In a world where one out of every seven online reviews could be fake, it can be difficult to know whether a restaurant really deserves top marks.
Bearing this in mind, one Japan company has compiled a list of what it believes are truly the best ramen joints in Tokyo – all by using artificial intelligence technology.
TDAI Lab, an AI algorithm solution development start-up, created Wise Review to identify and weed out unreliable reviews – all to find the most “amazingly yummy ramen shops in Tokyo.”
In the end, they analyzed more than 4,000 ramen restaurant reviews. To be included in the survey, a venue needed to have at least 100 reviews on Google. Of those, only ones by reviewers who posted more than five different reviews since January 1, 2019, were considered.
With Wise Review, TDAI Lab aims to create a “fair situation for sellers and consumers.”
“It automatically detects unreliable reviews such as ‘anti’ (ill-willed reviewers) or ‘sakura’ (hired applauder), and AI proposes the true values of things,” states TDAI Lab’s press release announcing their findings.
The new technology can also reportedly eliminate dubious reviews, such as those that seem to be copied from the product descriptions.
Tokyo’s No. 1 ramen restaurant
“Ramen is one of the most popular foods in Japan,” Tomoki Fukuma, president and CEO of TDAI Lab, tells CNN Travel.
“Plus, its price is reasonable and that makes it easy to collect a lot of review data.”
So which ramen joint came out on top?
Famous for its ginger shoyu ramen, Aoshima Shokudou in Tokyo’s Akihabara area has been crowned “best ramen shop in Tokyo” by Wise Review.
This won’t come as a surprise to the public. The nine-seater eatery always has a long queue. But interestingly, it was ranked 13th on Google before Wise Review compiled its list.
“Thirteen isn’t a big number,” says Fukuma. “The store which decreased the most dropped 339 positions.”
Coming second after Aoshima Shokudou is Ramen Jiro Hibarigaoka in the western part of the city, formerly the number one ramen restaurant in Tokyo on Google.
Rounding out the top five are: Ramen Jiro Mita, in Minato City; Motsuke in Hachioji; and Ramen Hayashida, which is located in Tokyo’s popular Shinjuku area.
For now, Wise Review is only available in Japanese but hungry Tokyo visitors can always use it to find ramen restaurants nearby and determine their ranking by bowl color. For example, a red bowl means a restaurant is ranked in the top 100, while yellow is 101-200.
Users can click into each of the ramen shops to see all the reviews listed and to find out how many reviews have been taken out (they’re listed in red).
Among those deemed unreliable include a two-star review that said: “There was a long queue if you go around 11:30, so pass.”
About 1,000 ramen restaurants are listed on the website. Visitors can sort them according to the best Wise Review score or the best original rating.
“Our next goal is to expand to other existing review sites. It’s also possible to extend it to many other styles of restaurants, such as izakaya,” says Fukuma.
The technology could also be used to analyze reviews in other sectors, from hotels to hospitals.
One unforeseeable Wise Review result for Fukuma?
“My favorite place dropped from 212 to 269. There were [many five-star reviews with low reliability],” says Fukuma.
“But I won’t change my opinion. It’s the best ramen place I know.”