Kagari (篝) is a famous ramen shop located on the backstreets of Ginza in an unassuming alleyway – a far cry from Ginza's luxury quarter around the corner. This cozy, culinary gem in its secluded location is only betrayed by the long line of customers spilling out into the street, waiting to try their famed creamy chicken ramen, or Tori Paitan.
Frequently making shortlists for one of Tokyo's best ramen shops, Kagari is as intimate a ramen experience as they come. With only 8 seats tucked around the small U-shaped counter, the interior more closely resembles a high-end sushi bar, with chefs in full view plying their trade.
Kagari serves two main kinds of ramen: Tori Paitan Soba, which is a rich chicken based soup ramen, and Niboshi Shoyu Soba, whose broth is produced with sardines and soy sauce. Their signature dish is undoubtedly the tori paitan (from ¥950), with the chicken broth densely packed and full of flavour, supported by toppings of sliced chicken and seasonal vegetables. The tori paitan soba comes accompanied with small servings of fried garlic and grated ginger, allowing you to customise to taste and/or experiment somewhat with the different flavours.
The vegetable toppings vary throughout the year, but otherwise included tomato, asparagus and watercress on my visit – clearly experimental additions in a ramen world, but which offered a good balance and shows the attention to detail that is taken in preparing each dish. I opted for an additional aji-tama, or seasoned soft-boiled egg, beautifully cut in two and helping complete what was an excellent bowl of ramen already.
A selection of tsukemen (dipping noodle) dishes completes the menu, which is helpfully available in English too.