There are countless types of ramen in Japan. Some popular flavors include soy sauce (shoyu), miso, salt, tonkotsu (pork bone broth), and seafood just to name a few.

Although any of the aforementioned are incredibly enticing, there are also Gotochi ramen — original ramen dishes originating in specific regions throughout Japan.

Here we have asked Mr. Hiroshi Osaki, a ramen critic and expert who’s tried many of these regional dishes, to help us choose the top three Gotochi ramen shops in the Kanto area.

Recommendations by Ramen Expert, Mr. Hiroshi Osaki!

Mr. Osaki was a ramen-lover from a young age. “Just like how rice is the staple food for most Japanese people, ramen is my staple,” shares Mr. Osaki, a ramen critic who goes through around 720 bowls of ramen per year.

Profile
Hiroshi Osaki
Ramen critic and chairman of Ramen Data Bank Co., Ltd., Osaki is also one of the founders of the Nippon Ramen Association as well as the executive chairman of the Tokyo Ramen Show. In 1959, he was born in Japan’s region of ramen, Fukushima Prefecture’s Aizu City. After working at an advertising agency, he founded Ramen Data Bank Co., Ltd. in 2005.

He is self-proclaimed as the number-one ramen eater in Japan (as of December 2021, he’s been to 13,500 ramen shops and has eaten around 27,000 bowls of ramen). Osaki has also been featured in several magazines and television programs. He’s also published books such as Muteki no Ramen Ron (The Irrefutable Ramen Theory, Kodansha’s New Library of Knowledge) and Nihon Ramen Hishi (The Secret History of Ramen, published by Nihon Keizai Shimbun, Inc.).

What is Gotochi Ramen?

Photo Provided by: PIXTA; English captions added by LIVE JAPAN

Gotochi ramen are original ramen dishes found throughout various regions in Japan. Rather than just using ingredients specific to a region, Gotochi ramen dishes use standard ingredients while implementing a region’s special cooking techniques.

“Even if the name of the dish is the same, the flavors, cooking methods, and ingredients of Japanese regional cuisine can vary drastically depending on whether it’s made in the north or south.

“This is also true with ramen. In the past, there was no internet, making it harder for information to travel like it does today. Because of this, if a particular ramen shop claimed to create an original ramen dish, it would rise in popularity and start to expand its facilities.

“Many young chefs would join the franchise to learn new cooking methods so that they could eventually open shops of their own. This caused shops with similar ramen dishes to arise in neighboring prefectures.

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