While you might think of instant noodles as a low-brow student snack, in Japan they are a national obsession. You’ll find them in every supermarket and even in vending machines on the streets. If you want to understand the extent of the Japanese love for instant noodles the the cup noodle museum in Yokohama is a great starting point.
The Cup Noodle Museum is situated in Yokohama. Once an independent port, it is now part of the extended sprawl of Tokyo. The Cup Noodle Museum is a short walk from two stations on the Minatomirai line (Minatomirai and Bashamichi) which connects with the Tokyu Toyoko line – this leaves from Shibuya station.
If you have a rail pass, you can travel to Yokohama for free from Tokyo on the JR East line Keihin-Tōhoku. This stops at Sakuragicho station which is a just under a mile from the museum. The museum is situated on Yokohama waterfront near the Landmark Tower, the highest building in Japan. Opposite the museum is a small theme park; Yokohama Cosmoworld.
Things to Do
There are several attractions and exhibitions inside the museum. Standard entry tickets allow you to visit an exhibition about Momofuku Ando (the founder of Nissin Foods and the inventor of Cup Noodles) and the spread of instant noodles around the world. There is a timeline of instant noodle products, a replica of the shed where Momofuku Ando perfected the drying process and several interesting displays about his creative process. Audio guides are provided in English and there is also an English voice-over available for the film theatre.
There are several interactive exhibits too, although these cost extra. The Chicken Ramen Factory allows you to create your own ramen noodles from scratch, although reservations* need to be made ahead of your visit (* details in Japanese – Use Google Chrome’s translate functionality to read in English)
You can book on the day to create your own Cup Noodle in the My CUPNOODLE Factory, although get there early to ensure a slot as it can become fully booked. Not only can you decorate the pot, you can also choose your own selection of ingredients and soup flavour – there are 5460 possible combinations! Your Cup Noodle is then packed in a special crush proof air-padded bag for you to take home.
Younger visitors will enjoy CUPNOODLES park, an indoor play area that replicates the noodle manufacturing process. Again you will need to reserve a time slot when you arrive.
Finally, there is the Cup Noodle shop selling all sorts of Cup Noodle themed merchandise, and the Noodles Bazaar. This is themed to look like an Asian night market, and has several stalls selling different variations on noodles from around the world. You can mix and match different dishes from Kazakh stew to pomodoro spaghetti.
Open every day except Tuesday – if Tuesday is a holiday then closed Wednesday.
1000-1800 each day (last entry 1700)
General admission – Adults: 500Y, school children under 18 free
My Cup Noodle Factory – 300¥
Chicken Ramen factory – Primary age children: 300¥ Older children and Adults: 500¥
CupNoodles Park = 300¥
Cup Noodle Museum, Yokohama (Official Website)