Cup noodle packaging in the Cup Noodle Museum, Yokohama, Japan

Cup Noodles | A very popular dish among the Japanese

Home Info About Japan Japanese Food Guide Cup Noodles | A very popular dish among the Japanese

Do you enjoy convenient and tasty instant noodles? This fast and handy food was invented in Japan by Nisshin Food Products in 1971. Their brand is Cup Noodle, which are instant ramen noodles sold in a cup. It is easy to prepare, you just pour hot water into the cup and wait for three minutes. Now, many other food makers are making instant noodles, but Cup Noodles is the most popular brand. It is exported to more than 80 countries.

Nisshin Food Products : the Maker of Cup Noodles

Nisshin Food Products Co., LTD. was established in 1948 in Osaka. The founder was Momofuku Ando who also invented Cup Noodles later. After WW2, he saw many hungry people queueing at ramen stalls. He wanted to make ramen easier and invented Chicken Ramen. It is similar to Cup Noodles, but you need to use your own bowl. Pouring hot water and covering the bowl for three minutes, and it’s ready to eat. Powdered soup is added to the noodles, so you don’t need to add soup.

Development of Cup Noodles

Ando visited Los Angeles to export Chicken Ramen. When he visited American supermarkets, there were neither bowls nor chopsticks. Instead, they crushed the dried noodles, put them in the paper cup, poured hot water, and ate them with a fork. Watching this, Ando got an idea. He wanted to develop noodles that people could eat “wherever and whenever”. When he came back to Japan, he studied to make the ideal product and finally perfected Cup Noodles in 1971.

In the beginning, it didn’t sell well because the price was three times higher than the Chicken Ramen. He then tried selling them in baseball stadiums, amusement parks, police and fire stations, and places where people work at night. In 1972, a big incident occurred. There was a hostage crisis and police siege in a mountain hut in Nagano Prefecture. It lasted 10 days in the middle of the cold season and riot policemen often ate Cup Noodles. The TV news broadcast that all over Japan and everyone was talking about it. It was a great advertisement for the brand new food! So, it started to sell very well.

Cup Noodle Museum

Nisshin created two Cup Noodle Museums. The first one was in Osaka in 1999, and the second opened in Yokohama in 2011. The real name of the museum is Ando Momofuku Invention Memorial Museum. The exhibition rooms are different from each other, but both have My Cup Noodle Factories. I took foreign tourists several times in Osaka, so I will explain Cup Noodle Museum Osaka Ikeda.

Cup Noodle Tunnel
Instant Ramen Tunnel

For the exhibition, they made a replica of the small research room that Ando used. And they explain the history of the development of Cup Noodle. An instant ramen tunnel that’s made of 800 types of instant noodles is very photogenic. They lined them up by the historical order. The Cup Noodle Drama Theater shows the secrets of Cup Noodles.

Make Your Own Cup Noodles

You can make your original Cup Noodle in My Cup Noodle Factory. Firstly, you buy a cup from the vending machine. Then, you decorate the cup with color markers. This is the fun part! Then, you set the cup on the dried noodles and choose one soup out of 4 kinds (standard soy sauce, seafood, curry, or chili tomato), and 4 ingredients out of 12 kinds.

The number of variations is 5,460! The cup is sealed by a machine after the museum staff adds the ingredients. The whole cup is wrapped with a thin plastic sheet. You can bring the finished product in a special bag filled with air. It takes more or less thirty minutes depending on how long you take to decorate the cup.

The museum shop sells original goods. Many of them have the design of Hiyoko-chan (cute chicken character) which was created for the Chicken Ramen. They sell cookies, aprons, key chains, stationary, magnets, etc.

Cup Noodle Museum in Osaka Access Information

Access: 5-minute walk from Ikeda Station of Hankyu-Takarazuka Line
Fee: Free entrance / 400 yen for My Cup Noodle Factory
Hours: 9.30 am to 4.30 pm (closed on Tuesdays)

Cup Noodle Museum in Yokohama Acess Information

Access: 8-minute walk from Minatomirai or Bashamichi Station of Minatomirai Line. Or a 12-minute walk from Sakuragicho Station of JR or Yokohama City Metro.
Fee: 500 yen for adults (Free under high school student age) / Additional 400 yen for My Cup Noodle Factory
Hours: 10 am to 6 pm

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