The Ramen Expo in Expo Commemoration Park (more commonly known as Banpakukoen) takes place this year over four consecutive weekends (including Fridays) in December, so the the dates for the festival are actually Dec 6th – Dec 8th, Dec 13th – 15th, Dec 20th – 22nd and Dec 24th – 29th. There will be up to 40 stores from around Japan setup in the park, although each weekend will see a different group of ramen makers landing at the expo.
Entry to the event is free and you can buy tickets at the venue to exchange for a bowl of ramen at any of the stalls. A bowl will cost you ¥700 but you can save a little by getting two tickets for ¥1,300 or four for ¥2,500.
The expo park is best accessed via the Bampakukinenkoen station on the Osaka Monorail line. It takes under 20 minutes direct from the airport, around 40-45 minutes from Osaka Namba or Umeda (witch a change at Senrichuo).
If you are keen to stay right next to the park, the Hotel Hankyu is a smart hotel used for all the events hosted in the park. Staying closer to the city center may be more practical, however with options like the Dormy Inn Natural Hot Spring Hotel and Fuku Yado Hostel which has resonable rates and a mix of traditional and modern elements. If you like capsule hotels – then Y’s Cabin is a simple but smart option with traditional baths and comfy beds.