As a main staple of Japanese cuisine, noodles have come to be one of Japan's most exported dishes. There are many types of Japanese noodles that are very common across the country.
Ramen - These thin, wheat-based noodles can be served in a meat, fish, soy, or miso based broth with sliced meats and vegetables. There are many types of regional-style ramen dishes that vary in preparation, flavor, and ingredients.
Ramen enthusiasts around the globe have been making their way to the city of Yokohama for over 15 years, where Japan's premier ramen museum resides. Founded by Yoji Iwaoka in 1993 and opened in 1994, the Shin-Yokohama Raumen Museum became the first "food amusement park" in the world, attracting international visitors seeking to experience the history and origin behind all things ramen. Iwaoka, feeling strong ties to his hometown, established the ramen museum to celebrate his two passions in life: his city and his ramen.
The Ramen Museum is divided into two separate themed areas. A highly diverse food court features dishes from Sapporo, Asahikawa, Fukushima, Tokyo, Yokohama, Wakayama, Hakata, and Kumamoto, all of which produce distinct flavors unique to their local resources. Each restaurant in the food court serves both large and small bowls so that real enthusiasts may try each particular flavor from around the country. Even more distinctive is the 1:1 replica of a small section of Tokyo in 1958 that was built to complement the rest of the museum. According to Iwaoka, this era is often referred to with fond nostalgia in Japan when instant noodles were invented, further establishing Japan on the culinary map. Combined with the notion that certain restaurants in the museum have been in existence for over three generations, the Ramen Museum accentuates Japan's authority as noodle connoisseurs.
Don't miss out on the Ramen Museum when traveling to the city of Yokohama. For a small 300 yen (about $3.25) entrance fee, spend the day discovering why ramen is an integral facet of Japanese culinary culture, try flavors that best suit your palette, or even challenge yourself to trying ramen from every region of Japan. You may even discover a flavor you love and travel to that region during your trip, which would be an unforgettable experience in itself. In any case, come to Japan's second largest city and experience the highly entertaining, appetite-satisfying adventures of the Shin Yokohama Raumen Museum.
More well known noodle destinations - Kitakata Ramen, Takayama Ramen
For more information, please visit: http://www.raumen.co.jp/
Soba - Soba noodles are made from buckwheat flour and have a light, delicious flavor. Oftentimes soba noodles are served with various dipping sauces. Nagano and Okinawa are specific parts of Japan where you can find the best regional versions of dishes that use soba noodles.
Udon - Udon noodles are very thick and often served cold during the summer months. They are white, wheat-based noodles that are nice and filling.
In the Kagawa Prefecture's capital city of Takamatsu lies some of the most delicious Sanuki Udon, or wheat flour noodles, that Japan has to offer. Widely regarded to be Japan's regional "Udon Kingdom", restaurants and manufacturers produce this thick delicious noodle to be served with various broths and ingredients depending on the region. Soba, on the other hand, is Udon's noodle counterpart. Served cold with a dipping sauce or submerged in a hot delicious broth, soba is a thin noodle made of buckwheat flour, most famously made in the Nagano Prefecture. Explore the myriad offerings Japan has to offer in the noodle world, and decide which one is your favorite. Chances are, you will have more than one!
Somen - Somen noodles are thin, wheat-based noodles that are usually served with dipping sauces in the summertime. Usually during the hot summer months, Japanese people consume large portions of chilled somen to keep cool.