Are you in a ramen rut? Why not try something unique? Tokyo has countless ramen shops with mouthwatering limited-edition bowls that push the boundaries of ramen. Here are seven ramen restaurants that offer innovative limited-edition specials on a regular basis, from pizza ramen to cheesy bacon, pineapple ramen to lobster wagyu. Check each restaurant’s social media to see what they’re concocting this week, and get out there to experience some truly unique noodles. 

1. Lobster Ramen – Ebimaru

Ebimaru offers a fine dining experience among the vintage bookstores in the university quarter of Jimbocho. Upon arriving, diners are greeted with an amuse-bouche that changes daily, ranging from a baguette topped with sliced avocado to an edamame puree. The space is visually striking, as the tables, chairs and pottery are beautiful and all sourced from Hida Takayama. 

The shop’s standard bowl, a lobster ramen complete with a toasted baguette topped with a generous dollop of cream cheese, aligns with its French fusion approach. The limited-edition ramen was equally decadent, featuring a balsamic vinaigrette soup with raspberry mousse. The oven-roasted Oyama chicken — raised free range in the foothills of Daisen National Park — was seared to order, and came surrounded by a garland of radicchio, watercress, asparagus, rosemary and thyme. 

Previous specials have included a wagyu beef with hinoki cream ramen and a Bolognese-style coconut sauce with roasted vegetables. 

Ebimaru is perfect for date night or as a pit stop during your bookstore adventures in Jimbocho. 

Find Ebimaru on Instagram

Address:  2-1-13 Nishikanda, Chiyoda, Tokyo 101-0065

Hours: Weekdays 11:30 a.m.–3 p.m. & 6 p.m.–10 p.m. /Saturdays & Sundays 11:30 a.m.–8 p.m., closed Mondays

2. Corn Soup Ramen – Mannish

Mannish is located near Kanda and has one of the most visually unique limited-edition ramen on the list. While its regular bowl is a light, premium ginger and salt ramen boasting a gentle clear broth and delicate ginger flavors, its special was a cornucopia of flavors. 

The base, a chilled creamed corn soup, was recognizable to a Western palate — but that’s where the familiarity ended, as it was then topped with smoked salmon, bacon bits, curry popcorn, garlic bread and a parmesan cheese cracker. Under the smoked salmon sat a mound of corn granita, which melted, further chilling the bowl and imbuing it with extra corn flavor.

It was surprisingly delicious, and the naturally sweet undertones of the corn paired well with the sharpness of the garlic, cheese, salmon and bacon. As it was a cold ramen dish, the noodles were shocked in an ice bath to retain their chewy texture.

Past specials at Mannish have included a rare steak ramen with onion sauce and romaine lettuce, and a creamy Hokkaido scallop ramen. 

Find Mannish on Instagram

Address:  2-2-8 Kanda Tsukasamachi, Chiyoda, Tokyo 101-0047

Hours:  Weekdays 11 a.m.–11 p.m. / Saturdays & Sundays 11 a.m.–9:30 p.m.

unique ramen in tokyo

3. Takesue Tokyo Premium

If you find yourself near Tokyo Skytree, head to Takesue Tokyo Premium for creative and undeniably Japanese limited-edition ramen. Takesue has won accolades from various ramen rankings and prides itself on its exceptionally high-quality ingredients. 

This special ramen was ankimo (monkfish liver) in a clear oyster soup, topped with a hearty slice of madai (Japanese sea bream) sashimi. The butteriness of the ankimo melted into the pure oyster soup, creating an ocean of flavors.  

Other specials have ranged from a hot-pot ramen topped with a homemade peanut chile paste to a mushroom lover’s ramen of wood ear and shimeji. While the majority of the limited-edition ramen on this list bends the genre of Japanese food through fusion, Takesue Tokyo Premium leans into its Japanese ingredients and serves them with finesse. It’s a fantastic choice if you’re looking for flavors you can only get in Japan. 

Find Takesue Tokyo Premium on Instagram

Address:  5-14-7 Narihira, Sumida, Tokyo 130-0002

Hours:  10 a.m.–9 p.m., closed Tuesdays

unique ramen in tokyo

4. Cacao Ramen – Mensho

Mensho has multiple locations in Tokyo, one of the most central being in the Shibuya Parco dining hall. Each branch regularly dishes up the same creative limited-edition ramen, with the shop’s Valentine’s Day special always making headlines. 

This year’s Valentine’s ramen was a soupless cacao, black sesame and chile pepper ramen. The noodles were the star of the show. Made with Mochi Hime flour, they had a fluffy and chewy texture suitable for the thick and creamy sauce. Smoked nuts and Chinese five spice rounded out the complex flavor experience, and diners were provided a small bowl of white rice at the end so they could enjoy every last drop. 

Other specials at Mensho have included a creamy white truffle, sea urchin and wagyu beef ramen, and a mole ramen with cacao noodles, roasted red pepper and marshmallow. 

Find Mensho on Instagram

Address: B1F Shibuya Parco, 15-1 Udagawacho, Shibuya, Tokyo 150-8377

Hours:  11:30 a.m.–9 p.m.

5. Ice Cream Ramen – Menya Musashi

Menya Musashi is in the heart of Shibuya and offers truly unique limited-edition ramen. For one month in the summer, you can find a curry ramen with caramelized peanuts, tandoori chicken and Coolish ice cream. Diners choose the manner in which the Coolish is added to the bowl, but this writer found it went well with the smooth curry soup once added in the beginning and slowly dissolved. 

A parmesan cheese cracker and olive oil vegetable pate added even more complexity to the experience while a mini grape Coolish served as diners walked out the door post-meal added an extra dose of playfulness to the experience. The combo proved to be a genius way to get your ramen fix while still beating the extreme Japanese summer heat. 

Past specials at Menya Musashi have included a bacon and egg tsukemen (dipping ramen) and a chimichurri barbecue ramen. 

Find Menya Musashi on Instagram

Address:  2-8-5 Dogenzaka, Shibuya, Tokyo 150-0043

Hours:  11:30 a.m.–10:30 p.m.

unique ramen in tokyo

Pizza Ramen – Men Yard Fight

6. Pizza Ramen – Men Yard Fight

Yokohama’s Men Yard Fight is a hardcore noodle shop, both literally and figuratively. Heavy metal greets customers at the ticket machine, and the interior is decked out in industrial metal fixtures. But that’s not all: The shop’s noodles have a hard core as well. Men Yard Fight features extra thick, wavy, firm noodles that are barely boiled to retain their chewy core and moreish texture. 

The shop’s famous limited-edition pizza ramen is unrivaled. The dish, topped with jalapeno peppers, parmesan cheese, Genovese pesto and parsley, makes it feel like you’re in an Italian kitchen. The divine noodles and toppings sit atop a rich Bolognese-style tomato sauce that you’ll wish you could take home with you to spread on baguette slices served alongside a glass of wine. 

But pizza ramen is not Men Yard Fight’s only forte; its other limited-edition specials have included a spicy Thai tom yum ramen and an Indian curry ramen with tomato and spinach. Its specials are available for around 45 days, giving you ample time to make the worthwhile trip down to Yokohama for a bowl. 

Find Men Yard Fight on Instagram

Address:  3-23-14 Tanmachi, Yokohama, Kanagawa Prefecture 221-0825

Hours:  Weekdays 11 a.m.–3 p.m. & 6 p.m.–12 a.m. / closed Saturdays & Sundays

unique ramen in tokyo

7. Melon Ramen – Papapapapine

Papapapapine is a whimsical spot featured in countless anime and known for its — you guessed it — pineapple ramen. Its standard bowl is made with freshly pressed pineapple and shrimp stock, which results in a citrusy brightness. But the shop’s limited-edition bowls are equally enticing, and this chilled Ibara King melon soup with prosciutto and saffron, reminiscent of the famous Italian appetizer prosciutto e melone, was to die for.

Papapapapine’s other limited-time specials have ranged from a mango ramen with crispy wontons and melted cheese to a strawberry and pork bone ramen with sesame and microgreens. Fruit always takes center stage, and it’s fascinating to see the creative ways the shop pairs it with various elements to hit all parts of your flavor palate. 

Each limited-edition special stays on the menu for about one month, so head over to Machida once you see one you like.

Find Papapapapine on Instagram

Address:  2F Machida Terminal Plaza, 3-1-4 Haramachida, Machida, Tokyo 194-0013

Hours:  11 a.m.–9 p.m.

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