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Rokurinsha, Tokyo Solamachi

Can a basic noodle counter founded a mere seven years ago and barely big enough to seat 12 truly qualify as a legend? In the case of Rokurinsha, most definitely yes — in fact twice over.

First things first: The ramen really is outstanding. It’s not the classic style, served in a large bowl with hot broth. Instead, the house special is tsukemen, with a thick, rich soup on the side, served as a dip separate from the noodles. Initially disparaged by ramen purists, over the past decade tsukemen has become so massively popular it’s almost a genre unto itself.

This is in large part due to Rokurinsha and its founder, Ryosei Mita. He did not originate the style: That accolade goes to Kazuo Yamagishi, the master of the now-long-gone Taishoken in Ikebukuro. Mita did, however, train under Yamagishi, though the version he developed is distinctively different.

It’s also incredibly popular. From just about the day Rokurinsha opened in Osaki back in 2005, it jumped to the top of the Tokyo ramen charts and stayed there. And this accounts for its second claim to fame: The length of the lines outside.