Sano Ramen Ittetsu | Sano, Japan | 90/100


  • Shoyu Ramen – 85/100, Sano
  • Shio Ramen – 90/100, Sano

Sano Ramen takes its name from the town of Sano and is celebrated for its light, easily digestible taste. A key characteristic is the use of fresh, clear spring water in both the soup and noodle-making process, lending a distinct deliciousness to the dish. Handmade noodles, crafted with green bamboo, exemplify another hallmark of Sano Ramen, reminiscent of traditional methods depicted in documentaries where ramen chefs step on dough and bounce on bamboo poles to knead it, or wield giant axe-like knives to cut the dough into strands of noodles. This meticulous approach to noodle-making solidifies Sano as the mecca of noodle craftsmanship.

Among the myriad ramen establishments in Japan, Ittetsu stands out as one of the few still dedicated to the art of handmade noodles. With over 150 ramen joints in a town of just over 100,000 residents, Sano boasts the highest ramen store to population ratio in Japan, cementing its status as the ultimate ramen destination.

And let’s not forget the adorable mascot, Sanomaru, a puppy donning a ramen bowl atop its head, welcoming visitors with its undeniable charm.

Shoyu Ramen – 85/100

Noodle: 30/35

These noodles are the real deal – flat Sano-style and handmade, so they’re not all the same thickness, which actually adds to their charm. They’ve got this light, earthy wheat flavor and a texture that’s like Udon but softer, with a nice chewiness to them. And when you bite into them, it’s just satisfying!

Soup: 30/35

The soup’s got that classic Shoyu taste, but it’s lighter than what you’d find in Tokyo. There’s a hint of sweetness from the chicken base that just warms you up inside. Plus, you have this Yuzu Kosho sauce on the side – perfect for kicking things up a notch. Try adding a bit to your soup for an extra tangy spiciness!

Meat: 20/20

The meat is super tender and just falls apart when you pick it up. It’s got this savory kick with sweet undertones that keep you coming back for more.

Topping: 5/10

They’ve got all the classic toppings – bamboo shoots, green onion, pea sprouts, and fish cake. The bamboo shoots add a nice crunch, and the green onion and pea sprouts give a fresh kick. But nothing really stands out in the topping department – it’s all good, but nothing too fancy.

Shio Ramen – 90/100

Noodle: 30/35

Featuring the same iconic flat Sano-style noodles, handmade with variations in thickness that add to their charm. They boast a light, earthy wheat flavor and a soft, chewy texture akin to Udon. Each bite is simply satisfying!

Soup: 35/35

The shio version offers a clean, crisp taste that is both light and deeply flavorful. The comforting warmth of the chicken soup is undeniable. What’s more, the broth’s lightness allows for exciting flavor transformations with “ajihen 味変” towards the end, especially when you add the yuzu kosho and 7-spice powder. It’s like a flavor adventure in every bowl!

Meat: 20/20

The meat maintains its superb tenderness, effortlessly breaking apart with each bite. Its savory richness, complemented by sweet undertones, leaves you craving more.

Topping: 5/10

The toppings are familiar – bamboo shoots, green onion, spinach, and fish cake. While the bamboo shoots offer a pleasant crunch and the green onion adds freshness, the spinach provides a hint of bitterness for palate cleansing. However, there’s nothing particularly standout among the toppings – they’re all good but not overly fancy.


One man’s meat is another man’s poison.
Find out more about our palettes and how we evaluate our ramen here. 😉

About The Author


Ah Boy is just an ordinary Singaporean who loves his ramen and after trying so many different ramen, he was inspired to find the best ramen in town.

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