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Everything You Need To Know About Hokkaido Ramen

Slurp all three major styles on your next trip to Hokkaido!

Who doesn’t love a steaming hot bowl of soup noodles? By now ramen requires no grand introduction. From humble yet comforting instant noodles to elaborately crafted Michelin-starred concoctions, everyone across the globe has eaten (and enjoyed) ramen in some form or fashion.


Hokkaido, one of Japan’s prominent regions for ramen, is home to three major styles that are well-known across the country: Sapporo ramen, Asahikawa ramen, and Hakodate ramen. Of course, there are further regional variations, but these are the main ones to know before you go! 


Whether you prefer your ramen simple and subtle, or bold and rich, there’s a style to suit every palette. Here’s what you need to know about Hokkaido’s main ramen varieties.


Sapporo ramen


sapporo ramen


Imagine a bowl of rich, velvety pork bone broth infused with miso and thick, curly noodles. Toss in some stir-fried vegetables like bean sprouts and cabbage bathed in lard and garlic. Finish with a sprinkle of sweetcorn kernels and a cube of butter. If this description whets your appetite, Sapporo ramen is bound to be a delight for you.


Hailing from Hokkaido’s capital city, this style of ramen is one of Sapporo’s most popular exports. In what may or may not be an apocryphal tale, Sapporo ramen was supposedly created during the postwar years as a pork bone broth soup flavored with soy sauce. One day, some customers began asking for noodles in tonjiru (miso soup with pork and vegetables). This caught on and became the beloved combination we know today.


moerenuma park

The hemispheric Music Shell structure flanking the 62m-tall Mt. Moere in the background.


After sampling Sapporo’s signature ramen in The Ganso Sapporo Ramen Yokocho (Ramen Alley), why not go sightseeing in the city? Try exploring the lively Susukino district, or beer tasting at Sapporo Beer Museum. Alternatively, the Hokkaido University Botanical Gardens, Moerenuma Park, and Odori Park are all great options for strolling in nature. 


Location Information

Name: Moerenuma Park
Address: 1-1 Moerenumakoen, Higashi Ward, Sapporo City, Hokkaido 007-0011
Access: 1-minute walk from Moerenuma Koen Higashiguchi bus stop

Asahikawa ramen


asahikawa ramen


Located in central Hokkaido, Asahikawa City is perhaps most famous for the Asahiyama Zoo, where visitors can observe wildlife from unusual angles — such as through glass domes or underwater tunnels — and squeal over adorable penguins waddling through the zoo on their twice-a-day walk in winter. Visitors also indulge in sake tasting at the Otokoyama Sake Brewing Museum, and learning about the Ainu people at Kamuy Kotan. But there's something else that draws visitors to this city: Asahikawa ramen!


Different from Sapporo ramen, Asahikawa ramen is characterised by its double broth: a combination of a seafood-based soup and a rich blend of pork, chicken and vegetable soup, which is then flavoured with a soy sauce tare (concentrated sauce). A layer of lard on top keeps the soup hot and coats the springy, frizzy noodles beautifully. Many shops use classic toppings like chashu and bamboo shoots, but some typically opt for quintessential Asahikawa-style toppings like tontoro (fatty pork) and offal. 


asahikawa ramen village

Eager diners queuing for noodles at the Asahikawa Ramen Village.


You can slurp on this tasty ramen in the city, but for complete culinary convenience, why not drive out to Asahikawa Ramen Village in between all your sightseeing? This destination gathers seven of Asahikawa’s most famous ramen shops in a single spot!


Location Information

Name: Asahikawa Ramen Village
Address: 4-119-48 Nagayama 11 Jo, Asahikawa City, Hokkaido 079-8421
Access: 5-minute walk from Nagayama Jujo Yonchome bus stop or 5km drive from JR Asahikawa Station

Hakodate ramen


hakodate ramen


In contrast to the punchy flavours of Sapporo ramen and Asahikawa ramen, the gentle salt-based soup in Hakodate ramen might seem tame by comparison. But don’t be fooled — this unassuming bowl of ramen packs a ton of umami in every spoonful.


Said to be influenced by Cantonese cuisine, Hakodate ramen consists of a clear soup made from kelp, vegetables, and pork or chicken bones, flavoured with salt tare. The noodles are straight and tender, and the bowl is finished with classic ramen toppings like bamboo shoots, chashu (sliced braised pork belly), and spring onions. Simple, elegant, and delicious — it’s ideal when you’re craving ramen but don’t want to feel too full afterwards. 


a view of hakodate city from mt. hakodate
A view of Hakodate City from the Mt. Hakodate Observatory.


Naturally, there’s no better place to try this ramen than in the port city of Hakodate. There’s also plenty to see and do in town. Start your morning at Hakodate Port, which was one of Japan’s first international trade ports. These days, the port is more known for its morning market — think uber-fresh seafood rice bowls — but you can see that historical influence in the eclectic architecture of the Motomachi district. Sample more local delicacies at Daimon Yokocho, Hakodate’s only food stall village, and conclude your evening with a million-dollar night view from the top of Mt. Hakodate.


Location Information

Name: Mt. Hakodate Observatory
Address: 19-7 Motomachi, Hakodate, Hokkaido 040-0054
Access: 10-minute from the “Jujigai” tram stop to the Ropeway station followed by a 3-minute ride on the Ropeway to the summit.



And there you have it, Hokkaido's trio of major ramen styles! If you’re planning a trip up north, make sure you keep these three in mind as you plan your eating itinerary. These ramen styles are just the tip of the iceberg for what the area has to offer. Consider them a starting point for discovering everything else Hokkaido has in store.


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