I showed up at Agosuke at about noon. I figured the wait would be minimal, this being Joetsu and all. Joetsu is on the southern side of Niigata. Very far from the bullet trains that connect Tokyo with the rest of the prefecture. Not a place you would expect a line.
But the line was massive. At least 50 people. A testament that ramen isn't just a big-city-Tokyo thing in Japan.
The menu at Agosuke is deep. Shoyu, shio, with corresponding kotteri (thick) versions. There are also limited gentei bowls, and certain bowls that are only available for lunch or dinner. Add to that side dishes, and this place is meant to pleas everyone.
I'm a big fan of limited bowls, but wanted to take this rare opportunity to try the original. So I compromised with an order of limited gyoza. Packed with fresh vegetables and some spice, these were a good choice.
And the original bowl of shoyu. Another good choice. The shop, true to their moniker, uses an ago soup. That's fried flying fish. It is much lighter than, say, a niboshi (sardine) or katsuo (skipjack tuna) based broth.
If you have the appetite, go for extra chashu. Only 300 km from Tokyo!
Official Site Here
Niigata-ken, Joetsu-shi, Shimomonzen 1650
Closest staiton: Naoetsu
Open 11:30-14:30, 17:30-21:00