Two foodie hot-spots in Yokohama draw both a local and foreign crowd: The Yokohama Cup Noodles Museum, and the Shin-Yokohama Ramen museum. If you are spending a day or more in the Yokohama area, it’s worth going to both of these attractions. Although the food they highlight is the same (ramen), everything else is different including the museum exhibits, food court, and gift shops.
If you are making a day-trip to Yokohama, should you go to the Yokohama Cup Noodles Museum, or the Shin-Yokohama Ramen Museum? The answer depends on what you want to get out of a ramen museum.
The Yokohama Cup Noodles Museum
Located in the heart of Yokohama, next to the Yokohama Cosmoworld amusement park is the Yokohama Cup Noodles Museum. This 5-story museum celebrates Momofuku Ando, the inventor of “Chicken Ramen”, the world’s very first instant ramen. He also founded Nissin Food Products, where he invented Cup Noodles, the world’s first instant ramen that could be eaten out of a cup.
Different sections of the Yokohama Cup Noodles Museum that can be enjoyed include:
- The “Instant Noodles History Cube”, or an Instagram-worthy wall of different instant noodles brought to market through history, including Nissin’s cup noodles.
- The “Momofuku Theater” where visitors to the Yokohama Cup Noodles Museum can learn about Momofuku Ando and his life’s dedication to instant ramen and Nissin cup noodles.
- A replica of Momofuku’s humble work shed where he invented instant noodles by flash-frying.
- For elementary-aged kids, there is a Cup Noodles Park for them to blow off some steam. The play-areas are designed so children can learn about creating and shipping cup noodles, from the point of view of the noodles!
Yokohama Cup Noodles Museum Highlights
- At the “My Cup Noodles Factory”, you can make your own cup noodles! For ¥300 per person (going up to ¥400 in April, 2020), you can design your own cup, choose your flavor powders and toppings, and seal it up for a one-of-a-kind, personalized Nissin cup noodle.
- The Chicken Ramen Factory next to the make-your-own cup noodles factory holds eight, 90-minute ramen making workshops every day. Elementary and junior high school kids can make ramen by hand here, starting with kneading, spreading, steaming, and then flash-frying.
- The Yokohama Cup Noodles Museum allows reservations to make-your-own-cup noodles, or make your own ramen at their website! (available in Japanese only)
Yokohama Cup Noodles Museum Food Court: The Noodles Bazaar
The top floor is a very underrated food court, and my favorite part of the Yokohama Cup Noodles Museum. Designed to look like an Asian hawker’s food court, there are picnic tables in the center, with a perimeter of ramen-serving street food stands. Travelers who have been to Southeast Asia will recognize the hodge-podge of colorful plastic chairs and plastic tables, street food dining staples.
Famous noodle dishes from around the world are served in mini portions, so you can try several different kinds during your visit. Just insert your money in to the vending machines in front of each shop! Countries and dishes represented at the Yokohama Cup Noodles Museum Food Court include Malaysian Laksa, Indonesian Mie Goreng, Vietnamese Pho, even Kazakhstani Lagman! Of course you can get a bowl of Nissin’s instant chicken ramen here as well.
One serving of each noodle bowl is ¥300 (increasing to ¥400 in April, 2020), and a mini bowl of Chicken Ramen is ¥150 (increasing to ¥200).
Yokohama Cup Noodles Museum Gift Shop
The last stop when visiting the Yokohama Cup Noodles Museum should be the gift shop. You can actually access the gift shop for free, without entry into the museum, to purchase all your Nissin cup noodles needs. Here, you can purchase different cup noodles flavors, instant ramen that can be eaten in outer space, and lots of other unique and exclusive Nissin Chicken Ramen souvenirs.
Yokohama Cup Noodles Museum entry fee:
- Adults: ¥500
- Make-Your-Own Cup Noodles: ¥300 (¥400 starting in April 2020)
- Cup Noodles Park (for kids): ¥300 per 30 minutes
The Shin-Yokohama Ramen Museum
A train ride away from the Yokohama Cup Noodles Museum, in the neighborhood Shin-Yokohama, is the Shin-Yokohama Ramen Museum (also seen spelled as the Shin-Yokohama Raumen Museum). This museum doesn’t deal in instant ramen or cup ramen, although it does pay homage to Momofuku Ando as the inventor of instant Chicken Ramen.
The Shin-Yokohama Ramen Museum celebrates the wholesome experience of the traditional Japanese comfort food, hand-made ramen with all the best toppings.
The Shin-Yokohama Ramen museum is a 5-minute walk from the Shin-Yokohama station, and is found in an inconspicuous street with many business buildings. You’ll see a large bowl of moving ramen in the front, and a small ticket podium, to know you’ve arrived.
The Shin-Yokohama Ramen museum’s one-day pass for an adult is ¥310, a 6-month pass is ¥500, or a 1-year pass is ¥800. Why all the pass options? Business people and locals from around the area pop in to the museum food court regularly for lunches and dinners!
Upon entering, the Shin-Yokohama Ramen Museum has a small informational exhibit, where you can read about the history of ramen in Japan. Tracing back to before World War II, ramen was a popular street food served on every street corner from yatai, or carts. Ramen spread around Japan, and each region now boasts its own version of this Japanese food staple. Many of these regional specialty ramens, you can try downstairs at the Shin-Yokohama Ramen Museum!
Shin-Yokohama Ramen Museum: Food Court
The highlight of the Shin-Yokohama Ramen Museum is downstairs, where the ramen is! The interior is designed beautifully to reflect a traditional Japanese street food court. Every shop serves ramen from a different part of Japan. In the center is a bar area where you can indulge in beers and Japanese izakaya food and snacks.
Read up on the information pamphlet which ramen suits your fancy, before choosing a store. Each of the ramen restaurants have information on how thick or thin their ramen noodles are, and how rich or light their soup base is. Soup bases available at different shops include tonkatsu (pork), salt, soy sauce, miso, or vegetarian.
For those with dietary restrictions, each restaurant lists their vegetarian, vegan, and pork-free options as well. Order which ramen you prefer from the vending machines outside of each restaurant, then hand them to the attendants inside. Both full-sized (and full-priced) and mini portions of ramen are available to order.
Unfortunately, you have to have your ramen inside each restaurant, so you can’t sit in the center of the food court to admire the view and atmosphere of traditional Japan.
On the floor overlooking the food court is a small candy shop, which sells nostalgic Japanese snacks that have been popular for hundreds of years.
Note: Every adult that comes to the Shin-Yokohama Ramen Museum is expected to have a bowl of ramen at the food court.
My vegan ramen from Komurasaki… one of the best ramens I’ve had in Japan!
Shin-Yokohama Ramen Museum Gift Shop
I was super impressed by the Shin-Yokohama Ramen Museum Gift Shop, which has many exclusive ramen goods that would make great souvenirs. The famous shops downstairs all sell their specialty ramen in a to-go package at the gift shop, which includes the broth, noodles, and toppings in vacuum-sealed packages. Whichever amazing ramen you had downstairs, you can purchase and take home to your loved ones!
They also sell traditional Japanese souvenirs, and everything you need in your kitchen to serve and eat ramen at home. Every shop downstairs as their own special bowl that the ramen is served in, which you can purchase here as well.
So Which Should You Visit? The Yokohama Cup Noodles Museum or the Shin-Yokohama Ramen Museum?
Which Yokohama Ramen Museum is better for visiting with kids?
Answer: Yokohama Cup Noodles Museum is better for kids
The main attraction at the Yokohama Cup Noodles Museum is the make-your-own cup noodles, a fun, hands-on experience for kids and adults. After designing your own cup noodle container and having it sealed, it gets packed in a large bubble “air package”. Lots of fun to swing around!
For restless kids, the Cup Noodles Park at the Yokohama Cup Noodles Museum is a great place to blow off some steam too.
Lastly, the food court is more family-friendly and laid back at the Yokohama Cup Noodles Museum vs the Shin-Yokohama Ramen Museum. Families can order small portions of ramen from any of the street food noodle restaurants, and congregate at a plastic table in the center. Super picky eaters can have the Italian Pasta or the original instant chicken ramen.
The Shin-Yokohama Ramen museum doesn’t have exhibits or play-places catering to kids. The food court is less laid-back, and can be super crowded with local regulars if visiting at peak hours.
While Yokohama Ramen Museum is better for Ramen Connoisseurs?
Answer: The Shin-Yokohama Ramen Museum
If you’ve come here ready to try the best ramen around Japan, the Shin Yokohama Ramen Museum is a must-visit during your Tokyo itinerary. Many of the ramen restaurants here are pop-up versions of Michelin-starred restaurants around the country.
The Shin-Yokohama Ramen museum is first a ramen-specialty food court, second a museum, and hardly a place to provide entertainment. In comparison, the Yokohama Cup Noodle Museum focuses mainly on the history of instant ramen, then of course allows for a make-your-own cup noodle experience.
If you’re in Japan looking for amazing food, and don’t care much about trying instant noodles, the Shin-Yokohama ramen museum is better for you.
Which Ramen Museum is better for large groups?
Answer: The Yokohama Cup Noodles Museum
The Yokohama Cup Noodles Museum caters better to large groups. Not only is it five stories, but you can reserve all of the activities ahead of time so you can move smoothly through the interactive ramen exhibits.
The food court is better for large groups at the Yokohama Cup Noodles Museum vs the Shin-Yokohama Ramen Museum. The Cup Noodles Museum has a communal eating space, so each member of the group can choose which international noodle dish they want to try. At Shin-Yokohama’s Ramen Museum, the only dining areas are inside the restaurants themselves, so groups will have to split up and eat if eating preferences differ.
Lastly, because of the local crowds dining at the Shin-Yokohama Ramen museum, it’s more commonly super crowded to even fit two people in to one restaurant.
Which Yokohama Ramen Museum is Better For Japanese Culture Enthusiasts?
Answer: Shin-Yokohama Ramen Museum
If the most exciting part about Japan for you is its traditions and culture, the Shin-Yokohama Ramen Museum is right up your alley. I was blown away when I walked down to the basement floor of the museum and a large Japanese street food court greeted me. The feeling of old Japan is represented well, and it transports you 200 years back in time, as if you were going for a bite to eat at a ramen yatai or street food shop in old Edo.
The ramen that is cooked and served here are also top-notch dishes from around the country. If you want to take a bit of this traditional Japanese dish home with you, you can purchase this high-quality ramen to go in the souvenir shops.
The cherry on top is the Dagashi-ya, or the old candy shop just above the ramen food court. It sells Japanese candy that has been around for centuries. A real treat for older Japanese visitors, but great for tourists too.
In comparison, the Yokohama Cup Noodle Museum is basically a theme park for cup noodles. Although cup noodles are undoubtedly a Japanese culture staple, the Shin-Yokohama ramen museum does the best job preserving Japanese tradition in its design and experience.
Which Yokohama Ramen Museum has more to do in the neighborhood?
Answer: The Yokohama Cup Noodles Museum
The Yokohama Cup Noodles Museum is located in the heart of Yokohama, close to many of the top things to do in Yokohama. Just across the street is an amusement park, Yokohama Cosmoworld, plus two large shopping malls, Minatomirai and Yokohama World Porters.
A short walk away is the Red Brick Warehouse buildings, home to more classy shopping and high-end restaurants. The Yokohama Cup Noodle museum is also close to Yokohama’s Chinatown, and Yamashita Park, a large seaside park.
The Shin-Yokohama neighborhood does not have many things to do in comparison.
Decided which is better, the Yokohama Cup Noodle Museum or Shin-Yokohama Ramen Museum?
Why not go to both? Here’s how to get from Yokohama to Shin-Yokohama, so you can go to both the Yokohama Cup Noodles Museum and the Shin-Yokohama Ramen Museum in one day.
Route 1: From Sakuragicho Station, take the local Blue Line to Shin-Yokohama Station
Route 2: From Sakuragicho Station, take the local JR Negishi Line towards Hachioji. The Negishi Line changes to the Yokohama Line (stay on board), and stops at the Shin-Yokohama Station.
Route 3: From Minatomirai Station, take the Minatomirai Line to Kikuna Station. Transfer to the Yokohama Line, and get off at the next stop, the Shin-Yokohama Station.