The sun finally shone bright the other day here in Misawa, Japan. A jacket was still needed, but the sun was out and the snow was melting, although the melt is a slow process. The day was so nice, it beckoned some friends and I to take a train ride to the city of Aomori. The capital city of the Aomori Prefecture sits on the coast of Mutsu Bay and lies northwest of Misawa, about an hour and half away by train.
We boarded the train in Misawa on that sunny day and settled in for the ride to Aomori. I love riding the trains in Japan, but after about twenty minutes this ride became uncomfortable to the point of unbearable. The heat on the train was operating at full steam! Suddenly it felt like we were sitting in a sauna. Jackets came off and sleeves were rolled up. When we arrived at Aomori Station, the blast of chilly air that greeted us as the doors slid open was a welcome relief.
As we made our way through the station, our first stop was Starbucks. I chugged down the largest cold iced tea I could order. That cold drink was just the right medicine to undo the heat stroke from the train. We sat and talked for a bit and then headed to our destination: a ramen cafe called Aji no Sapporo Ōnishi (Taste of Sapporo Ōnishi). This is the only place in Japan, or the world, to get Miso Curry Milk Ramen. It was an easy ten minute walk from Aomori Station, but the Miso Curry Milk Ramen was so good, we all agreed we would have walked farther! It is my understanding that the owner/chef, Ōnishi-san, was challenged to put those four flavors together in a ramen bowl about forty years ago. It was a success and he’s been creating and serving this one-of-a-kind ramen delicacy for as many years. And his cafe is the only place you can enjoy the buttery, creamy taste of ramen. Yes, butter! Butter is not something one usually associates with a bowl of ramen, but there it was! A thick pat of butter perched majestically atop an island of bean sprouts, bamboo shoots, and ramen noodles. The milk made it creamy, the butter added to the creaminess, and the miso and curry just melded everything together. It was the most delicious bowl of ramen I have eaten in Japan. I will definitely return for another bowl in the near future!
Our stomachs full, we explored a little of the city before we headed back to the train station. Aomori is a very nice city and easy to navigate and should be a “must see city” for anyone traveling in northern Japan. To prepare for the ride back, we stopped in to have a cold beer at Kirin City in Aomori Station. The beer was cold and delicious, the company great, and unique ramen enjoyed! Feeling good, we walked to our train platform and boarded the train for home. As we sat there and let the hot sauna once again envelope us, we awoke when the train stopped in Misawa.
© 2019 Gregory Vessar