Experience Nagi in Golden Gai

Far from your mainstream ramen

By Ilona Lin    - 2 min read

Nagi Golden Gai is a Tokyo-based chain of restaurants, with several branches overseas in Taiwan, Philippines, and Hong Kong. Nagi is famous for it's rich and thick sardine-based broth.

To me, the most interesting part of the experience was searching for this secretive location. The restaurant is located on a small alleyway which is quite tricky to find; follow by tiny and steep stairs. At the top, you will find yourself at a small and narrow joint. The interior is oddly configured and carefully arranged in a way that accommodates as many customers as possible. Inside, you can find eight seats in front of the kitchen counter, which allow you to enjoy the whole process of your ramen being made. Like all the other fast food restaurants in Japan, customers order via a vending machine to attain a ticket (“食卷 or Shokken in Japanese), and the staff will take it from there.

I found the Niboshi Ramen outstanding for the price (¥1,000) and generous in its serving size. The ramen is topped with sliced pork, shredded green onions and slightly seasoned sardines which add spice to the flavour of the bowl. The broth is luxuriously thick and mouth-wateringly rich with more than twenty types of Japanese dried infant sardines (“niboshi" or 煮干し) that were carefully selected from all over Japan. However, it does not give off a distinctively strong scent of fish, which allows customers to enjoy the broth.

With eight locations conveniently situated in and around Tokyo, including Shinjuku (featured here), Nishi Shinjuku, Okubo, Gotanda, Shibuya, and Omiya, a delicious meal is always within reach. For the Shinjuku branch, get off at Shinjuku station, head north, and take two crosswalks which will take around ten minutes. You will then find yourself at a small alleyway. From there, it is not difficult to locate with the help of friendly Japanese people.

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Ilona Lin

Ilona Lin @ilona.lin

Ilona is a travel photographer, graphic designer and a visual design student from University of Toronto. She appreciates Japan's unique culture and is exceptionally thrilled to share it's beauty through the eyes of her lens. 

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