Japan doesn’t do daylight saving time, so it was already dark when I left northern Kyoto’s Ichijoji Station at dinnertime. The area’s 14 UNESCO World Heritage sites were closed for the night, but Ichijoji is one of the many Kyoto neighborhoods without any especially celebrated temples, shrines or gardens. The area is not even on many tourist maps, at least not English-language ones. But a certain kind of cultural connoisseur regularly finds the place, summoned by the two dozen ramen shops along a few blocks of a street named Higashi Oji Dori.
I discovered Kyoto’s uptown ramen district while finding my way around Japan’s most historic large city. There it was on a map provided by a bike-rental shop, just a short walk from the Eizan line, one of the city’s charmingly retro yet impeccably functional commuter railways.