You know, despite living in Japan, I’m not a big ramen fan. I’ll indulge every once in a while, but for the most part, I try to stay away. One of the main reasons is because I don’t eat red meat and a lot of ramen is pork (bone) based.
But I don’t even have a taste for shio (salt) ramen or miso ramen most of the time! And despite my attempts to review Cup Noodle flavors, I’ve never had a ramen that I’ve absolutely loved. So when my friend wanted to go to the Shin Yokohama Ramen Museum, I was a little hesitant.
But because I wanted to be a supportive friend, I decided to go anyway. There are two ways to get to Shin Yokohama station. You can either take JR (which is also a Shinkansen stop), or you can take the Blue Line subway. I opted for the Blue Line because I didn’t want to transfer to JR.
It’s a bit of a walk from the station, but nothing too difficult to navigate. First, you need to buy tickets to get in. They’re pretty cheap, and even cheaper if you decide to get the year pass. Since my first visit, I’ve actually been again two other times, so it would’ve been cheaper for me to get the year pass, believe it or not.
I think one of the main draws to this place is the interior. Rather than a standard restaurant food court, it’s more like a theme park. I can see why they call it a museum now! The interior is modeled after Showa Era Japan. Even the workers are dressed like old-timey cops! It’s very cool.
Of course, after buying the admission ticket, you need to buy the ticket for your food. There’s a map of the stalls available (it changes quite often) and the different ramen they offer, so you want to decide using that first.
There are ticket machines outside each of the restaurants. Most of them have a little English guide attached to the side, so you can order in confidence! My ticket is for a mini salt ramen. I 100% recommend you only get the mini sizes. The point is to try a bunch of different types of ramen, not get full on the first dish.
The only salt ramen available was at an Okinawan ramen shop, so we decided to go there first. While I’ve never been to Okinawa, it’s on my bucket list. The interior wasn’t from the post-war period, though, which was a bit of a shame. (None of the interiors were, so it’s not a mark against this shop in particular.)
Apart from just the ramen, you can also get different toppings or extras. I decided to keep it simple because I didn’t want to fill up too much.
The ramen came out pretty quickly. Unfortunately, even though I ordered salt ramen, it still came with a big slab of meat on top. But it’s okay because my companions were more than eager to take it off my hands for me.
The ramen itself was just okay, and I’ve definitely had better. Though it was good, I don’t think I’d come back to this particular shop to get their ramen again. The salt broth was just a bit underwhelming.
However, someone did get the spicy garlic ramen. This one was specifically noted as being vegetarian, but it didn’t come in a mini size, so I passed on it. But I kind of regret it because it was so much better than the salt one! I definitely recommend this one instead.
We left satisfied, but we all agreed that we had room for one more bowl somewhere else. I was allowed to pick again, so I chose a shop that had a miso-seafood base. This one had a long line, so I felt confident that I had made the right choice.
After queuing for almost thirty minutes, we were finally seated. The inside was pretty small, so I could see why there was a wait. This ramen (also a mini) took a bit longer to arrive, but it was definitely well worth the wait. My mouth is watering just thinking about it now…
The broth was thick and flavorful, and the noodles complimented everything so well. After tasting this, I could see why some people say ramen is their favorite food. The seafood base is really strong, though, just a warning. I could taste fish on my breath for the rest of the day. (Yuck.)
Here’s another view of the interior. You can see the lines for some places here. Obviously, some are more popular than others. (There was no line for the Okinawan one.)
If you wandered around the top floor, there’s an old candy/sweets/toy shop towards the back. They have a lot of cool things there, but they also sell ice cream and ramune! Just a heads up if you’re into those kinds of things.
Important Info: You should note that, if you want to tag along, you must order a ramen from the restaurant. In order to minimize wait times and maximize usage of space, no one is allowed to just sit, even if their companions are eating. I think children up to a certain age are exempt from this rule, but because that didn’t apply to my group, I’m not sure of the specifics.
There’s also wifi available throughout the entire compound, and there’s a gift shop up top! I didn’t get any pictures from the gift shop, but I did buy a really cute mechanical pencil with naruto designs and “Shin Yokohama Ramen Museum” written on it.