We all know and eat Japan‘s famous instant ramen (or noodles in English). They come in all sizes, flavors, types, and shapes, and it is consumed globally as a quick snack, a late-evening meal, an affordable eat, or even as an emergency ration — even astronauts take the space version of instant ramen during their travels to space! (CupNoodles Museum)
With this in mind, it’s not far-fetched to say that instant noodles are an indispensable thing in our lives (or our kitchen cupboards for that matter). So when you’re in Japan, it might seem wacky to make a stop at the famous interactive CupNoodles Museum; but I’m telling you now: it will be a visit that will be worth your time as you get to learn more about its history!
FACT: To date, there are two CupNoodles Museum in Japan, but the branch in Osaka Ikeda is the first and original one since it is the birthplace of the instant ramen: “Chicken Ramen” — the first in the world that was invented by Momofuku Ando (he is also the founder of Nissin Food Products).
Moreover, another benefit of visiting the Osaka branch is that it has FREE entrance as opposed to the other branch in Yokohama city in Kanagawa prefecture that’s paid.
Where to Stay in Osaka…?
Come and check out my list of the ‘Best Hotels in Osaka‘ which features the top recommended choices for cheap to luxurious accommodation choices.
CupNoodles Museum Osaka Ikeda
CupNoodles Museum Osaka Ikeda is a popular and fun interactive museum that exhibits the process as to how instant ramen was invented; and of course, it all started with Momofuku Ando.
- 1958: He built a little shed in his home in Ikeda, and in there, he invented a way to make ramen easily at home by just adding hot water — and that’s how Chicken Ramen was born. At that time it was called ‘magic ramen’ and it quickly became popular in Japan.
- 1971: During one of his business trips to America, Momofuku noticed how Americans have been eating his Chicken Ramen — by breaking them up in a cup, pouring hot water, and then eating it with a fork. This became the key to Momofuku’s realization of how he can make ramen a global food. As such, instant ramen was introduced, and through numerous brainstorming and overcoming of challenges, it became a worldwide staple.
- 2005: Momofuku has always aspired for more things. He always had this in his mind ever since the day he invented the very first instant ramen in the world: “I want to be helpful for others”. This is why he soon started to work on Space Food Ramen. Applying the technique of frying with hot oil, an instant drying method that he invented in 1958, as well as some other design techniques, Momofuku made eating noodles possible in weightless environments!
This is just some of the many fun facts I’ve learned during my visit to CupNoodles Museum Osaka Ikeda. Beyond this, you’ll get to experience their other exhibits and attractions, namely…
» My CupNoodles Factory
If you ask me, this attraction is one of the main reasons why people flock to the CupNoodles Museum; after all, it is where anyone can create their own ‘original’ CupNoodles package and take it home!
This was definitely a fun activity and the process was pretty straightforward with a lot of helpful instructions in English.
Basically, after designing my CupNoodles, I could choose one from among 4 available flavors, and then 4 toppings from among 12 other ingredients. After that, I even got to witness how they seal and shrink-wrap a Cup Noodle. For the finishing touch, I could bring my cup noodles in a cute bag that I air-pumped by myself.
For the perfect photo, I suggest taking your shot in front of the giant exhibition of instant noodles in the work area. It shows the different Cup Noodles’ brand packagings that are used all over the globe as well as the data of how much it is consumed worldwide.
To be able to do this, you only need to pay ¥300 per cup (or ¥400 by April 2020), and it takes about 40 minutes to go through the whole process.
» Chicken Ramen Factory
This is another hands-on attraction wherein you can make Chicken Ramen by hand. From kneading, stretching, steaming, and up to the drying (flash frying method) stage of the wheat flour, you’ll get to do it all!*
*The staff will be doing the steaming and frying stage for you.
It’s definitely an enjoyable thing to do for people of all ages, and much like in the My CupNoodles Factory, you can take home the finished product.
The workshop operates on a schedule at time slots: 9:30 / 11:00 / 13:15 / 14:45
Lasting for about 90 minutes, the fee for elementary school children (at least 6 years old) is ¥300 (or ¥500 by April 2020), and those at junior high school and up is ¥500 (or ¥800 by April 2020). All participants will receive a Hiyoko-chan (the Chicken Ramen mascot) souvenir bandanna.
» Other Exhibits
- Instant Ramen Tunnel: An impressive display of the noodles lineup, starting with the very first Chicken Ramen that was introduced over more than a half-century ago. There are over 800 product packages shown here and it’s quite interesting to see how the brand grew!
- The Birth of Chicken Ramen: An accurate depiction of Momofoku’s work shed where he invented Chicken Ramen — the world’s first instant ramen. Looking at this humble shed, one could definitely get the message that creating world-changing inventions is possible no matter how ordinary your tools are as long as you come up with an interesting idea.
- Momofuku Ando and the Story of Instant Ramen: A fun and interactive exhibit that shows the start and growth of instant ramen as Momofoku established it as a new food culture.
- Magical Table: An enjoyable part of the CupNoodles museum where you can take various quizzes about instant noodles.
- CupNoodles Drama Theater: A cup noodle-shaped theater that projects a 13-minute show about the invention and manufacturing process for Cup Noodles.
- Tasting Room: The only place where you can get to try CupNoodles products that are not usually sold in Osaka, including other products that are sold in limited areas of Japan.
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CupNoodles Museum Travel Guide
The name of the museum is CupNoodles Museum Osaka Ikeda
Address: 8-25 Masumi-cho, Ikeda-shi, Osaka 563-0041
Entrance Fee: FREE
Operation Hours: 9:30AM to 4:30PM with last admission at 3:30PM (daily except Tuesdays and holidays)
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» How to Get to CupNoodles Museum Osaka Ikeda?
Armed with a Hankyu Tourist Pass, you just need to ride the Hankyu Takarazuka Line and get off at Ikeda Station. From there, the museum is only a 5-minute walk after you exit from the station’s Masumi-cho Homen Exit. On the other hand, if you are coming from Hankyu Osaka Umeda Station, it takes about 18 minutes by using the express train.
What is the Hankyu Train Pass? It’s a train pass that grants you unlimited rides on the Hankyu-serviced train lines that go through Kyoto, Osaka, and Kobe.
- ¥700 for 1 day
- ¥1,200 for 2-day)
OTHER TYPE: You can also try the Hanshin Pass for unlimited travel in Osaka and Kobe. (Cost: ¥500)
If you need help when riding the trains, just use the directions feature in Google Maps — I find this as a very helpful tool if I want to reach a certain place from a particular location. However, take note that Google Maps doesn’t work offline if you want routes or transportation schedules, so I recommend that you get a pocket WiFi or a SIM Card to stay connected online).
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» Visa for Japan
If you’re NOT a citizen of any of Japan’s exempted countries, you are then required to avail of a visa beforehand. (If you’re from the Philippines, you can read my guide on how to get a Japan visa in Manila here.)
- Check full visa requirements here as per your nationality.
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» Safety in Japan
Japan is one of the safest countries in the world with very low crime rates. I have been traveling solo to this country many times now and I have never felt unsafe even in the late hours of the night — however, this is NO excuse to get too complacent. ‘Little crime’ does not mean ‘no crime’, so stay vigilant and be “street smart” by using your common sense at all times.
Nevertheless, the Japanese people are one of the kindest and most respectful people I have ever met, so solo travelers don’t have much to worry in this amazing country.
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» Helpful Japanese Phrases
Japan may be one of the most developed countries in the world, but a lot of the locals don’t speak English. However, this should not discourage you from traveling to this country because apart from the fact that there are a lot of translation apps that will help you understand and speak Japanese, a lot of the locals are also making the effort to learn and use the English language.
- RELATED READ: Best translation apps for travel
Anyhow, below are some helpful Japanese phrases that will help you along the way! And even if you do encounter a Japanese who can speak English, it doesn’t hurt to say a word or two in their language.
Hello: Konnichiwa (Kohn-nee-chee-wah)
Thank you (normal): Arigatō. (Ah-REE-gah-tohh)
Thank you (less formal): Arigatō gozaimas (Ah-REE-gah-tohh goh-zahy-mahs)
Thank you (informal): Dōmo (DOHH-moh)
Yes: Hai (Hai)
No: Iie (E-eh)
Goodbye (long term): Sayōnara (Sah-yohh-nah-rah)
Goodbye (informal): Ja ne (Jahh neh)
Excuse me: Sumimasen (Soo-mee-mah-SEN)
I’m sorry: Gomen nasai (Goh-men-nah-sahy)
Is there someone here who speaks English?: Dareka eigo ga hanasemasu ka? (Dah-reh-kah ey-goh gah hah-nah-seh-mahs kah?)
Help!: Tasukete! (Tahs-keh-teh!)
Cheers!: Kanpai! (Kan-pie!)
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Don’t miss out — come with your family and friends to enjoy a day full of ~instant~ fun!