Wakayama Prefecture is known for its beautiful scenery and traditional shrines. Other than that, it has clear beaches that are good for snorkeling and diving. If you are brave enough you can pay a visit to Tomogashima Island, an uninhabited island with ruins of fortresses built by the Japanese Imperial Army in the 1890s. Try to imagine the abandoned fortresses in Studio Ghibli's movie Castle in the Sky.
However, this article is about ramen. The best Wakayama-style ramen in Wakayama City, to be exact. If you're serious about having the very best bowls of ramen while you're there, read on!
As of the time of writing, a ramen shop called 'Seino' is the hottest ramen shop in Wakayama City. Luckily, you don't need to go far to find it, as it's literally right outside of Wakayama Station on the basement level of the Kintetsu Department store. The ramen here is called 'Kotteri Wakayama Ramen' which means 'thick,' and thick it is! The soup base is made with chicken and pork collagen, which gives it incredible umami and a remarkable viscosity without being too much. The ramen here is the gold standard of Wakayama and shouldn't be missed by anyone visiting the city! The information below is for the location at the station, but the original location is actually in the nearby town of Arita, in case you feel like going a bit further afield to get your ramen fix.
Ide Shoten (井出商店)
Ide Shoten is very well known and once appeared as the best ramen on national tv over decades ago. This shop has long queues all the time and people purposely drive all the way there even now. The light color shoyu (soy sauce) broth ramen is the most popular item in the shop. So, plan your trip for the next holiday.
Marumi Shoten (丸美商店)
Marumi serves a delicious bowl of Wakayama-style 'Chuka Soba' (ramen) for ¥860. The soup is classic Wakayama-style tonkotsu-shoyu and is thick and umami-packed without being too strong. The shop also offers the ramen as tsukemen (dipping noodles) for the same price, which is a good deal considering you get a whopping 300 grams of noodles.
If you want to eat like a local, grab a mackerel oshi-zushi (pressed sushi) to go with your ramen for an extra ¥140. Why not, right?
Marumi is located very close to Seino (the first shop listed above) in the basement of the Kintetsu department store connected to Wakayama Station.
Chuka Soba Marusan (中華そば 丸三)
If you are looking for a great Wakayama-style ramen with an old-fashioned feel, Marusan will be a great choice. The store serves tonkotsu shoyu ramen (on the menu as 'Chuka Soba') for just 600 yen. The soup is slightly lighter than some of the other ramen places on this list, but still quite thick. As you can see from the photo above, if you want a pack of sushi to go with your ramen, all you need to do is reach out and grab it!
Marusan is located a bit south of the center of the city. From Wakayama Station, you can get there by taking bus 52, 53, 55, or 56 about 20 minutes and getting off at Shioya.
Are you tired of asking the cook to top up green onions for your ramen everytime? Ramen Marui serves green onions ramen for 750 yen. If you think it is too much, you also can tell the cook to put fewer green onions. The soup is a classic Wakayama tonkotsu shoyu, but the pork flavor really stands out in this particular shop's soup, which makes the copious green onions a perfect balance. If you're down for a serious flavor-bomb of a ramen, this is the shop for you!
Marui is located in central Wakayama, about 5 minutes away from Wakayama Station.