Honmarutei: Tasty Shio-Ramen

In the heart of Yokohama’s Motomachi

By Tomoko Kamishima    - 3 min read

There are huge numbers of ramen shops in Japan. After Meiji (about 150 years ago) the Yokohama port was opened and many foreign goods were imported. Ramen was one of them. The original noodle dish originated in China but the Japanese have played with it for the last 100 years, eventually developing their own the original taste. Now ramen is recognized as a Japanese food.

There are three basic types of ramen: Shoyu (soy sauce) Miso (soy bean paste), and Shio (salt). The toppings are different from shop to shop but Chashu (slices of roast pork) and Negi (chopped spring onion) are the most common. They say, “So many men, so many minds,” but I think, “So many Japanese, so many ramen.” When I chat with my friends about ramen, and even my closest friend recommends her favorite ramen shop, I might not agree with her at all. So, I hope you will have a chance to taste a few kinds of ramen with your own tongue during your stay in Japan. I wonder which will be your favorite!

Today I would like to introduce a really nice Shio-ramen shop (This is my opinion!) in Motomachi. The shop’s name is Honmarutei (本丸亭). In the various food-ranking blogs here in Japan, Honmarutei always gets many good comments and high scores. They serve only Shio-ramen (850yen) and a few side dishes. But their taste is unique.

Their menu is written by hand in Japanese, but you can ask to see their special photo menu. If you are a person who really loves hot chilly pepper, the red Shio-ramen (900yen) might be the dish for you. But please be careful: It's really, really HOT! Their Shio soup is not salty at all but has quite a delicate, complicated and deep taste. This soup is definitely worth trying. The noodles are curly and finely mixed in with the soup.  

If your stomach has enough space, I recommend Tori-zanmai (鶏三昧1000yen) with Yaki-Gyoza (焼きぎょうざ5 pieces/450yen). Tori-zanmai includes a few chicken balls in the Shio-ramen. Yaki-Gyoza is prepared like this; chopped meat and finely cut vegetables are wrapped in thin wheat flour sheets and then grilled with sesame oil. The outside of the Yaki-Gyoza is savory and crunchy, but inside it is moist and juicy. Don’t forget to put soy sauce on your Yaki-Gyoza before you eat.

By the way, I hope you are an expert at using chopsticks. But if you are a bit less confident with them, don’t hesitate to bring a fork with you.

This shop is open from 11am to 3pm and 5pm to 10pm. After strolling along the Motomachi shopping street, if you feel a bit hungry, please try shio-ramen at Honmarutei. I bet you will enjoy their simple, deep taste!

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Tomoko Kamishima

Tomoko Kamishima @tomoko.kamishima

Japan is a small island nation, but we have a huge number of surprising things to discover here. Many of these delights can be found when you step off the main street onto small side paths. I really enjoy studying about and researching various aspects of traditional Japanese culture, and then sharing this information with visitors to Japan. I hope you will enjoy it, too! ARTICLE INDEX & PHOTOS:  An index of most of my Japan Travel articles can be found at the entry page of my blog, and my photos are shown here.  日本はとても小さな国ですが、大通りから一本小道に入ればたくさんの発見があります。日本人が積み重ねてきた歴史を学びながら、古い建物や庭を訪ね、物語の舞台となった景色を眺めて、皆様といっしょに日本文化の奥深さを探求していきたいと思います。

Join the discussion

Wouter Thielen 9 years ago
barrylouie, I am no expert either, but when I got introduced to Yokohama ramen by a friend, I was told that the Yokohama flavor is a mix of tonkotsu+shoyu. That time, I went to Ippachiya actually.
Barry Louie 9 years ago
In Yokohama, it seems there is a ramen shop on every city block and street corner. Although I'm no expert on Yokohama ramen, my favorite shop is Sugita-ya near JR Shin-sugita station. Tonkotsu soup and handmade noodles. I order with extra seaweed and say no to the fresh, chopped garlic.
Wouter Thielen 9 years ago
I love shio-ramen (and tonkotsu ramen). Now I am curious what you meant with "their taste is unique". One way to find out is to go there and try it, next time I am in Yokohama!