Saturday, November 7, 2015

Our visit to the Cup Noodles Museum !!!

On Saturday, April 4, 2015, we visited the Cup Noodles Museum in Yokohama, Japan. 

Japan - April, 2015

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.

Japan - April, 2015   Japan - April, 2015  

Japan - April, 2015  Japan - April, 2015

Japan - April, 2015

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.  

Japan - April, 2015

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.

Japan - April, 2015

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.

Japan - April, 2015  Japan - April, 2015

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.

Japan - April, 2015  Japan - April, 2015   

There are also art pieces dedicated to Cup Noodles.  

Japan - April, 2015

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.

Japan - April, 2015  Japan - April, 2015

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.  

Japan - April, 2015  Japan - April, 2015  Japan - April, 2015

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!

Japan - April, 2015

We had lunch at the Noodles Bazaar - basically a food court with different stalls for various types of noodle dishes.  

Japan - April, 2015  Japan - April, 2015

Japan - April, 2015

You buy a ticket for the dish you want and take it to the window.  I went with Italian.

Japan - April, 2015  Japan - April, 2015

Japan - April, 2015

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:

Japan - April, 2015

Luckily, the dishes are small!  We shared some shaved ice for dessert.  It was super yummy.

Japan - April, 2015  Japan - April, 2015

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.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Just "like" our FB page...

We had good intentions, but we are 10 days into our trip and blogging just isn't happening. We are having an AMAZING time and updating our FB page very regularly with all the epic and less-than-epic updates so follow us there!!! ( We don't pay any attention to who is following it and don't really care so you're seriously not a stalker for "liking" us. Sorry we suck at being travel bloggers. Live and learn.

Friday, April 10, 2015


Just a quick point if you're packing light or need to do laundry in Japan.

Some hotels will have coin operated laundry but some (including our current Tokyo hotel) do not.

You need to look for (or ask your hotel front desk) where the nearest 'coin laundry'.  Not laundromat or anything else.  Coin laundry.

Some require you to add detergent, some don't - we packed a few travel detergents with us to cover all bases.  Also the dryer probably will not completely dry your clothes- be prepared to hang some things in the bathroom to dry.

Saturday, April 4, 2015


We've started posting photos from our current trip!  Check them out at the "2015 Photos" link at the top of the page or click here.

You can also "like" our Facebook page to get all the super current updates!

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Timeline: From Airplane to Hotel

It's hard to estimate how long things like getting off the airplane, through immigration, etc will take - and I always wish I'd paid attention later when I want to estimate for the next time we travel. There are so many variables, but at least an IDEA of how long it MIGHT take is nice. Luckily, my iPhone now makes it really easy for me to make a timeline! Here it is:
  • Landed around 3:20-30 PM
  • Off the plane by 3:36 PM
  • Got to Immigration line at 3:40 PM
  • Done with Immigration and waiting for luggage at 3:57 PM (the sign totally lied to us)

  • Got luggage, went through Customs, stopped at post office to pick up our mobile hot spot, and were at the JR Office to redeem our JR Rail Passes at 4:20 PM
  • Got to the head of the queue for JR passes at 5:05 PM
  • Got to the train platform for our express train to Yokohama at 5:15 PM
  • Train departed 544 (as scheduled) - scheduled to arrive in Yokohama at 7:18 PM
  • Checked into hotel at 8:00 PM

Thoughts: Our Flight to Japan

Today we took a non-stop Delta flight from MSP to NRT (Minneapolis, MN to Tokyo, Japan). It was right on time and it seemed most seats were filled. We booked late and were in the 2nd to last row. The plane was a 777 with a 3-3-3 layout, but our row was unique: 2-3-2. It was nice not having a random neighbor! Our seats had adjustable head rests with bendable "wings" - a nice touch.  There were quite a few very young children on our plane, but they all seemed to handle the flight just fine.

Before each meal, we got a warm cloth to wash up before eating (this is customary in Japan.)  Our first meal was a chicken and rice type thing. The menu had said it was chicken and mashed potatoes, but it was definitely rice. 

I let the flight attendant know I especially liked the dessert brownie so she brought me 2 more. The person in front of us overheard and also gave me her brownie. I'm perfectly happy with 4 desserts! Alcohol was complimentary throughout the flight so John and I relaxed with beer and wine.

Each seat on the plane was equipped with a tv screen that provides free access to tons of movies, tv shows, games, and other things of that sort. We watched The Penguins of Madagascar then we started a Hobbit marathon - I stopped watching after 1 1/2 of the 3 movies to get some sleep, but John watched all 3. I ended up watching my favorite parts of Into the Woods and Frozen and then watched Lost in Translation.

We got a snack bag midway through the flight. It included a banana, a sandwich, and cookies. They also passed out 20 oz bottles of water which was very appreciated!

Our last meal was breakfast and it was not the omelet the menu promised, but rather a quiche thing. It was fine, though. It also came with a roll, fruit, and chocolate.

Overall, the flight was very smooth and uneventful. We saw Mt Fuji as we landed and that was pretty cool!  People around us (and me) were kind of unsure if the plane had actually landed because the landing was so incredibly smooth and quiet! 

More to come on our adventures at the airport!

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Leaving on a jet plane

At the gate in MSP waiting for boarding to start!  We had a sandwich (ordered via the ubiquitous on-table iPads at this gate,) then grabbed a bottle of water and a little treat (Reese's mini cups.)  Not a very exciting morning but before we sleep again we'll lose a day and be on the other side of the planet!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Mapping our Adventures

We ♥ Google Maps!  It is an incredibly useful planning tool and especially indispensable for traveling in Japan.  We add all the sites we want to see and use different icons to create loose categories (parks, shrines/temples, shopping, food, etc.) This helps us to understand the proximity of the various sites we want to see and allows us to group things together to form our itinerary.  We use the step-by-step walking directions to determine if things are really as close to each other as they appear to be.  It probably sounds mundane, but it's actually pretty cool. 

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Japan 2015, Week 3 - Itinerary

I've never been away from home for more than 2 weeks so I wonder if I'll be homesick by the time we get to week #3...I think I'll probably just be craving real American food - like pizza that DOESN'T have corn and mayo on it.

These plans are still very much in the development phase so I don't have many details to add, but here's what we have so far...

Unless you like being the people with the guidebook...

We find it awkward to walk around obviously consulting a guidebook.  It's not that we worry about looking like tourists (we're white Americans in Japan...and John is huge...I think they know we're not locals), but it just feels weird.  We also don't like to spend our vacations staring at our phones (I have more than enough trouble managing to avoid getting run over by bikes as it is.)  Moreover, we don't like being lost and confused so we DO want to have important information, like train numbers, hotel names, and addresses, documented in a convenient place that we can consult quickly and discreetly.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Japan 2015, Week 2 - Itinerary

3 weeks of traveling = a ton of planning...especially when you only have just over a month to do all said planning!  We are not really, stressing out about it, though - once we got our plane tickets booked (easy) and found hotels (much more challenging), we were pretty much ready to go!  Planning helps make the waiting go by faster - and we'll be glad we did it in the end.  ☺ Here's the plan for week 2 of our Japanese Adventure!

Japan 2015, Week 1 - Itinerary

I like having a plan when we travel.  Not a rigid, minute-by-minute itinerary, but a solid framework or outline to provide some structure to our days.  It saves us from wandering around, trying to figure out what to do - and there are about 3 million options at any given time in Japan, so, multiply that by 20 days...going without a plan would be somewhat insane.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Japan, 2015

Hello World...

We are just over 3 weeks away from our 2nd trip to Japan - and we are super excited!

We hope to be more diligent about tracking and posting about our adventures this time.  We find other people's travel blogs very informative and useful - and we've referred back to our own documentation quite a bit in planning for our Adventures in Japan 2.0. 

That being said, adventuring is our top priority so no guarantees...

Kanpai!  乾杯!