Ramen Museum in Yokohama
Yokohama was the second city besides Tokyo that I visited when I first came to Japan and back then I heard about the Ramen Museum, but didn’t have time to visit it.
Having visited only one food-themed museum before (Kimchi Museum in Seoul), I was still impressed by the Ramen Museum. After you pay the entrance fee (300 Yen), you will come to the museum part which is pretty much like any other museum: explanations about the history, local varieties and other interesting trivia about ramen. Most ramen (ラーメン) dishes changed over time and many Japanese cities have local varieties of the dish. In fact, if you buy any japanese travel guide for Japan, a large part is usually reserved for explaining about the local dishes, even if it’s just a small town right next to Tokyo!
It’s nicely presented, but the real interesting part of the museum is downstairs. This is the place where you’ll experience ramen Showa-style. The two basement floors are replicas of some parts of downtown Tokyo in 1958, including adverts. Back then the popularity of ramen was increasing. News broadcasts can be heard in the side street and an old TV was showing a boxing match. There are nine ramen restaurants on the two basement floors, tickets for the dishes are bought in front of each restaurant. Everything’s written in Japanese with few photos provided. They also offer small-sized ramen in case you just want to sample more than one variety of ramen.
The Ramen Museum is just a five minute walk from Shin-Yokohama station. I liked it more than the Kimchi Museum, especially because they do the experience part so well (this excludes the toilets by the way, which are modern). It’s probably also one of the few museums many people will visit to eat and not to be educated.