Thursday, February 6, 2020

ラーメン館 秀航園本店 (Shukoen in Kushiro, Hokkaido)

ラーメン館 秀航園本店

Summer, 2019. Tokyo temperatures are into the mid-30s, which is something like high 80s for you Americans. It's hot. And humid. Hokkaido is a few degrees lower and a whole lot drier. The air is cleaner and the sky is bluer. For someone who lives for motorcycle touring and good food, it is heaven. I'm in heaven.

I arrived in Tomakomai, a port city not known for ramen. I had two choices. Head to the city of Sapporo for ramen or head to the mountains for hiking and camping. Sorry, ramen, I'm here for a few weeks so the city stuff can wait.

This year I brought only a hammock. Two trees (or telephone poles) and I am good to go.

Work was in Kushiro, so I made it a point to visit some great shops. Shukoen was the one to hit. As Kushiro is known for seafood, the oyster ramen looked particularly good.

Kushiro, for those interested, isn't somewhere many tourists visit. It's a solid four hours by express train from Sapporo. Sure, it is nearish to famous Lake Mashu and some amazing nature, but most tourists will make it to Obihiro and skip the industrial cities farther east.

Oyster ramen. I had to do it. The photo on the ticket machine showed plump oysters sitting on top of a thick miso broth.

Though the real thing was far less photogenic than the advertisement, it hit the spot. Six or seven oysters and a fragrant miso broth.

From here, it was off to the mountains again. It is a mini-goal of mine in life to hike the 100 famous mountains of Japan. I managed to finish two more in Hokkaido on this trip; Mt. Tomuraushi (トムラウシ山) and Mt. Yōtei (羊蹄山). At the age of 41, though, my body is struggling. Coming down Tomuraushi, rated as one of the toughest in Hokkaido, my knees were basically useless. I stumbled into the hot spring at the bottom for some recovery, realizing that I need to adjust my hiking style, which basically was full-bore up and down to turn an overnight hike into a one-day thing.

That said, it may be time for some specific training for this kind of thing, as well as learning how to use hiking poles and knee supports. I'm not 25 anymore!

No comments: