Kyohei Ramen

Downtown-City Hall-Teramachi Ramen Noodles Enoki-cho 99, Nijo Teramachi Sagaru, Nakagyo-ku

Japanese link

Seats: 19

+075 211 5700

Open Times: 11am to 7.40pm (last order) Closed Saturday

Price range: Less than ¥1000

Accepted: Cash only

Smoking allowed? : Yes

We’re bringing out the big guns for this, our 7th recommendation in our series of great Kyoto budget eats: the mighty Kyohei Ramen. I’ve been recommending this humble noodle shop on Teramachi-dori in the centre of Kyoto, just North of the city hall, for years.

The owner, Hirata-san, pictured here, has become a friend. Don’t worry he’s not as scary as he looks. Kyohei is almost unique in that it serves all three ‘major’ styles of ramen (apologies to fans of the tsukemen ‘dipping’ and shio salt varieties). All are superb. Most places focus on a single genre, but Hirata-san has mastered them all.

People like fame, and tv appearances, he replied, perhaps i’m just not showy enough. not my style
hirata-san, owner of kyohei ramen

Why he isn’t atop the ‘noodle rankings’ remains a mystery to me. I once asked him. “People like fame, and TV appearances,” he replied, “perhaps I’m just not showy enough. Not my style”. By major styles, I refer to shoyu, miso and Hakata/tonkotsu ramen.

Hiratasan’s shoyu-based broth is the lightest. His miso is heavier, deep-tasting, and made with ‘ordinary’ miso, rather than the sweet version often used in Kyoto noodle shops. I personally prefer this type. The Hakata ramen is a full-on Kyushu-style pork broth, quite heavy on the salt. Let’s call it the Grand Cru Bordeaux to the Merlot of the miso and the Pinot Noir that is the shoyu. Kyohei's kara'age fried chicken is fabulous too. An English menu is available.

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Miso ramen (front) and Shoyu ramen (rear). Both fabulous.

Off the Beaten Ramen Path

Every year countless noodle shops come and go, top the celebrity ramen rankings, and attract cult followings: and long lines of customers waiting outside the door. Kyoto, and in particular the Ichijoji area to the north of the city, is home to many nationally renowned shops. Yet I prefer to seek out the unheralded, local places, the ‘quiet stars’ of the genre. Kyohei fits this description to a tee. Other recommendations will follow here, please rest assured. Like this one.