10 Spots for Japanese Ramen in Tucson

Last modified on July 10th, 2017 at 4:15 pm

Ten-cent packages of ramen may provide a sodium-filled sense of college nostalgia, but true Japanese ramen is another story. And, contrary to popular belief, there’s more of this Japanese soupy goodness lurking in Tucson than you might have thought.

Ramen broths aren’t available in your neighborhood grocery store. The hours needed for a delicious tonkotsu broth consist of vigorously boiling pork bones for hours to form a creamy emulsion. Broth varieties also include miso, shoyu (soy sauce), and more.

Here are our picks for where to politely slurp away.

Fat Noodle

Food Truck
Ramen from Fat Noodle (Photo credit: Fat Noodle)

Ramen from Fat Noodle (Photo credit: Fat Noodle)

Beginning with the most non-traditional of the bunch – and the only food truck – Fat Noodle’s ramen includes a thinner bacon broth, summer squash, and butter. But, the flavors do make sense in your mouth. This food truck also offers ramen burgers if you want to try the trending noodle bun.

More info on Fat Noodle Facebook page.

Ginza

5425 N. Kolb Rd. #115
Chashu Tonkotsu Shoyu Ramen at Ginza in Tucson

Chashu Tonkotsu Shoyu Ramen at Ginza in Tucson

Savory slices of chashu add extra pork belly fat to an already sinfully rich bowl of tonkotsu ramen. The velvety egg yolk adds another layer of richness. Pickled ginger adds a sharp contrast.

More info at ginzatucson.com.

Ikkyu

2040 W. Orange Grove Rd. #180
Spicy Tonkotsu ramen at Ikkyu in Tucson

Spicy Tonkotsu ramen at Ikkyu in Tucson

Ramen is only available at Ikkyu on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. A slice of slightly-chewy naruto provides a color contrast, while lean pork slices round off the bowl of spicy tonkotsu ramen. If you want it spicier, each table has shakers of Japanese red pepper and bottles of Sriracha.

Visit Ikkyu on Facebook.

K Japanese Restaurant

2962 N. Campbell
Ramen at K Japanese Restaurant (Credit: Adam Lehrman)

Ramen at K Japanese Restaurant (Credit: Adam Lehrman)

Hidden behind Old Chicago in the former Yuki Sushi is one of Tucson’s newest options for ramen. K Japanese rich tonkotsu broth is filling and hearty. Ordering isn’t difficult but it’s slightly confusing as you have to pick your broth, noodle, and meat. For ramen, you’ll need to select ramen noodles, tonkotsu broth, and char siu pork, unless, of course, you don’t want true ramen.

More info at on K Japanese Facebook page.

OBON Sushi + Bar + Ramen

350 E. Congress St.
Ramen at OBON Sushi Bar Ramen (Credit: Matthew Martinez)

Ramen at OBON Sushi Bar Ramen (Credit: Matthew Martinez)

The hippest ramen option, OBON doesn’t make a sacrifice in quality. The eponymous OBON Ramen features roasted pork shoulder, pork belly, dried shredded chili, bambo shoots, scallion, and a 64º egg. The cold Spicy Kimchi and Mikado are also available for refreshment.

For more information, visit obonsushi.com.

Sachiko Sushi

1101 N. Wilmot Rd.
Beef Broth Tonkotsu at Sachiko in Tucson

Beef Broth Tonkotsu at Sachiko (Credit: Adam Lehrman)

Eastside sushi fave, Sachiko (they also have a second location on Valencia), does not feature a traditional pork broth tonkotsu. But, for what they lack in a true tonkotsu, they more than make up for with their pork and soy sauce broth. Other options include a seafood version and miso. Super friendly service. Ramen is served with a California roll.

Keep up with Sachiko Sushi on Facebook.

Samurai

3912 N. Oracle Rd.
Tonkotsu ramen at Samurai in Tucson

Tonkotsu ramen at Samurai in Tucson

Samurai has the smallest bowls of ramen on this list, but it’s also more affordable. Bean sprouts cool down the piping hot broth so you can start slurping sooner. Variations such as cold ramen and Tan Tan ramen make refreshingseasonal appearances.

 Cold ramen at Samurai in Tucson

Cold ramen at Samurai in Tucson

More info on Samurai Facebook page.

Sushi Zona

5655 E. River Rd. #151
Shio ramen at chashu at Sushi Yukari in Tucson

Shio ramen at chashu at Sushi Yukari in Tucson

Formerly Sushi Yukari and located at the Whole Foods shopping center at River and Craycroft, Sushi Zona’s shio (salt) broth provides a simpler and cleaner flavor. The massive bowl also comes with a California roll and side salad, so come hungry.

More info at sushizona.com.

Yamato Japanese Restaurant

857 E. Grant Rd.
Tonkatsu Ramen at Yamato Japanese Restaurant

Tonkotsu Ramen at Yamato Japanese Restaurant

Yamato Japanese Restaurant is small and easy to miss. Located in a strip mall two doors east from Sher-E-Punjab, they’ve been there since 1988 with the same master sushi chef, owner, and operator, Noboru Nakajima. It’s some of the best sushi in Tucson. They also happen to serve three types of ramen: Tonkotsu, or a pork broth, Miso, and Shoyu.

More info on Yamato Facebook page.

Yoshimatsu

2741 N. Campbell Ave.
Ramen Land with miso broth at Yoshimatsu in Tucson

Ramen Land with miso broth at Yoshimatsu in Tucson

Since moving into their new location across the street, they’ve significantly stepped up their ramen game. They have about ten different varieties now, including seasonal summer specials such as the Hiyashi Kale Ramen.

More info at yoshimatsuaz.com.

Have a favorite that didn’t make the list? Please let us know in the comments below.

Jackie is a food writer and photographer native to Tucson. He eats Flamin' Hot Cheetos with chopsticks and still thinks rickrolling is funny. If you'd like to stalk him, visit jackietran.com.
  • Daniel Gómez

    Haven’t tried yoshimatsu yet and its a shame considering how close to my home it is, but now I know it’ll be worth my time!

  • Colin Treat

    You’ve got to go to Ikkyu! Their shoyu ramen is my personal favorite but the tonkotsu is great for a little spiciness. But get their before the dinner rush because that place is super popular.

  • Madeline

    Ikkyu is the best.

  • stxdesertgirl

    Neo of Melaka has good ramen too.

  • Shannon Riggs

    Kazoku on Speedway has delicious ramen and some of the best sushi in town!

  • Nadia

    Seconding the Neo of Malaka recommendation. It’s not a Japanese restaurant, but the ramen is excellent.

  • Shauna Bonilla

    Do any of these places do the Tsukemen (dipping noodles)?

  • Jaime Hall

    Samurai serves their ramen in styrofoam??!! Ugh :/

  • clintjreed

    You left off Union Public House.

    • Big fans of UPH, but that’s a newer menu item, possibly not permanent, and not Japanese.

  • Joe C

    Do any of these places actually make their own noodles fresh? Because I’ve tried a few off this list and they definitely didn’t, which is one of the biggest requirements for good ramen.

    • You’ll have to check with each of them. Pretty sure none of them do, however.