Whether you’re a novice cook or a seasoned pro, attending a cooking class in Japan is a fantastic way to experience Japan’s rich culinary heritage. Here, you’ll find a list of the best cooking classes in Japan—from Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto to Kanazawa—with a wide range of programs that cater to your needs and interests.
As one of the world’s best gastronomy destinations, Japan offers an abundance of culinary adventures. But if you wish to delve deeper into the art of Japanese cooking, there’s no better way than taking a cooking class in Japan!
The experience will help deepen your knowledge of the cultural roots upon which Japanese cuisine is built. It’s also a fun way to meet people and create memorable memories of your time in Japan!
To give you the best recommendations, we have enlisted our well-traveled readers to share their experiences of cooking classes in Japan. The list below highlights some of the best cooking classes (with 5 stars reviews) that will take you on a mouthwatering journey.
From making soba noodles to basic sushi-making, or perfecting okonomiyaki to learning traditional Japanese cuisine washoku, or private classes for professionals to easy home-style cooking, there is everything for everyone.
Tokyo and Kanto Region
Location: Tsukiji District
Learn the techniques of kneading and cutting buckwheat dough from the world’s well-known Japanese cooking school, which specializes in soba making. The founder, Akila Inouye, is a master chef with many qualifications, including authoring 12 cookbooks and supervising the Japanese edition of “The Dictionary of Cookery Terms”. Steve Jobs once took a class there in 2002 and started to introduce soba noodles to the menu in the cafeteria at Apple headquarters.
In addition to soba-making, the school also offers classes on easy Japanese home cooking. The lessons are in English and have flexible arrangements, including big group cooking classes and workshops for professionals.
JOC Fan’s Feedback: “My family took a class on New Years Eve a few years back with a wonderful chef of great knowledge, experience, and skill. He was very engaging and fun and all four of us were mesmerized by this charming and gracious man. We each successfully made a batch of soba too.”
Location: Setagata Ward
Elizabeth is the advocate and guardian of true Japanese cuisine and its food culture. Consider yourself lucky if you have the opportunity to cook with her! On her website, you can find custom programs such as Hands-On Cooking workshop or Tasting-Demo Lunch, along with a private market tour.
JOC Fan’s Feedback: “The very best. I’ve taken several of her classes over the years, and I try to take one every time I am in Tokyo. No one can match her for depth of knowledge, expertise, and thoroughness.”
Location: Tokyo, Kyoto, Gunma, Yokohama, Kobe
Interested in learning authentic plant-based Japanese cooking? BentoYa is one of the best places to learn how to create healthy vegetable-heavy dishes with traditional Japanese approaches. You’d absolutely enjoy cooking with the founder and teacher, Akiko, who is enigmatic and has a great depth of knowledge. Group and private classes are available.
Location: Arakawa City
Awarded the Traveler’s Choice Best of the Best Award for 2023, this cooking class is taught by a chef/YouTuber/food writer YUCa came from a family of farmers in the northern part of Japan. The classes are conducted in a cozy, airy, and welcoming space. You’ll enjoy learning how to make popular Japanese dishes like gyoza, ramen, okonomiyaki, bento, or home meal set from this talented instructor.
Location: Kunitachi City
Learn how to make miso ramen from scratch in an intimate setting with a lovable lady instructor named Nahoko. She even offers a free Japanese Language trial class after the ramen class. That’s double the experience!
You can read all the reviews here.
Location: Sumida Ward
The instructor is currently on maternity leave as of this update but we recommend checking her Instagram when she’s back in action. She offers a variety of classes, including sushi rolls and mochi, and classes for kids too.
Wagashi (Japanese sweets) is a time-honored art form, and this is the place to learn traditional and modern Japanese sweets in English. Instructor Miyuki Suyari teaches classes from her home kitchen so you will be able to enjoy cooking in a small group and cozy atmosphere.
JOC Fan’s Feedback: “It was so much fun I’m on the fence on whether I want to buy my own tools and start a new hobby!“
Location: Shinjuku Ward
A Tripadvisor Travelers’ Choice for each of the past 6 years, and chosen as one of the TOP 10 activities in all of Japan in 2018, Mayuko’s Little Kitchen is another fantastic option for highly engaging and personalized cooking classes. You get to learn local culture and homestyle meals in an actual Japanese home from Mayuko.
JOC Fan’s Feedback: “Great teacher, we had so much fun. Even after 7 years I still use her recipes.”
Location: Kamakura City
Kamukura is a prominent seaside resort town in Kanagawa prefecture with dozens of Buddhist Zen temples and Shinto shrines. Naturally, you can find some of the best cooking classes specializing in shōjin ryōri (精進料理) or traditional Buddhist temple cuisine, which consists of a vegetarian or vegan diet.
They have two teachers, Mari Fujii, a specialist in Shojin cuisine who has written many recipe books in Japanese and in English, and Miyo Ishii, who is 91 years old and energetic.
They opened their first Japanese cooking school in Kyoto in 2014, and since then, they have branched out to Tokyo and Kyoto. Participants learn how to cook Japanese cuisine from local instructors. From their Kyoto studio, you get to choose bento or izakaya classes which use seasonal ingredients.
This renowned school is listed as Cuisine 44 of One Hundred Experiences in Japan, selected by the Japan National Tourism Organization. You get to learn and cook with Master Chef Shuji Ozeki, a highly skilled professional with 40 years of experience. Chef Shuji offers a wide range of workshops, from Japanese home-style cooking to obento to Japanese tea ceremony.
JOC Fan’s Feedback: “It was awesome! He has so much knowledge!”
Location: Chuo Ward
The instructor Machiko teaches washoku home-style cooking and Japanese customs. Plus, she also specializes in halal if that’s something you need.
JOC Fan’s Feedback: “The owner/instructor is amazing and patient. Her classes are held at her apartment and are private classes. She even suggested some cool shopping places we would have never found if not for her recommendations.”
Location: Nishi Ward
From basic techniques in sushi-making to advanced master classes, you’ll find different programs that suit your needs.
JOC Fan’s Feedback: “Great! I took the tempura class. It was informative, got some good tips so I can create them at home. The teacher was wonderful and the venue was perfect. I have taken many cooking classes all over the world and they are top-notch.”
Hiroshima is renowned for its unique style of okonomiyaki, a savory pancake layered with cabbage, noodles, meat, and a variety of toppings. In this dedicated cooking class, you’ll discover the secrets behind creating this Hiroshima specialty.
This is the first and only cooking studio focused on koji cooking. You’ll learn the methods that can be applied to ingredients available in your own country. A great one to explore if you follow a vegetarian or vegan diet.
JOC Fan’s Feedback: “The best cooking class I did in Japan! It was so much more than a cooking class and was an experience of a lifetime. Cooking studio Kanazawa salon. I would consider going to Kanazawa again just to cook with the lovely ladies again.”
If you are in the area, we recommend looking up the learning calendar on the Rokkasho Village Folk Museum webpage. They offer various interesting hands-on learnings, including cooking classes on how to make senbei, kujira mochi, and milk mochi.
If you have attended a cooking class in Japan and enjoyed the experience, please leave your recommendations (the name of the school, website/social media, location) in the comment box below. We’ll update the list regularly, so do check back for more recommendations!