Top 10 Japanese Factory Tours in Kansai As Voted By Japanese Locals
Factory tours are a fun and educational day out for the family, and since they're usually free, they can be a great choice for any travelers on a budget, too. Major Japanese travel website, Jalan, recently held a survey asking Japanese locals about their favorite factory tours in the Kansai region. Topping the list were tours of factories that make worldwide Japanese favorites like Pocky, Asahi beer, and Kewpie mayonnaise. Read on to learn about the top 10 factory tours in Osaka, Kyoto, and Kobe!
Sep 27 2019 (Sep 09 2020)
Best Factory Tours in Kansai Survey Results
A factory tour gives you a look behind the scenes of a world most of us don't get to see every day. It's also a fun way to learn about the history and culture of food and industry in Japan.
What actually makes a great factory tour? Jalan asked survey responders what factors were important for them when they were deciding on which tour to check out. The first answer by far was whether or not the tour was free! Respondents also liked to see food samples, which definitely explains why nine out of the ten factories in this list are at factories that make food. Other deciding factors were whether or not there was enough to do to spend the day there, whether or not there were souvenirs to buy, and whether or not there are activities the whole family can enjoy.
The Top 10 Factory Tours in Kansai
1. Cup Noodles Museum | Osaka
Taking first place is the Cup Noodle Museum in Ikeda City, Osaka. This museum teaches you about the importance of innovation and discovery as framed through the invention of instant ramen.
This factory tour is well known for its popular hands-on areas, including the Chicken Ramen Factory where visitors can make their own ramen from scratch, and the My Cup Noodle Factory, where you can pick your soup and ingredients to create your very own personalized cup noodle!
2. Meiji Naruhodo Factory | Osaka
Recently re-opened after renovations in May 2018, the Meiji Naruhodo (which means, "I see!") Factory tour is structured around the manufacture of two famous Meiji products: the bamboo shoot-shaped cookie, Takenoko no Sato, and the mushroom-shaped cookie, Kinoko no Yama.
With displays structured like an assembly line, this tour takes you through the process of making candy, starting from how the raw ingredients, such as cocoa, are sourced. You'll have a chance to learn more broadly about the world of chocolate as you see, touch, experience, and enjoy learning about how these beloved sweets are made.
3. Asahi Beer Suita Brewery | Osaka
The Asahi Beer Suita Factory in Osaka was Asahi's first brewery, and today it has a great free tour that allows you to see the Asahi production line and sample freshly-brewed beer. Beer lovers are also sure to get a kick out of the World Beer Collection Exhibition Corner that displays beer packaging from all around the world.
4. Coca-Cola Bottlers Japan Kyoto Plant | Kyoto
You can see the production line plus a range of fun exhibits about the world's most iconic drink at Coca-Cola Bottlers Japan's Kyoto Plant.
Displays include a Time Tunnel that features Japanese Coca-Cola designs over the years. Once you pass through the can-shaped path and see the production line, you can stop at the factory's photo spot to commemorate your visit!
5. Glicopia Kobe | Kobe
Glicopia in Kobe is the site of the factory that makes the world-famous snack Pocky and its savory equivalent, Pretz. Here you can see the factory line, learn about new sweets made using the latest cutting-edge Japanese technology, and even try your hand at making some sweets yourself!
Glico fans can also pick up some original Pocky and Pretz souvenirs, and maybe even some exclusive snacks, too.
6. Meiji Naruhodo Factory Kansai | Osaka
The second Meiji factory tour to appear on this top 10 list, the Meiji Naruhodo Factory Kansai is all about yogurt! This is a great tour to visit with children as an educational outing. They'll learn how yogurt is made and about nutrition more generally by looking at the health benefits of dairy. Visitors can even take part in butter making workshops!
7. Japan Mint | Osaka
As the only non-food factory in this top 10 list, the Japanese Mint has some unique charms all of its own! For one, it's conveniently located in the center of Osaka, and its gardens are also known locally as one of the best spots for cherry blossoms in the city.
The guided tour here teaches you about how the Japanese Mint is run, and lets you see currency being made on the factory line. Afterwards, the tour takes you to the Mint Museum to learn more about the history of something we all care about - money! While some of the tours on this list are definitely more family-orientated, this tour is sure to be interesting for kids and adults alike.
8. Kewpie Kobe Factory Open Kitchen | Hyogo
Whether as a salad dressing or a topping for okonomiyaki and takoyaki, Kewpie mayonnaise is definitely an indispensable kitchen staple in Japan. Of course, this brand has diehard fans all over the world too!
There are two options for guided factory tours at the Kewpie Kobe Factory: a Mayonnaise Course and a Dressings Course. After the tour, you can visit the factory's informative displays, and then finish your visit with some delicious food samples!
9. Kirin Brewery Tour | Shiga
Kirin Beer Factory in Shiga offers a selection of tours. The Kirin Ichiban Brewery Tour allows you to touch, smell, and even taste hops and malt, the raw ingredients that are used to make beer, and then learn all about the mashing and fermentation process. Whisky lovers will enjoy the Fuji-Sanroku Distillery Tour, which provides a hands on experience of the different aroma profiles of whisky and a chance to see the enormous grain stills used in its production, too. Of course, both tours end with beer or whisky tastings!
If you're visiting with kids, the Kirin Gogo-no-Kocha Tour might be more interesting! This tour allows visitors to smell the different types of tea leaves used to make this famous iced tea drink, see how PET bottles are molded up-close, and then take a tour to see the entire production line.
10. Mentai Park Kobe Sanda | Hyogo
In 10th place is Mentai Park, located in Sanda, Kobe. Mentaiko, or pollock roe, is a very popular Japanese ingredient that might not be as familiar to international visitors. Here you can take a factory tour where you can see mentaiko being processed and pickled. After, you can sample foods made with fresh mentaiko, dine-in at the food court, and buy some mentaiko direct from the factory to take home, too. You might even discover your new favorite food here!
Experience a Factory Tour in Japan!
A factory tour is definitely a little off the beaten track of things to do in Japan, so if you're looking for a unique experience during your time here, why not find out how your favorite Japanese foods are made? A factory tour is a perfect way to break up trips to Japan's many historical sites if you're traveling with kids, too.
If you're visiting Tokyo instead, or just want to read more, check out our round up of the 10 Best Factory Tours in the Kanto Area!
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The information in this article is accurate at the time of publication.