From tiny little booths hidden away from humankind to huge restaurant chains scattered all over the country, Japan is not lacking when it comes to ramen. Ubiquitous, flavoursome and full of life, ramen is one of Japan's quintessential must-try dishes.
A little more than 20 minutes out of Tokyo on the Tsukuba Express Line, the former industrial park of Yashio continues to grow as a bedroom community. Lots of space around the station gives the area a pleasant family-friendly feel with restaurants and eateries slowly joining in.
Ramen Kairikiya, a ramen chain store originating in culture-dripping Kyoto, is one such restaurant. Famous for a light soup oozing with flavour, the ramen at Kairikiya is a delight to eat. Their basic soy sauce ramen is only 650 yen, an absolute bargain for the quality of flavour but if you want a bit more umph to your bowl, go with the umami-rich noodles with extra pork at 950 yen. Your mouth will drool and your belly will love you forever.
Like any good ramen store, Kairikiya also offer different grades of firmness to your noodles. I personally like my noodles very, very firm but you can go the other way too if that tickles your fancy. As a bonus, they also offer various grades of 'fatback' - the fattier the soup, the more flavoursome it becomes.
With numerous side dishes like dumplings and fried rice available, as well being non-smoking, Kairikiya is great for families. Yashio may not be the first point of call for tourists, but the ramen here at Kairikiya is great and very easy on the wallet.
From the south side of Yashio Station on the Tskuba Express Line, head towards Yashio Ekimae Park. You will see Ramen Kairikiya on the left of the park. At most, a 2-minute stroll.
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