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It turns out that Tokyo’s Michelin star-winning ramen eatery has a sister restaurant, but not for long.

There are literally hundreds of ramen restaurants in Tokyo, but none of them are getting more attention than Tsuta these days. At the start of the month, it was announced that Tsuta had become the first ramen restaurant ever to be granted a star from the internationally respected Michelin dining guide, and after trying its ramen for ourselves, we definitely think they got the call right.

Since receiving the prestigious honor, the crowds flocking to Tsuta have been becoming bigger and bigger. But what many people weren’t aware of is that Tsuta also has a sister restaurant, called Tsuta no Ha, which is located in the same section of Tokyo, Sugamo, as its award-winning culinary sibling.

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Like Tsuta, Tsuta no Ha specializes in ramen, and has won high marks from the writers of online Japanese customer reviews, typically a group that’s not overly generous with its praise.

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But it takes more than just satisfied customers to keep a restaurant going. Yuki Onishi, the ownr of both Tsuta and Tsuta no Ha, has announced that he will be shutting down Tsuta no Ha before the month is over.

In a post on the restaurant’s blog, Onishi mentions that he doesn’t have enough people on staff to keep Tsuta no Ha going. The larger factor, though, is complaints he’s been getting from his neighbors in the community.

See, while foodies may have recently marked Sugamo on their maps as the place where they can enjoy the world’s best ramen, the neighborhood is actually an enclave for Tokyo’s elderly residents. Walk along its streets, and you’ll find an inordinate number of pharmacies and clothing shops stocked with fashions that aren’t so much “Forever 21” as they are “No Longer 60.” Even the signage is senior-centric, with many shops advertising their wares in extra-large print to accommodate their clientele’s failing eyesight.

Onishi says that hardly a day goes by without some sort of complaint regarding the crowds his restaurants bring, and as such he’s decided to close down Tsuta no Ha. What’s more, he says he’s considering moving his entire restaurant group out of Sugamo.

We can’t say we entirely blame him. A more prominent Tokyo location seems a better fit for his ramen’s newly boosted fame, and sleepy Sugamo, while on the Yamanote Line that circles downtown Tokyo, isn’t a part of the city that gets a lot of foot traffic from the under-retirement age crowd.

Tsuta no Ha will be shutting down on December 27.

Restaurant information
Tsuta no Ha / 蔦の葉
Address: Tokyo-to, Toshima-ku, Sugamo 4-24-6, Fuji Building 1st floor
東京都豊島区巣鴨4-24-6 富士ビル 1F
Open 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m., 6 p.m.-9 p.m. Tuesday-Friday
11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday-Sunday
Closed Monday
Website (Tabelog)

Sources: Kai-You, Tsuta official blog
Top image: Tabelog
Insert images: Tabelog (1, 2)