Chukasoba Shibata in Chofu, Tokyo, has the best noods in all the land, we can confirm.

In many places across the world, ramen is a cheap and tasty dish often used to stuff students’ stomachs, easy to whip up at home and with a long shelf-life. But in Japan, ramen is an actual art form and ramen enthusiasts often tour the country armed with magazines all about ramen, sampling different shops and ranking each one.

Recently, restaurant ranking-website Tabelog published its list of the 10 best ramen restaurants in Japan, chosen by seasoned ramen aficionados. The clear winner was Chukasoba Shibata in Chofu city, Tokyo, and as we at SoraNews24 are obviously big fans of ramen, we felt it was our gastronomic duty to head over there and see whether the ramen at Shibata was indeed worth its salt.

The first clear sign of ramen quality was actually visible from the street . A queue of waiting diners is always a plus point in Japan, and we’d have been worried if we’d been able to stroll on in off the street without first building up an appetite and some healthy anticipation. In our case, we ended up having a 30-minute wait.

The shop’s interior featured the standard push-button-to-buy ticket setup you can find in most ramen joints, where the chefs are too busy slinging noodles and preparing broth to deal with taking orders and making change. The options are all hand-written as well which gives it a nice at-home feel.

We ordered the standard chukasoba (“Chinese soba,” aka ramen) which was a reasonable 830 yen (US$7.70). We also made sure to push the button for “extra-large size” which cost another 150 yen. After sitting at one of the eight available counter seats, we were served after about 10 minutes.

We were immediately struck by the subtle shimmering of the soup, which had just the right amount of oil in it.

The soy sauce-based soup was the perfect blend of umami saltiness and smooth mouthfeel, without too much grease.

The noodles were also a delight, with a pleasant floury scent and well-balanced chewiness. They were also very straight and quite slim compared to other kinds of noodles which can range to curly, thick varieties.

All in all, it was a darn good bowl of ramen, and we can see why the restaurant has won the hearts of Japan’s most critical ramen slurpers. The store relies on its tasty broth and simple, hearty arrangement of flavors and textures, eschewing attention-seeking tricks like offering unorthodox toppings (tapioca bubble ramen, anyone?) or publicity stunts such as serving breast-shaped ramen (who needs breast when you’re already the best?).

Restaurant information
中華そばしば田 / Chukasoba Shibata
Address: Tokyo-to, Chofu-shi, Wakabacho 2-25-20
Open: 11 a.m.-3 p.m., 5:30 p.m.-9 p.m.
Closed Mondays

Reference: Tabelog
Images: ©SoraNews24

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