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Backstage Pass

Get the insider scoop on famous Japanese brands with factory tours

Yokohama City, Kanagawa Prefecture, and Oarai Town, Ibaraki Prefecture - Kanto



Explore your favorite Japanese brands and discover the secrets of their delicious success by visiting the places where the magic happens. Factory tours are a fabulous way to gain knowledge while having fun—and the food and drink samples are icing on the cake.


Japan is home to many such incredible opportunities. Here are four great places to start.


Choose Your Destination


It’s all about steamed treats at the Kiyoken Yokohama Factory.


What do instant ramen, shumai (steamed dumplings), and mentaiko (seasoned Alaska pollock roe) have in common? They’re all the subject of factory tours! Visit the Cup Noodles Museum, Kiyoken Yokohama Factory, and Mentai Park Oarai to learn how each item goes from raw ingredients to finished product, peek at the process, and snag seriously delicious samples.


Yokohama and Oarai are also exciting cities to explore, each offering plenty to see and do before and after your tour. Don’t waste any time—dive right into a world of manufacturing methods, amusing trivia, and tasty treats!


Noodles that Conquered the World



There’s always a flurry of activity at the Cup Noodles Museum in Yokohama, which boasts hands-on noodle fun and information-rich displays enjoyed by more than one million visitors each year.



Learn how the meal-in-a-cup went from idea to worldwide hit—well over one billion servings are consumed each year—and browse walls covered with 50-plus years’ worth of package designs. Once filled with cup-noodle facts, head to the My Cup Noodles Factory to craft a custom creation from start (cup decoration) to finish (soup and toppings). Or check out the Chicken Ramen Factory, where you can also make your own.


Enjoy chicken ramen at the Noodles Bazaar World Noodles Road.



Since all the time spent making food is sure to leave you hungry, your next destination has to be the Noodles Bazaar World Noodles Road on the fourth floor, where you’ll find varieties from various countries for sale in food stalls.


Life as a noodle has never been so much fun!


If you came with kids, head to the Cup Noodles Park where those elementary school-aged and under can see the world from a noodle’s perspective on specially designed playground equipment.


Your customized cup gets bubble treatment to keep it from being crushed.


A fun outing for the whole family, the Cup Noodles Museum definitely deserves a spot on your must-visit list.


Yokohama's Steamed Superstar


Head to the Kiyoken Yokohama Factory for steamed dumplings galore.


Call on the Kiyoken Yokohama Factory to learn the secrets of shumai (steamed dumplings) and popular ekiben (obento lunchboxes sold at train stations). But be sure to arrange your visit in advance as tour spots fill up fast!



Kiyoken, established in 1908 as a shop at Yokohama Station, has been making shumai since 1928. The dumplings are loved for being easy to eat on swaying trains, being delicious even when cold, and their easy-to-enjoy size.



Every day, about 800,000 of the delightful dumplings are made at the factory. The process is mechanized these days, but the texture is the same as when the dumplings were shaped by hand.



Post-tour, enjoy fresh, piping-hot shumai samples, as well as other tasty treats, such as Yokohama moon cakes. Be sure to check out the gift shop before heading home to pick up popular Kiyoken products and original merchandise—the perfect way to commemorate your visit! There’s also a restaurant corner where you can order freshly steamed goodies, such as shumai and steamed buns. No trip to Yokohama is complete without enjoying this tasty local treat from Kiyoken!


A Celebration of Seasoned Roe



Mentai Park, with mascot Tarapiyo sunning on the roof.


Visit Mentai Park Oarai to discover the many charms of mentaiko (seasoned Alaska pollock roe). This is one of five Mentai Parks in Japan and is overflowing with visitors every day. You will definitely see mentaiko on your travels around the country—and there is a reason it is so popular—so even if this is your first time, take the chance to dive in.



Mentaiko arrived in Japan from mainland Asia via Fukuoka, a city on the island of Kyushu. It is still considered a Fukuoka specialty, but is not limited to the city.


Interactive games help you learn about mentaiko.


When Kanefuku, the company that operates Mentai Park, established a factory in the Kanto area—which includes Tokyo and surrounding prefectures—it opened a direct-sales office which eventually grew into Mentai Park.



Before jumping into the tour, learn about mentaiko using the interactive displays. Through large observation windows, you can also watch workers perform delicate tasks by hand. Incredibly, about five tons of mentaiko is produced every day at Mentai Park Oarai. Seeing the time and effort that goes into making this delicacy will provide you with a whole new perspective.


Time to taste freshly made seasoned mentaiko.


Watching all that seasoned roe being prepared is sure to have revved up your appetite, which means it’s time to eat. Because it spoils easily, mentaiko is usually frozen before shipping, so getting to enjoy it freshly made is a treat.



Beyond samples, there’s also a restaurant corner with various items made with mentaiko, including rice balls, steamed pork buns, and even ice cream!


No reservations are necessary at Mentai Park, making it an easy addition to any itinerary.


Remember to pick up souvenirs to take home to friends!


Discovering the methods that go into making your favorite foods is a fun and delicious way to spend a day. As you travel around Japan, be sure to add factory tours to your schedule to get a peek at the ins and outs of some of the country’s most delicious delicacies. It’s sure to take your trip to heavenly new heights.


Contact Information


Cup Noodles Museum

2-3-4 Shinko, Naka Ward, Yokohama, Kanagawa 231-0001


Kiyoken Yokohama Factor

675-1 Kawamukocho, Tsuzuki Ward, Yokohama, Kanagawa Prefecture 224-0044


Mentai Park Oarai

8255-3 Isohamacho, Oarai, Higashiibaraki District, Ibaraki 311-1301



How to Get There


The Cup Noodles Museum is located on the Yokohama waterfront in Kanagawa Prefecture. It is an eight-minute walk from Minatomirai Station and Bashamichi Station on the Minatomirai Line and a 12-minute walk from JR Sakuragicho Station on the Keihin-Tohoku Line, Negishi Line, and Yokohama Municipal Subway Blue Line.


Kiyoken Shumai Yokohama Factory is located in Yokohama. From Shin-Yokohama Station, board a Yokohama municipal bus bound for Nakamachidai and disembark at Kohoku Inter bus stop. From there, it is a five-minute walk to the factory.


Mentai Park is located on the Oarai waterfront in Ibaraki Prefecture. To reach Oarai from Tokyo, board a Hitachi limited express train and transfer in Mito to the Kashima Rinkai Tetsudo Oarai-Kashima Line. Disembark at Oarai Station. From there, it is a 20-minute walk to Mentai Park.


Recommended Itineraries


Yokohama is a great city in which to spend the day. Find thrills at Yokohama Cosmoworld, an amusement park located across from the Cup Noodles Museum, or spend time wandering the waterfront area from the Red Brick Warehouse to Yamashita Park. Leave the city for a trip back in time in Kamakura, former capital of Japan and home of the Great Buddha, as well as a number of temples and shrines.


The city of Oarai is also a beautiful place to visit. Take in Oarai Isosaki Shrine and the waterside Kamiiso-no-torii before heading to the Oarai Marine Tower for incredible views as far as Mount Fuji and Nikko on a clear day.


Related Links



Yokohama Official Visitor's Guide (English)

Oarai Tourism Association (English)

​​​​Cup Noodles Museum (English)

Kiyoken Yokohama Factory (English)

Mentai Park Oarai (Japanese)

Cupmoodles Museum (Yokohama) (English)

Oarai Mentai Park (English)

Yokohama (English)

Oarai & Hitachinaka (English)






Featured Cuisine


Cup Noodles is a perhaps the most famous brand of instant ramen. Now eaten around the world, it was first introduced in Japan in 1971.


Shumai are bite-sized steamed pork and shrimp dumplings based on the Chinese dish shao mai. They consist of minced meat wrapped in thin dumpling wrappers that leave the top open. Shumai are occasionally garnished with a green pea or other topping.


Seasoned roe from the Alaska pollock, a species of cod, is called mentaiko in Japanese. The eggs are very small and packed tightly in a thin membrane. Mentaiko is added to a variety of foods for flavor, from rice balls to spaghetti.




    Author: Helen

    Helen hails from a small town in Central Canada. Shortly after completing an honors degree in history, a desire to study karate in its birthplace drew her to Japan. Since arriving in 2006, she has earned her second dan in Goju-ryu karate, fallen head-first into Japanese culture by way of cross-cultural marriage, and written about Japan for a variety of publications. She loves traveling by Shinkansen, curling up under a heated kotatsu blanket, and eating anything with mochi.











All information is correct as of the time of writing.
Please check for the latest information before you travel.


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