Prior to this Japan trip, I’ve read plenty about Kyoto Ramen Koji (Alley) 京都拉麺小路. It sounded interesting and so I decided to have our dinner there after coming back from Arashiyama on day 6 of our Japan trip. Kyoto Ramen Koji is situated right inside Kyoto Station (on the 10th floor to be precised) and consists of 9 ramen shops with each offering different regional styles of ramen. You can find the main store of these shops at their respective regions. There’s also a cafe there called Chasen (think matcha parfait).
Here’s the list of the nine ramen shops and their regions:
1. Shirakaba Sansou from Sapporo
2. Touyoko from Niigata
3. Bannai Shokudo from Kita Kata
4. Higashi Ikebukuro Taishoken from Tokyo
5. Toyama Black Men-ya Iroha from Toyama
6. Masutani from Kyoto
7. Araumado from Osaka
8. Ramen Todai from Toku Shima
9. Hakata Ikkousha from Hakata
With so many choices, how did we end up at Masutani? Simply because Masutani is from Kyoto (start from its backyard). I’m sure I will have more chances in the future for others. We went up to the 10th floor via escalators. Yup, it was a loooooong slow journey but fun nevertheless. The fun parts are you get to absorb the atmosphere, get to know each floor and enjoy the view down below as you go higher and higher, little by little. Do you know that some of the top floors areas are uncovered? Meaning if it rains a loreally pours! (yeah, we experienced it).
This was my first time taking so many escalators and they are really long ones! Alternate methods to get up there are taking the elevator or stairs (yup, exercise a bit before downing few bowls of ramen?).
Here’s what greeted us on the 10th floor. Large signboard showing the nine different ramen shops with the location of each shop on the map (color-coded).
The entrance to the ramen labyrinth. We arrived around 6.45pm, Saturday. As expected, there were many hungry customers. Some shops with short queue and some with long ones. Masutani has a long queue. I thought of giving up but stuck through it.
Masutani ますたに. The shop is not really big. It seats about 16 people (according to Tabelog). Fyi, Masutani was founded around 1947/1948. If I’m not mistaken a ls main shop is located near Ginkaku-ji.
First thing first, buy your meal tickets from the ticket machine outside the shop. The machine has English and Chinese options. Then hand the tickets to the person in charge, queue and wait for your turn.
A large menu just beside the ticket machine.
Meal tickets for Masutani.
We waited for 40 minutes!!! I’m not one that usually queue very long for food. Thankfully we have some snacks with us. The ramen came pretty fast once we’re seated.
Char siu ramen @ 800 yen. We added boiled egg @ 100 yen. See the murky color broth? This char siu ramen is outrageously fatty, salty and sinful BUT oh so good! The broth is made from pork bone and shoyu (soy sauce) and those are floating pork fats (most probably back fat). The amount of thinly sliced pork given were satisfactory and I like the thin noodles.
Because the char siu ramen is fatty and salty, you need to eat this fast while the broth is still warm, and I betcha you won’t be able to drink the broth until the last drop.
We also ordered Chinese style fried rice @ 350 yen. Really fragrant wok hei fried rice that although is Chinese style a l’s not quite the same. I don’t know how to explain. Haha
If you like your ramen salty, fatty and rich, then you must give Masutani a try.
Kyoto Ramen Koji
10th floor, Kyoto Station Building (West Zone)
京都府 京都市下京区 烏丸 通塩小路下る東塩小路町901番地 京都駅ビル10Ｆ 京都拉麺小路店 内
Opening time: 11am-10pm (last order 9.30pm), daily
Nearest station: Kyoto Station