I finally made it. After postponing the trek out to Adachi Ward due to rain when I was shooting the first volume of The Tokyo Project, this time I jumped on the Tsukuba Express and headed up to Tanaka Shōten (田中商店) in Hitotsuya for what many consider to be the best Hakata Nagahama style tonkotsu ramen in Tokyo. While we’re technically still in Tokyo, and even within the 23 special wards, the 15 minute walk from Rokuchō Station, past large swaths of vacant land dotted with housing developments, gas stations and car maintenance garages is a pretty big departure from the dense, walkable development closer in. While places like Kichijōji and Jiyūgaoka demonstrate that suburbs need not be synonymous with car dependence, much of Adachi is unreachable otherwise. There was a large bicycle commuter lot next to Rokuchō Station, but it’s clear that density and activity nodes with strong sense of place were never part of the design plan as new development expanded here.
Though the walk from the station is long and uninspiring, all is well inside Tanaka Shōten, where warm light, natural wood interior and terrific porky funk create a cocoon of solace that requires you check your worries at the door.
Kikurage and negi
Though Tanaka Shōten has a special spicy ground pork add on besides all of the traditional tonkotsu toppings, I wanted to experience the unadulterated flavor on this first visit. I did go with an extra helping of negi, because clearly this makes it a healthy, balanced meal. Friends in the know tell me that this is about as traditional as this style of tonkotsu ramen gets: creamy, salty, sticky, stinky pork bone soup. Tanaka Shōten is not for everyone, but more than worth the journey for those who know what they want.
This post is part of The Tokyo Project, Volume 2. Click here to go to the introduction and table of contents.