Visiting Japan? Looking for things to do with kids?
Whether you are staying in Tokyo or staying in Yokohama, the Cup Noodles Museum may be a fun place to visit on your travels. If you are traveling with kids, then this shouldn’t be missed!
p.s. It’s fun for adults too!
Additionally, there is another Cup Noodles Museum located in Ikeda City, Osaka if you will be in that area. It’s the original!
Discovering the Cup Noodles Museum Yokohama
My Visit to Japan
Recently, I had the pleasure of accompanying my husband, Rob, on a business trip to Japan. We had a lot of fun, and I guess that makes it a “bleisure” trip (business + leisure). 🙂
This was my second time to this amazing country, and I can’t wait to go back.
We’ve been invited back for next year, so fingers crossed!
Also, be sure to read about my experience at the beautiful garden in Tokyo that I visited: Meiji Jingu Iris Garden.
Because Rob had to do a presentation in Yokohama, that’s where we stayed for the first two days and nights of our trip.
Yokohama, a port city, is just south of Tokyo.
When I scoped out the area, I found out that the Cup Noodles Museum was right by our hotel, the InterContinental Yokohama Grand. The location couldn’t have been more perfect as it was a quick walk to the museum.
A Quick Side Trip to the Museum
While my husband was getting set up for his presentation, our friend’s nephew accompanied me to the museum. He was so kind and spoke really good English although he got a little nervous when I told him I’m an English as a Second Language instructor. LOL
Because everything in the Cup Noodles Museum is written in Japanese, his English skills ended up being quite important.
The museum is very visual, which is helpful, but sometimes I wanted to verify details or just plain ask a question. I was really glad he was there with me.
Additionally, he was very patient. He didn’t mind me meandering along taking it all in and was great if I wanted him to take photos.
If you don’t have a cool local person to translate for you like I did, you can rent an audio guide in English, Chinese, or Korean.
Another option is to download the free Museum Audio Guide app for smartphones. Make sure you download ahead of time when you have a good wi-fi connection. Also, be aware that it requires Blue Tooth and GPS settings to be turned on for it to work.
Why visit the Cup Noodles Museum Yokohama?
Well, why not? It’s fun! It’s interactive! It’s educational!
Also, it brings back a little nostalgia…like slurping noodles on a cold, rainy day after school or surviving as a poor college student by buying a case of instant ramen that would last a month or more.
As a kid, I used to be fascinated by the little hard pieces of veggies and other edibles that were sitting on top of the noodles (before pouring the boiling water in). By the way, they don’t taste too good dry.
Anyway, I had a difficult time waiting those 3 minutes that were required for everything to soften up; it was kind of magical how they transformed into something so yummy, those curiously curly noodles that are so fun to slurp.
Everyone Loves Ramen
I’m not gonna lie…I loved instant ramen when I was younger.
Seriously, WHO doesn’t have SOME memories related to instant noodles?
The Museum Info
The official name of the museum is Momofuku Ando Instant Ramen Museum, but it’s “Cup Noodles Museum” on the signs, building, and materials. Actually, you’ll see it as “Cupnoodles Museum”, but as an English teacher, I just have to separate “cup” from “noodles”.
If you aren’t within walking distance like I was, you can easily get there by train. It’s only an 8-minute walk from the Minatomirai Station or the Bashamichi Station (Minatomirai Line) and a 12-minute walk from the JR/Shieichikatetsu Sakuragicho Station.
Of course, you can also take a taxi, if need be, but I recommend the train system.
Take the Akai kutsu bus to Kokusaibashi Cup Noodles Museum-mae stop.
If you are lucky enough to be staying with a local, please know that museum parking is very limited (again, take the train).
For adults, the admission price is 500 yen. High school aged children and younger get in free, so this is a great place to take kids!
There are additional fees if you want to do the following:
- to create your own bespoke Cup Noodles at My Cup Noodles Factory on the third floor (300 yen)
- to play in the Cup Noodles Park on the fourth floor (300 yen — for small children only), and/or
- to taste noodles from around the world at the Noodles Bazaar, also on the fourth floor, (300 yen/serving, drinks and dessert extra).
There is also the Chicken Ramen Factory, but as far as I can tell, it seems to only be for Japanese school kids or groups, and it requires a reservation plus an additional fee.
10:00 am to 6:00 pm
Closed on Tuesdays
Cup Noodle Museum Exhibits
The museum building has five floors. All are accessible by stairs or escalator. I believe there is an elevator also.
On the first floor you will find the entrance hall, where you buy the tickets, and the museum shop.
The second floor is where the exhibits are located with areas dedicated to the Momofuku Ando Story, Creative Thinking Boxes, Momofuku’s Work Shed, Theater, and the Instant Noodles History Cube.
Momofuku Ando Story
A visual narrative is displayed around the outer walls. It shows the history of the man who invented the renowned instant noodles and how it spread as a quick and easy meal around the world.
Creative Thinking Boxes
One thing I really liked about this museum is that it showcases the curiosity, tenacity, and creativity of the founder with his six key ideas:
1. Discover something completely new…something that no one has ever seen before
Easier said than done, right?
2. Find hints in all sorts of places
Sometimes an everyday object can spark a brilliant idea.
This room is very interactive with objects on the wall like an umbrella and helicopter. When you touch these objects, a little movie in silhouette plays on the wall showing the inspiration behind the invention. For instance, the idea for a helicopter might have been a dragonfly.
Play the film clip below to see it in action.
Play the second film snippet below to see the spark that launched the idea for Cup Noodles.
While Momofuku Ando was in the U.S., he observed Americans putting instant ramen in mugs, pouring boiling water over it, and eating it with a fork. Thus, Cup Noodles was born.
3. Nurture an idea
You have to do more than just come up with an idea.
Entertain the idea, mold the idea, and let others give some perspective, so that it will grow.
4. Look at things from every angle…investigate every perspective
Sometimes we just see what’s on the surface, but a deeper look will provide insight and understanding we didn’t have before.
5. Don’t just go with the status quo
…think again about what you think is normal.
Things aren’t always what they seem to be.
Am I really an Amazon? →
Nope, I’m only 5’1”!
6. Never give up
I love this one; it’s something I tell my students all the time.
On the adjacent wall, it maps out who’s who in the picture and has an encouraging quote by each person.
Here are a couple of examples:
“Whether you think that you can or that you can’t, you are usually right.” –Henry Ford
“Ninety-nine percent of my efforts ended in continuous failure. I am here today because of the 1% that bore fruit.” –Soichiro Honda
Momofuku’s Work Shed
This is where it all started. With simple, everyday items, a man was able to create a new way of eating that is now known the world over.
The theater presents a CG animated film showing the history of Momofuku Ando and his six key ideas.
I didn’t go to the theater, but I suspect it’s in Japanese only. If you have gone, let me know in the comments if they have English subtitles!
Instant Noodles History Cube
This room displays the first package of instant ramen (1971) to modern-day packages that include Cup Noodles, ramen bowls, and Top Ramen.
It’s an interesting array of products.
The third floor is where you can have some hands-on fun if you have extra time (and additional money).
My Cup Noodles Factory
Here you can create your own unique Cup Noodles. The cost is 300 yen, and you design your cup, and then you get to choose your flavor (original, curry, seafood, or chili tomato) and four toppings (out of 12 possibilities).
Although the Chili Tomato flavor is said to be vegetarian, I have read that it includes some pork, so be aware. Nissin has come out with some vegan products recently, so maybe at some point the museum will offer vegan options at the factory.
The noodles are, of course, made from wheat, so they are not gluten-free.
Basically, it was ok that we didn’t have time to do this because I wouldn’t be able to eat it. However, it could be a fun gift for someone else if you’re vegan and gluten-free like me.
Chicken Ramen Factory
Next to the My Cup Noodles Factory is the Chicken Ramen Factory. Participants make ramen noodles from start to finish.
It has floor-to-ceiling windows, so you can watch even if you aren’t a participant.
I don’t think that tourists (or their children) can participate in this activity, but the school kids sure were cute in their chicken bandanas.
The fourth floor has two parts.
This is where you can eat some of those noodles. The cost is 300 yen per serving of noodles from around the world.
Each serving is actually a half serving, so that you can taste more than one type of noodles.
For example, you can try Lagman from Kazakhstan, Pho from Vietnam, Laksa from Malaysia, and other types of noodles from other countries.
Again, I don’t think any of the dishes are vegan or gluten-free; it’s difficult to tell from the website. If this is something you want to do and you have dietary restrictions, you’ll have to ask about it.
Cup Noodles Park
This is a “jungle gym” of sorts where children take on the point of view of noodles going through the manufacturing process.
If I were a kid, I’d be all over it. There is an additional fee of 300 yen for children to do this.
Finally, an event hall and The Ando Foundation are located on the fifth floor.
Fun Place to Visit
All in all, I had a great time at the museum, and I’m glad I went. You can easily tailor this attraction to your budget, wants, needs, and time available.
I only had a small amount of time (about 1 1/2 hours, I think), so it was perfect.
Currently, the cost is roughly $5 USD, so it is inexpensive too.
If you are looking for something to do, I highly recommend it, especially if you have kids.
Don’t forget to pin for later!
Unil next time…