If you’re a lover of instant 2-minute noodles, then the Momofuku Ando Instant Ramen Museum is the place for you! There’s two locations, the original one in Ikeda (about 30 minutes from Osaka) and Yokohama (about an hour from Tokyo), but this time I’m paying a visit to the original museum.
The museum is entirely in Japanese, however there are enough pictures on the wall to get by without needing to know any Japanese. The front desk staff also speak fluent English/Chinese catering to the many tourists, and there’s also the option of hiring a free English/Chinese audio guide (deposit required) to get a more detailed explanation of the museum. And the best bit? Free entry.
Once you enter the exhibit, you’ll be taken along the history of instant ramen, from the conception of the Nissin company and development, to how the ingredients and packaging were created, distributed and sold across Japan. This is featured on an interactive wall with windows and drawers that pop out. At the end of a wall is a computer which shows this timeline in a digital format, compiled with all the advertising campaigns that Nissin has created over the years which was really fun to watch.
The next room features a small theatre showing the cup noodle process, with an animation of how the noodles are created from the factory to how they end up in our hands. Once you exit the theatre, you’ll be at the main attraction – making your own customised cup noodle!
First, you need to purchase an empty cup noodle from the vending machine for ¥300. You’ll then be directed by staff to a sanitary station to disinfect your hands before being seated at a canteen style table filled with markers to decorate your cup. Now decorate away!
Next is the contents station, where you choose your soup broth and 4 toppings from a selection of 12. Unfortunately you don’t get to fill your own cup (otherwise mine would be filled to the brim) and instead a staff member ensures your cup has a sensible amount of toppings. The cup is then sealed in plastic wrap and made air tight before it’s inserted into a balloon-type bag which you pump up to protect your cup noodle from getting crushed. Bubble-fying a cup noodle has got to be one of the most interesting things ever!
The next room allows you to purchase a range of cup noodles from the Nissin range for onsite consumption (your own souvenir is to be consumed outside and not within the premises however), and the museum then loops back to the front where you’ll walk past a wall timeline displaying every single cup noodle the Nissin company has ever made.
Upstairs also features an industrial like kitchen where cooking classes are held. These need to be booked and can be done so on the day, but require cooking companions so are a no go for solo travellers.
All in all, although it’s a short trip out of Osaka, it’s a fun and free museum that is sure to keep kids and adults entertained. The museum is quite small and can be done in 30-60 minutes (excluding transport time). Would recommend a visit if you’ve got a spare 2-3 hours when in Osaka.
The Momofuku Ando Instant Ramen Musuem
8-25 Masumi-cho, Ikeda-shi, Osaka 563-0041, Japan
Museum hours: 9:30 am – 4:00 pm (Last admission is at 3:30 pm)