It may seem like a strange concept to have an entire museum dedicated to instant ramen, but the Cup Noodles Museum is a must-see destination in Osaka. Much of your time in Japan will be spent exploring the different cuisine. The Cup Noodles Museum allows you to explore the culture of food in a unique way.
To understand its importance, you need to know the origin story of instant ramen. The noodles were invented in 1958 by Momofuku Ando — in a shed in his backyard in Osaka Prefecture. To make instant ramen marketable on a global scale, he followed this invention with Cup Noodles in 1971.
His experimenting didn’t end there. Momofuku Ando went on to create a third invention in 2005, just two years before he died: Space Ram. These were space noodles for astronaut Soichi Noguchi to eat weightless environments during his trip on the space shuttle.
The Cup Noodles Museum explores the history of instant ramen in depth, using a variety of visual and interactive aids. For instance, you can visit a reproduction of the shed where the first chicken noodles came to life. You also have the chance to read about Momofuku Ando’s accomplishments, including the awards he received for his inventions. It is inspiring to see how such a simple idea had such a significant impact on the world.
Another exhibition to visit is a display of around 800 packages of instant noodles, including many that are no longer available. This is a particularly exciting experience for visitors who have been consuming instant noodles for many years, but it also shows you how dietary habits have evolved over the last 60 years.
Also, you can compare how the varieties of instant ramen vary across the 80 countries where they are available. Everything from flavors to the sizes of noodles is slightly different.
There are two factories in the museum where you can prepare ramen. In one, you’ll learn about the process for preparing classic chicken ramen — starting with kneading the noodles and finishing with drying before packaging.
In the other factory, you can create your own design for a Cup Noodles package. You choose a soup and four toppings to blend your favorite flavors. There are a total of almost 5,500 possible combinations.
One last reason to visit the Cup Noodles Museum is the chance to try products that are generally difficult to find. In the tasting room, you can purchase instant ramen varieties that are only available in a few places in Japan (all outside Osaka). There’s also a museum shop where you can find products that are not for sale anywhere else.
Visitors don’t come to the Cup Noodles Museum to learn about instant ramen; they come because it’s a fun and inspiring place, whatever your age. Throughout the museum, a single message prevails: that you should believe in your potential and that you have what it takes to be creative and bring your ideas to life.