The Kewpie Museum Is A Quirky Must-See For Mayo Lovers

Kewpie Mayonnaise is among the most popular condiments in Japan, with its red cap and easily recognizable logo. It maintains a permanent spot in most Japanese kitchens and is widely regarded as an especially magical ingredient — one that people love spreading onto toast, using in fried stovetop meals, or drizzling onto anything that needs a dash of creamy umami. Kewpie mayo's unique recipe was developed almost 100 years ago, by Toichiro Nakashima, with the goal to "help improve the physiques and health of Japanese people by making delicious, nutritious mayonnaise so widely available that it becomes a daily necessity" (via Kewpie Shop). He succeeded in his mission, and today the mayo is so popular that it has its own interactive museum in Tokyo.

Mayonnaise is so huge in Japan that there's even a word for mayo lovers — "mayola". If you fall under that title, the Kewpie Mayo Museum, better known as MayoTerrace, is worth adding to your bucket list. Mayolas of all ages are free to visit and learn about Kewpie's long history. Only 15 people are permitted to walk through the museum at once, requiring visitors to book well in advance, but you get to see a variety of insightful exhibits and witness Kewpie Mayo being concocted in the on-site factory. Not sure how to use Kewpie Mayo? The museum tour provides great recipe ideas, too.

You can taste test different Kewpie mayo flavors during the tour

Those who love the tangy yet ultra-rich taste of Japan's favorite mayo will be fascinated to learn the secret of where Kewpie Mayo gets its flavor. After visitors finish marveling at the enormous walk-through mayo bottle in the museum's entryway, there are a number of programs and lectures offered for adults and kids alike. Elementary schoolers can participate in a fun cooking class to learn how the famous condiment is made. Adult visitors can experience the open kitchen factory tour, which has been a popular activity since it was first offered in 1961, long before the museum opened its doors in 2014. You'll walk away from the tour understanding the recipe details and the packaging process, and you'll even see the museum's specialized machine that cracks a whopping 600 eggs per minute.

The best part is getting to sample some creamy Kewpie varieties, like its smoky-flavored mayonnaise, try a tasty potato salad recipe, and check out the souvenir shop where you can buy Kewpie dolls and other Kewpie-related toys and novelties. If you won't be exploring Japan anytime soon, interactive MayoTerrace online museum tours can be reserved for free and are conducted over Zoom. You're sure to get some brilliant mayo-centric ideas for your next meal, and might even be inspired to make a permanent home for Kewpie Mayo in your pantry.