I actually contemplated posting this, I don’t know what kind of madness will descend once A realises that he can sample the original Santouka ramen in Asahikawa.
I’m not going to verify the claims of Asahikawa being the birthplace of ramen, it is not worth the effort. Regardless of the veracity, the Asahikawa Ramen Village comes highly recommended as it houses EIGHT of the most well known ramen ten, with Santouka being one of them.
The last time my family took a trip there, we had no idea what Asahikawa was famous for, it was just a place my mom suggested going to. So the kind taxi driver suggested bringing us to a ramen ten, and we ended up right outside the original Santouka ramen ten! Talk about fate. And boy, it was really really really good. The best thing about having ramen in Japan is the free flow rice and pickles, which A is sure to love.
Besides ramen, Asahikawa Zoo is pretty well known too, but I doubt A has much interest in that. I suppose a day trip to Asahikawa is sufficient, especially since the Hokkaido Rail Pass allows unlimited rides on the JR trains.
I was searching for photos of ramen to put up here, but I found something even better:
THERE EXISTS SANTOUKA INSTANT RAMEN?!
If this is not the reason to go to Japan, I don’t know what is!