Tourism in Hokkaido has changed rapidly in recent years. With a lot more wealth in other Asian countries, people have begun to flock here in droves. And with direct flights from Shanghai, Seoul, and Bangkok, visiting the cool-in-summer northern island is a breeze.
Waiting in line for famous shops isn't just a Japanese obsession. A few shops I visited this time, both ramen and not, were about two thirds overseas tourists.
The one thing I don't understand, though, is why you would go out of your way to visit the chains. Baikoken isn't a huge chain, but it has certainly evolved into the chain category. With nine shops in Japan and eight overseas, they are bringing the Asahikawa ramen game to the world.
Not a bad bowl, and certainly better than their outlet in Tokyo. I'm sure the guidebooks are rich with suggestions for places like this.
The fact of the matter is that I was spoiled by Hachiya, what I consider one of the best bowls in the country. I didn't take any shots, but I slurped there a few hours before Baikoken, and kind of ruined my palate with the ultra rich, in-your-face impact that you only find at that shop.
Anyways, Baikoken is a famous place, and if you are going to hit it up, you might as well do it at the main shop in Asahikawa.
Official site here.
北海道旭川市2条通8丁目右1 ピアザビル B1F
Hokkaido, Asahikawa-shi 2-8
Closest station: Asahikawa