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It takes more than just patience, persistence and a willingness to wait in line if you want to eat at Ginza Hachigo. Precision planning is needed. An alarm clock would come in handy too. Your goal: one of the most unusual — and outrageously excellent — bowls of ramen anywhere in Tokyo.

In the two years since this discreet, refined, six-seater noodle counter opened on the fringes of Higashi-Ginza, it has soared from an insiders’ word-of-mouth favorite to media prominence, hence the inevitable lines around the block. All for a simple bowl? Not quite: In fact, it comes with a long and fascinating backstory that adds extra spice to the slurping.

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