Another great place we visited was The Instant Ramen Museum, located in Ikeda, a short train trip from Osaka. It’s pretty easy to get to with just a short walk from the train station and a couple of signs along the way. Once found, it’s unmistakable with a picture of the founder, Momofuku Ando standing atop a giant instant ramen noodle cup.
Entrance to the museum is free although a number of the specific activities do cost you some. They run a noodle making workshop upstairs, although you need to book in advance. Since we didn’t really have a chance to call up and book, all we got to see were all the people making them from the outside. I’m sure it’d be made even more interesting trying to understand some of the instructions in Japanese as well.
The rest of the museum is dedicated to the history and the current activities of how instant ramen are made, and what lead to its inventor overcoming some of the problems like how to preserve the noodles, how to get the noodles into the cup, and the wide variety of flavours and recipes people demand. In fact, they have a history of instant ramen tunnel with all the different sorts of instant ramen created for the different markets around the world.
For another ¥300 you can also construct your own Instant Ramen noodles to take home, this time much closer to the ones you buy in store. The instructions are made clear by the following poster:
- Everyone gets some ramen noodles
- Pick one of four different flavours for the soup
- Pick four toppings from a selection of eleven different ones
With the number of soup flavours and different combinations of toppings, you end up with a total of 5460 different possible combinations. They also heat seal the cup so that it lasts for up to a month, although mine didn’t last for the trip, having it for one of our meals. You also get to spend some time designing your own cup, using plenty of different marker pens. Of course, I’m sure you can tell which one was mine, and which was the example they had from the picture below:
I’ll be the first to admit that this museum is a little bit cheesy, and slightly over the top in some of the interactive models yet it’s great fun and different in the things that you would normally consider for a standard museum.