Vote for your favourite ramen at this special event in Tokyo.

Ramen is a famous dish in Japan, but there are many versions to be found, depending on where you are in the country. Usually, you’d need to travel around to taste them, but this weekend the best of the country’s regional ramen are gathering together in one location in Tokyo, in an event called the Japanese Regional Ramen General Election.

Created by noodle event organisers Tokyo Ramen Show and Daitsukemen Haku, the contenders in this epic election have been whittled down from over 100 varieties, with 10 finalists making it through an online preliminary round that received over 100,000 votes.

The finalists selected are (below, top to bottom, left to right): Sapporo Ramen (Hokkaido), Sakata Ramen (Yamagata), Kitakata Ramen (Fukushima), Sano Ramen (Tochigi), Iekei Ramen (Kanagawa), Koshu Jidori Ramen (Yamanashi), King Chinese Noodles Soba (Nagano), Kyoto Style Ramen (Kyoto) ), Onomichi Ramen (Hiroshima), and Hakata Ramen (Fukuoka).

How many of the above ramen types have you tried? Even our reporter Mr Sato, who visited on the first day of the three-day event, hadn’t tried all of them. With ramen coming from the far stretches of the country, this was an exciting opportunity for noodle lovers, and even at 4 p.m., a period between lunch and dinner that would probably be the least crowded time, there were long lines at some of the stalls.

Admission is free, with visitors paying 1,000 yen (US$6.70) for a bowl of ramen, which needs to be paid for at one of the on-site ticket machines. Extra toppings can be ordered and paid for in cash directly at the stall, with prices running around 500 yen, which is more expensive than usual, but pretty standard for an event like this one.

▼ Visitors have the option to purchase tickets for one, three or five bowls of ramen at a time, and drinks can be ordered from the machine as well.

▼ Mr Sato purchased two single tickets, as he wanted to try the Koshu Jidori Ramen and the Sano Ramen.

The stall selling Koshu Jidori Ramen was crowded with queues of people, suggesting this was one very popular type of ramen. Ordering it without any toppings, Mr Sato found it contained medium-thin straight noodles, a clear broth, and Koshu Jidori char siu.

The soup was a blend of local chicken stock and seafood stock and despite its relatively clear and light appearance, it was richer than it looked. The flavour of the broth was a standout, and the entire dish was absolutely delicious.

▼ And he didn’t even have to travel to Yamanashi to taste it.

The stall selling Sano Ramen was just as popular, and when Mr Sato tasted the noodles, he immediately understood why. This was a great example of Sano Ramen, which contains a light yet rich soup made with high-quality water and chewy noodles made using a special traditional technique that involves rolling the dough with green bamboo to create extra smoothness.

Feeling full and satisfied after his meals, Mr Sato took his empty containers to the trash station, where he then received a special “voting coin” by which to cast his vote for his favourite ramen.

Like a true voter, Mr Sato kept his vote a secret, popping his coin into the appropriate box while wondering which ramen would win. According to the event’s official website, the results of the Local Ramen General Election will be announced on the groups’ social media accounts after the event wraps up on Monday 9 October. So if you’d like to cast your vote for the best regional ramen in Japan, head on down to the event venue. Every vote counts!

Site information

Okubo Park /新宿区立大久保公園
Address: Tokyo-to, Shinjuku-ku, Kabukicho 2-43
Hours: 11:00 a.m.-9:00 p.m. 5-9 October

Photos © SoraNews24
● Want to hear about SoraNews24’s latest articles as soon as they’re published? Follow us on Facebook and Twitter

[ Read in Japanese ]