Japan has invented many cool and life-changing products over the years, from the electric rice cooker and Sony Walkman to car navigation systems and high-speed trains. And the most beloved Japanese invention of all – instant ramen noodles. At the Yokohama Ramen Museum, you can learn all about this revolutionary idea. Momofuku Ando created the first instant noodles in 1958. His company, Nissin Foods, launched its Cup Noodle brand to the US market in the 1970s, and it quickly became a staple on college campuses.
But the museum is more than just an ode to instant noodles. It is also a showcase for the original Japanese dish and how it varies by region. Small changes in ingredients, like the use of soybean paste or miso, can have a big impact on flavor. I had no idea there were so many different kinds of ramen!
Seven of Japan’s most famous ramen shops have outlets in the museum’s lower level. I tried the spicy miso ramen from Ryu Shanghai Honten. This restaurant hails from Yamagata prefecture, in the northern part of the country. The fiery red paste is the perfect thing to warm you up on a cold winter’s night.
The lower level of the Yokohama Ramen Museum is designed to look like Tokyo circa 1958. In addition to the ramen shops, you can sample sake and old-fashioned sweets. There are even folks dressed up in period costumes to enhance the retro vibe.
Yokohama is part of the greater Tokyo metro area, and the museum is easily reached by train. If you are looking for more unique things to do in Tokyo, check out my city guide.
Would you visit a museum dedicated to ramen noodles?