When the train first arrived at Asahikawa, I thought to myself “where the f*** am I?” And then I met the people, walked the city, ate the ramen, and instantly fell in love. Asahikawa is located roughly in the center of Hokkaido about an hour and a half northeast of Sapporo. It’s mostly known for their contributions to art, wonderful festivals, and winter sports. It’s a city surrounded by mountains and rivers, every bit in touch with nature. There’s also a famous zoo that features polar bears and penguins among others. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to go because they are closed until the end of April. I missed them by one day…zannen. The weather has been off-and-on rain since I arrived with some hail and now snow. Supposedly, it should clear up by tomorrow so I expect to take some more pics in the morning. Anyway, Asahikawa is an awesome city. I definitely wouldn’t mind living here. As for their ramen, it’s traditionally based on a pan-fried pork bone that’s stewed in shochu for several hours. Could that explain why I’m feeling tipsy? Haha, j/k. But it could explain why I like it so much.
Ramenya Tenkin was recommended by several locals when I asked them where the best ramen-ya is. It’s about a 10 minute walk from the station 7 blocks North on you’re right. I ordered the shoyu ramen, which was a deep, rich shoyu blend that literally melted my soul. I swear, it’s been one of the best yet! The chashu was a bit dry but had good flavor. I think I’ve come to realize that this is how the chashu should be. It doesn’t have to melt in your mouth all the time. Sometimes dry is better. If I had more time, I think I’d go here again. The noodles were the thick Asahikawa style that I’ve come to love and every slurp maintained its worth.
Ramen No Hachiya is a familiar face when it comes to ramen. I’ve tried it a few times at the Raumen Museum but still wanted to try it first hand while in Asahikawa. I ordered the koi version of Shoyu Ramen. Hachiya is known for their heavy use of niboshi, so if you react adversely to a strong fish smell, then you may not want to try it. This kotteri version of shoyu ramen is very intense and inspiring. It almost makes me cry for more. But oddly enough, I feel like the Hachiya from the Raumen Museum is slightly better.