Around Kobe: You’ve done the Louvre and Guggenheim…now for some REAL culture

The Momofuku Ando Instant Ramen Museum is a ridiculously fun stop on the way to Osaka

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The best friend of penniless students world wide (and always filling up the rubbish bags at Lexis), instant ramen is a big deal in Japan.  Every supermarket aisle groans under the weight of endless options of just-add-boiling-water culinary happiness, while any visit to the conbini is set to the soundtrack of loud slurping.  It’s hard to guess how many varieties of instant ramen out there; suffice to say, you could have one for breakfast, lunch and dinner and die horribly of scurvy before needing to try the same variety twice.

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The Ando Momofuku Instant Ramen Museum takes you back to where it all began (in the 1950’s as it works out), firstly through the almost scary Instant Ramen Timeline Tunnel (pictured above), then in intricate detail in halls of ramen videos, interactive learning experiences and static displays.  It’s quirky enough in its homage to the inventor of the instant noodle (Mr Ando himself) to give you a giggle, and serious enough that it’s actually an interesting place to visit.

If you are inspired by all the ramen-creativity out there, you can then design your own packaging, flavours and soup combinations in the d0-it-yourself area before having your original ramen creation factory-sealed, shrink wrapped and then packaged in a kind of inflatable pillow for safe transportation home.

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As a morning out or (probably a better idea) as a really easy stop on the trip into Central Osaka, this place shouldn’t be missed (if just for the chance to design your own noodles!).

Getting there:  Easy.  The Museum is about 10 minutes easy walk from Iketa Station, on the Hankyu line.  Jump on at either Motomachi or Sannomiya in the direction of Osaka. The trip will take about 15 minutes.  The whole area is well signposted, and there is a little tourist information booth outside the station if you need help.  You really don’t need it, but there’s a very straightforward map on the museum brochure here – http://www.instantramen-museum.jp/pamphlet_e.pdf

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