Saturday, August 22, 2015

[Japan holiday] A day at Yokohama + Cup Noodles Museum

This trip is my third visit to Tokyo, Japan, and now, since we are already pretty familiar with the city, we knew exactly what we had to do upon reaching Narita Airport. We purchased our NEX train tickets from the ticketing booth and once again, it took us about an hour or so to reach Shinjuku station from the airport.

As per the norm, I topped up the value of my Suica card for my transportation in Japan for the week! It was around 5pm plus when we arrived at our usual Hotel, The Sunroute Plaza Shinjuku, and to my amazement, summer in Tokyo is exceedingly hot! Really no joke! Summer in Japan is so hot (atsui!) and the temperature on average daily was around 35-37'C! At night, it fell to a 'cooler' 29-31'C! Even more shocking, dawn in Japan during summer breaks as early as 4.30am!
After leaving our luggage in the hotel room, we walked to Shinjuku for dinner and some free and easy shopping. We decided to try something new for food, and baby wanted to try 'Omoide Yokocho', which according to him, is affectionately called 'Pissing Street' by the local Japanese. It's actually a long food alley that opens at night which is frequented by many local salarymen who get drunk. Hence the name of the street! Haha.
YES, we had Yakitori and beer! Apparently, it is standard procedure for foreigners to be billed a table charge for asking for an 'Eeigo' (English) menu, which amounts up to ¥500! I was quite upset with that, but baby mentioned that it is SOP and the norm in Japan, so we shouldn't take offense.

The yakitori tasted super delicious. Oishi ne! Yakitori has been one of my favorite food items in Japan.

Before I blog about some interesting attractions and places I went to this time, I want to share my experience on visiting the Cup Noodles Museum located in Yokohama, which I did not managed to to do so during my previous trip, due to it being closed on Tuesdays.
We took the train from Shinjuku station on the Shonan Shinjuku line which offers a direct connection to Yokohama and the journey only took about 30 minutes. The train fare was ¥550 per way.

My favorite part of Yokohama is their Cup Noodles Museum. It is a magical place that bears a rich history. Mr Momofuku Ando is the founder of Nissin food products and the inventor of chicken ramen, the world first instant noodles.
Baby and I enjoy eating instant noodles from time to time, and on every visit to Japan, we will never fail to bring back at least 3 cups or bowls noodles from the local supermarkets or ¥100 shops.
We spotted a giant statue of Momofuku Ando San (1910-2007) in the museum.
I love the wall of instant noodles exhibits that are arranged by their year of creation. There are over 3000 packages.



At the museum, we visited Momofuku Endo's mock-up work-shed that he spent his life using ordinary tools to create world changing inventions. 

First invention - Chicken Ramen (1958)


Second invention - Cup Noodles (1971)
I think one of his biggest feats was to transformed 'Made in Japan' instant noodles into an international global food via Cup Noodles. 

Even more amazing, was his accomplishment of inventing the first space instant ramen for astronauts in 2005, even at 90 years old! Sadly, he passed away barely 2 years after that. His life motto and belief from his experiences after the war was that 'The world can be at peace if there is enough food', or something like that haha!

There is no boundaries when it comes to enjoying food, as filling up one's stomach always comes first!

When we purchased our tickets at the first level to enter the museum, we were given an option to buy tickets to make our very own cup noodles. Do reserve your tickets on the 3rd level as the 'make-your-own-cup noodles' is usually very full and tickets sell out pretty fast. 

We were given a specific time to enter the cup noodles factory, and while waiting for our time slot, we took some random photos of the scenery of Yokohama.

When it was our turn, we were permitted to join the queue to buy our empty cups from a vending machine at a price of ¥300. We were then allocated seats with full stationaries to do our artwork!



After we were done with our cup design, we placed our cup over the noodles and got to pick our own soup base flavour from the following of 'Original, Curry, Seafood and Chili Tomato'! You are also allowed to choose out of a max of 3 choice of ingredients from the array selection of ingredients shown. These range from the normal things you would find in Nissin's brand of cup noodles, such as eggs, leeks, crab sticks, fish cakes etc.  

Once the flavor and ingredients were placed in the cup, the people in the factory will seal the top and wrap it in a plastic sheet. We were given an air bag/package to protect our cup noodles.

We pumped in the air ourselves and tied the string on the air bag to make it a sling bag. It was recommended to be consumed within one month!
We took some random photos at the museums, and bought some souvenirs from the gift shop too before leaving the premises.

After the museum visit, we went to Yokohama World Porters Shopping Mall, which is only walking distance from the Cup Noodles Museum, for our lunch. We had Udon at the 'Gourmet Court', or as we called it, Food Court in Singapore.
After our meal, we walked around the mall and we discovered an interesting themed restaurant/café, Are you a fan of those cute Japanese toys where animals act as humans and have houses/drive vehicles? The Sylvanian Families would like to invite you to have a meal with them at their restaurant!

We decided to enter the eatery place for desserts. The damage was about ¥1700 (SGD18).

There is a small retail section in the restaurant too! I picked up a key chain at ¥700 (SGD7-ish).
Stay tuned for my posts on other attractions in Tokyo!

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