The joy in life is in Ramen
If you ever come to Tokyo, you will notice that Ramen [noodle] places are often small but sacred eateries. Many have been around for a long time and have gained a local reputation. That’s when they can get very crowded. So crowded in fact, that they get scouted and end up in travel advisers, on NHK broadcast, in food guides and street magazines. Even abroad.
Most Ramen places are so small (10 seats) that queuing becomes inevitable
So, A LOT of tourists do pilgrimages to those few extremely famous Ramen places. One of the most famous one is Mutekiya Ramen in Ikebukuro, Tokyo. It’s a small corner place at the feet of a tall, multistorey building. Here at Mutekiya, guests are expected to queue for one hour–anything less is bad for reputation and branding.
Hardcore queuing in heavy rain for famous Ramen: It’s probably still worthwhile
The Ramen at Mutekiya are excellent, there is an unusual large choice of dishes, beverages, and you can spice the noodles up yourself at the table. The taste is reliably excellent or why you would you have queued for that long?!
Chinese and Korean tourists are in the majority, but we also met Russians and Americans. Eating experience is the top reason for coming to Tokyo, sight-seeing only comes in second.
And while many Westerners might may find it bizarre, longest queuing is an important part–a food ritual–in eating-out in Tokyo.