Continuing on my Japanese noodle adventure, I made a stop at the Ramen Museum located in Shin-Yokohama, a few subway stops from the downtown area. I was intrigued by this place that bills itself as “the world’s first food-themed amusement park”. Its location is in a nondescript office-like building in a quiet area near the Nissan Stadium and Yokohama Arena sports venues. The museum’s main attraction is the opportunity to sample different varies of ramen from all over Japan in one convenient location.
The “museum” portion is a bit of a stretch: the main floor contains some displays and information about this ubiquitous noodle dish, its history and variety, complete with a collection of ramen bowls. Most of the floor is the museum shop where you will find all sorts of ramen-related trinkets and also a selection of instant noodles.
The two basement floors is where the action is. Here you will find a nostalgic recreation of a 1958 Tokyo street scene, the year that Momofuku Ando invented the instant noodle. Located throughout the two floors are eight branches of famous ramen shops from all over the country. Each shop has a unique combination of soup base, noodle, and accompanying ingredients, and you can order half-portions to sample multiple vendors. I tried the popular Sumire Ramen, which hails from Sapporo in Hokkaido and specializes in a rich miso-flavoured broth. Delicious.
The Ramen Museum is another one of those quirky attractions typical of Japan; while die-hard ramen fans will love it, and kids will be entertained by the novelty of the streetscape and “courtyard” activities, this is really just a fancy food court, albeit a very good one. (Bonus: it’s open till 10pm!) You can decide if it is worth the side trip from Yokohama’s main tourist areas.