We all know that things in Japan can be a little odd at times, to say the least. At the same time the Japanese take great pride in what they do, their inventions and most famous products – and they have a skill of making anything into a spot that’s attractive to tourists. And it’s in this way that I can best describe the Instant Ramen Museum in Ikeda, Osaka.
Why a Museum of Instant Ramen in Osaka?
While not everyone knows that instant ramen was invented in Japan, most of us had a strong suspicion. It has saved countless students from having to study on an empty stomach, gave plenty of tired parents a break from picky-eating children demanding a bowl of noodles, and made its way on numerous trips to be eaten on the go. The world’s first ever instant ramen was actually produced in Osaka, in the late 1950s, and the Momofuku Ando Instant Ramen Museum is located right where that world-changing invention was made.
The Attractions at the Instant Ramen Museum
The museum is free of charge – already a great incentive to visit – though it has some extras that will require a small fee, and conveniently located with easy access by local express trains from Osaka’s Umeda Station. As it isn’t a particularly big one, it makes for a good day trip when you’re out of ideas on what to do next, but when planned and booked in advance it can make for a great, fun experience.
The main exhibition at the museum showcases the history of how instant ramen was invented – including the shed where it all happened! But possibly a more interesting display for those who aren’t die-hard instant ramen fans is the wall opposite, showing the timeline with an impressive variety of flavors that were released over the years. You are sure to find a flavor you never even thought possible, not just from one brand, but many, from the famous Cup Noodle, to Demae Ramen, U.F.O, and plenty of others! Just be careful not to hurt your neck. And don’t worry if you don’t speak Japanese, there are audio sets in English and Chinese that can be borrowed to make sure that you don’t miss a thing.
Making Your Own Instant Ramen – the Factory
Further down you will find My CUPNOODLES Factory, where you can create a personalized cup of Cup Noodle instant ramen. It’s incredibly simple too: you buy an empty box from the vending machine, which you can decorate yourself; pack the noodles into your cup using a special machine; and then choose your soup flavor and up to four toppings. They even have little flavored flakes with the iconic Hiyoko-chan chicken to add as well! A word of warning, however – unless you are a very picky eater, it may be difficult to choose just four toppings. After all this, your Cup Noodle cup is then sealed and ready to go.
Making Your Own Instant Ramen – the Workshop
But if that’s not hands-on enough for you, then book in advance for a workshop on making handmade chicken ramen. Best done in groups, and requiring good enough Japanese language skills to understand the instructions, you will get a chance to literally make your own noodles, from scratch. It can be a good workout as well, as you knead the dough, and then roll it. And roll it. And roll it. The whole process takes a while – set aside about 90 minutes just for that – but there will be plenty of breaks to decorate your chicken ramen packaging or to watch the noodles being fried (which, for health and safety purposes, is done by a member of staff). At the end of it you come out not only with your noodles and the Hiyoko-chan bandanas, but also a sense of pride that you have made a portion of real Japanese instant chicken ramen.
Who is the Instant Ramen Museum for?
If Osaka’s Instant Ramen Museum sounds like something just for kids – don’t believe it! As fantastic as it is for children, there is plenty of attractions there for the adults as well. The more you like instant ramen, the more you will enjoy your visit to the museum. And don’t forget to buy some cute instant ramen-themed souvenirs for your instant ramen-obsessed friends!
Instant Ramen Museum in Osaka
Address: 8-25 Masumi-cho, Ikeda-shi, Osaka 563-0041, Japan
Telephone: 072-752-3484 (General information)
Admission Fee: Free of charge (fees are charged at some facilities in the museum)
Attraction Fess:My CUPNOODLES Factory: 300 yen for each CUPNOODLES
Chicken Ramen Factory: Elementary school students 300 yen / Adult (Junior high school students and older) 500 yen
Hours: 9:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. (last admission is at 3:30 pm)
*Non-Business Days: Tuesday (in case Tuesday is a National Holiday, the following day will be a non-business day), Year-end through New Year Holidays
Please refer to the official website for the latest information.