MOSHI MOSHI FRIENDS Members Enter Kourakuen’s Child Character Design Contest to Win 500,000 Yen
Kourakuen is a popular Japanese ramen chain based in the east of Japan that is celebrating its 65th anniversary this year. Their diverse ramen menu line-up elicits a hint of nostalgia amongst the people of Japan, with its number one product being the “Chuka Soba,” a Chinese-style soba noodle dish.
The company just recently launched its first ever mascot characters called “Mama” and “Papa.” They are a family who love to eat out at Kourakuen, with Papa having a weakness for ramen and Kourakuen’s popular Chuka Soba, and Mama having a thing for their seasonal and limited-time dishes.
In celebration of 65 years since its establishment, Kourakuen announced an international Child Character Design Contest which people from around the world are able to participate in. Participants must create a child character for Mama and Papa. The winning character will serve to promote and make Kourakuen an even more fun place, appearing on the company’s social media platforms and at events to spread the word of their ramen across the globe.
But that’s not all. Winners will receive ¥300,000 travel money with JTB and ¥200,000 in prize money. Many people are unaware of Kourakuen outside Japan, hence the contest, so if you’re reading this article, this is your chance to get involved and get the word out there!
Our MOSHI MOSHI Friends members decided to all get together and enter the contest!
Six of our amazing members came together. They are a diverse bunch, each of different nationalities and ages and having different hobbies.
They headed to the Dogenzaka branch of Kourakuen in Shibuya, Tokyo where they ordered food of their choice as inspiration for their character designs.
Being a ramen chain, Kourakuen of course has a long list of ramen options, but they also boast a selection of delicious side dishes too like gyoza and chahan. Our members were spoiled for choice and it took them 5-minutes or so to decide, but each of them settled on their favourite-sounding dishes.
Time to tuck in!
Chuka Soba – ¥440
Naomi is a model from the Philippines. She went and tried the “Chuka Soba,” Kourakuen’s most popular dish.
This was her first time eating at Kourakuen, and she seemed to enjoy the subtle flavours of her Chuka Soba.
Etsuna, a model from China, has recently been obsessed with going to Hakata to eat tonkotsu, so she went for the “Tonkotsu Chashu Noodles” (¥640). She was really happy that there were mustard greens in the dish which she said made it really tasty. We were looking forward to seeing what kind of character Estuna was going to illustrate as she graduated from an arts college.
Vegetable Gyoza – ¥240
“I’ll go with vegetable gyoza!” Peter decided promptly, a Canadian and vegetarian who was raised in Japan.
He was very pleased with his choice, saying: “I finally get to eat meatless gyoza after so long! There’s plenty of veg in them like yam, beefsteak plant and ginger. The skin is chewy too, it’s really good.” Kourakuen’s vegetable gyoza have no meat or onions in them, so we recommend them for people who have always wanted to try gyoza but don’t like the smell.
Sammy is a British translator for us on MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON and she loves Japanese food. She loves ramen but is also health-wise, so she ordered the “Reduced Salt Chuka Soba” (¥440). “I came prepared, I’ve been practicing drawing my character since yesterday!” she explained, full of vim and vigour.
Our next member, Daniel, Chief Editor at game and entertainment website IGN JAPAN, ordered the limited-time “Sesame Miso Chashu Noodles” (¥640). He gave careful consideration to his dish and character design idea, explaining: “I want to use noodles in my drawing. I love adding egg to my ramen, and children are born from eggs, so I’m thinking I might include eggs too.”
Egg Rice Bowl – ¥320
ChiMy ordered the Negi Ramen (¥540) together with the Egg Rice Bowl. She works as both as an illustrator and DJ. She actually frequents Kourakuen after her DJ sets, so she already had in mind her order.
With their bellies full and their minds filled with inspiration from each of their dishes, it was time to get drawing.
They laid out their crayons, pencils, coloured pencils and erasers onto the table. The competition allows both digital and hand drawn submissions. MOSHI MOSHI Friends went the traditional hand drawn route.
ChiMy got stuck right in, using the pens she normally uses for her works.
Everyone was chatty just moments ago, but as soon as they put pen to paper, they went straight into serious mode. We could see them incorporating different elements of their food into their drawings, like noodles, egg, seaweed, narutomaki, rice bowls, and so on.
Each person who participates in the contest can submit as many entries as they like. Estuna seemed to be drawing both a boy and a girl.
“Does this kid [character] even have a gender to begin with?” Daniel pondered as he worked on his character.
Our members had to come up with fitting names for their child too.
After about an hour of working hard, our members’ adorable children were finally complete.
ChiMy’s character is called “En-chan.” She has a rice bowl for a hat and her hair is made of noodles. Her hair also has a stylish narutomaki hair clip.
Sammy named her character “Umen,” which makes use of both Papa’s noodles and Mama’s narutomaki. His cute shoes are actually eggs!
Naomi create a super adorable sibling pair, called Chad The E-Boy and VSCO-chan respectively. They have matching wavy noodle hair, as you’d expect from a brother and sister.
Estuna’s idea was a twin brother and sister called “Menyuyu-chan” and “Rakutaro” who transform when they eat noodles. It’s cool that she even added some lore to their character!
Daniel’s character is “Ramen Baby,” a creepy-cute ramen bowl who eats their own noodles, aka themselves. The diaper adds that baby touch to the character.
Peter conceived “Mugimen,” who has a Native American-like appearance and whose torso is an egg. His headpiece is wheat which is a fundamental ingredient of ramen.
Everyone was able to come up with their own unique ideas and put them on paper. It’s interesting to see how all their ideas came together and how their dishes inspired what they drew.
The MOSHI MOSHI Friends left feeling satisfied after their tasty food at Kourakuen and being engrossed in their work.
Submissions for the contest close at 23:59 (JST) on Friday October 25. Don’t worry if you’re not confident in your drawing skills as Japanese illustrator Shashamin will take your idea and add any finishing touches to your design and colouring. Anyone and everyone are encouraged to get involved.
*All listed prices of the menu items include tax
*Select branches may not stock select menu options listed in this article
*To see the full menu, please visit Kourakuen’s official website at https://www.kourakuen.co.jp/
Writer: Ellie (MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON)
Translator: Joshua Kitosi-Isanga
Kourakuen’s Child Character Design Contest
Summary: Kourakuen is a ramen chain loved by families, so to celebrate the restaurant’s 65th anniversary it has created the Kourakuen Family, a family who now serve as the mascots for the chain. The competition asks people to draw the Mama and Papa a child to complete the family, who is also the main character.
Prize: ¥300,000 travel money with JTB and ¥200,000 prize money
Running: September 24, 2019 at 10:00 (JST) – October 25, 2019 at 23:59 (JST)
①Follow Kourakuen on Twitter@kourakuen_pr and post your illustration with the hashtag #幸楽苑ファミリー along with the name of your character. Illustrations must be in JPEG format and be less than 2mb.
②Upload your illustration to the campaign website along with the name of your character.
*Your illustration must be coloured. You are free to draw whatever ideas you like. Submissions can be digital art or hand-drawn art.
*If doing a hand drawn illustration, please ensure your photo is taken in a brightly-lit room so it can be seen clearly.
*Each participant can draw as many drawings as they like. However, only one character will be accepted from a submission.
Submission Necessities: You must ensure the following 2 items are included in your submission. If you forget to include both, your submission will not be accepted.
①Character illustration (JPEG)
*You may include how you conceived the character along with your drawing process, but this it not mandatory.
The winning entry will be posted on Kourakuen’s official website and social media platforms 1 month after submissions close. Time frame is subject to change. Please make sure all the information and required items are included before submitting.
Contest Details (Japanese): https://www.kourakuen.co.jp/pr/campaign201909/character
MOSHI MOSHI BOX Questionnaire to 100 Foreigners: #2 “Where are you heading to next in Tokyo?”
Hi, everyone. I’m Shiota, the director of the MOSHI MOSHI BOX.
This is the second entry to our already-popular series where we ask questions to 100 foreigners. We give questionnaires about Japan to foreign tourists that come into the MOSHI MOSHI BOX Harajuku Tourist Information Center.
The 2nd question we asked people was “Where are you heading to next in Tokyo?” Let’s take a look at the answers!
1st Place: Shibuya (34 Votes)
The most popular answer was Shibuya, which got more than double that of the 2nd place rank. It’s common to see lots of foreign tourists taking photos of Shibuya’s famous Scramble Crossing. In the questionnaire answers, a lot of people were planning to go there for fashion and shopping.
I really love shopping. ―Karymoon, Mexico
・I’ve always wanted to try going to 109! I love fashion. ―Brigitte, France
・I’m off to buy clothes. If you’re going from Harajuku you can walk there [Shibuya] and stroll while window shopping. ―liu, China
2nd Place: Asakusa (13 Votes)
Asakusa is popular for its traditional townscape. There was an overwhelming number of people on their way to Sensou-ji Temple. Asakusa is a great for accessing other great sightseeing spots too like Skytree and Ueno.
I want to see the beautiful, traditional streets. ―Anonymous, US
・I’m collecting goshuin from shrines, so I’m going to the famous temple of Asakusa. ―LEE SUU JUNG, Taiwan
・I like the traditional culture of Japan. I go to Asakusa every time I come to Japan. ―Anonymous, US
3rd Place: Ueno (12 Votes)
Coming close to a tie with Asakusa is Ueno. Ueno is filled with lots of fun places to visit, like museums and the zoo, making it a great place to spend the day.
I heard that the cherry blossoms in Ueno Park are beautiful, so I’m going to go there. ―Celine, France
・I’m thinking about going to the zoo and Ueno Park. ―Kati, Australia
・I like pandas, so I’m going to go and see Ueno Zoo. ―Bianca, Italy
I love anime! If we’re talking anime merchandise, then it’s “Akiba,” right? ―Jackson, UK
Ikebukuro is the haven for female otaku. It’s also the best since there are so many cosplay events there. ―Anonymous, US
I like the stylish streets. I’m gonna go there to shop. ―Adre, Portgual
I love sushi! I’m going to go and eat delicious sashimi at Tsukiji. I want to experience the unique atmosphere too.
I’m going to the big UNIQLO, museum and Hanazono Shrine found only in Shinjuku. ―Anonymous, Australia
It looks fun. It’s a famous place in Japan, isn’t it? ―Sue, US
Did you enjoy this questionnaire? Travelers have a surprisingly similar mindset to that of Japanese people when it comes to having fun in Tokyo.
If you have any questions about anything or topics you want us to cover then please send us a message on our Facebook page! https://www.facebook.com/msmsnippon/
We’ll continue to hold more questionnaires with foreign tourists at the MOSHI MOSHI BOX, so be sure to drop by to see us if you’re in Harajuku!
A new ramen food zone called Ramen Gekisenku Tokyo Marunouchi is set to open in KITTE GRANCHE, a shop and restaurant area located on floor B1F of KITTE Marunouchi, on March 5, 2019.
The new gourmet area will be filled by popular ramen restaurants and long-standing ramen eateries that have been picked up by the media multiple times. The Marunouchi area is connected directly to Tokyo Station making it easily accessible for ramen lovers. There will be no preparation time from opening to closing meaning customers can enjoy the restaurant at both lunch and dinnertime.
Chuka Soba Fukumi (中華そば 福味)
Fukumi is a famous restaurant expanded to New York in 2007 and even made it into the New York Times. The ramen broth is made with whole Shigentori chickens―a brand of chicken. And by using RO water, a type of water that removes impurities, the full delicious flavour of the chicken is brought to the palette. The bowl is made with a refreshing and full-bodied broth and a rich hot water soup. The noodles are homemade using Waka, a wheat flour made in Hokkaido that ensures good texture that slides down the throat well.
Matsudo Tomita Menban (松戸富田麺絆)
Tsukemen noodles are the standard eaten at this restaurant managed by restaurant owner Tomita. They are known for their pork bone and seafood broth and incredible homemade noodles. The owner himself appeared in the documentary Ramen Heads which received coverage worldwide. He has served ramen at an overseas film festival and has even been called “the absolute king of the ramen world.”
Tokyo Style Miso Ramen Do Miso (東京スタイルみそらーめん ど・みそ)
Do Miso specialises in miso ramen and since opening in Tokyo has gone on to serve ramen made with a sweet and full-bodied broth containing rich red miso. The miso used is an original blend of five miso varieties such as Edoama Miso and Shinshu Miso. The soup is a mix of two soups: one made with meat such as pork and chicken and a Japanese-style made with kombu, shiitake mushrooms, mackerel and skipjack tuna. The noodles were made to complement the miso – they are flat curly noodles made with tapioca.
Shisen Tantanmen Aun (四川担担麺 阿吽)
With its main branch based in Yushima, Aun is often called Tokyo’s number one amongst fans of tan tan noodles. This restaurant is credited with creating a boom with its broth-less tan tan noodle dishes. It is made with homemade raayu red chili oil and Sichuan pepper. There are seven spice levels to choose from that range from 0 to 6. The restaurant’s recommended level is 3. The 6th level is open only to those who have cleared the 5th, making this restaurant popular not only amongst ramen lovers but spice-seekers too.
Hakata Yatai Ramen Ikkousha (博多屋台ラーメン 一幸舎)
Ikkousha has expanded to 9 countries overseas in Asia. By cooking their rice with large quantities of pork bones, the soup becomes rich and creamy which when spooned into the mouth instantly bursts with delicious flavour. This dish respects the tradition of tonkotsu ramen while evolving it. It is a street food style ramen that has been loved by the people of Hakata for years.
If ever you’re in Tokyo be sure to pop on over to KITTE Marunouchi to try the ramen of many famous restaurants.
Ramen Gekisenku Tokyo Marunouchi
Grand Opening: March 5, 2019 at 11:00 (JST)
Address: KITTE GRANCHE, KITTE Marunouchi Floor B1F (JP Tower, 2-7-2 Marunouchi, Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo)
Opening Hours: Weekdays 11:00-22:00 / Weekends 11:00-21:00
Address: JP Tower, 2-7-2 Marunouchi, Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo
Restaurants: 11:00-23:00 (until 22:00 on Sundays and holidays)
Grocery Zone: 10:00-21:00 (until 20:00 on Sundays and holidays)
Seijo Ishii: 8:00-22:00 (until 22:00 on Weekends and holidays)
*Business hours may differ at certain shops.
It’s not just Ichiran and Ippudo – there are more places around the world that serve the Japanese standard of Ramen! Today we’re introducing 6!
08.October.2017 | FOOD
Ramen has become a recent hit with foreigners. That’s why today we’ll be introducing places outside of Japan where you can enjoy a nice bowl of ramen. This article is dedicated to ramen fans who cannot taste Japanese ramen in Japan.
The noodles are made using special wheat flour and a unique blend. The noodle makers have a hefty amount of experience, using the ultimate method to create a splendid experience for the customers with each mouthful. After extensive research by specialists, a secret technique was devised to enhance the flavour of the tonkostu broth. The main idea was formed by using chili peppers as a base and mixing this with 30 different ingredients. The broth is left to mature day and night. Ichiran is available in America, Hong Kong and Taiwan.
More information: http://www.moshimoshi-nippon.jp/ja/42485
Japanese Soba Noodles Tsuta
According to Michelin Guide Tokyo 2016, this is the first ramen shop in the world to receive a Michelin star. The owner Onishi Yuki uses simple and original ingredients and an original preparation method to make this much-adored ramen. The store has taken a step forward and opened its first chain at Pacific Plaza in Singapore!
Find out more information here: http://www.moshimoshi-nippon.jp/19901
Ippudo serves up Hakata ramen, which originates from Fukuoka. Anyone can easily finish off these servings, and the restaurant is stylish and clean. The characteristic and filling tonkotsu broth, and the rich, deep flavour of the soup is a result of extensive research. There are branches in America, Singapore, Hong Kong, Australia, Taiwan, Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines, Indonesia, England and France.
The special feature of this Kumamoto ramen is the brown tare sauce called senmiyu that accompanies the Kumamoto tonkotsu ramen. This adds a deep flavour to the white soup broth. Garlic, which is an essential feature of Kumamoto ramen, is a prominent flavour. There are Ajisen Ramen shops in China and Taiwan. It is a particularly big hit in China.
This ramen originated in Asahikawa, Hokkaido. At all chains within Japan and in foreign countries, the soup is made from scratch starting from stage one. Ingredients are specially selected and prepared, producing a flavour that is satisfying despite the reduced usage of salt. The Shio-ramen is presented to represent a slim woman with rosy red tinted skin. The restaurant boasts the cloudy tonkotsu soup, which customers drink up to the very last drop. There are chains in Canada, America, Taiwan, the Philippines, Hong Kong, Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore.
This ramen is known nationwide for its rich and unique soup blend that is made up of over 20 varieties of niboshi dried sardines. The fisherman who caught the sardines explained how to prepare the iwashi extract. Many varieties of flavourings are combined. The shop boasts the irresistible spicy flavour produced by maturing the ramen broth for a few days. There are Ramen Nagi chains in Taiwan, the Philippines, Hong Kong and China.
Hakata Choten originated from Fukuoka and Kumamoto and eventually opened a shop in France. According to ratings on the popular rating blog (https://cecj2.com/ ) and many other sources, this is the best place for both Gyoza and ramen and holds the throne as the no.1 ramen shop. This is the first ramen shop to ever be opened in Paris, serving customers with 1.3 times the amount of thin ramen noodles as the Japanese shop. The ramen broth is prepared by boiling it for over 24 hours. This produces a strong tasting tonkotsu ramen broth. This is authentic Hakata ramen.
The intense flavour of the tonkotsu broth is perfect for the authentic Hakata ramen. Customers can choose the hardness of their noodles (soft, al dente or a bit harder), and the soup flavour (mild, normal or intense) . This customer service reflects authentic Japanese service, allowing Parisians to enjoy the humble service of a Japanese shop.
So, how about it? Next time you’re looking to enjoy the flavours of Japan in your own country, or whether you’re somewhere else in the world, try out these places!
Translator: Samantha Fernandes
New York Ramen Bar Kuro-Obi to Open First Japanese Branch in Shibuya
05.July.2020 | FOOD
New York-based ramen bar Kuro-Obi has announced that it’s opening it first Japanese branch in the food hall of Shibuya’s new shopping centre RAYARD MIYASHITA PARK on August 4, 2020.
Kuro-Obi was established in New York back in 2014. To date, it has opened 6 branches across the US as well as one branch in Singapore. It specialises in “tori paitan”, a silky chicken-base broth. The new Japanese ramen bar will serve many different tori paitan ramen dishes takeout style, which is common in the US. All ramen served here is served in paper cups rather than bowls, so it can be eaten both in the food hall or taken away.
Added to the rich soup broth and noodles is moist chicken char siu, soft-boiled egg, negi spring onion, and fried onion chips. The black pepper used adds a kick to the overall flavour. Thick noodles are also used.
“Ramen is Freedom” is the theme of Kuro-Obi’s brand in Japan, with which they aim to challenge the new possibilities of ramen.
Kuro-Obi MIYASHITA PARK
Grand Opening: August 4, 2020
Address: MIYASHITA PARK South 3F FOOD HALL, 6-20-10 Jingumae, Shibuya, Tokyo
Opening Hours: 11:00-23:00 (Last Orders 22:30)
Official Website: https://kuroobi-ramen.com/
Japan’s New Snack Theme Park Little Oyatsu Town Namba to Open in Osaka This October
Japanese snack company Oyatsu Town is opening a new “town-style” theme park inside the Namba Parks shopping complex in Osaka on October 2, 2020 called “Little Oyatsu Town Namba” which will be themed around Oyatsu Town’s timeless Japanese dried noodle snack “Baby Star Ramen.”
When the theme park opens, it will be taking all necessary precautions against COVID-19 to ensure guests have a safe experience.
Hoshio-kun Kitchen: Make your own Baby Star Ramen
In the Hoshio-kun Kitchen area, you will be able to choose favourite seasonings to create your very own personal Baby Star Ramen snack. Guests will also be able to make steamed bread to season too.
Hoshio-kun Fantasy Park: The amusement area
At Hoshio-kun Fantasy Park, kids and adults alike can enjoy Baby Star in a variety of interactive digital content, from music to videos, controlling your own avatar, and more.
Baby Star Dining: Enjoy lunch and dinner in the food area
Baby Star Dining features a menu arranged by pro chefs. Enjoy lunch, dinner, or cafe time. At dinner, alcohol is served too.
Oyatsu Deli: The takeout corner
Here, you can order curry bread, steamed buns, and other freshly-made tasty takeout food made using Baby Star.
Oyatsu Marche: The marketplace
At the Oyatsu Marche market, guests can get their hands on exclusive Baby Star Ramen flavours, merchandise, stationery, and more.
Bookings will open in September before the grand opening of Little Oyatsu Town Namba on October 2, 2020.
Little Oyatsu Town Namba
Address: Namba Parks 7F, 2-10-70 Nanbanaka, Naniwa-ku, Osaka
Grand Opening: October 2, 2020 (Subject to change)
Opening Hours: 11:00-21:00 (Subject to change)
No Fixed Holidays
Entry: Free (Select services will charge however)
Access: 7-minutes on foot from Namba Station via the south-south ticket gates of the Osaka Metro Midosuji Line or the central ticket gates of the Nankai Electric Railway / 9-minutes on foot from Osaka-Namba Station via the east ticket gates of the Nara Line
Official Website: http://oyatsu.town/
Ramen Delivery Website Ouchi Ramen to Open in Response to Coronavirus Lockdown
10.May.2020 | FOOD
Matsufuji Shokuhin, which manages numerous ramen stores including Rokurinsha, has announced that it is opening a new delivery website called Ouchi Ramen (“At Home Ramen”) on May 18, 2020. This will be the company’s first delivery website to operate in almost six years, and comes in response to the closure of ramen eateries as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Initial sales will collaborate with super popular ramen shops
The first batch of ramen to be open for delivery will come from 8 hugely popular ramen shops in Japan as called for by the head of Rokurinsha (三田遼斉).
1: Senrigan (Nakameguro, Tokyo)
Senrigan is a super popular ramen shop in Komaba-tōdaimae that serves gattsuri style ramenーbasically, hearty portions. It’s normal to be waiting it line to get into this place for a bowl of their hiyashi chūka chilled Chinese noodles.
2: Jump (Kasukabe, Saitama)
Another ramen shop you’ll find people lining up outside is Jump which was independently set up by the owner of Junk Garage, Takayama, after he began working there. They have many loved dishes there, like their mazesoba dry noodles and taresoba.
3: Kuriyama (Yokohama, Kanagawa)
Kuriyama placed first in many ramen competitions, and is said to have been the final place that ramen legend Kazuo Yamagishi taught his practices at before his passing in 2015.
4: Oni Soba Fujiya (Shibuya, Tokyo)
This popular ramen shop is managed by Japanese impressionist HEY! TakuChan. It’s considered the real deal amongst some of Japan’s biggest entertainers and reigned as the champion at a food festival held in the US in 2019.
5: Ootsuya (Yokosuka, Kanagawa)
There is huge support for the owner of this popular ramen restaurant which has many fans for its delicious family ramen.
6: KaneKitchen Noodles (Toshima, Tokyo)
KaneKitchen Noodles has hailed as a Bib Gourmand restaurant three years in a row in Michelin Tokyo. Their cup noodles are popular too.
7: Magorinsha (Chiyoda, Tokyo)
Magorinsha is a famous restaurant where its kitchen is graced by a different ramen master chef every day, including the owner of Rokurinsha. Simply eating their meals with just ramen and vegetables without seafood is enough to earn the description of exquisite.
8: Rokurinsha (Chiyoda, Tokyo)
Rokurinsha is said to be the place that started the tsukemen boom in Japan. It’s incredibly famous, and legend has it that it’s had to close before because lines have been so long in the past.
Online orders are made up of a set of two meals. A price of a set starts at ¥2,980 and shipping is free (Japan only). Many more respected restaurants are scheduled to be added to the website in the near future. This is a great way to continue supporting this hardworking restaurants.
Ouchi Ramen Official Website: http://www.ouchi-ramen.jp
Results Announced: Over 3,000 Entries For Kourakuen’s Child Character Design Contest to Win 500,000 Yen
Popular Japanese ramen chain Kourakuen celebrated their 65th anniversary by unveiling their own original mascot characters Mama and Papa. They followed it up with a character design contest where people could submit their own illustration for creating a child character for the parents.
Here at MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON, members of our MOSHI MOSHI FRIENDS program entered the contest, which we covered in an article last month. So, was one of them chosen as the winner…?
There were 3,155 entries to the contest, which were scrutinised by a line-up of judges. The winner was a mother who lives in Fukushima with her two children. Her character is called Kou-kun, a boy who loves ramen. This was announced at the official unveiling event in Tokyo on November 28, where Kou-kun showed his face to the world for the first time after some finishing touches added by Japanese illustrator Shashamin. The Kourakuen FamilyーMama, Papa, and Childーstood together for the first time ever.
The creator of Kou-kun attended the event, and was handed ¥300,000 travel money with JTB and ¥200,000 in prize money by the judges: Natsume Mito and the president of Kourakuen Niida. She was asked to give her thoughts on her victory as well as how she conceived her her character. “I was really shocked. I have two children, aged one and three. Both of them love ramen and we go to Kourakuen a lot. They always look like they’re enjoying their food, they always have their mouths wide open. That’s the image I pictured when creating the character.”
During the talk, Natsume Mito and president Niida said that the deciding factor for Kou-kun being the winner was the adorable gyoza puppy sat atop his head, who is called Luck.
Though our MOSHI MOSHI FRIENDS didn’t win this time around, all of us are glad that the family is finally complete, and that Mama and Papa have such a cute child.
Speaking about Kou-kun, Natsume Mito said: “I hope that Kou-kun makes Kourakuen an even more incredible place, and that he becomes a character loved by everyone. I’d be super happy if they released some merchandise too <laughs>.”
We look forward to seeing what the Kourakuen Family has in store for the world in the near future.
Tokyo Station’s Best Rice Bowl & Noodle Dishes as Voted by Commuters
Tokyo Station and surrounding facilities are currently holding the “Tokyo Station Rice Bowl vs. Noodles Grand Prix 2019” tournament from October 7 to November 24 to find out people’s favourite rice bowl and noodle dishes at the station.
The past three tournaments have focused only on rice bowls, but this year sees the introduction of noodles too, with past restaurants in Kitchen Street and GRANSTA competing once again as well as new ones in ecute Tokyo and KITTE for a total of 13 participating station areas. 92 dishes are in the line-up, the biggest list to date.
The current rankings for the rice bowl and noodle categories have finally been unveiled, so let’s take a look at the Top 3 of each to see which is leading the race.
Category Is: Rice Bowl
Ultimate Japanese Spiny Lobster Bowl – ¥2,200 (Tax Included) @ Tsukiji Sushiko (GRANSTA Marunouchi)
Tsukiji Sushiko was the victory of last year’s grand prix. This year, they’ve whipped up a hearty seafood bowl made with a whole Japanese spiny lobster and 11 other delicious critters from the ocean.
Premium Wagyu & Uni Otsukimi Date – ¥2,530 (Tax Included) @ Uniya no Amagokoro (Kitchen Street)
Served with sliced premium brand wagyu, this bowl is topped with uni sea urchin eggs and ikura salted salmon roeーa luxurious combination you won’t find anywhere else.
Ura Ooedo Tempura Bowl – ¥1,800 (Tax Included) @ Tenkiyo (Grand Roof)
This is an alternate version of the restaurant’s famous Ooedo Tempura Bowl, served with delicious tempura.
Category Is: Noodles
MISO JIRO – ¥1,000 (Tax Included) @ Tokyo Style Miso Ramen Do Miso (KITTE GRANCHE)
A super-filling bowl piled with pork char siu and a mountain of vegetables.
Lanzhou Wagyu Noodles – ¥950 (Tax Included) @ Mazilu Lanzhou Beef Noodles
Authentic Lanzhou ramen served by the Halal-certified Mazilu Lanzhou Beef Noodles, customers can choose between nine different thicknesses for their noodles to satisfy their palate.
Dehydrated Hamburger Bolognese – ¥1,190 (Tax Included) @ HAMBURG WORKS
Enjoy the full flavour of the hamburger meat made from Japanese black wagyu beef and served with pasta.
Be sure to use this list as reference if you’re looking to eat while travelling through Tokyo Station!
Tokyo Station Rice Bowl vs. Noodles Grand Prix 2019
Running: October 7, 2019 – November 24, 2019
Locations: Kitchen Street, Kurobei Yokocho, Kitamachi Dining, Grand Roof, Grand Roof Front, GranAge, GRANSTA, GRANSTA Marunouchi, KITTE, ecute Tokyo, ecute Keiyo Street
Participating Restaurants: 91
Menu Items: 92 (79 of which are exclusive to Tokyo Station)
The Peninsula Tokyo Hotel Now Offers Restaurant IPPUDO’s Ramen as Room Service
29.August.2019 | FOOD
The Peninsula Tokyo is teaming up with tonkotsu ramen specialist restaurant chain IPPUDO―which has restaurants across the world―to offer their ramen as room service at their hotel.
The hotel and restaurant first came together in autumn last year to begin plans for their collaboration, which comes in response to many guests at the hotel asking staff where a great place to eat tonkotsu ramen is, and even some expressing their desire to dine at IPPUDO.
IPPUDO is a prominent ramen chain in Japan and so is sure to please the palates of all guests.
The ramen is boiled fresh in the kitchen and is delivered to guest rooms in a soup together with what looks like a jewellery box, but instead of being filled with rings and necklaces it’s packed full of delicious ingredients to add to your broth, including walleye pollock roe―which is a staple with tonkotsu ramen―as well as mustard greens, red pickled ginger, cloud ear mushroom, seaweed, and more. Topping the broth is boiled egg, fried garlic, sesame seeds, BBQ sauce specially prepared by the hotel’s restaurant Hei Fung Terrace, XO sauce which originates from The Peninsula Hong Kong, and more.
Enjoy the ultimate ramen room service now at The Peninsula Tokyo.
The Peninsula Tokyo “My Ramen” by IPPUDO
Price: ¥3,400 (Includes Tax / Excludes Service Charge)
Served: Everyday 11:00-23:00
Available: Room service at The Peninsula Tokyo
The Peninsula Tokyo
Address: 1-8-1 Yurakucho, Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo
Hotel Website: https://www.peninsula.com/ja/tokyo/5-star-luxury-hotel-ginza
IPPUDO Official Website: https://www.ippudo.com/
Roppongi Hills Renovates Food Court Revealing Mouthwatering Michelin Guide Restaurants
Looking for a delicious Michelin-approved food experience? You surely cannot go wrong with heading to Roppongi Hills; a large-scale development project located in Tokyo, which is known for its nightlife and and shopping. Roppongi Hills is also home to the shopping mall Metro Hat, which is currently renovating its food court on basement floor 2. The foodcourt will have its grand opening on October 29th.
The renovation will introduce seven new restaurants to the food court. Some of these include ramen shops and Yakitori restaurants which are bringing brand new rare dishes and flavours to the table.
Let’s look at our recommendations:
Ginza Kagari (銀座 篝)
Chicken Soba: ￥900 (before tax)
Ginza Kagari is known for their notorious never-ending queues. In 2016 and 2017, it earned a place in the Michelin Guide Tokyo and even became popular overseas. One of their specilaties is their chicken soba. The broth is packed with the goodness and flavour of the entire chicken and even the bones. The flavour of the broth is exquisite and rich. The salt kaeshi sauce which is made from a mix of soy sauce, mirin and sugar goes perfectly with the soup. The salt mixture in the sauce consists of a range of natural salts which contain the natural goodness of the sea and perfectly enhance the flavours of the soup.
Location: Metro Hat Hollywood Plaza Floor B2
Opening Hours: 11:00 ー 23:00 (L.O: 22:00)
Website: https://www.roppongihills.com/en/ (The website is scheduled to open during mid October)
Yakitori Kokorikoan (焼鳥 ここりこ庵)
Yakitori (chicken skewer): ￥200 (before tax)
You must not miss out on Kokorikoan’s Chicken Skin Hotpot ー a dish that is rare even to Tokyo. This dish is the perfect opportunity to discover a new kind of flavour and a new way to enjoy food. This restaurant prepares their dishes using special and rare cuts of chicken and chicken that is freshly ground in the morning. The chicken is flavored using traditional flavorings such as tare sauce and salt as well as flavorings that are not so conventional in Japan such as balsamic vinegar, herb vinegar, madeira wine, brandy and much more. Each cut of meat is prepared with the most careful methods and best seasonings to fully bring out the flavours.
Location: Metro Hat/ Hollywood Plaza Floor B2
Opening Hours: Lunch: 11:00 ー 15:30 (L.O.15:00) Dinner: 17:00 ー 23:00 (L.O.22:00)
Website: https://www.roppongihills.com/en/ (The website is scheduled to open during mid October)
As a cheap place to enjoy authentic sushi, Pintokona has become a very popular restaurant. Now, it is having a fresh renewal. This sushi is made by using seasonal ingredients from around Japan. From November 1 to 30, there will be an exciting new menu that includes fresh fish from Miyazaki and authentic shochu (Japanese spirit). There will also be a fair that you also should not miss out on.
Location: Metro Hat/ Hollywood Plaza Floor B2
Opening Hours: Lunch: 11:00 ー 15:30 (L.O: 15:00) Dinner: 17:00 ー 23:00 (L.O: 22:00)
Website: https://www.roppongihills.com/en/ (The website is scheduled to open during mid October)
Yuzu Orange and Salt Ramen: ￥1000 (before tax)
Popular ramen shop AFURI sells a ramen with a translucent gold-coloured soup made using the natural spring water that gushes from the foot of Mount Afuri (Mount Oyama) located in the Tanzawa Mountain Range of the Kanto Region. Carefully selected chicken bones, pot herbs, kombu (kelp) and katsuobushi (fermented and smoked fish) is boiled in the water to add to the flavour. The whole wheat flour used to make the noodles creates a wonderfully fresh, chewy texture. The chashu roast pork pieces are freshly barbecued upon each order, creating a fresh and delicious flavour. AFURI also sells vegan ramen which is particularly popular among foreigners.
We have a full report on our heavenly trip to AFURI so if you are curious to find out more, please check out our this article: Introducing AFURI—Harajuku’s Michelin-Starred Ramen Restaurant
Location: Metro Hat/ Hollywood Plaza Floor B2
Opening Hours: 11:00 ー 23:00 (L.O:22:00)
There are just so many popular shops and restaurants at Metro Hat that you will be spoilt for choice. We hope you enjoy exploring the rich culture of Roppongi.
Address: 6-11-1, Roppongi, Minato Ward, Tokyo
RAMEN PURISM: Osaka’s New Eatery Made in Collaboration With 2 Ramen Restaurants
Popular ramen restaurants Original Ramen Style Hayashi and Human Beings Everybody Noodles in Osaka have crossed chopsticks to open up the all-new restaurant RAMEN PURISM in Shinsaibashi, Osaka.
Hayashi Ryuu Miso Ramen: ¥990
RAMEN PURISM will be the central branch of RAMEN CUBISM which opened in Hong Kong back in January, making it an example of a reverse-import restaurant.
Kindan no Shio: ¥890
Jinrui Mina Shoyu: ¥890
The Hayashi Ryuu Miso Ramen and Kindan no Shio by Original Ramen Style Hayashi and the Jinrui Mina Shoyu by Human Beings Everybody Noodles are served in large ramen bowls specially ordered from a ceramic maker in Kyoto (露古壽窯). The noodles are also prepared in-house meaning customers can enjoy freshly made noodles.
The noodles are made from fragrant bamboo wheat flour while the mouth-watering roast pork is a mix of pork belly and shoulder which is cooked at 160°Cfor 30-minutes until the centre of the pork reaches 70°C.
The glass windows in the restaurant mean that customers can watch the noodles noodles being made in front of them. Jazz music plays while you eat adding luxurious atmosphere compared to other ramen shops. It’s located just a 30-second walk from Ebisu Bridge in Souemoncho making access super easy.
Address: 2-3-12 Shinsaibashisuji, Chuo Ward, Osaka
Access: 370m on foot from Osaka-Namba Station)
Business Hours: 11:00-15:00 / 18:00-23:00
No Fixed Holidays.
Official Twitter Page: https://twitter.com/RAMENPURISM
Ippudo ramen opens on the lively and bustling Nathan Road, Kowloon, Hong Kong!
Japanese ramen shop Ippudo has just opened inside Eaton Hotel, Kowloon, Hong Kong. The ramen shop celebrated its grand opening on 3rd May.
Yokohama Kakaei Tonkotsu 80HK$/ ¥1,136
Ippudo pork buns 28HK$/ ¥397
The ramen served here includes Japan’s favourites; Shiromaru (salt-based), Akamaru (spicy red miso) and Ippudo Karakamen (hot and spicy). Besides the basics, there are so many other types of ramen served here, such as the Kuro (black) ramen, which shares the same standard tonkotsu broth but has a dash of garlic oil and black pepper. There’s also an Eaton Hotel-limited ramen called Yokohama Kakei Tonkotsu which is made using the tonkotsu broth infused with a chicken soup broth. Besides ramen, there is a rich variety of elegant dishes to complement your ramen. You can also get Ippudo pork buns and Ippudo gyoza (stuffed dumplings). There are also dessert treats such as the black soybean-matcha pudding dora (a black soybean and green tea pudding sandwiched between two Japanese-style pancakes).
Eaton Hotel is just a five-minute walk from Jordan train station (Tsuen Wan line, MTR). Other popular attractions in the area within walking distance include the Ladies Market and Temple Street, which thrive during the night in the Kowloon area. This area is bustling with tourists as well as locals, who come and go to this area! On the lower ground floor which is one floor below Ippudo, there is a countless number of food and drink places which are popular with visitors every day.
Starting with Ippudo ramen, come and show your support for delicious Japanese food in countries all over the world!
IPPUDO HK Eaton Hotel
Address：Shop 1, G/F, Eaton Hong Kong 380 Nathan Road, Kowloon
Opening hours：11:30 ー 22:30 (Last orders: 22:15)
Official website: https://www.ippudo.com.hk/
Ippudo releases new ramen for Niconico Chokaigi 2019 super cultural event!
19.April.2019 | FOOD
Ramen shop Ippudo will make its first ever appearance at Niconico Chokaigi 2019 from Saturday 27th to Sunday 28th April. This event will take place at the Makuhari Messe International Exhibition Hall. To celebrate, Ippudo will release a brand new ramen!
Niconico Chokaigi is Japan’s largest cultural festival where you can even participate online. Their slogan emphasises the appreciation of everything, whether it be the same or different. Ippudo‘s vision strongly resonates with this slogan, as they believe in an infinite number of possibilities and strive to keep pushing the boundaries. It was from this concept that their new ramen was born! Reform and tradition, skill and passion; Ippudo combined all these base factors to create their new ramen Cho ♡ Ippudo Ramen, which perfectly rounds off the end of the Heisei period.
Cho ♡ Ippudo Ramen (name subject to change) ¥800 (price with tax included), limited sales!
Noodles dressed in tonkotsu sauce, curry spices and garlic oil contrasted with fruits such as pineapple and strawberries, and finished with a touch of vibrantly-coloured vegetables such as tomatoes and broccoli. As well as a range of ingredients, this bowl also includes a range of fun textures such as fruity granola and cheese for you to mix and enjoy. The ingredients harmonise with each other for a beautiful flavour. We recommend you add black pepper for a refreshing aroma or spice for a tingly kick!
On each day of the event, only 300 visitors will be given a pucchin pudding for free! This is a topping for your ramen which will send you on a brand new flavourful adventure! If you mix it with your ramen, it will become milder. The bittersweet flavour of the caramel sauce leaves a touch of nostalgia, and the pudding looks cute too! Come down to the Ippudo booth on an event day to witness the debut of a VTuber! (Virtual YouTuber). There will also be a wide range of fun events taking place. More detailed event information will be released around 22nd April.
Try out a whole new type of specially made ramen and explore the huge range of events at Niconico Chokaigi 2019!
Niconico Chokaigi 2019
Location: Makuhari Messe International Exhibition Hall 1 ー 11 and Event Hall
2 Chome 1, Nakase, Mihama Ward, Chiba
Open: Sat 27/04/2019 (10:00 ー 18:00, last entry: 17:30)
Sun 28/04/2019 (10:00 ー 17:00, last entry: 16:30)
1-day tickets: Advanced ¥1,800, on the door: ¥2,300
2-day tickets: Advanced: ¥3,100
※ Free entry for children under school age.
※ You cannot purchase 2-day tickets on the door.
Niconico Chokaigi website: https://chokaigi.jp/2019/en/
Ippudo official website: http://www.ippudo.com/zuzutto/
Gudetama & Chicken Ramen Hiyoko-chan Collaborate in Online Video
Hiyoko-chan clashed on his official Twitter page with Gudetama on March 24.
The comment section was flooded with comments from people asking them to make up. A video was then posted which showed them having made up. Gudetama kindly made an egg shaped pocket for Hiyoko-chan to join him in basking instant ramen.
The video is also an ad for the new Gudetama Chicken Ramen which comes with the following decorative faces to put on your egg with your noodles.
Make your instant ramen even more fun and get your hands on the Gudetama Chicken Ramen!
Product Page: https://www.chickenramen.jp/special/gudechicki
©2013,2019 SANRIO CO.,LTD.APPROVALNO.S595130
IPPUDO Releases Cherry Blossom Coloured Tonkotsu Ramen at 1/2PPUDO
03.March.2019 | FOOD
IPPUDO released its limited-time “Spring Colours Tonkotsu Ramen” at 1/2PPUDO branches on March 1. Only 30 bowls will be served per day.
To achieve the cherry blossom colour of the broth, IPPUDO cooks it with beetroot which has a vivid and distinct red colour. The bowl contains an assortment of vegetables including bright purple cabbage that has been pickled, rape blossoms, butter sauteed onion, and fried potato. It also has sakura shrimp―a perfect choice for the coming spring―as well as a shrimp flavoured rice cracker, basil, and a juicy roasted chicken thigh.
To bring this healthy and hearty springtime bowl together, the ramen is served with medium-thick chewy noodles.
Spring Colours Tonkotsu Ramen
Running: March 1, 2019 – April 20, 2019 (Until March 1 at the Shibuya Hikarie branch)
Available: 1/2PPUDO Celeo Hachioji, 1/2PPUDO Lumine Tachikawa, 1/2PPUDO Shibuya Hikarie, IPPUDO Lumine EST Shinjuku
Price: Single Bowl – ¥815 (Before Tax) / Set Menu – ¥500 (Before Tax)
*The size of the servings at 1/2PPUDO are smaller than at regular IPPUDO branches
*The ¥500 set menu option is not available at IPPUDO Lumine Est Shinjuku
Quantity: 30 servings per day
1/2PPUDO Celeo Hachioji: https://www.ippudo.com/store/celeo_hachioji/
1/2PPUDO Lumine Tachikawa: https://www.ippudo.com/store/lumine_tachikawa/
1/2PPUDO Shibuya Hikarie: https://www.ippudo.com/store/shibuya_hikarie/
IPPUDO Lumine EST Shinjuku: https://www.ippudo.com/store/lumine/