Ichiran 一蘭 (Harajuku) – Tokyo

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After the Cup Noodle Museum in Yokohama, K and I took the train to Harajuku to meet the girls. Harajuku is actually just a district in Shibuya, but it’s famous for their young fashion! Here, you’ll find girls dressed up in the craziest outfits. You’ll find people here dressed in grunge, gothic, or princess looking outfits. Lolita fashion is huge here – where they bring the concept of the Victorian era fashion into today’s modern fashion. It reminded me of cosplay outfits. We went to this mall with a huge sale, with clothing at under 1,000 yen! I guess July is a great time to visit for summer sales!

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We then made our way to Takeshita Street, which is closed off for pedestrians only. It is filled with restaurants, cafes, and fashion boutiques. You’ll find international brands here as well, but many are independent boutiques. If you love cute things, this is the street for you. I found everything a little too cute for myself personally.

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A 5 or so minute walk away, and you will find Kiddy Land! If you love cute things, like Sanrio, San-x, Ghibli, and more, this will be your dream store! You’ll find everything from Hello Kitty, to Miffy, to Rilakkuma, Snoopy, and more! I believe there are 4 floors in total, so you could spend a while here. Super cute items!

Address: Harajuku 6-1-9 Jingu-mae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo

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After doing some shopping, we decided to grab an early dinner at around 6pm. We found Ichiran, which we’ve heard great things about. There are several Ichirans in Japan, and we had saw one in Shibuya as well. Ichiran basically only has one item they sell – the Classic Tonkotsu Ramen. However, you customize your noodles, so I guess there is some variety. Before entering the store, you will insert money in a vending machine which will print out your ticket. It’s all in Japanese, so you may need to decipher it based on the pictures. A single bowl of ramen will cost you 750 yen. You can purchase noodle refills and additional toppings for additional costs. Once you enter the restaurant, there is an electronic seating chart, which tells you if there are vacant spots. Pretty neat! Luckily, it was early, so we were able to get seats together.

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There are no servers to tell you what to do. All seats are in cubicle format.There are wooden barriers between you and the next person. We later found out that you can actually fold them if you are sitting next to your friend. However, the barriers are great if you are eating alone and don’t want to awkwardly see the stranger eat next to you. A pair of chopsticks are placed in front of you with some buttons as well.

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On the left, there are cups and a tap for hot water. There are also instructions on how to order. Just slip the ticket in front of you on the table and someone behind the wall will exchange it for an order sheet. You can then circle your choices. We got a Japanese order sheet and could barely read any of it, but apparently you can request for an English sheet. You can choose from the consistency of the broth, firmness of the noodles, cha-shu (pork) or without, garlic, level of spiciness , and green onions or not. When you are ready, place your order sheet in front of you and someone will come to collect it.

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After serving your ramen, they will place a bamboo cover down so you won’t be disturbed at all. Here was my ramen! I chose medium consistency for the broth, medium firmness for the noodles, with green onion, cha-shu and half spicy. The noodles were extremely delicious! They were very skinny, but firm and had a great bite. The tonkotsu (pork-based) soup was also one of the best I’ve had. It was light but still rich in flavour. I liked how it wasn’t too salty like many of the other broths I”ve had. At Ichiran, they also prize themselves for their original red pepper sauce. Apparently it is made of 30 different tpyes of spices and cooked for days. Only 3 chefs know the recipe! Loved the hint of spice! As for the sliced pork, it was decent. However, I wished it was more fatty. They didn’t have a choice for fatty or not.

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Overall, we were extremely satisfied with the ramen at Ichirin. The ramen isn’t too pricey at 750 yen, although we all agreed the amount of noodles were not too much. I guess we should’ve gotten a refill of noodles since they were so tasty! Love the concept of the isolation and minimal disturbance as well. Apparently it is so customers can focus on how good the ramen is! By the time we finished our meal, there was a long line up outside. Be sure to get here early!

Address: 2F 6-5-6 Jingumae, Shibuya, Tokyo

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