Dec. 23, 2022 UPDATE
Story & Recommendation
Quintessential Seabura Shoyu Ramen, a Symbol of Kyoto
The Kairikiya - Shijo Karasuma store is a shop located just a minute walk from Karasuma Station on the Hankyu Dentetsu railway line. Among ramen shops in Kyoto, Kairikiya is known as a long-standing, successful shop with over 60 locations nationwide and six shops in operation just in Kyoto, making it one of Japan’s leading ramen chain stores. Kairikiya’s flagship menu item is “Seabura Shoyu Ramen”, set off by its transparent torigara soy sauce (chicken-based soy sauce) soup and the seabura (fat from the back of pork) that floats in the soup. “Seabura Shoyu Ramen” is a type of ramen with seabura in a soy sauce-based soup that is so close to the hearts of locals and it is said to be synonymous with Kyoto ramen. Naturally, Seabura Shoyu Ramen is served at numerous shops in Kyoto. Among them, Kairikiya is the one ramen shop that boasts top-of-the-line notoriety and unwaning popularity. Kairikiya’s Seabura Shoyu Ramen was crafted through the constant, unrelenting refinements of the owner who was born into a legendary soy sauce-making family in Kyoto, and he was devoted to picking out only the very finest soy sauces. Kairikiya is constantly buzzing with activity and its staff consistently provide cheerful, lively service. The interior is bright and clean, creating an inviting atmosphere even for first-timers. Although Kairikiya’s clientele are primarily men — mainly businessmen and students —, it is also an ideal stop for those visiting with family as seats are plentiful and guests rarely have to wait a long time to get in.
Special shoyu ramen with seasoned boiled egg - 特製醤油味玉ラーメン / ￥790 (＋tax) ※regular size
Kairikiya’s most famous dish is the special shoyu ramen with seasoned boiled egg, which is ramen with seabura sprinkled on top of soy sauce-flavored torigara (chicken) soup. Although the soup might look heavy at first glance, it is actually quite the contrary: regardless of the seabura, the soup is virtually not heavy at all and is renowned for its plain, full taste. The dish features thin noodles. Ingredients in the ramen are finely-sliced char siu, bamboo shoots, green onions, and a seasoned egg — a flat-out quintessential lineup used very frequently in ramen. Kairikiya’s ramen never flaunts or shows off. It is what it is and it will not fall short of your expectations. Getting a taste of its soup and ingredients may, perhaps, give you a sense of exactly what ramen got its start from.
Special shoyu ramen with extra green onion - 特製醤油九条ねぎラーメン / ￥870（＋tax）※regular size
The special shoyu ramen with extra green onion is a ramen dish featuring Kujo-negi painstakingly cultivated by Kairikiya’s contract farmers cut into rectangles and topped liberally on donburi. Compared to normal aonegi (green onions), Kujo-negi are more flavorful and have a chewier texture. Kujo-negi go phenomenally well with the soy sauce-flavored soup and their crisp texture makes them an addicting dish. Due to limited quantities of negi available at each location, only a set number of Tokusei Shoyu Kujo-Negi Ramen are served every day. Since supplies frequently run out, if you really want to try the Tokusei Shoyu Kujo-Negi Ramen, I suggest you visit the shop by around 12:00. The taste of the basic soup is the same as the Tokusei Shoyu Ajitama Ramen from above, but the amazing thing is that it feels like a completely different dish as the Kujo-negi takes center stage with the liberal use of the ingredient in the soup!
Yakimeshi combo - 焼きめし定食 / You can choose your favorite ramen! + ￥240（＋tax）
This yakimeshi boasts quite the volume, served in an alluring bowl shape. Compared to standard Yakimeshi, the seasoning on Kairikiya’s yakimeshi is a bit richer and very tasty. The degree to which the eggs are cooked strikes an outstanding balance. The great thing is that the yakimeshi is treated as a combo when ordered with ramen, making it available for just 230 yen.
How to Order
Menus listing the items available can be found on the tables in the shop. You can look through the menu and order. If you speak to the staff in English, they will bring you an English version of the menu, which should allow you to order more easily.
- Order Tips -
Pay an extra 100 yen and you can order a large serving of noodles. You can also make requests for the stiffness of your noodles, the amount of negi and seabura you want, and whether or not you want garlic, among other things. If you are a first-timer and do not quite know how to order everything, I suggest ordering as shown below for now. This is the style I personally recommend: “Noodles relatively stiff, a lot of negi, the standard amount of seabura, and add some garlic.” “Men ha Katame de, Negi ha Oome de, Seabura ha Futsu de, Ninniku ha Iretekudasai.”