• Visit the birthplace of instant ramen—and tour a museum dedicated to its inventor
• Learn the fascinating backstory of Japan’s most globally beloved food
• Create your own Cup Noodles flavor, or make instant ramen from scratch
You may not have heard of Ikeda City, a northern suburb of Osaka, or its most famous son, Momofuku Ando. But you probably are familiar with instant ramen, which was first invented here by Ando in 1958. Today, more than 100 billion servings of Cup Noodles are consumed every year, making these instant noodles the most widespread culinary product to come from Osaka. To honor Ando’s legacy and the global cult of ramen, a museum was erected in Ikeda, about half an hour from the Conrad by train or taxi. The hands-on Momofuku Ando Instant Ramen Museum brings the invention and development of instant noodles to life. The best exhibits here are the most interactive, such as the “My Cup Noodles Factory,” wherein visitors decorate a cup, choose a soup flavor, and select ingredients (cheese, green onions, fish sausage, et cetera), which are then mixed and sealed for you to take home and eat. Those with more time should sign up in advance for the “Chicken Ramen Factory,” a 90-minute session in which paired participants make instant ramen from scratch. It’s a family-friendly activity open to all noodle-loving adults and kids from elementary-school age and up. If energy flags, visit the tasting room, where vending machines dish out the classic Chicken Ramen, Cup Noodles, and limited-edition varieties from other prefectures.
From the Conrad, walk north to Umeda Station and take the Hankyu-Takarazuka Line train to Ikeda Station. From the station, the museum is a (well-signed) 10-minute walk south. A taxi from the hotel to the museum takes about 20 to 30 minutes, depending on traffic.