A stylised "tokyo and me" created with a stylised "Tokyo" in black ink, calligraphy brush drawn, with "and me" in chunky red lettering
ginza noodles.
This introduction to the noodle kitchens of Tokyo's Ginza district is an adaptation of the chapter 'Knobby noodles' which appears in the Tokyo Companion 2024 (available on Apple Books now, further details here.) Other sections of that guide explore Japanese noodle types, ramen restaurant lingo, how to soup up your noodles, Tokyo's top noodle kitchens, how to eat zarusoba, the noodle counters in and around Tokyo station, plus more.
Ginza’s ramen and soba kitchens top up daytime retail therapists and help mop up late night drinkers’ sorrows…
Though a bowl of their noodles may weigh in a couple of coins more than elsewhere in Tokyo — after all, a diner’s bum occupies a pricey piece of real estate square footage, however briefly — there are some joints (like back-lane Oshima [Google]) where a signature soy-sauce ramen with all the toppings kicks off at just ¥750.
Abura
東京油そば
metro Ginza, Higashi-ginza
open Mo–Sa 11am–4am Su 11am–9pm
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Plump, squiggly noodles served dry—but with a punchy sauce lurking underneath… so add a drizzle of vinegar and chili oil and then give it all a thorough stir. The regular ‘oil soba’ bowl comes in at ¥880 (regardless of noodle serving size, offered at 160g, 240g or 320g), or try with a ‘spicy miso oil’ for ¥980 (similar serving size options). Queues lunchtime and evenings till perhaps 10pm. (Ticket machine English option; English language ‘how to’ guide available.)
Hachigo Hachigō
銀座八五
metro Higashi-ginza, Ginza
open Tu–Sa 11am–4pm Mo (occ Tu) closed
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Chuka—or Chinese—soba at this smart ramen shop come in a ‘golden’ salt-based soup (made with duck, chicken and kelp with uncured ham added towards the end of its 2-day simmering for extra sweet-meaty depth); the firm, tender noodles are from maker Asakusa Kaikaro which supplies a couple of other notable ramen kitchens. Three options: standard (¥1,200), the ajitama with an egg (¥1,400), and the charsiu variety (¥1,600). May close earlier if sold out; queue from 11am, reservations only 12.30pm onwards; occasionally open Monday and closed Saturday.
“ Shibire Noodles 
provides extra
sansho for that
tip-of-the-tongue
tingle ”
Hashigo
はしご銀座
metro Ginza, Shimbashi
open Mo–Fr 11am–10pm Sa 11am–9pm Su closed
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The elegantly spartan wood-panelled interior has counter seating for a dozen and is noisily quiet—couples may whisper softly over their ramen, but most diners are singles who slurp up their noodles with wordless satisfaction. The dandanmen (¥900) is old-school and sophisticated: a velvety soup, meaty with a smooth sesame undertone and a gentle Sichuan peppercorn hum; roasted pork is meltingly tender and the standard noodles firm but not at all wiry. Variations include the chisuidandanmen with Chinese-wine steamed chicken (¥1,100) or soy-sauce tsuyu soba-type peikomen curry noodles with pork belly (¥1,100). The bowl of rice served on the side ensures it’s a filling meal (top with some pickles)—but other menu items include a plate of 5 gyoza (¥900, available from 3pm), steamer of 4 shumai dumpling (¥400). Attentive service from likably standoffish servers. Rarely a queue longer than a few minutes. (English menu available.)
Kyushu Jangara
九州じゃんがら
metro Ginza, Higashi-ginza
open Mo–Su 11am–10pm
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Rubs shoulders with Abura—in fact so close that separate queues can be tricky to differentiate, expect to be asked by hangry arrivees which line you’re in. Tonkostu ramen various ways—a busy menu reflects a busy restaurant—with the signature kyushu jangara (medium richness soup) starting at ¥1,260 with roast pork and ajitsuke egg; the bonshan-style comes in an extra creamy broth, and with the same toppings costs ¥1,350; the kobonshon variety shimmers with a dark slick of fried garlic oil (¥1,350). Vegan options available (from ¥1,120). Queues lunch and evening until almost last orders at 9.45pm. (Pay at the till; English language menu available.)
Mugi to Olive
むぎとオリーブ
metro Ginza, Higashi-ginza
open Mo Tu Th–Su 11am–3.30pm, 5.30–9.30pm We closed
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Several signs on the street—Ginza noodles, Soba ramen—but not Mugi to Olive (the ‘to’ pronounced ‘toh’ as in ‘and’). Go for the hamaguri clam soba (¥1,500), gently salty with a sweet note, swimming in diced onion and topped with a heap of coriander, knotted slice of naruto fishcake and grilled menma. Dry ramen options available. Queues lunchtime and evenings till 9pm. (Ticket machine English; cashless.)
“ Mugi to Olive’s
hamaguri
clam soba...
as fresh and sweet
as a sea breeze 
Shibire Noodles Rōsokuya
蝋燭屋​​​​​​​
metro Ginza, Ginza-itchome
open Mo We–Sa 11am–9.30pm Su 11am–9pm Tu closed
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I always thought big-and-bold Sichuan-style mapo tofu was best only with bland (and slightly sticky) boiled rice, until I tried Shibire’s mapomen (¥1,300). And though the slippery soba don’t provide the same comforting bite (carb alert: a small bowl of rice comes too), this is a satisfying ramen with an authentic hot-and-numbing sauce on a whopper of a serving. Sister branch in Omotesando. (Ticket machine English.)
Takahashi
らー麺たかはし
metro Ginza, Higashi-ginza
open Mo–Su 11am–4.30am
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Sliced roast chicken on Kyoto-made noodles and an Okinawan salt-based soup made with flying fish (grilled then dried within a day of the catch) and with added sardine, kelp, pork and chicken bones just to ramp up the umami. The standard yakiago ramen is ¥950, with added toppings ¥1,280, side of rice for an extra ¥100. An alternative pork back-fat soy sauce-soup ramen is also available, starting at ¥970. Note the closing time (yes, that’s 4.30am… with last orders 10 mins before). Only seats a dozen, so queues lunchtimes and evenings till about 9pm, sometimes midnight. (Ticket machine English.)
Tsukiya Tsuqiya
銀座月や
metro Ginza
open Mo–Su 11am–3.30pm, 5–10pm
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Hakata ramen typically comes as a creamy, seemingly cholesterol-laden tonkotsu broth, but here the pork-bones are slowly simmered rather than ferociously boiled, and the resulting soup is light and ‘misty’ rather than cloudy. It’s known as butasoba, or pork soba, and the medium thick noodles (topped with three slices of tender charsiu) come with a side of chopped scallion and citrus—a squeeze of which helps emphasise the meaty sweetness. Despite occupying a sliver of sky-high Ginza real estate (on Ginza Six’s sixth floor), the prices aren’t too stratospheric, starting at ¥1,320. Sometimes spelt Tsuquiya. (English menu available.)
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