I never thought I’d say these words: I went to a Noodle Museum. No, I am not kidding. Yokohama has a Noodle Museum set up by and promoting the Cup Noodle brand of instant ramen.
First off, I initially though this was a joke. Then, when some friends assured me that it was a real thing, and that they had narrowly missed hours of operation the last time they were in Yokohama, I was convinced to go. Where else am I ever going to see this again?
We head in and pay our admission(kids were free), then proceed to enter the museum. We quickly pick up tickets to make our own ramen, and then enter the exhibits. It was actually quite an informative museum. The instant noodles we all devoured in college/university were invented in 1958, as a way to provide the poorer working class with a cheap and nourishing meal. Momofuko Ando revolutionized instant meals, and if you’re a college kid eating ramen regularly, he’s the reason you’re not starving. The exhibits were in a mix of English and Japanese, and quiet engaging. Our kids had fun, and so did we!
The next part was the main attraction. We got to make our own ramen. First, you get a cup for your noodles, then, you get to design it. I drew an angry robot face, my wife drew dinosaurs, my daughter, a unicorn. Then, you get in line and your cup gets placed on top of the noodles, you then turn a crank on a machine and the noodles are deposited cleanly inside. Even my too tired to think 5-year-old could handle that. Next, they let you choose from 4 seasonings, and then you get to add four toppings. We each chose differently and will compare notes when we eat them tomorrow. Next, they seal the cup and shrink-wrap it in plastic. You then have your own individualized Cup Noodle.
Honestly, this museum was way more fun than it had any right to be. Kudos to the Cup Noodle folks for pulling it off. If you’re ever in Yokohama and looking for something different to do, check this out. Hopefully you’ll have as much fun as I did. And if you don’t, there’s an amusement park with roller coasters and a giant ferris wheel across the street.