohama, Kanagawa

Price: ¥1,000 ~ ¥1,999

Website: https://twitter.com/cestcool1976 (Japanese only)

10. Ishin Shoten (維新商店)

Ishin Shoten is one of the best ramen shops you can find near Yokohama Station. Their bowls are one of the best because they use fresh handmade noodles – an uncommon practice in the industry. The Special Wanton Shoyu Ramen is the most popular item on the menu. However, their Shio (salt-based) versions are likewise checking out. They serve these with yuzu, a citrus-like fruit. This results in an interesting combination of salty and sour flavors.

Address: 2-10-21 Kitasaiwai, Nishi-ku, Yokohama, Kanagama

Price: ~ ¥999

Website: https://twitter.com/ishinyokohama (Japanese only)

All price information in this article is as of January 2017.

Thumbnail image is from Flickr.