Chukaman Museum ~ free nikuman factory tour in Iruma
The “Only in Saitama” series continues with Saitama’s latest free factory tour. The Chukaman Museum is a Nikuman (pork buns) Factory tour in Iruma. It is the first, and currently only, museum of its type in the whole of Japan. The museum opened in Iruma on January 25th 2019 and before long it was in popular demand.
The museum requires that you book in advance online. They normally take bookings for between two and nine people. You can book in advance (subject to availability) for the current month and the following two months after. However, due to the Coronavirus the museum was closed to the public for much of 2020 and 2021. Moreover, in 2022, the factory is closed for renovations until the middle of August. However, they currently have an online tour.
This is the web page for the online tour. It shows the dates and times of the next online tours. Click on the time you are interested to book a slot for the free online tour. The online tour takes about 40 minutes. They are conducted in Japanese. The booking form is also in Japanese.
Information for when they go back to regular tours: There are usually two tours a day, five days a week between Friday and Tuesday. The museum / factory is closed on Wednesday and Thursday except during spring break when they have two weeks of daily tours. The tours are at 10 am and 2 pm. They last about an hour and a half. The tour involves a short video introduction followed by a tour of the factory. After that they introduce the deliciousness of nikuman through a game. Finally you end the tour with a nikuman tasting.
The museum is brought to you by (Shinjuku) Nakamuraya, a bakery famed for introducing curry to Japan. There is a great story to how the bakery came to serve curry and subsequently became a restaurant. The abbreviated version: the family gave refuge to an Indian revolutionist, Bose, who had fled India during World War I. Bose thought he could attract new customers to the bakery with the aroma of spices from his home country. 100 years later and that aroma is still attracting people! It now attracts people from all over Japan and indeed all over the world, who want to sample the taste of Japan’s first ever curry.
Chukaman Museum Information
Open: Closed until mid August 2022. When it is open: Friday through Tuesday, closed on Wednesdays and Thursdays except during Spring Break.
Tour times: in a non Covid year – 10 am and 2 pm
Tour duration: the tour lasts about 90 minutes in person, 40 minutes online.
Reservation: Essential. A reservation must be made online through their online booking form for the factory tour. However, in 2021 during the State of Emergency you can only take a tour online. The form for that is here.
Address: 234 Sayamadai, Iruma-shi, Saitama-ken 358-0033.
Plus code: R935+46 Iruma, Saitama Prefecture
The Chukaman factory is near the tea museum “ALIT” and close to Costco and Mitsui Outlet in Iruma. Iruma city is a popular day trip location for expats living in Tokyo, due to its proximity and ease of access (by car) from the capital. Iruma city can be accessed by the Ken-o expressway. The Chukaman Museum, free nikuman factory tour, is about a 10 minute drive from the Iruma interchange of the Ken-o expressway. However, for this particular attraction, its a little trickier by public transport. The nearest station is about a 40 minute walk away: Kaneko station on the Hachiko line.
More in the “Only in Saitama” series:
- Visiting Totoro at the house of Kurosuke | TOKOROZAWA
- Santome Konjaku – outdoor theme park
- Skip City Visual Museum | KAWAGUCHI
- Little Prince Parking Area, Kanetsu Expressway
- Metsä Village – a Finnish leisure park in Hanno
- TeamLab Acorn Forest, Higashi Tokorozawa Park
- Peruse EVEN MORE “Only in Saitama” Attractions