The drive out to Itoshima is always a pleasant one. Lots of open spaces, fields of various fruits and vegetables and a countryside feel about it when compared to the busy Fukuoka City streets. To reinforce this non urban scene, the entrance towards the main building is also rather amazing as it is a full on Bamboo Grove that even though not fully grown is quite impressive never the less.
The building was larger than I expected. At first they have a viewing window where you can see the manufacturing process of the noodle component of the product. Ichiran`s soup recipe and process is a very heavily guarded secret so this portion of the process is not on the agenda unfortunately. Next, you can walk at your own speed through the Museum part of the Building which shows the history of the company, various aspects about the product and quite a few instructional and interactive exhibits which is very popular with the younger customers. There isn`t a huge amount of English subtitles but the design and the displays are all very explanatory and easy to follow.
Finally, the main part of the tour is the tasting and ordering of you favorite Ramen. I am sure that even an average ramen fan won`t be disappointed with the taste as there are many choices of Ramen open to the public thru a vending machine which starts the ordering process. The staff members are all friendly and are extremely polite to their international customers. and more than willing to flash you a smile and a wave at the end of the stay on their premises.
Of course on the way out there is also a Gift Shop of sorts that you can fill up on Instant Ramen which always is a popular gift for family and friends back home who haven`t had the pleasure of trying the genuine product.
Overall I had a great hour at the factory. I learnt a lot, will return to try another Ramen type and throughly recommend any Ramen Lover to come and see the entire process for themselves.
Please check out the Ichiran Ramen Factory here in a map:
Please click on the photos below to enlarge:
Click on the videos below to see more about the Ichiran Ramen Factory in Itoshima, Fukuoka Prefecture.