Ramen is a dish that is one of the favorites of Japanese people and visitors to Japan. This thick, comforting noodles in broth dish comes in a huge variety of flavors, the most common of which include miso, tonkotsu (pork stock), and shoyu (soy sauce), and can feature many different toppings including vegetables, egg, and meat. It means the possibilities for ramen are endless, and types of this popular dish vary across the country. Although ramen originated in China, no one can argue that the Japanese have made it their own.
Ramen is mostly enjoyed in winter as a warming dish, but its popularity has inspired the creation of cold summer versions, and similar noodle dishes such as dipping noodles, or tsukemen. It is no secret that ramen is one of Japan’s most well-loved dishes. It may come as no surprise, then, that there are museums dedicated to the country’s famous noodles and their many varieties, which even includes the instant “cup noodle” versions. This article will introduce three of them. Each museum is different to the others, and you can get a taste for some of the many different types of ramen and instant noodles that are popular in Japan.
Perhaps the most well-known of the three, the Shin-Yokohama Ramen Museum (sometimes referred to as the Yokohama Ramen Museum) features a large food court decorated to look as if you’re outside in the evening in a 1950s Japanese food district. It is unlike a contemporary museum and gives you a real feel of the vibes in the post-war period.
The ground floor has a number of small ramen restaurants where you can either order full-size or small size ramen dishes. First, you choose the restaurant in which you would like to eat, and then you purchase a ticket for your chosen meal at a ticket machine outside the restaurant. If you want to try more than one, order a smaller dish so you have room to try several different kinds. You will recieve a pamphlet with details on the different flavors that are available, some of which are from regions very far from Yokohama and might not be as readily available outside the museum, sometimes even as far as Hakata in Kyushu and Sapporo in Hokkaido.
You will find types of noodles that vary in thickness as well as varieties of the soup, and toppings include naruto fish cakes, chashu pork, half-boiled eggs, seaweed, and much more. The museum even features ramen dishes from outside Japan, such as Germany, France, and the United States. Pork-free ramen is also available for those with dietary requirements.
Once you have had your fill of ramen, there is also a cafe which sells Hokkaido ice cream and a shop selling retro Japanese candy. Upstairs, you will find a souvenir shop and some ramen displays, and you can even put together your own pack to take home and make your own customised ramen with!
This fun day out only requires that you bring an empty stomach. Order several different kinds of ramen and discover your favorite flavor!
This museum is more interactive and a great day out if you are traveling with children. The Cup Noodle Museum in Yokohama has four floors of attractions and displays relating to the history and significance of instant ramen, including a chicken ramen factory where you can make chicken ramen by hand, the CupNoodles park, and a marble coaster. You can see over 3,000 examples of instant noodle packaging and see the Momofuku Theatre, a replica of Momofuku’s workshed where the first instant ramen was created. You can try some of the noodles, and you can even create your own packet of instant noodles.
Check out this museum if you are interested in the history of instant ramen, specifically, and the many different varieties that are out there. Children will love this museum and they will learn a lot about where instant noodles come from, too.
Like the Cup Noodle Museum, the Momofuku Ando Instant Ramen Museum, also known as the CupNoodles Museum Osaka, is dedicated to instant noodles. While the two restaurants above are located in Yokohama near Tokyo, the Momofuku Ando Instant Ramen Museum is in Osaka, so if you are in the Kansai area, this museum may be more accessible to you. You can learn about the history and significance of instant ramen and its creator, Momofuku Ando. Like the Cup Noodle Museum, you can learn how to make fresh ramen, and you can also make your own customised Cup Noodles package to take home. Test your knowledge with the museum’s Magical Table, check out the CupNoodles interactive Drama Theater, and walk down the cool and slightly surreal Instant Noodles Tunnel made up of approximately 800 product packages.
This is a great day out for those who love the many varieties of cup noodles in Japan and want to find out more about them!
Fans of the delicious Japanese noodle dish would love to visit one of these ramen and cup noodle museums (or even all three, if you’re feeling particularly adventurous). Try different varieties of flavors and toppings from all over Japan and learn more about the inception of readily available instant noodles.