They have become a popular snack worldwide and now Japan has opened a tribute to its tasty instant noodles with a museum in their honour.
Nissin Foods, which manufactures the ramen noodles, has opened a museum near Tokyo to chart the history of the snack and commemorate the 40th anniversary of the first cup noodles made by the company.
Around 500 noodle fans queued up for the opening in the port city of Yokohama, including one of Japan’s former prime ministers.
Junichiro Koizumi, Japanese premiere from 2001 to 2006, joined children in aprons who set to work making noodles for the opening.
Nissin Foods Holdings president Koki Ando said: ‘We opened this place... as a factory that gives children experience and a museum for corporate activities.'
Mr Ando, whose late father Momofuku Ando invented instant noodles more than half a century ago, said visitors could knead flour, roll out noodles, steam and fry them to make chicken ramen which is then put into bags.
In another area of the museum called ‘My Cup Noodle Factory’, visitors can design cups, put dried noodles in them and pick toppings and broth for their own versions of cupped meals - with the potential to create more than 5,000 different versions.
The museum exhibits packages of Nissin instant noodles from around the world over the decades and houses restaurants that serve food such as Vietnamese pho noodles and pasta from Italy.
There are giant cup noodle containers in the museum for children to play in.
Momofuku Ando was still active in the business, although in a lower-profile role, at the ripe old age of 95 in 2005, the year Nissin supplied vacuum packed instant noodles or 'Space Ram' to a Japanese astronaut aboard a U.S. space shuttle.
He died of acute heart failure in 2007.
The businessman, born in 1910 in Taiwan under Japanese occupation, entered the food business when Japan was hungry after World War II and invented the world's first instant noodles, chicken ramen noodles sold in bags, in 1958.
He launched the cupped version in 1971 with a pre-cooked slab of noodles in a waterproof styrofoam container.
Mr Ando saw his invention stocked on the shelves of convenience stores around the world.
In Britain they are known as Pot Noodles and made by Unilever in Wales.
As the products were widely replicated, more than 95 billion servings were consumed around the globe in 2010, according to the Japanese instant noodles manufacturers' association.
Mr Ando said he was inspired to develop the product when he saw a long line of people waiting to buy soup noodles at a black market stall in post-war Japan.
‘Peace prevails when food suffices,’ he was quoted as saying.
The museum is Nissin's second devoted to instant noodles after one opened in the western Japan province of Osaka in 1999.
The multi-storey Yokohama museum has a total floor space of 10,000 square metres (107,600 square feet) - three times bigger than the Osaka museum.