Famous for its abundant nature, Japan’s northern island, Hokkaido, is a must-see for both local and international outdoorsy travelers. Filled with mountains, national parks, lakes, and natural onsen, Hokkaido is as much of a winter destination as it is a summer destination. As the largest city of the island and the fifth largest city in Japan, Sapporo is a mandatory stop before exploring the wilderness of Hokkaido. With many tourist spots, Sapporo is a pleasant and welcoming city for sightseeing. The best way to explore the town? Walk through the streets and feel the vibe. Appreciate a stroll through Odori Park up to the Sapporo TV Tower, ride the Ferris wheel in Susukino, but first and foremost enjoy the food.
Hokkaido is not only a pleasure for the eyes, but it will also delight your taste buds. Known as the “Kingdom of Food” and the birthplace of many dishes, Sapporo is a foodie heaven. Out of all the dishes created here in Sapporo, covered in our article about What to Eat in Sapporo, the most famous dish is Sapporo ramen.
Invented in the center of Sapporo, miso ramen emerged in 1955 from the genius mind of Omiya Morito at the back of his shop “Aji no Sanpei.” Willing to create an inexpensive but yet filling dish, Morito added miso to the classical ramen dish. During an era when only soy sauce or salt were used to complement the rich pork broth, miso ramen came unexpectedly. Concerned by the richness of the food, Morito also added fresh vegetables to cook with the flavored hot pot. Traditional Sapporo miso ramen includes medium-thickness egg noodles topped with bean sprouts, chopped pork, and garlic.
Since that day, Sapporo ramen has boomed with more than a thousand shops throughout the city. With a special ramen alley (the “Ganso Ramen Yokocho” or Ganso Ramen Alley), Sapporo is the Ramen Town. From the original miso ramen, numerous offshoots of flavors appeared: seafood, chicken, clam, crab, shrimp and sweetcorn and butter, to cite only a few. Whether they lean traditional or inventive, Sapporo ramen chefs are proud to use local ingredients sourced in the land of Hokkaido, a guarantee of quality to make the best ramen possible.
Ready to dive into your ramen bowl?
Here are a few of the best Sapporo ramen restaurants!
They say the original always tastes the best! Try the original version of the miso ramen where it started over sixty years ago. Aji no Sanpei, the home of miso ramen, is still around and located in central Sapporo, a convenience for both locals and tourists who wants to eat the hearty bowl. Family-oriented, the restaurant also provides a kids’ noodle bowl called okosama ramen for 500 yen. The restaurant offers a variety of ramen for 850 yen, including spicy, salt and soy sauce-based ramen. Yet, the miso ramen bowl is the most popular.
If you are a gourmet and ready to wait in line, Ebisoba Ichigen's main branch is for you. The restaurant offers a unique type of shrimp ramen. For 780 yen, customers can create their own ramen by choosing between three soup bases: the original with only shrimp broth, the medium richness with a mix of pork and shrimp broth, and the strong richness with a more concentrated pork and shrimp broth. Clients will then choose to add soy sauce, salt, or miso, as well as the thickness of the noodles, for a unique bowl made just for you. Besides your bowl of shrimp broth, Ebisoba Ichigen proposes another must-try: the shrimp onigiri, a delight!
The restaurant near Susukino is always packed with locals and tourists eager to try the sea flavored pinkish broth. But do not worry if you missed it during your stay in the city; the New Chitose Airport has its own Ebisoba shop. No excuses for not having your bowl of joy before boarding!
Located in the famous Ganso Ramen Yokocho, Teshikaga Ramen is a tiny shop that seats 9 people, where customers wait in line to have the privilege to sit at the counter and savor a bowl of ramen. Choose between the traditional miso, seafood, or the char-grilled version. Yet, the most popular is the Hokkaido Zenbu Nose Miso Ramen (Hokkaido Miso Ramen with Everything), a combination of all Hokkaido delicacies including snow crab, butter corn and pork, an exquisite dish which sells out pretty quickly every night. Teshikaga Ramen starts from 760 yen.
Founded in 1965, this Sapporo ramen restaurant is well-established in the ramen alley. Aji no Karyu is renowned for having served ramen to Anthony Bourdain, the famous American chef. Ever since, the place is always packed and the shop welcomes many visitors each night. Don’t let yourself be fooled by the grumpy chef, the ramen is worth it. The tiny shop offers about 20 seats, so sometimes lining up is necessary. From 800 yen, select among miso ramen, butter corn ramen, scallop ramen, and other seafood.
With a Sapporo miso ramen base topped with Chinese medicinal herbs, Ramen-Gyoza Hanauta offers a unique style dish for ramen lovers. Try their most popular dish, the Shankara Miso, for only 750 yen. Adjust your spice tolerance from medium spicy to extremely spicy and start feeling warm. The unique addition of the medicinal herbs adds an herbal taste to the original miso ramen. The small shop is also recognized for its gyoza!