Ramen has seen its prestige soar over the past few years. Once strictly salty sustenance for salarymen and starving students, it’s now widely considered one of Japan’s tastiest dining options by locals and international foodies alike, with even the Michelin guide recognizing its potential for sublime deliciousness.
But even with all their newfound respect, ramen restaurants mostly maintain their accessible, casual atmosphere. For example, most ramen chefs work their magic wearing a simple T-shirt and headband…but not at this restaurant in Sapporo, Hokkaido.
Ramen Kabuto’s owner has two great passions in life: ramen, and the Sengoku feudal period of Japanese history. So when customers step into his restaurant, they’ll see him making their meals dressed in a full suit of samurai armor.
Ramen Kabuto (kabuto being the Japanese word for “helmet”) opened four years ago, and from the start the owner wanted to go about his work wearing a suit of lamellar. However, samurai armor was designed for the battlefield, not the kitchen, so he’d need to make some alterations to the design. After extensive consultation with traditional armorers, he found a craftsman who could make a suit for him that offered better mobility than a purely authentic construction. Taking a page from the suits of armor used in filming samurai movies and TV dramas, the ramen chef’s armor is made of aluminum, making it much lighter than the iron protection actually worn in the Sengoku period.
Ramen Kabuto actually has two branches, but if you want to see the samurai in action, you’ll need to head to the original location in the Sumikawa neighborhood. Oh, and the ramen itself looks absolutely mouthwatering.
Ramen Kabuto (Sumikawa branch) / らーめん兜 澄川本店
Address: Sapporo-shi, Minami-ku, Sumikawa 3-2-5-17, High Tree Building 1st floor
札幌市南区澄川3条2丁目5-17 ハイツリービル 1F
Open 11 a.m.-3 a.m. (Tuesday-Saturday), 11 a.m.-11 p.m. (Sunday)
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