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Goin’ Japanesque!

Osaka Travel: The Instant Ramen Museum and the Birth of Cup Noodles

A Japanese invention, instant ramen is consumed at the startling rate of 100 billion units a year. Today, we’re going to tell you about a hands-on museum where you can learn about the origin of this global snack. Photo


What’s the Instant Ramen Museum?


When it comes to Japanese cup ramen, Nissin Food Products is king, and it was Nissin founder Momofuku Ando who invented the world’s very first instant ramen in 1958. To commemorate this achievement, the Momofuku Ando Instant Ramen Museum was founded. In fact, Time Asia (the Asian edition of the American magazine Time) selected Ando as one of thirteen Asian Heroes for their 60th anniversary issue in 2006.


#1: The Instant Ramen Tunnel

Entering the building, the first thing that hits you is the number of instant and cup ramen products that Nissin has sold. Arranged in order of release, the products are an interesting lesson in the trends of the era.


It all starts with Chicken Ramen, invented by Ando in 1958.

The next big hit comes with Demae Itcho in 1968, an instant ramen whose packaging has hardly changed at all since its release a half-century ago.

Come 1971, Nissin releases the very first instant noodles in a cup, Cup Noodle. Much-loved product series like Donbei and Yakisoba U.F.O. are actually long-running products that began sales in 1976.

Also, it was aboard Space Shuttle Discovery launched in 2005 that Nissin ramen was eaten as the very first ramen in space.


#2: The Chicken Ramen Work Shed

It all got started in the work shed where Ando finally succeeded in inventing Chicken Ramen, and you can tour a faithful recreation of this shed here at the museum. Working all alone without any special facilities, it was in that little shed he achieved a work of historical magnitude. It’s said that his wife’s tempura is what clued him in to the key for his discovery.


#3: My CUPNOODLES Factory


The most popular place in the museum, the My CUPNOODLES Factory is a place where you can freely choose your own soup base and ingredients to make a truly original cup ramen. You can even take it home with you! The narutomaki (ground fish) with a baby chick design is particularly cute. (No reservation required, 300 JPY per set of noodles)


#4: Chicken Ramen Factory

Here, you can try making chicken ramen from scratch yourself. It all starts with the flour, which you’ll knead, stretch, and then cut. (2nd floor, reservation required, 500 JPY for adults, 300 JPY for children under 12)


#5: Instant Ramen from Around the World

You’ll also be able to see all the different cup ramen that’s exported around the world. Of course there are changes in the flavorings to suit the palate of the importing nation, but interestingly enough the (original Japanese) length of the noodle itself is sometimes halved to better suit overseas consumers who are unaccustomed to slurping their noodles.


This place gives you a chance to enjoy a hands-on experience that’ll have ramen aficionados coming back for more.

Information: Map
Open 9:30 to 16:00, Closed Tuesdays
Exhibitions: free of charge; museum experiences: separate fee
Nearest station: Ikeda Station, Hankyu Takarazuka Line

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