LOOK: The Ramen House Where Other Ramen House Owners Go to Eat


Ramenya Rock ‘n’ Billy 21
2/F 3 Chome-29-13 Minamitsukaguchicho, Amagasaki
Open from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., and 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.; on Sundays, it is open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. It is closed on Mondays.
How to get there: It’s a 10-minute walk from Hankyu Tsukaguchi Station, and an 8-minute walk from JR Tsukaguchi Station.

In July of 2014, Junichi Shimazaki abruptly closed his popular Tokyo shop and relocated to Amagasaki’s Tsukaguchi Ward to open Ramenya Rock ‘n’ Billy 21. In the three years since the move, the owner hasn’t lost his touch. His ramen continues to evolve and improve without pause, and the long lines do not seem to be going anywhere anytime soon. In fact, on days his specialty noodles are served, fans line up as early as six in the morning.

However, every day, he still makes ramen with an air of tension and the anticipation of being able to offer his mentor, Shina Sobaya’s Minoru Sano, the perfect bowl of ramen at any time. “To constantly push yourself to improve on this task you do every day, that is what gives rise to a sensational flavor,” he says.

It doesn’t seem like Shimazaki has anything to worry about. His classic ramen’s flavors are solid, even enticing many fellow ramen shop owners to have a bowl. With a “clear ramen made only with chicken and water,” the owner steers clear of adding extraneous ingredients to his dish; however, the chicken in this simple bowl is hinai-jidori. The water used goes through a reverse osmosis filter and pi-water system to further heighten the ramen quality.

One of their signature dishes, the Ama Rock (¥900), is characterized by its chicken chintan (clear soup) made with a whole hinai-jidori as well as hinai-jidori parts. The umami of the sauce, made with an assortment of soy sauces—including marudaizu soy sauce—in a cedar barrel, draws out the flavor of the soup. With noodles in which even the wheat has been thoroughly tested to be chosen to be included in the recipe, it’s no wonder that this chuka soba’s flavor has greater depth.

Besides water, the soup is 100 percent hinai-jidori.

As he is with the soup, Shimazaki is very attentive of the chicken fat. It has a pure flavor that even his peers adore.

He has a noodle maker prepare exceptionally rare wheat, and he orders these noodles in small batches as he continually changes and improves the recipe.

Shimazaki himself is quite the character. He jokes, “I am a solo singer and rakugo performer. I don’t fare well in teams like bands and comedy trios,” adding that undertaking ramen on his own and refining his skills gradually is more his style. 

Many ramen owners are enthralled by such a personality, as can be seen by the heavy influence Ramenya Rock ‘n’ Billy has had on the likes of Chuka Soba Nunpoko and Bettei Sanku Chukaki Soba Sui. It is expected that the restaurant will continue to impact the world of ramen in Kansai.

Provided by Japan Walker™, Walkerplus™, and Kansai Walker™ (18 October 2017)


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