Yoshikawa in Saitama is one of the best ramen shops within driving distance of Tokyo. With their recent success, they were able to open a second shop in Kawagoe, also in Saitama Prefecture.
I was hungry and thirsty, and since I didn't do the driving, a glass of dassai sake would go nicely with a side of iwashidon - sardines on rice.
You can choose black or white ramen here, with the black being a bit deeper in flavor. Both are top of their class, but I say go for the darker version. It uses tamari shoyu, a stronger type seen a lot in Osaka.
If sardines aren't your thing, they have a daily kaisendon - various raw fish over rice. The shop is quite large, with tables for the family, so you can linger a bit longer than you might at a small, counter-only shop in Tokyo.
I noticed it late, but was able to change to have my sardines served over a small plate of noodles. The shop makes their own, and these fresh raw sardines, hit with lemon vinegar and onion, were a standout. Almost a meal on its own.
The shop's ingredients are on display, including a premium tamari soy sauce.
And an equally high quality craft soy sauce.
A must-hit if you live in Saitama, and probably worth it for out of towners as well.
Saitama-ken, Kawagoe-shi, Imafuku 1738-14
Closest station: Kawagoe
Open 11:00-15:00, 17:00-21:00