In general, I'd probably avoid going there on a Saturday, but we could see the museum from our hotel room at the Sakuragicho Washington Hotel in Yokohama so it was a short walk - and we were still adjusting to Japan time and up at the crack of dawn anyway - so it actually worked out well. We arrived about 45 minutes before the museum opened (highly recommended, especially if you want to make your own Cup Noodles.
The museum is located in a really nice touristy area of Minato Mirai 21. It super easy to get to even if you're not staying in Yokohama - you can take a JR train to Sakuragicho Station and then it's a 15 minute walk (or you could take a bus or a taxi, I suppose - we like walking). The area is super easy to navigate and it's not nearly as overwhelming as Tokyo. There's an amusement park and a shopping center very close by and lots of other shopping areas and places to explore in the immediate area. There is lots of familiar American food in this area too. Check out the museum's web site for hours and entrance fee and all that since I'm sure they vary.
We joined the already growing line and waited to purchase our tickets. We almost never had a problem getting English maps and things - at most places we went, they noticed us before we could even ask and rushed to bring us things in English. Japan is awesome like that. The main floor of the museum is open and modern feeling. There's ticket windows and a gift shop and the stairs up the museum.
We immediately went to get our tickets to make our own Cup Noodles. You don't get these tickets at the ticket window at the entrance - they are on a separate floor. It is a very good idea to head here ASAP - everybody wants to do this and it gets PACKED very quickly.
After securing our tickets to make our Cup Noodles, we explored the museum. We started in the room with every Cup Noodles EVER on display.
As you walk through the museum, there are drawings on the wall explaining how Cup Noodles came to be what it is today. All the captions are in English and Japanese.
While the history of Momfuku Ando and his Cup Noodles are definitely an important part of the museum, it's really all about creative thinking and innovation - super cool. There are a lot of interactive exhibits that show how thinking outside the box leads to innovative ideas. Some of these are in English, but they're all fun to play with and easy to follow.
There are also art pieces dedicated to Cup Noodles.
We were able to get through the exhibits a couple times pretty quickly (get here EARLY!!! By the time we left, people were shuffling through like cattle!) By the time we were done, it was time to make our Cup Noodles! Everything in Japan is ON TIME and this place is no exception! If your reservation is for 10:15 AM, be there at 10:15 AM! We joined the line and it moved very quickly and efficiently. They showed us instructions in English and made sure we understood before handing us our cups and directing us to a table to decorate them.
You can spend as much time as you want decorating your cup. Everybody seems to love doing this - ALL kinds of people are decorating cups. It's a lot of fun. They instruct you to put the date on your cup, but everything else is up to you.
When you finish decorating your cup, you get to choose the ingredients for your Cup Noodles. It all seems kind of chaotic and crowded, but it's super intuitive and efficient. We have videos of this whole process that I will post soon. After you choose your ingredients, your Cup Noodles gets sealed shut and vacuum packed in plastic. Finally, you put your Cup Noodles in a balloon type bag thing - I have no idea what the purpose of this is, but you see people in Yokohama walking around with them all the time and maybe that alone is why!
We had lunch at the Noodles Bazaar - basically a food court with different stalls for various types of noodle dishes.
You buy a ticket for the dish you want and take it to the window. I went with Italian.
John had traditional Japanese...but was confused when he ordered. He thought he was ordering ramen with 3 ingredients, but this is what he got:
Luckily, the dishes are small! We shared some shaved ice for dessert. It was super yummy.
By the time we finished eating, there was a long line to get into the Bazaar so, again, I advise getting there early!
We really enjoyed our trip to the Cup Noodles Museum. We spent a total of about 4 hours here. I'd highly recommend it to anybody visiting Yokohama and the Minato Mirai 21 area (both of which I also recommend). There is a playground for kids that we didn't check out at all, but I imagine that makes it extra great for kids. We'd like to visit it again with reservations to make our own ramen noodles (see the web site for details about the Chicken Ramen Factory). You can see the rest of the photos we took at the museum here.