Tonkotsu noodle specialist delivers goodwill and ramen for the new year.

Some fukubukuro lucky bags are filled with goods so great they’re worth fighting for, and that’s the case with the lucky bag from popular Japanese tonkotsu ramen chain Ichiran.

We love the chain so much we even recreated our own version of the store, and its noodles, during the pandemic, so for us, purchasing their fukubukuro was a no-brainer. However, some ramen fans found themselves hesitating this year, when they heard the bundles cost twice as much as they did in 2021.

This year, there were three types available, priced at 10,000 yen (US$86.37), 12,500 yen, and 15,000 yen, and those who hesitated ended up losing out, because all three varieties, regardless of the price increase, sold out soon after they went on sale.

Our Japanese-language reporter Hirazi went into battle online when reservations opened on 15 December and came out triumphant, securing himself a 10,000 yen box, which was delivered shortly after New Year’s Day.

Hirazi was thrilled with what he received, which included:

▼ Two sets of chopsticks with the Ichiran logo.

▼ A box of five instant noodle meals, complete with sauce, seasoning, and the brand’s famous Hakata thin straight noodles

▼ A box of two Kamadare Tonkotsu, a special type of ramen only available at a limited number of Ichiran locations

▼ And two boxes of curly instant noodles, with five in each box

This haul had everything HIrazi needed to recreate the restaurant at home again, except one thing was missing. He’d forgotten to open this giant red box.

Lifting the lid, Hirazi’s final item was revealed. It was a glorious, glistening ramen bowl, just like the ones used at the restaurant!

Now Hirazi truly had everything he needed to enjoy a proper bowl of Ichiran ramen at home, so he got straight to work preparing the well-earned meal he’d fought so hard for.

He popped the curly noodles in a pot of boiling water for a few minutes, added the soup pack and some seasoning, and in an instant, his ramen was ready.

With a hearty “itadakimasu“, Hirazi lifted his noodles to his mouth and saw they looked different to the ones he usually eats at the restaurant.

▼ More curly, but still, packed with great Ichiran flavour.

After polishing off his bowl of curly Ichiran, Hirazi still wasn’t satisfied so he decided to rip open a pack of the straight noodles and cook them up.

This was more like it! These thin, straight noodles are part of what makes a bowl of Ichiran ramen so great, and now he was eating them at home in a bowl of his very own, Hirazi was in Ichiran heaven.

In no time at all, Hirazi’s sojourn in heaven was over and he found himself back in the real world, with a pair of chopsticks and an empty ramen bowl to wash up.

It was well worth it, though, not just for the taste of the food he just ate, but the value for money of the entire bundle. The three boxes of five-pack instant noodles usually retail for 2,000 yen each, while the Kamadare Tonkotsu noodles are priced at 900 yen, bringing the total cost of the food up to 6,900 yen.

While Hirazi wasn’t sure how much the chopsticks and bowl were valued at, he was sure they would be worth more than 3,100 yen, and probably around the 5,000 yen mark, because the bowl was made from Arita porcelain, which is known for being expensive.

The top-quality Ichiran-branded bowl really was the star of the show here, and with all the noodle meals ahead of him, the lucky bag, or box, was definitely worth the slightly higher price tag compared to last year. And when you factor in the extra noodles the chain added to the pack this year to make up for the higher price, Hirazi was left with a feeling of fuzzy goodwill towards the restaurant chain, unlike the bad taste left in his mouth after seeing the lucky bag from Krispy Kreme.

Photos ©SoraNews24
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