Hakatakko Ramen Shop, Machida

After passing on the tonkotsu ramen at the Yokohama Ramen Museum on our first day in Japan, we never got around to having ramen again until the last day in Japan.  Could you blame us? We were caught up with delicious plates at Za-Watami Izakaya in Shonandai, a classy meal at Maimon in Yokohama, and an exquisite kaiseki dinner at Maru in Aoyama. We almost ran out of time!

Tonkotsu Ramen at Hakatakko Ramen Shop, Machida

tonkotsu ramen machida

Our last full day in Japan was the one I most looked forward to because I got to spend the whole day with my friend Yuko, someone who I knew from my school days in Hawaii.  I had told Yuko I was coming and even though she was working in Korea, she happened to be back in Japan at just the right time. So we arranged to meet up on Friday.

Hit It

Friday arrived, and Yuko suggested we meet at Machida Station in the late morning. When I got to Machida and met up with her it was amazing to know that even though we had not seen each other for 10 years, she still looked and acted pretty much the same. We just hit it off right away like a day hadn’t gone by.

I told her that I was interested to do some shopping and get some ramen and maybe some sushi or korokke. She was happy to oblige. She brought me to her favorite tonkotsu ramen place which was perfect since we had missed out on the tonkotsu ramen at the ramen museum.  So we started off walking towards this ramen shop only to discover that it didn’t open until 11:30.

We decided to walk around the streets of Machida while we waited for the shop to open. Machida is actually a really nice town. The streets are quaint and narrow. It is not as frenetic as Tokyo proper, yet it has enough going for it that you can really sense its own character.

Street of Machida

streets of machida

Along the way, we picked up some special gelato from this store selling Okinawan gelato. I ended up going with the black sugar gelato which was simply delicious. A little further on we came upon this shop which sold all kinds of korokkes out of its little window so Yuko and I stopped and she selected a few (even though we both agreed that we should be cautious to not over eat). It was good, and we enjoyed a korokke and a half each. (In my excitement to catch up with Yuko I did not take any pictures.)

Yuko also pointed out to me a 5-story Daiso (100 yen) store. I was very excited as I planned to come back with Nate later that evening to get some shopping done there. Finally, the time arrived and we made our way back to tonkotsu ramen shop.

Hakatakko Ramen Shop

machida ramen shop

This ramen shop is on one of the side streets just outside Machida Station. When you get to the entrance, there is the typical vending machine where you choose your dish, pay for it, and out pops your order chit.

Ramen Ticket Vending Machine

ramen shop vending machine

We had arrived probably about 15 minutes after it opened and already the downstairs was completely full and we had to go upstairs. Even the upstairs was pretty full so we ended up sitting at a bar counter along the wall. We handed our tickets to the waitress and waited for our orders to arrive. When the bowls came, this time I did not forget to take a picture!

tonkotsu ramen machida

Immediately, we dug into it. I must say that I probably overindulged in the korokke and ice cream because I wasn’t famished for ramen. The broth was good and the noodles were wonderful but I think my not being very hungry took away from the full enjoyment of this meal.  I was just too full to do this bowl of ramen justice.

I must say it was still wonderful, and a really good bowl of tonkotsu ramen. The broth was really rich and meaty with that milky flavor. With the addition of sesame seeds, you get an extra hit of fragrance.  The noodles were cooked just right – al dente – but unfortunately the size of the noodles were really thin. I think thin noodles, even though cooked al dente, don’t have that same chewiness like a thick noodle. I guess I’m just more of a fat noodle kind of a girl. But still, being in good company helped me to really enjoy it.

Yuko said that this was her favorite ramen shop. Every time when she came back to Japan, she had to have this ramen.  Drinking the soup and taking that first bite of noodle always made her feel that she was finally home in Japan. That’s what good food does for you, I guess. It floods your system with comfort and that sense of “home”.

What food makes you feel at home? Leave us a comment below!

For me, this ramen was not my ultimate comfort meal, but then I suppose ramen is not something I grew up eating on a regular basis. If we ever come back to Machida, we will definitely want to come back to this place so that we can have the full enjoyment of it.

Cheers, Annie


Epilogue: Machida at Night

by Nate

I met up with Annie and Yuko in Machida Station after work, and we proceeded upstairs to have sushi at Asahisushi Restaurant in the Odakyu Department Store.  After dinner, Yuko had to return home but Annie wanted to show me the ramen place and also go shopping at the Daiso. We exited the station and turned out onto one of the streets in search of the ramen shop.

machida street at night

The streets are filled with people going home from work. Restaurant hawkers standing on both sides of the street call out to passersby, inviting them to eat at their particular restaurant.  Some shops were empty but others, like this modern-looking ramen shop, were standing room only.

ramen shop machida

Unfortunately, Annie has a poor sense of direction and could not remember where the ramen shop was. We went up and down a few streets, looking for the shop, before we backtracked to Machida Station.  As it turns out, the shop is actually a few steps away from the South entrance of the station!  I took a video of how to get there from the entrance:

We were too full from our sushi dinner to have a go at ramen. Maybe next time. In the end, we spent some time buying gifts and snacks at Daiso before heading back to our hotel to pack.  Our journey to  Japan came to and end, but it left in us a deep hunger to return.

Aloha, Nate

23 Comments Post a Comment
  1. Jeannie says:

    The ramen looks good, I would love it very much since I love instant noodles. Great photos!

  2. Oh yes…ramen, soba, udon, you name it and I love it! The first thing I want to eat when I land in Japan is noodles. One of my favorites is kitsune udon with sweetened abura-age. This tonkatsu ramen is very similar to the Sapporo I had sometime back which was slightly creamy. It came with slices of pork and was delicious.

    Daiso is so fun! I enjoy going there for all my bento stuff :)

  3. Dorach says:

    Taste of home for me has to be kolomee, Swk laksa & teh-c at a buzzing kopitiam.

    Your entries on ramen have made me start searching for ramen here in Chch. :)

    • Nate says:

      Dorach –

      you know, I’m totally with you on this! I can’t go a week without having kolo mee and Sarawak laksa now. Where are your favorite kopitiams for these?

      • Dorach says:

        Fav kolomee would be Sin Lian Shin @ Green Rd, diagonally opposite Shell station (I always ask for curly noodles with char siu red sauce); and Laksa is Chong Choon @ Abel Rd. I hope you discover good ones whilst you are still in Kch

        • Nate says:

          Dorach –

          thanks for the suggestions! We’ve not been to Green Road Kolo Mee Yet. We have been to Chong Choon on Jalan Abell, but prefer New Chong Choon at Green Heights.

  4. Wendy says:

    This bowl of noodles looks so good! The broth is so inviting! Just perfect! My comfort food is a bowl of congee with aged preserved eggs (black color egg whites) and not too much meat. I like to eat it with freshly made crisy Chinese long donuts.

  5. Jenny says:

    That bowl of ramen looks heavenly! I’ve always wondered: What is the difference between saimin and ramen? Growing up in Hawaii, I only recall eating saimin.

    We have several Daiso stores in and near Seattle and they are indeed dangerous places to shop! They’re also wonderful to pick up kiddie gift items, like smelly erasers and art supplies. Once my son picked up a plastic banana case (you put your banana in it and it snaps shut to protect the fruit) as a gag gift for a friend. Also, my kids could spend hours there playing with the back-scratchers.

    For me, comfort food is all about the starches, probably a result of growing up in Hawaii. I eat fairly healthy most of the time, but when I have a cold, as I do now, I’m craving noodles, rice, and a good loco moco wouldn’t hurt, either.

    • Nate says:

      I’m no expert, but saimin seems to be a soup noodle dish that is peculiar to Hawaii, like Spam musubi. It is similar to but not quite like a shoyu ramen. It’s like they took the shoyu ramen concept from Japan but added local ingredients from other cultures and also tweaked the broth a little. All I know is, now I’ve got a craving for a Shiro’s saimin.

      Sounds like you could use a nice big bowl of jook!

  6. Mokihana says:

    I’m with Jenny… what’s the difference between ramen and saimin? I grew up with saimin too, which looks pretty much the same… absolutely ‘ono to da max!

    What food makes me feel at home? Definitely Hawaiian, and Japanese, also. I could eat them all the time. Of course, then I’d have to add Portuguese malasadas.

    When I get sick, I crave miso soup. Saimin comes in a close second. And poi, of course. Always poi.

    • Nate says:

      Mokihana –

      when I bit into that Leonard’s malasada that we found in Yokohama, that nearly took me home!

      Poi for when you’re sick, huh? That’s new to me! Interesting.

  7. That’s a bowl of comfort and treasures!

  8. Kirk says:

    There are times when a wonderful bowl of Tonkotsu Ramen is so soothing and comforting.

  9. Oooh, that bowl of ramen looked delicious and rich! I was especially mesmerized by the hard boiled egg which had a translucent look to it.

    So you were asking about what food makes me feel at home, being from Hawaii, I have to say it’s eating a teriyake beef plate lunch from Zippy’s. Even though I don’t eat much beef any more, when I do indulge and get the teribeef, there’s something about the thinly sliced soy beef blending with the perfectly cooked white rice and comforting macaroni salad that just reminds me of home. And even though it’s easy to make rice and teriyaki beef anywhere, just the entire plate at Zippy’s is unique and I just haven’t been able to duplicate it.

  10. IH says:

    I can imagine your wanting to be back there again, because the ramen looked gorgeous! That would be one of my comfort foods :-D

  11. greg urbano says:

    great story with photos ! and with ramen!

  12. debbielian says:

    Hi there, can I call you “Annie”? I’m going to Japan (free&easy) this coming Thursday (16/12/2010), wish to ask you some opinion. when you reach Airport (Haneda or Narita?). What kind of transport you took? Now, I’m checking for the Limousine Bus and my hotel quite far from Tokyo City, at Machida. In fact, I’ll be touch land at 10:30pm(Japan time). Hope you can give some advise, is better take bus or JR. Thank you in advance…:)

  13. Nate says:

    Hi Debbie,

    we arrived at Narita in the morning, so we were able to purchase a discount train pass and take the Narita Express to Yokohama. From there we took the local trains to Shibuya. We basically took trains wherever we went, topping up the passes as needed.

    You’ll have to do your research on riding trains in Japan, starting with the airport you’re landing at. This website was most helpful in figuring out which trains to take to get somewhere:
    http://www.jorudan.co.jp/english/

  14. debbielian says:

    Thank you so much my dear, have a nice day^O^

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My Photo Annie is mistress of the kitchen while Nate is the master of the grill and smoker. We cook the homestyle Asian and Hawaiian foods of our younger days while also exploring the wider worlds of Western foods.

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