After a stroll along the Taishakuten Sando shopping street at Shibamata, you may work up an appetite. There are various restaurants and specialty cracker and sweets shops along the way. Besides, you can get tea and sweets at the nearby Yamamoto-tei antique house and garden. But I recommend you save some room for delicious ramen served at Kanamachi Seimen and standing bar in front of Keisei Kanamachi Station.
The restaurant is a curious hybrid of standing drink bar and ramen shop. In the evenings, regulars and visitors cozy up to the counter for highballs or draft beer accompanied by otsumami, the small appetizers that are served with drinks. After drinks and snacks, do what the locals do and “put a lid on it”, have a bowl of ramen to finish your night out. Of course, ramen makes a good meal any time of day, and Kanamachi Seimen satisfies cravings for umami and tender noodles with ramen or chuka soba at lunch times on weekends.
Like many izakaya, Kanamachi Seimen has a menu that changes daily, with a wide variety of dishes as the chefs incorporate seasonal ingredients available at the market. You might find swordfish, shark, or beef on the menu. This is why the ramen side of the kitchen is interesting. Unlike your average ramen shop, where chefs have a fixed menu, the chefs here arrange all kinds of seasonal and unusual ingredients in soba, ramen and chilled noodle dishes.
On different visits, my companions and I enjoyed ramen topped with beef, and chuka soba with pheasant broth. Whatever the imaginative combinations of flavors, the noodles are tender and the broth clings to the al dente noodles to deliver some great umami. And like many neighborhood places, the bill won’t break the bank. Lunch with drinks costs about ¥2000.
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You will see many of my stories on Japan Travel are about places and events outside of big city centers and tourist destinations. While I highly recommend the big name sights and experiences, I encourage visitors to see and feel the atmosphere off the beaten path, too.