There’s something about eating out in Japan that makes cooking at home seem an even bigger chore than it already is. Perhaps it’s because the company you keep in your own place isn’t half as colorful as that of the people you can meet just down the street at the hole-in-the-wall izakaya, or in the standing bar with barely enough room to hold both a beer and a briefcase. Arama, close to Kawana Station, is a ramen shop with the perfect recipe for an entertaining night: one of the funniest and most open hosts you’re likely to meet, Kirin Ichiban Shibori and hearty, healthy ramen.
Arama is quite inconspicuously located on the main road of Kawana, but once you’ve spotted the flashing yellow light and gaudy red and yellow plastic signs, just duck under a blue partition and through the half frosted door. The menu is less than extensive – ramen, curry or regular, chu-ka soba and the odd extra – but the bowls are full of hearty pork goodness, fat off, too! The big serving is enough to fill a person fit to bursting. A basic cha-shu ramen will set you back less than 700 yen, but the company of madam Mison-San is worth spending extra time or money on. She’s outstandingly friendly and only too happy to show you her amazing collection of homemade fermented brews made from an odd assortment of roots, flowers and herbs. A whiff alone will put you on your back, but she claims that as a nightcap, a sip can’t be beat to cure what ails you. Unfortunately, they’re for private use only and not for public consumption, but it is interesting to see exactly what weird herbs and exotic flowers go into a home brew for added kick. She’s only too happy to recommend other places of interest depending on your taste and how far you’re willing to step out to find somewhere.
Arama is homely and cosy, and the worn-out, ramshackle atmosphere is as unique as Mison-san’s vintage American t-shirts with hilarious slogans. It’s a ten minute walk south from Kawana Station (Tsurumai subway line), along Kawabara Dori.
Open everyday for lunch from 11:30 – 14:30, and dinner from 17:30 – 22:00.