1. Menya Saimi
Menay Saimi has been voted as the "best ramen in Hokkaido" a number of times by foodies and critics alike. They have the most and best reviews by far compared to any other ramen joint in Hokkaido, making it a clear winner in the eyes of the public! Menya Saimi is famous for their miso ramen. The broth is thick and creamy, with hints of ginger and topped with sliced scallions, bamboo, sprouts, and pork char siew. A lot of people here talk about how good the noodles are - being divinely al dente!
It's very common to see a bunch of people lined up outside of the store. Waiting times generally fall around the span of 30 minutes to up to one hour. Best to get here early. Menya Saimi is located in the Misono area not too far from the Sapporo city centre. To get there you take the Sapporo Shiei Subway on the Toho line and get off at Misono station. Take exit 1 and it's about a 4-minute walk from there. Come see what all the fuss is about!
2. Ebisoba Ichigen Souhonten
Ebisoba Ichigen means "One vision for Shrimp Ramen." Such a fitting name for the probably one of the most unique types of ramen you'll come across in Hokkaido, if not the rest of Japan. Ichigen is a famous chain of restaurants with its main location based in Sapporo city. It's been so popular with tourists visiting the place that they decided to open up a branch in Tawain and other branches in Asia. They have three soup flavours for the ramen: salt based, soy sauce based, miso based. When in Hokkaido, you should try the miso flavours as much as possible, as it's famous for the region! Ramen starts at 750 yen per bowl.
The soup base in Ebisoba is made with shrimp and originates from Sapporo. Ebisosba should be on your list of special food to try in Hokkaido! It's such a unique flavour, very different to another ramen you've probably had before. Ebisoba Ichigen is located in the Susukino area of Sapporo city. To get there take the Sapporo Shiden train to Higashi-Honganji-Mae. From there it's about a 3-minute walk to the west.
3. Keyaki Sususkino honten
Keyaki is located in the Susukino area in Sapporo city. They specialise in miso ramen and don't serve any other soup flavours. The ramen they serve here is what you most Japanese people imagine when someone talks about Hokkaido ramen. Egg, pork, onions, and tender noodles all wrapped up in a warm miso and pork broth! Prices start at 870 yen for a big bowl of standard miso ramen. If you want to go bigger, you can add boiled egg, garlic, chilli, green onion, butter corn, super chilli toppings to enhance the flavour if the miso. However, if it is your first time, go with the standard to start and maybe get a few extra toppings after you taste the amazing broth!
Keyaki is a very small store so expect to wait in line if you are heading there around lunchtime peaks - there are only 10 seats. Like most ramen joints, it's an in-and-out kind of fare, so order, eat, enjoy, and thank the chefs for the food!
To get to Keyaki, take the Namboku line to Susukino station, use exit 3 and it's about a 5-minute walk from there.
4. Ramen Shingen (Minami 6-Jo Store)
Shingen offers one of Hokkaido's most traditional types of ramen. They have a few different flavours here to choose from, but when in Hokkaido, miso is the way to go. Ramen starts at around 735 yen for the basic versions with the option to add on extra toppings for an additional cost of 105 yen. They have a really good Shingen ramen set that comes with ramen, gyoza, and rice for just 997 yen.
Shingen is roughly a 2-minute walk from Shiden Higashi-Honganji-Mae or a 10-minute walk from Susukino station on the subway. Be prepared to wait in line here too as it's hugely popular with locals and tourists looking for one of Sapporo's finest ramen bowls.
5. Menya Nanabee
Nanabee, pronounced "Nah-nah-baeh", offers a great light and tasty salt-base flavoured ramen perfect for that light lunch or early dinner. The shio ramen starts at 650 yen per bowl and can be customised slight with a few extra toppings. Two other super popular dishes here are the Nagoya Koochin Ramen and the Chicken Ramen. Both offer a different and tasty flavour sure to wamr you up in the cold Hokkaido weather.
I would personally recommend the Chicken ramen due to its rich and creamy, yet light texture. The soup is just phenomenal! It comes with a giant slice of char siew pork, a boiled egg, and plenty of sliced green onions. To get to Nanabee take the JR train to Heiwa station and it's a 15-minute walk from there. Make sure to time your meal here as crowds do usually start to gather around the early evening.
Ichiryuuan serves up a variety of different ramen dishes for lunch and dinner. The most popular ramen is "Genki no deru miso ramen" which means, "miso ramen that will give you strength!" They say that because it contains garlic, leek, and other healthy nutrients, you'll have lower fatigue levels after eating it! Apparently, this is the reason why it's so popular! I'll let you be the judge on the health benefits.
Ichiryuuan is about a a 5-minute walk from Sapporo station. It's on the basement floor of the Hokuren Building and a little hard to find, but worth the adventure trying to get here. Dishes here start at around 1000 yen for the basic ramen dish.
7. Sumire Sapporo Honten
Sumire is famous for it's special homegrown miso ramen. Costing just 870 yen this special style ramen doesn't look like other standard miso ramen. There's no noticeable char siew pork on top, however as you dig down into the soup and noodles you'll discover a ton of minced meat, bamboo slices, onions, garlic, and more! The noodles here a noted as Sapporo style noodles due to the colour and the nice curl you get when they are cooked. If you like things spicy, add a chilli paste ball to your soup and turn up the heat for just 110 yen.
Sumire is 10 minutes on foot from Nakanojima station on the subway Nanboku line. The place is quite big compared to other ramen restaurants, with nearly 50 seats available. Located a little bit on the outskirts of Sapporo city it is a little bit of a way to get here, but 100% worth coming to the area just for the ramen alone!
They crowd may be a bit divided on this one but there is a ton of people who absolutely can't get enough of this niboshi-style ramen (fish flavour). Hachiya serves a style of ramen super unique to the area using a blend of pork broth, soy broth, and fish stock. For most people this ramen dish is pretty intense. It has a very very bold intense flavour and is somewhat too rich for even some locals. Nevertheless, it is a dish that you must try when you come to Hokkaido! Ramen here starts at around 750 with the option of extra toppings. Try the honey ice cream if you still have room!
The restaurant is located in Asahikawa. To get here take the JR train to Asahikawa station, take the north exit and head straight down the main shopping street. It's about a 10 minute walk and will be on your left leaving from the station. There's ample seating here so just find a seating and wait for them to come take your order!
9. Sapporo Junren
Sapporo Junren has a long history with miso ramen in Hokkaido. Founded in 1964, their recipe for the special miso ramen has stood the test of time and delighted customers over the years. To get your meal, go up to the ticket machine and press the miso ramen button, costing you 820 yen. Hand over your ticket to one the staff and grab a seat at one of the tables or counter seats. The soup here is a rich but mild flavour soup with salt and sweet notes with a hint of ginger. I recommend you get extra char siew pork, butter and corn, and egg as toppings to compliment the dish.
To get to Sapporo Junren take the subway on the Namboku line to Sumikawa station. It is about a 5-minute walk from there. They are open every day of the week so no need to worry about if they are closed! Bonus tip: Get here a little bit early as seating is limited to 19 people only - that way you'll have a less time waiting in the queue out the door!
10. らーめんサッポロ 赤星
Akaboshi has been around for about 13 years now and been competing well with other ramen joints on ramen quality, taste and crowd pulling power. A bowl of ramen here only costs 500 yen, and comes in two flavours: salt or soy sauce. No one else has been able to really compete on this price point in Hokkaido! Due to this, they generally have a steady line of lunch-goers out the door. It's not just the fact that they are cheap; the ramen itself is outstanding! Their motto: sell it for less, and make it taste just as good!
To get to Akaboshi Ramen take the subway to Nishi-8-chome station. From there it is a 8-minute or so walk. Just cross at the lights when you see Tokyu Hands and continue straight until you see an arcade. The shop will be right there. As far as ramen joints go, this place is pretty small. There's only 9 seats available, however they do claim to have really good and fast service to get people in-and-out the door so everyone can enjoy their simple but delicious ramen.
11. あじさい 本店
Located in Hakodate in the southern part of Hokkaido is Ajisai. The area itself is known for shio or salt so makes sense why they are based in the area. Shio ramen at Ajisai keeps true to its origins and provides a incredibly simple dish will full flavour. Shio ramen starts at 750 yen per bowl with the option to add a bunch of extra toppings if you feel it needs more!. I would recommend the Shio Chashumen which comes with plenty of char siew pork to chow down on!
To get to to Ajisai, it is a 7-minute walk from "Goryokaku Koenmae" station via the street car. Once you see Goryokoro Tower, it'll be right next door. Don't worry about trying to find a seat here either, there are plenty of seats. 58 to be exact. The place itself is pretty nice and if you're feeling up to it the nearby park is huge and worth a look after your meal.