First Michelin-starred Ramen Restaurant “Tsuta” Moved to New Location in Yoyogi-Uehara

January 6th 2020

How to go to Tsuta

There are currently 30,000 – 35,000 ramen shops in Japan, but the first one to win a Michelin star, the popular “Tsuta” restaurant, has now moved from Sugamo to Yoyogi Uehara.

The Impact of Winning a Michelin Star for Tokyo, 2016

In the “MICHELIN GUIDE Tokyo 2016”, released on December 4th, 2015, Tsuta won the first Michelin star in ramen shop history. Tsuta was not evaluated in the Bib Gourmand category which considers cost performance to quality, rather, this ramen shop selling 1,000JPY bowls of ramen, won a star alongside other high-end Japanese restaurants that cost more than 10,000JPY per meal. The impact on the Japanese food industry and ramen enthusiasts was enormous. The morning after the news about the Michelin star broke, this shop with only 9 seats had a line-up of 170 people. Many decided to go and see if they could try a bowl of this now hugely popular ramen.

Tsuta’s Unique Dashi – Triple Soup and Truffle Oil

The owner of Tsuta, Mr. Onishi-san, has a strong ambition to spread the Japanese culture of umami, so for his dashi (soup), he created a unique triple flavor soup made of three kinds of dashi.

The first dashi is a chicken soup, made from four kinds of local Japanese chickens, stewed with vegetables. The next dashi is made from Konbu (dried kelp) and Asari clam. The third dashi is made from dried soup stocks such as sardine and bonito.

The three types of dashi are combined into one ramen soup. Of course, these are typical Japanese flavors, but to lend something different, Tsuta ramen has added a key ingredient, black truffle oil.

According to the restaurant, mushrooms generally have only glutamic acid as an umami ingredient, but truffles also contain inosinic acid and guanylic acid, giving them their unique scent. Since few ramens have this kind of flavorful scent, Onishi-san thought it would be interesting to add it to his creation

How to Get to the New Store in Yoyogi-Uehara

Yoyogi Uehara is about 5 minutes (by express) from Shinjuku via the Odakyu Line, and about 4 minutes on the Chiyoda Line from Meiji-jingumae (connect through Harajuku Station).

Yoyogi Uehara Location

After exiting the ticket gate, go down the stairs and head toward the east exit. After the stairs, proceed straight through the station.

When you go out the east exit, there will be a red Daiso 100-yen shop sign in front of you, turn left there. After turning, proceed until the florist on the corner and then turn right. After walking about 100 meters, the new store will be on the left-hand side.

Do you need to get a ticket?

If you’ve ever been to Tsuta in the Sugamo area, you know that in the morning they distributed numbered tickets with designated entry times, and you couldn’t enter the shop without a ticket. However, at the new shop, as of December 2019, after joining the line up on the stairs, I was able to get in without a ticket. When I arrived at 15:00 there were just 6 people lined up. Maybe because they just moved there were not many overseas tourists, all the customers were Japanese. It was about 20 minutes before I was seated. Their business hours run from 11:00 to 17:00, and I had heard that 15:00 was relatively quiet, but it seems that if the soup runs out, the shop will close even if it’s not yet 17:00. (If it gets crowded again, they might bring back the ticket system.)

While waiting, you can see through the glass into the shop. The atmosphere inside is stylish, reminiscent of a Japanese ramen restaurant but with waiters wearing jackets taking the orders.

Fig Compote, Balsamic Truffle Cream and Porcini Mushroom Sauce!

Once seated, I ordered the 1,300JPY Soy Sauce Ramen. Seeing the “Soy Sauce Ramen with Black Truffle, Roasted Pork and boiled egg” on the menu for 3,550JPY surprised me (in Japan ramen usually costs less than 1,000JPY), but I will save that for next time. What I noticed, after placing my order, was that there’s lamps for warming up the bowls installed above the counter. I’ve never seen this at other ramen shops, it certainly ups my expectations.

After about 10 minutes, my Soy Sauce Ramen came. The toppings were roasted pork, Menma Chinese style bamboo, Kujo leeks, and fig compote.

Shoyu Soba

Balsamic truffle cream and porcini mushroom sauce have also been added to increase the flavor of the soup.

The soy sauce soup made with three types of dashi has an aroma and flavor of porcini and truffles, giving an elegant and delicate sense of umami. The noodles are also delicious, a straight type but moderately chewy and well matched with the soup. Eating it, I felt an ever-changing sense of flavor, the sweetness of the fig, the sour of the balsamic truffle cream, one after another, I have never had ramen like this. I just know that my taste buds were happy.

Tsuta Ramen as a Souvenir?

You can buy Tsuta ramen and souvenirs at this new location. A set of 3 for 1500JPY. The instructions on how to make it are written in proper English. If you want to try some, ask a friend who is travelling to Japan to pick some up for you!

Or, if this article has piqued your curiosity, Tsuta also has shops in Singapore, Taiwan, the Philippines and San Francisco, so you could try some in one of those places.

By the way, according to the restaurant, the recipes and ingredients are always being improved upon, so the next time you go, they might have different items on the menu. If you want to try the best ramen of 2020, by all means visit Tsuta!

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