Wouldn’t it be amazing to try ramen from well-known ramen shops from around the world without stepping foot on a plane? At the Shin-Yokohama Raumen Museum you can do just that. The museum was started in 1994 as the world’s first food themed amusement park. Instant ramen was first developed in 1958, and the museum is themed around this time period. Once you enter the museum, you feel like you’re walking back in time. The museum is themed with advertisements from the early 60’s, and ramen shops looks as if they were built in this time period. The museum also has information personnel dressed as police from this time period.
Photo : Dickson on Flickr
The Shin-Yokohama Raumen Museum features 9 ramen shops, each having a distinctive trait that makes their ramen stand out. Some are well known because of the type of noodles they use, and others are known for their tasty broth. There are regional differences that make ramen in other regions of Japan unique, and you can try some of them here. Although I haven’t tried all of the ramen restaurants at the museum just yet, one of my favorite shops is Ryu Shanghai. The ramen at this shop uses thick noodles in a slightly rich broth. The noodles are special because they are folded over 32 times. Their ramen is topped with a scoop of spicy raw miso, which makes the ramen very spicy. It is delicious, and one of my favorites! They also feature a vegan/vegetarian option.
Photo : Jordan Sitkin on Flickr
Although the museum has many traditional ramen styles, the museum features ramen that is very different than what you would normally come across in Japan. The museum actively searches for different ramen styles from around the world and features pop-up shops of these styles. Narumi-Ippudo opened in October, 2014 and is the current “Ramen from Around the World” you can discover at the museum. The ramen at Narumi-Ippudo is a fusion of French bouillon and Japanese dashi stock created by master chef Shigemi Kawahara, a global leader in the world of ramen. The pop-up shops change from time-to-time so there is always a new ramen shop to try at the museum.
People from all over the world visit the museum, so they decided to introduce menu items so that everyone can enjoy ramen here. So that Muslim and vegetarian patrons can enjoy ramen at the museum, ramen without pork and that are vegetarian were added to many of the museum ramen shops. Currently 6 of the 9 ramen shops offer a vegetarian option. Customers who are looking for these options can easily find the vegetarian ramen choices by looking for the vegetarian symbol when ordering ramen from the shops. For Muslim customers, the museum also added a prayer room for use.
Photo: TadMorgan on Flickr
Each ramen shop has its own ticket machine. To order ramen, you purchase your ticket and give it to the shop before being seated. Some shops also offer beer, toppings, and gyoza for an additional charge by ticket. Usually the shops will have their menu in English on the side or on top of the ticket machine. You can also get a brochure before entering the basement that will give you an overview of each of the ramen shops in the museum. The guide is available in English, Thai, Korean, and Chinese. You must order at least one bowl to be seated in each of the ramen shops, but each restaurant offers some of their popular choices in a smaller bowl so that you can enjoy ramen from a variety of shops.
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Because many of the ramen shops are very popular, you should expect to wait in a line to enter the shops. Usually the wait is short, under 30 minutes during busy hours. There is a large digital board that gives you an overview of the waiting time at all of the shops when you enter the museum. There are also many signs written on chalkboards in the basement where the ramen shops are located. They are written in Japanese, but it’s not too difficult to match the Japanese names using your guide. The best times to visit are during the week, when lines are shortest. Avoiding lunch hours will also lessen wait times. The wait is well worth it to taste the unique flavors of each ramen shop.
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There are many other exciting offerings at the Shin-Yokohama Raumen Museum too. There is also a full-service bar with a smoking area, a soft-serve ice cream shop, and candy shop, too. During the week, there are performances held throughout the day that are exciting for both adults and children. The museum also has a gift shop with many ramen related goods available for sale. One of my favorite parts of the shop is that you can customize your own instant ramen with your picture on it. It makes a great souvenir or gift. The gift shop area is where you can also learn the history of ramen and about the different types of noodles and broths that they are made of. Also in the museum shop area is a large slot-car racetrack where adults and children can rent cars to race around the track. The museum caters to both adults and children with many of its offerings.
Photo : TadMorgan on Flickr
The museum has free WiFi available to customers in the museum. To get the login information, you should take a brochure when entering the basement. Admission to the museum costs ¥310 and bowls of ramen range from ¥500-¥1100 depending on the size and type of ramen ordered. The museum is open throughout the year and is open everyday. To get to the Shin-Yokohama Ramen Museum from central Tokyo takes just under an hour. It might be best to pair your visit to the museum with a day in Yokohama.
Photo : rc! on Flickr
The Shin-Yokohama Raumen Museum offers an experience you will never forget with its fantastic selection of delicious ramen, entertainment, and fun. You should definitely try to make time for it when you’re visiting Japan!
Website (English): http://www.raumen.co.jp/english/
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