‘Menya Chou’ in Usuki, Kagoshima, offers ramen made with slow-cooked tonkotsu soup

PUBLISHED Sep 20, 2023

Exterior view of Menya Chou

Three months have passed since the ramen restaurant Menya Chou (Usuki, Kagoshima City, Phone: 099-298-1135) opened its doors near Wakida Stop on the Kagoshima City Tram line.

The restaurant, which opened on June 4, is run by Kenji Nagao, the manager who honed his skills at Ippudo in Tokyo for ten years. Nagao, originally from Mie Prefecture, has been involved in the ramen business for 20 years, working in Tokyo, Okayama, and Okinawa. The name is derived from a wholesale/retail shoe store that Nagao’s family used to run, and it carries the meaning of “stability.”

The location of Menya Chou is where the ramen restaurant “Amenimo Makezu,” which relocated to the Chuo Station area last month, used to be. The owner of Amenimo Makezu also had experience training at Ippudo, and despite not knowing each other personally, Nagao felt a connection, which led to the decision to open in the same location. The restaurant has a floor area of approximately 66 square meters with five counter seats and 12 seats at three tables available.

The menu includes Tonkotsu (850 yen) made with a soup slow-cooked with pork bone, including the knee joint parts called “Genkotsu,” at high heat; Ninniku Shouga (Garlic-Ginger, 950 yen) with a soup made from pork bone, chicken, and vegetables; and Mazesoba (900 yen) with thick noodles and a sweet and spicy soy sauce dressing. Customers can add a free topping of black ma-yu oil, made by frying aromatic herbs such as garlic and green onions for an extended period.

Nagao says, “We are particular about the compatibility of the soup and noodles, and we offer them based on combinations we arrived at after hundreds of trial runs. We aim to create a new style of Kagoshima ramen.”

Opening hours: 11:00 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. Closed on Tuesdays.

  • Counter seating at Menya Chou

  • Table seating at Menya Chou

  • Example of ramen from Menya Chou