Instant Ramen Museum in Osaka (インスタントラーメン発明記念館)

On Sept. 22, 2010, I visited the Kansai region for a couple of days and one of the places that I always wanted to visit while I was an exchange student in Tokyo in 2005-06 but never had the chance to was the Instant Ramen Museum (インスタントラーメン発明記念館) built by the company that created instant ramen, Nissin Foods.

The instant ramen was invented by Momofuku Ando in Ikeda City in Osaka where this museum is located.

This is the original Instant Ramen Museum and has no entrance fee. In 2011, probably to cash in on tourists coming to the Tokyo area, a bigger and non-free museum (500 yen entrance fee), the Cup Noodles Museum (カップヌードルミュージアム), opened in Yokohama.

Outside of the museum is a statue of the inventor of the MSG laced, totally unhealthy instant ramen. I do admit that I am an instant ramen fan though!

Actually my favorite brand is "出前一丁" and interestingly I didn't know what those 4 words meant (it makes no sense in Chinese) until I learned of the Japanese reading. "出前" means "delivery" and "一丁" means one city block or one order.

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The museum is not located in a touristy area of Osaka, but rather in a quiet residential suburb. In fact, you could get lost trying to find it as there are no street names anywhere in Japan. This museum, unlike the one in Yokohama is mostly targeted towards domestic (Japanese) tourists.


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To get to Ikeda City, I had to take the Hankyu railway from Umeda station in Osaka.

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Arrival in Ikeda station.

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Approaching the entrance, I see a group of generic salarymen, on an "educational field trip"?

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Entering the museum, you are greeted with a requisite gift shop where you can buy "limited edition" goods. The prices were way too high (for instant ramen) for me to justify the cost.

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The instant ramen product lineup, proudly displayed.

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As with any corporate museum, there are displays which show the success of their product.

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The instant ramen that was developed for the Japanese astronauts.

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A reproduction of the shack where Momofuku Ando invented the instant ramen in 1958.

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The overseas products of Nissin Foods.

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Most people who live outside of Japan would be familiar with seeing these products.

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They also had this "attraction" called "My Cup Noodles" where you can make your own personalized Cup Noodles (for a fee) by choosing what type of MSG and etc. you want to put in it. I actually already experienced this in 2005-06 when I went to the Shin-Yokohama Ramen Museum.

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Generic salarymen all lining up to make their own "My Cup Noodles".

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Like any good corporate museum, there are displays of awards bestowed to the founder.

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One of the more interesting attractions is the "Chicken Ramen Factory". You had to reserve in advance but basically you can make a package of the original 1958 instant ramen from scratch. I did not participate in this because it required an advance reservation and I didn't even know such a thing existed.

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At the "end" of the museum, you can buy so-called "limited edition" or cup ramen not regularly sold anywhere else.

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There are hot water dispensers so you can eat the ramen on the spot. Unfortunately I found that the hot water wasn't hot enough (for me).

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I decided to try one of the cup ramen that I had never seen before. This ramen cost 290 yen ($3~) which is quite expensive for cup ramen. According to the package, this was a ramen with a soup base of "fish, pork bone and soy sauce" and contained dehydrated char-siu (Japanized chinese BBQ pork).

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If only the hot water was hotter, it would have tasted better.

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2 comments:

angela liu said...

Hey! :) I'm from australia and this place sounds really interesting! But I don't speak any japanese. Is the chicken ramen making tourist friendly/can they speak English?

UTA said...

Usually no one can or is willing to speak English (although there are exceptions) but the universal language of body gestures usually works equally as well.