By Rey Waters
Can you guess what my very first meal was in Japan? If you said “Ramen,” you are correct! Ramen is Japan’s premier fast food as evidenced by shops located on every street corner, in basement floors at train stations, and restaurant parks on the upper floors of department stores. Because there are so many, you may not figure out what your favorite type of ramen is until you’ve tried more than a handful. Your first reaction to a nice big bowl of hot flavorful soup stock & noodles might be “It’s good," but the real question is, “Is it great?” Would you recommend it to friends? Over the years, I’ve explored a few in the neighborhood and think I’ve found my go-to shop in Yokosuka: Kurume Ramen Tetsugama.
To place your order at Tetsugama, insert yen into the ticket vending machine located at the entrance. Credit cards are also accepted, just ring for assistance. With approximately 20 options of ramen available, the pictures should assist you in the decision making process. If needed, an English translation “map” on the adjacent small table will include descriptions and symbols explaining the soup base (Pork bone, Pork bone & Seafood or Pork Bone & Seafood with Soy Sauce). Side dishes and beer are also available. Just press away and wait for the small rectangular tickets to drop. A friendly server will be standing by to “take” your order and guide you to your table.
Tetsugama offers an interior rustic feel with plenty of wide-open seating. A long, wooden bar front & center is your first option while tables for four run along the perimeter. For an extra cozy location, you might be seated in the porch-like section with a direct view of passersby inside Restaurant Park. They might sneak a peek of your ramen bowl before they decide on having some for themselves!
I normally order Moyashi-Tetsukama, which includes a healthy serving of bean sprouts in a shio-style soup. The stock is made of pork bone that brings about a nice clear broth with only a slight salty flavor; not thick or cloudy at all. Therefore, this type of broth highlights the flavors of the fresh wavy egg noodles, menma (bamboo shoots), scallions, and chasu (roasted pork). To enhance the flavors of your ramen, Tetsugama offers a nice touch of condiments at each table. My favorite is the fresh garlic and garlic press for a more robust flavor. Then there’s the sesame seed grinder and pickled ginger for texture & zest. As usual, soy sauce, vinegar and chili pepper oil are also readily available.
Tetsugama Ramen is in a great location. Situated in Restaurant Park 8F of More’s City, the shopping center is adjacent to Yokosuka-Chuo train station. If you prefer to drive, 2-hour free parking is available in the structure as long as you spend a one-time total of 2,000 yen (be sure to save your receipt to show the parking attendant). Also, if you’re a frequent traveler to Yokosuka, More’s City offers a point card system that you can apply for on 7F. You will receive one (1) point for every 100 yen purchased; collect a 500 yen voucher for every 500 points, applicable towards future purchases. The point card is valid for three years.
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Originally from San Diego, California, I lived in Japan for 4-1/2 years and now I am currently based out of Honolulu, Hawaii. In December 2010, I arrived in Yokosuka with a new outlook on my future. Mainly, to refocus on family and let my curiosities take us to places we’ve only dreamt of. Along the way, we’d hopefully develop new friendships and simply collect memories to last a lifetime. Then, there was the Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011. I will never forget that experience and the devastating effects it had on the entire country. I asked the community, “What can I do to help?” Collecting, sorting, and packing donations, was the least I could do. I also ended up going back to California for one month, raised a small monetary donation for Red Cross, and secured a few phone interviews to help spread the word on how others from the United States could assist. I was determined to show my family, friends, and folks across the world that it would be okay to return to Japan. After all, I wanted them to know that all of the little things that make up this beautiful country still existed. What better way than to use a platform such as JapanTravel.com to share photos and stories full of life, history, and culture. It is a pleasure to say I have contributed more than 150 articles to a database that now collectively holds more than 15,000! This journey has not only allowed me to realize my initial goals, but I’d like to think that it has somehow played a role in sparking an interest locally and across the globe for others to experience all that is published here and more. I invite you to also share your wonderful stories, offer comments, and ask questions right here on JapanTravel. Feel free to contact me at email@example.com. Safe travels! ٩( ๑╹ ꇴ╹)۶