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Goin’ Japanesque!


Do you love udon noodles? If you do, you should definitely try Tsurutontan, a trendy udon chain restaurant that serves many different kinds of udon! At Tsurutontan you can try both the traditional style and fusion style udon, which taste unbelievably amazing!

udon-tsurutontan-shinjuku1– Tsurutontan Soemoncho, the starting point of the business – Image Source: Tsurutontan

Tsurutontan started its first restaurant in Osaka 38 years ago and it succeeded at spreading the new trend of udon in Japan. Tsurutontan now has 6 branches in Tokyo and 7 branches in Osaka, and recently it just opened its first overseas branch in Union Square, New York. Different from other udon chain restaurants, Tsurutontan offers you both udon innovations and stylish atmosphere at a reasonable price!

shinjuku-kabukicho– Kabukicho, the red light district where Tsurutontan Shinjuku is located – Image Source: Flickr

Today I would like to introduce you to Tsurutontan Shinjuku, the branch that I often visit with my friends for lunch. The shop is located in a basement of a building in the middle of Kabukicho in Shinjuku, the biggest red light district area in Japan. Tsurutontan Shinjuku is the place where all the youngsters, night entertainers, and party goers go to binge on udon since it opens from 11.a.m. until 8.a.m. the next morning.

The customers of Tsurutontan Shinjuku are mainly youngsters during lunch and dinner time, though sometimes you might see Japanese salarymen there. After midnight, the customers of Tsurutontan Shinjuku are mainly night entertainers (hosts and hostesses) and party goers. If you’re lucky, you will have the chance to meet Kabukicho’s #1 host or hostess at Tsurutontan!

udon-tsurutontan-shinjuku2– Nabeyaki Udon – Image Source: Tsurutontan

Ordinary udon chain restaurants usually only serve traditional style udon: thick Japanese wheat – flour noodle served in a noodle soup (clear soup based or curry based) or covered in sauce with various toppings, but the udon at Tsurutontan are on another level. At Tsurutontan you can find both the traditional style udon such as Nabeyaki Udon, Tanuki Udon, Kitsune Udon, or Tempura Udon, and the fusion style udon such as Carbonara Udon, Tomato Cream Udon, or Bouillabaisse Udon. Yes, Tsurutontan brought innovations to the udon scene in Japan!

udon-tsurutontan-shinjuku3– Carbonara Udon – Image Source: Tsurutontan

All of the udon at Tsurutontan are served in massive, well, GIGANTIC MASSIVE bowls, which are twice (or even more) the size of our heads. In addition, you can order three portions size of udon without any extra charge at Tsurutontan, and maybe this is the main reason why all the bowls are big and why all the youngsters love Tsurutontan. I have never tried to upgrade my size to three portions, but some of my friends have tried to do so and most of them ended up not finishing all the udon. 

Among Tsurutontan udon menus, my favorite udon are Cold Mentaiko Udon and Tomato Cream Udon. The cold mentaiko udon is a cold udon mixed with raw spicy cod roe, which is heavenly good! It doesn’t smell fishy at all, and the coldness and the spiciness of the udon are just right! Tomato Cream Udon is another sensation of Tsurutontan that I like the most. The cream is not too thick and not to cheesy, so even though Tomato Cream Udon is pretty heavy, it never gives me an upset stomach afterwards!

udon-tsurutontan-shinjuku4– Cold Mentaiko Udon – Image Source: Tsurutontan

udon-tsurutontan-shinjuku5– Tomato Cream Udon – Image Source: Tsurutontan

What I love so much from Tsurutontan Shinjuku beside the udon, is the atmosphere of the shop! The interior design of Tsurutontan Shinjuku is very chic and elegant with black furniture. The open kitchen right by the counter is always fun to watch, as you can see the udon masters kneading and cutting the udon dough passionately. You can also enjoy a live performance during the dinner time if the bands are playing.

udon-tsurutontan-shinjuku6– The interior of Tsurutontan Shinjuku, what a classy black! – Image Source: Tabelog

I would strongly recommend Tsurutontan Shinjuku for you, especially if you want to try different sensation of udon with fashionable and cozy atmosphere. In addition, Tsurutontan Shinjuku also has English menu, so ordering food there won’t be too difficult for those who do not speak Japanese. The price of the udon is also very reasonable, ranging from 1,000 JPY to 3,000 JPY per person, and you can still add up to 3 portions of udon with no extra charge. Grab your friends along with you and give a try for Tsurutontan! 

Tsurutontan Shinjuku
Animoto Building B1F, Kabukicho 2 – 26 – 3, Shinjuku – ku, Tokyo, Japan
Tel: 03 – 5287 – 2626


Find more info about the mystery of Kitsune Udon, and also try different type of udon restaurant, the standing udon restaurant

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About the author

Hello, my name is Katie and I’ve lived in Japan for almost 10 years. You will see many reviews about things in Japan that you will never find in guide books for tourists, and I will take you to see both the prettiest and the ugliest side of Japan!

View all articles by Katie