There are two ramen shops well worth visiting in the western outskirts of Kyoto. Distance-wise, they’re only a five-minute walk apart, but judging by most other measures they are polar opposites.

At Shiogensui, the salty ramen is served by overly polite staff who incessantly shouting niceties. It’s a bit like dining with an overly optimistic cult.

At nearby Ramen Tsurumusha, the vibe is toned way down. The slurping of steaming ramen is set to a soundtrack of jazz, and the staff at this counter-seating only shop are studious and reserved — the ramen does the talking. The emphasis is on the stock, the noodles and the sparse accompaniments.

The house ramen and wafū ramen (Japanese-style ramen) are both prepared with high-quality stock. For the house ramen, pork bones, vegetables and a whole chicken from Mount Daisen are combined to make an exquisite and lightly chicken-flavored broth. The wafū ramen’s broth, made from squid, shellfish, konbu and dried shiitake, has a miso-like flavor, but is a bit too umami for my liking. All ramen dishes come with chashu (braised pork belly) and half an ajitsuke tomago (soft-boiled egg). The Hokkaido flour noodles are deliciously velvety, and the accompanying menma (bamboo shoots) are chunky and juicy.

At Tsurumusha, they’re serious about their ramen and it shows.

28-2 Saiinyakakecho, Ukyo-ku, Kyoto; 075-322-7015; nearest station: Saiin; open 11:30a.m.-2pm (L.O.). 6p.m.-9 p.m. (L.O.); closed Sunday; ramen from ¥750; no smoking: Japanese menu, Japanese spoken.

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