We went to Fukuoka to find out just how tasty the noodles really are at the shop made famous in the manga.
Naruto has been delighting audiences for nearly 15 years, ever since it was first published in Weekly Shounen Jump in 1999. Though the manga has also been made into an anime series and has served the inspiration for several movies, its popularity hasn’t diminished a single bit, and the franchise is still well-loved worldwide.
You may already know that Uzumaki Naruto’s favorite food is ramen, but did you know that his favorite place to get his favorite meal, Ichiraku Ramen, exists in real life? It’s true, and, in fact, you can even get a taste of the noodles that Naruto craves.
Located in the hidden village of Konoha, the shop has made numerous appearances in the manga throughout the series and was prominently featured on the cover of the 16th volume. Thus, it’s probably not surprising that many of the manga’s readers would already be familiar with the shop. What is surprising, though, is that rather than simply being a figment of the author’s imagination, a real noodle shop served as inspiration for Naruto’s Ichiraku Ramen.
The shop that was the model for the one in Naruto was located in Fukuoka’s Kyuusandaimae Shop. Author Kishimoto Masashi has said that he commuted to Kyuusandai during his school days and it seems that this might be why the area plays a role in the manga. Unfortunately, the Kyuusandai store closed in 2014. If the store isn’t open anymore, though, just how are you supposed to get a taste of that ramen?
By going to a different location, of course! Despite the fact that the original Ramen Ichiraku that inspired Kishimoto is no longer around, there are other branches in Fukuoka. One of these is the Shime branch near the Fukuoka airport and guess who went to the Shime branch of Ramen Ichiraku in Fukuoka to try some ramen.
We did! Upon arrival at the shop, we saw people standing in line outside waiting for it to open. We joined the queue and eventually were able to make our way inside. Initially we went back and forth trying to figure out what kind of ramen to order, but once we recalled that Naruto’s favorite flavor was miso, the choice became obvious; it had to be the Miso Chashu Pork ramen for 850 yen (about US $8.48). After a short while, we came face to face with the legendary bowl.
The Miso Chashu Pork ramen was served in a bowl not unlike that of a mortar and pestle. Riding atop the noodles was a bounty of bean sprouts, green onions, and chashu pork.
We began with a sip of the broth — and it was amazing! The soup was mild but still packed quite a punch! A bite of pork here, a nibble of plump noodles there made for a substantial meal. Say hello to the newest members of the clean plate club, because we left neither a single drop of soup nor a stray noodle behind. The flavor was such that you couldn’t help but to keep asking for more.
You don’t have to be a Naruto fan to enjoy the grub at this noodle shop, or even a ramen fan. There’s definitely something delicious for everyone!
On the other hand, if you’re gonna eat at Naruto’s favorite shop though, you might want a classy Naruto-themed outfit to wear for a fully immersive experience.
Ichiraku Ramen Shime Shiten
Address: 574-3 Befuchou, Shime, Kasyua District, Fukuoka, Japan
Hours: 11 a.m. until the soup runs out
Closed: Wednesdays, Sundays