Ramen is a Japanese noodle soup dish that originated in China. While it was once considered a simple and cheap staple in many students' diets, it has today grown into an iconic national dish with almost every locality or prefecture in Japan, having its own variation.
There are two main components of ramen - the noodles and the soup.
Most ramen noodles are made from four basic ingredients: wheat flour, salt, water and kansui (a type of alkaline mineral water). They may be fat, thin, ribbon-like, straight or wrinkled.
The ramen soup is generally made from stock based on chicken or pork and combined with a variety of other ingredients. There are basically four categories which the broth can be divided into: shio (salt), tonokotsu (pork bone), shoyu and miso.
Ramen is also widely available beyond Japan... But when you are in Japan, we would assume you wouldn't want anything short of spectacular; so click on the map to check out some ramen shops in Kyoto and Tokyo worth visiting:
View Best Ramen in Japan (Kyoto & Tokyo only) in a larger map
If you have time, also drop by the ramen museum which opened in Yokohama in 1994!