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Factory Tours and Interactive Facilities in Japan to Find Out How Products Are Made

If you are wondering how various products are made, you should go on a tour of the actual factories where certain products are made to learn more about them! Below are some of the popular factory tours and interactive facilities found in Japan. Why not add an interactive sightseeing trip to your itinerary?

What Are Factory Tours and Interactive Facilities?

The tour contents and details may vary, but companies usually open the doors of their factories and other facilities to the public so that they can learn about the manufacturing processes of products with the help of professional guides and through other means. Sometimes, visitors even get to taste or drink the products, or receive goods as souvenirs after the tour. There are also facilities where they can enjoy participation-type plans, such as plans where they can experience a part of the production processes hands-on.

※Photo is for illustration purposes

Where Can I Experience Them?

You can go on these tours and interactive experiences at the factories and breweries of manufacturers all throughout Japan, as well as at attached facilities, such as museums, where you can learn about the history of the companies. This article will feature three famous facilities located in Hokkaido, Yokohama and Kyoto!

※Photo is for illustration purposes

Hokkaido

Nikka Whisky Yoichi Distillery

Nikka Whisky has long been loved as the first name in Japanese whisky. The Yoichi Distillery is its historic brewery that was built in Yoichi City, Hokkaido, in 1934, under company founder Masataka Taketsuru's belief that “whisky is nurtured by the climate of the north.” This distillery manufactures whisky according to the “quality first principle,” and still adopts a traditional direct coal-fired distillation method for its products. Inside this brewery, you can learn about whisky manufacturing methods and processes, tour the museum that showcases the history of whisky, and even visit a portion of the Taketsuru family's private residence. You can also sample the whisky after the guided tour.

Price: Free
Number of guests that can be accommodated: From 1 person
Reservation: Required for the guided tour, but for the free tour, reservation is only required if there are 11 or more people in the group and if a private chartered bus is used
Multilingual support: The guided tour is only in Japanese, however pamphlets and display panels are in different languages (English, Chinese and Korean). There is also a multilingual tool that can be downloaded to a smart phone and then used.

NIKKA WHISKY

NIKKA WHISKY

Nikka Whisky Yoichi Distillery

7-6 Kurokawa-cho, Yoichi-cho, Yoichi-gun, Hokkaido

Yokohama

Cup Noodles Museum Yokohama (Momofuku Ando Memorial Hall, Yokohama)

Experience the “creative thinking” concept of Momofuku Ando, the founder of Nissin Foods who invented Chicken Ramen, the world’s first instant ramen. Inside the museum, there are displays that will help you learn about the history of instant ramen, tips on inventions and discoveries, as well as attractions such as the My Cup Noodles Factory (※1), a workshop where you can create your very own, one-of-a-kind Cup Noodle, and the Chicken Ramen Factory (※2), a workshop where you can make Chicken Ramen by hand. Learn tips on inventing and discovering while looking, touching, playing, eating, and enjoying the attractions.

Museum admission fee: 500 JPY (incl. tax) for adults (university students and older), high school students and younger guests are free
My Cup Noodles Factory: 300 JPY (incl. tax) for each Cup Noodles
Chicken Ramen Factory: 500 JPY (incl. tax) for junior high school students and older guests, and 300 JPY (incl. tax) for elementary school students
*There are other attractions that require separate fees
Number of guests that can be accommodated: From 1 person
Reservation: Advanced reservation may be required, depending on the attraction
Age restrictions: There may be age and height restrictions in some attractions
Multilingual support: The guide on the interactive workshop is in Japanese only. For foreigners, refer to the process sheet for multilingual explanations (English and traditional and simplified Chinese)

(※1) For the My Cup Noodles Factory experience, you will need to have a numbered ticket, which is based on the order of arrival, that is given upon entry or an admission ticket with ticket for My Cup Noodles Factory. Once the set number of tickets has been reached, reception and sales for the day will be closed.
(※2) For the Chicken Ramen Factory, advanced reservation is required. Guests younger than elementary school students are not allowed.

Cup Noodles Museum Yokohama (Momofuku Ando Memorial Hall, Yokohama)

2-3-4 Shinko, Naka-ku, Yokohama-shi, Kanagawa

Kyoto

The Main Location of Otabe – Otabe-Making Experience Dojo

Otabe is a classic confectionery that has become one of the most common Kyoto souvenirs. An extremely popular kind of wagashi (Japanese sweet), otabe is made by wrapping tsubuan (coarse sweet red bean paste) in unbaked yatsuhashi (※) (cinnamon-seasoned cookie made with glutinous rice flour). There is a facility located in Kyoto’s Minami Ward that will let you tour an otabe factory and experience making this treat by hand. In the first half of the tour, you will be asked to mix the ingredients and put them in a steamer. While the confection is cooking, you will be toured around the production lines in the factory. During the tour, you can sample the otabe that is made at the factory. After the tour, you will knead the steamed dough to finish your own otabe. You can eat the otabe right there along with highly aromatic matcha (powdered green tea). The guide is in Japanese only, so foreigners are advised to have interpreters.

Admission fee: 600 JPY (incl. tax, with postcard)
Schedule: 3 times a day (9:30 am, 12:00 pm and 2:00 pm)
Number of guests that can be accommodated: 1 – 40 persons (up to 16 guests only in the 12:00 pm session)
Reservation: Required at least a week in advance
Age restrictions: Guest must be at least 11 years old
Multilingual support: The guide is in Japanese only. For foreigners, there is a handbook with illustrations in different languages (English, traditional and simplified Chinese, and Korean)

(※) Dough made using rice flour, sugar and cinnamon is steamed, rolled into a thin sheet and then cut

The Main Location of Otabe – Otabe-Making Experience Dojo

35-2 Nishikujo Takahata-cho, Minami-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto

It might be a great idea to try experience-based sightseeing, which will let you deepen your knowledge about famous products while having fun, into the itinerary of your next trip.

*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.

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