Day 9: Ramen Museum and Yokohama
Today was one of only 2 days where we would travel outside of Tokyo itself, which would mean pricey public transport costs. This time, the destination was Yokohama to visit the Ramen Museum, pier and Chinatown. I was hoping for a good meal at the Ramen Museum as our previous encounters with ramen had not even been average, a strange observation as every other type of food in Japan did not fail to impress.
On the train we went, and an hour or two later, we found ourselves joining the queue to enter the museum. The ground floor to this place is actually the top floor and is where most of the souvenirs and novelty items were sold, most notably the booth which takes you through the process of making a personalized box of ramen with your picture on it. We loitered for a short while before descending the stairway to where the ramen awaited.
The interior was designed to simulate the streets of the old Tokyo sometime in 1958, with rustic looking houses and questionable signs (大人の学校). We picked a ramen shop at random and joined the queue, wondering what sort of ramen we were going to be served. A long, long time, and some chaos with the vending machine, later, we were seated with our food. There was a deep layer of oil and extremely salty soup below it. The noodle itself was alright but I probably wouldn’t eat this ramen again, not to mention it was quite expensive despite this type of food being described as the equivalent to Mcdonalds. After our meal, we had a go at the cork bullet air rifles but the prizes were too firmly stuck on for our weak bullets to push them down and we left empty handed.
Next on the agenda was to explore Yokohama’s coastal area where the famed pier awaited. It wasn’t easy finding it as we did not have a clear idea of the most efficient way to proceed, but we got there in the end, all the while battling the strong wind that we had come to associate with coastal areas in winter. Yokohama Pier is an impressive structure, stretching far towards the horizon. We took some pictures while walking along the coastline towards the marine tower.
As we had walked to the coastline from the wrong train station, we were quite a distance from the pier’s entrance so we decided not to make the trek to see the interior. Instead, we paid a visit to the Yokohama Marine Tower where only one of our party members was willing to pay the entrance fee and ascend to the viewing area. This was at the time of the photographer’s golden hour and he was able to take some rather nice photos.
Shortly after nightfall, we left the tower for Chinatown, but not before snapping a few shots of the tower in its illumination.
This Chinatown visit turned out to be exactly the same as our time in Kobe. It was red all around with stalls along the street selling various chinese snacks. We found a place to eat at, which, again, served normal Chinese food, then left the area feeling quite bored.
Things learnt today:
- Ramen Museum is a tourist trap with bad food.
- Do some research on the most efficient way of approaching Yokohama Pier.
- The Yokohama Marine Tower affords a very good view of the area and is not without some interesting gimmicks. Probably worth the entrance fee.
- Seriously, Chinatown again?! Next time just visit the restaurant which Yukirin endorses and that should be good enough.