The weather for late October was surprisingly warm and clear. The perfect riding weather. I put out a quick call for a ramen ride, but with short notice no one had the time. A solo ride out to Tsukuba was no problem, especially for the bowl at Ichikawa.
The line at 11am, 30 minutes before the shop opens, was almost 40 deep. What is even more impressive is that Ichikawa only serves 80 bowls a day before they close.
This is what they came for. One of the most sought after bowls of niboshi ramen in Japan. The master wore a shirt proclaiming the addictive quality of niboshi, and I agree. Soups made with copious amounts of dried sardines have an almost drug-like umami effect.
If you don't absolutely love these flavors, you might want to reconsider. Even the vinegar is spiked with the good stuff.
And the egg. I watched as the only other employee - I'm assuming it was the master's wife - used a syringe to inject the shop's tare seasoning liquid directly into the yolk before serving.
Wow. I used to say that high quality eggs were hard to give any sort of ranking to. Good was good. But now I have a number one.
Tsukuba isn't considered much of a rider's hangout. Regardless, the ride over the mountain was nice, and a quick dip into a local onsen hot spring was a necessity.
By the way, for those who are concerned about the line. In line at 11am, the shop opened at 11:30, sat down at around 12:30, and was out the door just before 1pm. Good luck.
Official blog here.
Ibaraki-ken, Tsukuba-shi, Amakubo 2-9-2
Closest station: Tsukuba
Open 11:30 until they run out