Too much study and not enough play? Insanely keen instant ramen gourmet? Ready for a quirky weekend activity? Don’t miss the Momofuku Ando Instant Ramen Museum.
Seriously. It’s amazing.
The Instant Ramen Museum in Japan is a unique and fascinating museum dedicated to the history and culture of instant ramen, one of Japan’s most iconic and beloved foods. The museum is located in the city of Ikeda in Osaka (about half an hour away from Lexis Japan by train), and it is the first and only museum in the world dedicated to instant ramen, and its illustrious inventor, Momofuku Ando.
Momofuku Ando was a Taiwanese-Japanese inventor and businessman. He was born Wu Baifu on March 5, 1910, in Chiayi, Taiwan, which was then under Japanese colonial rule, and later changed his name to Ando Momofuku when he became a naturalized Japanese citizen. Ando’s invention of instant noodles came about as a response to food shortages in Japan after World War II. He developed a method of flash-frying pre-cooked noodles that could be rehydrated with boiling water and ready to eat in minutes. He launched the first brand of instant noodles, Chikin Ramen, in 1958, and it became an immediate success.
The museum is a great place to learn about the history of instant ramen, from its invention by Momofuku Ando, his founding of Nissin Foods, to its global popularity today. Visitors can see the evolution of the snack through exhibits that showcase the different types of instant ramen that have been produced over the years, including some of the first instant ramen products that were created.
One of the highlights of the museum is the “Ramen Factory” exhibit, where visitors can experience the process of making the ramen from start to finish. This hands-on exhibit allows visitors to see how instant ramen is made, from mixing the ingredients to packaging the final product. You then get to design the packaging and seal it up … a truly unique souvenir of you time at Lexis!
Another interesting feature of the museum is the “Ramen Stadium” exhibit, where visitors can taste and compare different types of instant ramen from different countries. This exhibit showcases the variety of flavors and styles of instant ramen that are available around the world, and visitors can sample different types of instant ramen from countries like China, Korea, and the United States.
This leads you to the tasting room, where you can try superseded flavours, ramen types previously only available as ‘seasonal specials’, and even save yourself a long Shinkansen journey up into the mountains by trying ‘regional specials’ that are not usually available in the rest of the country. You can of course also enjoy the breathless excitement of local visitors as they try ‘overseas releases’ of flavours never before experienced in Japan! Of course, to make sure that this is a truly authentic Japanese experience, the instant noodle packets can only be purchased from a long row of vending machines!
If that not too much fun already, the museum also has a number of displays that highlight the cultural significance of instant ramen in Japan. Visitors can learn about the role that instant ramen has played in Japanese society, from its humble beginnings as a cheap and convenient food for students and office workers, to its status today as a beloved and iconic food that is enjoyed by people of all ages and backgrounds.
You’ll be surprised just how popular the Momofuku Ando museum is with locals and tourists alike…and yes, there’s a statue of the great man Ando-san himself out the front to welcome visitors. Surely this is enough to bring tears to the eyes of any true instant ramen aficionado!
Getting there – From Sannomiya Station, jump on the Limited Express to Juso. Change there for the Takarazuka line to Ikeda. It takes about 45 minutes all up. You can check opening times and event information at the main website – https://www.cupnoodles-museum.jp/ja/osaka_ikeda/
Still got time to eat more? Start to work through the rest of the Japanese food bucket list !