Internationally recognised ramen chain Ichiran are currently selling their Gokaku Ramen (‘Success Ramen’) at their Dazaifu Sando branch. It has been almost a year since they began serving it and has been praised by people both in and out of Japan.
Gokaku Ramen uses a natural pork ramen broth, inside which sits 59cm long noodles made from a special blend of wheat flour.
The Dazaifu Sando branch also sells its own merchandise, such as Gokaku Chopsticks. The restaurant is visited by many people preparing to take exams hoping to increase their chances of success. Since students visit the local Dazaifu Tenman-gū Shrine to pray to Sugawara no Michizane, the deity of scholarship, to pray for success on their exams, Ichiran wanted to support them and so created this dish.
The number of high school students and university students, as well as those taking state examinations and employment examinations, declaring that they have passed successfully continues to flourish.
But the success isn’t limited to Japan, as people who have eaten Goraku Ramen from overseas have claimed success too. Both them and their families have expressed their gratitude to the restaurant.
Select comments from customers (*translated from Japanese):
・Thanks to you, I was able to get into my first choice high school. Thank you so much.
・My little brother ate a bowl of Gokaku Ramen and passed his exams for the University of Tokyo.
・I passed my National Nursing Exam. Thank you! What a wonderful meal.
・I said “I will pass my exams for Kyushu University” to everyone yesterday. Announcements were revealed yesterday, and I passed. Thank you very much!!
・I ate this ramen, took my exam, and actually passed. Thank you so much!!!
・I passed my Teacher Employment Examination!!!
“Gokaku” in Japanese is a homophone for “success” and “pentagon”. The Dazaifu Sando branch of Ichiran is scattered with lots of pentagon shaped bits and bobs, including the donburi bowls used for the meals, the 59cm noodles, cups (pictured) above, chopsticks and more.
Even the toilets. The sign reads toire, which means “toilet,” but with the extra lines drawn in a different colour it reads tooru, which is the verb “pass,” as in to pass an exam. The toilet paper holders also make up the kanji “合” used in 合格 (gokaku) to mean “success.” Even the staff’s name tags aren’t just regular tags – they are ema, which are small wooden plaques found at temples and shrines on which people write prayers and wishes.
If you have an exam coming up, whether for school or even the JLPT, then make sure you stop by Ichiran in Dazaifu for a bowl of Gokaku Ramen!
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