Talk about an adventure! I didn't even plan on eating ramen this day.
Even though Niigata has at least three magazines dedicated to local ramen, I was more interested in the seafood. Cruising along the coast, there are a handful of markets where the older moms and wives of the fishermen sell the daily catch.
Breakfast on the coast did not disappoint. An entire crab for less than 1000 yen. I guess she liked my enthusiasm, and the extra half was thrown in for free.
This is local food in Japan. Anyone who has toured by car, bike, or bicycle knows what I am talking about. Please try get off the beaten path.
So I was just riding the bike into the mountains, in search of some remote hot springs. Then . . . this!
End of the road. It was still about five kilometers to the destination, which obviously was not going to be the destination anymore. Then, a minute later, a group of skiers appear. How cool is that! Skiing down a snowed-in road!
Oh, this guy? He rounds the corner and says, in Japanese, "Are you that ramen guy?"
It was then and there I knew that I needed to go eat ramen.
Stopping for some free wi-fi and coffee in Hakuba.
I found the nearest acceptable spot.
Into the GPS it goes.
I had a veritable hero's welcome when I rolled the bike up in front of Butanosanpo. Yes, countryside Japan is still fascinated with us foreigners. The bike, a bright orange KTM, makes a bit of a statement, too.
This shop isn't just a ramen shop. The menu is full of pork options. The name of the shop is, anyways, buta no sanpo, meaning a pig's casual stroll. And though this spot is far enough in the countryside to mean that almost no one will take a casual stroll here, the point is taken.
Plates of pork curry, thick kakuni over rice, and all kinds of sides.
Two styles of ramen. The light gaku ramen, and the heavy jiro inspired style.
Eating jiro and riding the bike isn't an option, so the light one it had to be. Get the extra chashu. Thin and melts in your mouth. As expected from a place with buta, pork, in the name.
If you can eat a quadruple-sized serving in less than 20 minutes, you eat for free.
Official Site Here
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Nagano-ken, Omachi-shi, Nishinamachi 3168-8
Closest station: Shinanoomachi
Open 11:30-14:00, 17:00-22:00
Friday and Saturday until 24:00