The Cup Noodle Museum was our first stop on the day trip to Yokohama that included the Raumen Museum (see that post here). Both were fantastic in their own right, but if I had to pick just one, the Cup Noodle Museum offers far more to do. Read on to see the museum, dining, and make your own ramen experience!
From the beginning, the Cup Noodle museum has a gorgeous, clean, modern aesthetic. My favorite display was the room of all their flavors and brands, arranged in chronological order.
Befitting a museum created to promote a brand, they lay it on pretty thick, fawning over founder Momofuku Ando. Fortunately, it’s exaggerated and stylistic enough that it simply becomes good, goofy fun.
Clearly the Japanese have their own Flying Spaghetti Monster origin myth 😉
Below, a recreation of the little shed in which Ando invented instant ramen.
After you’ve made your way through the museum (or before, if you’re hungry), the Noodle Bazaar awaits! Choose from 8 stands representing noodle dishes around the world.
You’ll order through the familiar ticket machines, then hand your ticket to the staff at the window. Don’t worry, there are English titles on the buttons, so you shouldn’t have any trouble ordering.
The museum offers a hands-on “Chicken Ramen Factory” experience for 500 yen a person. We had friends call ahead to make a reservation, but you can sign up on the day of at the ticket office as well, just keep in mind they’re likely to be busier on weekends and holidays.
There’s a bandanna (which you get to take home), and an apron waiting for you at the orientation tables.
You’re separated into small groups and assigned a staff member who will guide you through the process, from mixing and kneading your dough, all the way to cutting the noodles. Ours spoke limited English, but he was very sweet and patient with me when I was snapping photos instead of assisting my partner! There’s an English instruction sheet, and you’ll do fine with a little miming.
The cute elderly couple in our group…possibly the only other adults that weren’t accompanying children. Don’t feel self conscious about going, though! No one minds, and I’m sure there’s often groups with a larger concentration of adults.
The staff never stop moving! Above, rushing to clean up while we’re decorating our packaging and waiting for our noodles to be fried.
The staff handles the more dangerous process of deep frying the noodles to dry them in a glassed in kitchen. All baskets are numbered, so the noodles you take home are the exact noodles you hand kneaded, and you can watch your ramen going through the process.
They aren’t only holding out the noodles for my photo; everyone is welcome to crowd around the glass and the staff member who was assisting at your table happily shows you your ramen as it’s processed.
After all our hard work, the finished product!
Before you leave, you’ll want to stop by the gift shop, which has all kinds of fun Cup Noodle souvenirs.
They sell Cup Noodle gift sets, candles, pretty much everything that can be branded, and these fantastic Cup Noodle shaped cakes, a fun twist on a traditional Japanese sweet with azuki bean filling. LOTS of these came back with me for gifts!