Japan: Kyoto Gogyo

CK and I left Osaka for Kyoto early in the morning.  But apparently not early enough.  We completely forgot that traveling on a weekday meant facing rush hour on public transportation.  Which is how we ended up on a subway train with our luggage and a little old lady's forearm digging into my back.  Said little old lady used said forearm as a battering ram to shove me further into the train every time the doors opened and more people poured in.

I knew that we'd made a mistake the moment the doors to our train opened and three quarters of the passengers drained out while the remaining standing passengers (all salarymen) moved to the far side of the train, then turned to face the opposite door.  Before I could even take a step forward onto the train, that little old lady took it upon herself to make sure I got aaaaaaall the way in.

I can only imagine how much worse rush hour is in Tokyo.  Holy moly.  Thank goodness we never had to experience that.

While the subway was bad, the actual train to Kyoto was full, but not uncomfortably so.  We even managed to snag seats.

Once in Kyoto, we hopped on a taxi, dropped off our luggage at our ryokan (it was too early to check in), and then immediately headed out for lunch.

As usual, our lodging was chosen based on its proximity to food options.  A short walk and we were at Kyoto Gogyo:

We just managed to miss the daily lunch squeeze.  We were ushered directly to a counter seat when we arrived, but by the time we left, there was a bunch of salarymen congregated outside the door.

I wasn't brave enough to take a photo of the interior because that would mean getting a real close up shot of the people sitting right next to us along the counter.  But trust me when I say it was pretty posh for a ramen joint.  Those were some really comfortable counter seats. 

We couldn't really see into the kitchen because of the high counter, but we could definitely see leaping flames and plumes of smoke.  This didn't come as a surprise, because Kyoto Gogyo is known for their burnt miso ramen:

This was the first ramen of our Japan trip and probably the most interesting (and the most photogenic).  The basic kogashi miso-men was 880 yen ($8.80).  With char siu or braised pork, it was 1130 yen ($11.30).  Bean sprouts and cabbage are also extra.

Get the char siu.  It's worth it.  It's so fatty that it just seems to melt away in your mouth, like magic. 

The broth itself was rich and very, very salty.  I finished all the noodles (so Q!), but I couldn't bring myself to actually drink the leftover soup.  Maybe if I had a bowl of rice to go with it...

And that egg!  What perfection!

If you don't mind more than a little richness in your ramen, I highly recommend checking out Kyoto Gogyo.  You definitely can't find something like that it in the States.   

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