Japan 2016 – Day Seven – Yokohama is Epic after all!
If you read my day 6 post, it probably made Yokohama a bit of a letdown. Fear not, theres actually alot to do in Yokohama if you look for it. The three main things we did today though, are common throughout all tourist guides, and for good reason!
We decided to head off to the Ramen (or Raumen?) museum in Yokohama. Don’t confuse this with the Instant Cup Noodle Museum, also conveniently located in Yokohama near the Red Brick Warehouse. This museum serves multiple regional and international varieties of ramen in a multi-level building.
The museum is located roughly 5-10 minutes from Shin Yokohama station. Once you are on the street, you can’t miss it. You will see a ramen bowl on top of a post, with a set of chopsticks seemingly plucking noodles out of said bowl. Pictures don’t do this thing justice, but here it is anyway:
Tickets are purchased either at the front counter, or on the machine. The staff speak English so no need to worry, grab yourself some tickets and head inside. This ticket gets you into the building, with the ramen charged on top of it. For Y500 this isn’t too bad.
Once inside you will see some information on the wall of the types of ramen served inside, as well as the main tourist store. Skip the shopping till the end and head downstairs where you will be met with more than 10 varieties of ramen to choose from.
Each store serves its own specialty, from the expected Miso and Soy based ramen broths, to those focusing on chicken only for the broth, and to the more stranger Italian and German inspired varieties.
Ordering at the Museum
Orders are made on a vending machine like in other places. The safest option is always the button on the far top left, though English menus exist for all stores so you need not guess.
Now you may be thinking that eating more than one bowl of ramen will be enough, and I tend to agree. However, you can order half size bowls at Y500 at each store as a taster. That way, you can go through 2-3 (or more) bowls of ramen without getting a sodium headache, or feeling guilty. The serving sizes are still decent.
I had the Italian style ramen (Casa Luca Milano), the store specialising in Chicken broth for ramen, and the store selling a seafood based broth. All excellent places. My partner had the German ramen, which from all accounts was fantastic.
We then went upstairs for some souveneers. I couldn’t help but buy a Cup Noodle designed mug with matching cup lid for around Y1000. Biggest regret though, was buying some instant ramen (German themed). The souveneer store sells the ramen that you buy downstairs, but in an instant form. Because it contains preserved pork and broth, the past by date is quite short (It will last for a month at most). Note to self and all, do not buy instant ramen. It is terrible as it tastes really porky and oily. Do yourself a favour and don’t buy this.
Random, but the museum has a hobby store inside as well at the far back, with Tamiya model sets, and a racetrack that you can play in for Y100.
Feeling dehydrated after chowing down on three bowls of noodles, we decided to head out to the Kirin Beer Factory. The closest station was Keikyu-Shinkoyas, which was still a good 15-20 minute walk away.
Kirin Beer Factory
Some unhelpful signs later, and we were there. Unfortunately, we did not realise that the factory was under renovation, and would be closed for 3 months! Feeling dejected, we were told that the nearby beer garden was open, so we could quench our thirst anyway. It was a shame though, because in photos i’ve seen the beer manufacturing process in Japan looked amazing.
We stopped by the Spring Valley Brewery located in the same precinct. It was eerily quiet, most likely because said factory was closed for renovations. Anyway, we ordered the beer sampler, and it was delicious. You get to sample 6 x 100ML specialty brews to taste, and on a hot day, it was much needed.
After a bit of a break, Cosmoworld was the next stop. Conveniently located near Minato Mirai, Cosmoworld is an inner city theme park. It’s mostly catered to tourists, though a large portion of customers are high school students that like to hang around. In what other country would you spend your time afterschool hanging out at a theme park?
Pro tip, don’t pay to use the storage lockers to store your bags. Storage lockers are located at each ride once you are about to board. Thats the great thing about Japan, where everyone has a backpack or bag on.
Its not the greatest theme park out there, nor does it try to be. Theres a few standard roller coasters for cheap thrills, the ferris wheel is fantastic to jump on at night for a full view of Yokohama, and there are fun and games for kids and adults. Don’t play the Basketball game, no matter how good your jumpshot is. The gap where the balls roll down after you make a shot is so small that the ball will JUST fit through. That severly slows down the pace at which you can make buckets!
We ended the night just wandering around Yokohama at night. Its beautiful to see, more so with the fluro lights from Cosmoworld!
Summary of places visited
Yokohama Ramen Museum
222-0033 Kanagawa Prefecture, Yokohama, Kohoku Ward, Shinyokohama, 2−14−21
Spring Valley Brewery Yokohama
230-0052 Kanagawa-ken, Yokohama-shi, Tsurumi-ku, Namamugi, 1 Chome−17
231-0001 Kanagawa Prefecture, Yokohama, Naka Ward, Shinko, 2 Chome−8番1号
2 Chome-2-1-1 みなとみらい2 Nishi-ku, Yokohama-shi, Kanagawa-ken 220-8101