Warm up from the inside with the hearty flavors
Home to around 120 ramen shops, Kitakata serves more ramen per capita than any other town in Japan. A feast in a single bowl that warms from inside and out, ramen has historically been a vital source of nourishment for the people of Kitakata—a land isolated by mountains and heavy snowfall.
Japan’s three most famous ramen traditions can be found in Sapporo in Hokkaido, Hakata in Kyushu, and Kitakata in Tohoku. In Kitakata, the noodles are made with pure water that flows from the mountains. So too are the crops grown for Kitakata’s famous soy sauce and miso. These three ingredients, fed by the sweet mountain streams, are key to crafting the perfect bowl of ramen.
Isseki-San-Chou is a local ramen shop that sells bowls of steaming noodles out of a remodeled medicine cellar. The shop is known for its thick noodles, the staple of any ramen dish, as well as its unique blend of local soy sauce, miso soup, and secret ingredients. The understated appearance of Isseki-San-Chou’s craft ramen, using only fresh, local ingredients without artificial flavors, represents the true spirit of Kitakata ramen.
The shop’s interior speaks to both its past and future—an antique medicine cabinet stands next to a hanging message from the shop’s owner:
“Isseki-San-Chou means creating joy out of food,
Isseki-San-Chou means loving good food and drink,
Isseki-San-Chou means uniting in pride for our hometown.”
These words truly exemplify the soul of Kitakata and offer a heartfelt invitation to travelers to come experience the community Kitakata has built around its local food.
With each individual take on the classic ramen dish, the chefs of Kitakata express their love for their hometown. As Kitakata’s fame builds around the world, the town continues to develop and grow, and ramen connoisseurs who come to taste its exceptional flavors are nourished in turn by the dreams of Kitakata.
Slabs of noodle dough run through a ramen machine
The mountains of Kitakata offer high quality water for superior
- About 15 minutes by train from JR Aizu Wakamatsu Station
- You can enjoy Kitakata ramen, which is counted as one of the three biggest ramen in Japan at about 120 locations in the city.