For people who are very busy every day, instant food is really convenient. Within a few minutes and without much preparation you can have a warm meal. One of the most popular instant foods is cup noodles: put hot water in the cup, wait around 3 minutes, and you have delicious noodle soup.
At the Cup Noodles Museum in Yokohama you can discover the history of cup noodles and learn about the life and thinking of Momofuku Ando (1910 – 2007), the father of instant ramen, who established Nissin Food Products and invented Chicken Ramen and Cup Noodles. You can even create your own variation of cup noodles with the tastes you like most.
When you walk through Yokohama and see this brown quadratic house from far away, you would never expect that a museum for cup noodles might be hidden inside. I don't know how often I walked by without giving it any attention, but then my friends urged me to go inside. At the entrance you have to pay the entrance fee (500 yen) and decide if you want to make your own cup of noodles or not. This costs 500 yen too, and you get a ticket to go to the place to do that – where you might have to wait a long time if there are many visitors.
Entering the Museum you first have the chance to take a picture with Chicken Ramen's yellow bird mascot sitting atop a super-sized cup before beginning your tour through the museum.
First you enter the Instant Noodles History Cube. The exhibit in this big room displays how Chicken Ramen evolved over the years into many different products. You can view over 3,000 products, mostly from Japan, but some from other countries too.
Afterwards you can go to Momofuku Theater to watch a funny animated movie about the development of instant ramen, all the way up to its use in space travel. In an easy to understand way you can see how Momofuku Ando worked on the idea of instant ramen, and staff members will give foreigners audio guides with the movie interpreted into English.
Later, at the Creative Thinking Boxes you can explore Momofuku Ando’s curiosity and creative thinking in many interesting and funny ways.
Elementary school children and also junior high school students can go to the Chicken Ramen Factory. Here they make Chicken Ramen by hand and you can understand the process that led to the invention of instant ramen. For sure you can take your self-made Chicken Ramen with you. A reservation in advance is necessary.
Most interesting for me was the area where you can make your own cup of instant ramen. First you get an empty cup out of a vending machine (300 yen). Then you are directed to wash your hands and wait until a seat is free for you. You can design your cup any way you like with waterproof pencils. You hand over your cup to the staff and with your help they fill the cup with what you want to have inside, as you can choose between 4 different soup flavors and picking other ingredients you want to add.
When everything is in your cup, it will be heat-sealed and you can take it home with you; put it into a nice air packet of Cup Noodles Museum for take-out.
I filled my personal cup with Cup Noodles flavor, added tamago (egg), cheese, corn and these cute little chicken circles. It was really delicious and I want to eat it again!
Momofuku Ando, born on March 5, 1910, started his work on instant ramen in 1958 in a little shed behind his house in Ikeda, Osaka Prefecture. Putting all his energy into it, he wanted to find a way for people to make ramen quickly at home by adding only hot water, and dedicated his whole life to thinking about this. In the end he made his dream of instant ramen come true and then made it popular all around the world.