15 Cooking Classes in Tokyo to Learn How to Cook Japanese Food!
Learn how to cook authentic and traditional dishes from local experts in Tokyo, one of the greatest food destinations in the world! Here are 15 great cooking classes, all offered in English to give you a richer experience of Japanese culture. From popular dishes like sushi and ramen to lesser-known dishes, cooking Japanese food is not as difficult as it may seem. Many of these classes also offer vegetarian, vegan, halal, and kosher alternatives!
Sep 12 2019 (Dec 03 2019)
1. airKitchen: Handmade Udon with Tempura
Udon is a traditional noodle dish in Japan, and this class will teach you how to make your own noodles as well as dashi, a type of Japanese soup stock used in countless traditional dishes. Most Japanese chefs are required to master the dashi, so it’s a great place to start learning the essential elements of Japanese cuisine. The instructor will first show you how to make udon from scratch, and then how to make tempura using fresh, seasonal ingredients.
This is the most popular experience hosted by airKitchen, a useful website that offers a wide variety of authentic Japanese cooking classes for visitors through classes taught by local experts. There is a wide variety of cuisines and classes, not just in Tokyo but across multiple regions in Japan, so pick and choose according to your location, budget, and cravings! You can find all of their cooking classes in Tokyo here.
Area: Sumida-ku (Free pick-up from Hikifune Station)
2. Buddha Bellies Cooking School Tokyo - Decorative Sushi
Learn how to make beautiful mosaic sushi in a bento box at Buddha Bellies Cooking School Tokyo! Once you’ve learned how to make these works of art, you will easily be able to impress your friends and family back home. Buddha Bellies caters to a range of skills, so no worries if you aren’t a sushi master yet. Their wide variety of classes are taught in a cozy and friendly atmosphere, and all of their recipes are made to be easily replicated at home.
Decorative sushi are just one step above the regular sushi rolls and they make great party food! Learn how to make two types of sushi roll designs, on top of how to perfect the classic sushi roll. Voted as one of the top activities in Tokyo on Tripadvisor, this class has vegetarian/vegan/halal/kosher-friendly options available. Be warned, your final product may just look too good to eat!
Area: Bunkyo-ku (Meetup location: Yushima Station)
3. airKitchen - Make Your Own Noodles from Scratch! Pan-Fried Gyoza & Ramen Cooking Class
This is Japan’s equivalent of learning how to make pasta from scratch in Italy! By learning how to make the ingredients from scratch, you will gain a better understanding about the sources of the ingredients and their importance to the dish.
Ramen and gyoza are a common pairing in Japan, and once you’ve mastered the basics, you will be able to make your own creations at home. The instructor Yumi has twenty years of experience working for international luxury hotels, and is passionate about sharing Japanese culture with travelers from all around the world. Make sure to let her know in advance if you require a vegetarian option!
Area: Chuo-ku (Free pickup from the nearest station: Tsukiji Station)
4. Japanese Home Cooking Class Yurico - Okonomiyaki Osaka-Style
Maybe you tried the famous okonomiyaki (savory Japanese pancakes) in Osaka and can’t stop thinking about it, or maybe you want to enjoy an authentic okonomiyaki for the first time - this is the class for you! Osaka-style okonomiyaki is an ingredient-packed dish, usually made with flour, eggs, pork, cabbage, leek, and other ingredients, but if you’re vegetarian, Yurico recommends substituting cheese for the pork.
Once you’ve learned how to make miso soup and two side dishes to go with the okonomiyaki, you will confidently be able to say that you can make an entire Japanese meal! There are vegan and vegetarian dish-based classes, and all of her classes are private up to four people, meaning you will get a lot of one-on-one help to refine your cooking skills!
5. airKitchen - Traditional Buddhist Cuisine
Shojin ryori is a type of traditional Japanese cuisine that originated from Buddhist monasteries. The fresh and simple ingredients do not include any animal products so vegans are very welcome to participate. The instructor Yoko has experience learning how to cook from a Buddhist monk, and she will impart her knowledge to you to make sure you leave with the skill to make delicious traditional dishes.
In this class, you will learn how to make tempura with seasonal vegetables, sesame tofu, cooked vegetables, and miso soup. Yoko is a vegetable specialist, so you can be sure that you will be cooking with the freshest, seasonal ingredients. Sesame tofu in particular is a staple shojin ryori dish, and it will expand your horizons of tofu, a famously healthy food made out of soybeans.
Area: Kawasaki (Free pickup from the nearest station: Kajigaya Station)
6. Tokyo Sushi-Making Tour - Group Lesson
The Tokyo Sushi-Making Tour class specializes in sushi lessons, meaning you will not only learn how to make sushi, you will also learn about its history, types, manners, and even Japanese phrases! This class is great for families with young children, as well as anyone interested in an in-depth class on sushi-making and sushi culture.
The professional sushi instructors will show you how to make sushi, starting with the vinegared rice. They have achieved TripAdvisor’s Certificate of Excellence for the past five years, and they provide various alternatives according to dietary restrictions, from vegetable sushi, halal soy sauce and vinegar, to safe ingredients for people with allergies.
7. airKitchen - Home-style Vegetable or Meat Gyoza from Scratch with Strawberry Daifuku
If you want to learn how to make an entire Japanese meal, from appetizer to dessert, this one’s for you! Get your share of savory and sweet, starting with Japanese omelet, gyoza, and miso soup. Japanese omelets in particular could go either way, as the Kanto region of Japan prefers it sweet while the Kansai region likes it more savory.
Then, learn how to make the popular traditional sweet, “strawberry daifuku” (strawberry and sweet bean paste wrapped in mochi), and voila! You can now cook an entire Japanese meal from start to finish. This class is vegetarian-friendly, and the meat ingredients for gyoza can easily be substituted for vegetables. While you learn how to cook Japanese food, the instructor Junko is happy to share her favorite restaurants in Tokyo, as well as the trendiest new sightseeing spots to help you enjoy your trip.
Area: Ota-ku (Free pickup from the nearest station: Omori Station)
8. Cooking School YUKA MAZDA - Gyoza & Wagyu Beef Gyudon Course
This cooking class is designed to make sure that you can replicate the dishes back home. The instructor Yuka Mazda will even teach you how to cook rice in a pot as opposed to rice cookers, which most Japanese households own, so that you acquire the life-long skill of cooking delicious rice. Through this class, you can learn how to make two mouth-watering dishes: gyoza (fried Japanese dumplings) and wagyu beef gyudon (Japanese beef rice bowl).
Yuka is passionate about teaching simple recipes for seemingly complex dishes, and has published many cook books and even appeared on cooking shows. If you have any dietary restrictions, feel free to notify her in advance to make adjustments to the menu.
Area: Shibuya-ku (Meeting point at Ebisu Station)
9. Tsukiji Cooking - Tsukiji Market Tour & Cooking Class
What better way to experience Tokyo’s famous Tsukiji Market than to learn how to cook with fresh ingredients directly from the market? In this class, you will visit Tsukiji’s outer market led by an expert to purchase fresh seafood, and then head back to the cooking studio to learn how to make two types of sushi along with a side dish. Seasonal ingredients are very important to traditional Japanese cuisine, and being involved in the cooking of a dish from the selection of the ingredients is a valuable experience.
You may have heard that parts of Tsukiji Market moved to Toyosu, but the outer retail market is still located in its original place so you will be able to visit the traditional shops and find top-quality seafood. Tsukiji Cooking also offers professional sommelier certification courses for sake and tofu! Contact them in advance for vegetarian options and special dietary needs.
10. airKitchen - Green Tea Swiss Roll
Matcha has become a popular ingredient and flavor around the world, but it can be challenging to master the right sweetness to bitterness ratio, which is what you can learn in this class. Swiss rolls are a European dessert, but incorporate matcha and red beans and you get a delicious Japanese-style version!
The instructor Kana is a nutritionist, so as you cook you can learn all about the nutritional benefits of matcha. She can also provide you with tips for your trip while you enjoy a coffee together to ask all of your questions about Japanese culture.
Area: Minato-ku (Free pickup from the nearest station: Shinagawa Station)
11. Cooking Salon Inwei - Vegetable Sushi Class
If you’re looking for a vegetarian-friendly cooking class, try a vegetable sushi class! At Cooking Salon Inwei, you can learn how to cook various vegetarian dishes including miso soup, vegetarian sushi, and fried tofu from a friendly mother-daughter cooking duo.
This class will teach you how to make vegetarian recipes to show you that they are just as delicious, if not more delicious than non-vegetarian dishes! At the end of the class, you will be gifted a special recipe book to take home so that you have a great inventory of vegetarian dishes to cook.
Area: Ota-ku (Free pickup from Gakugei-daigaku Station/Den-en-chofu Station)
12. TOKYO KITCHEN Japanese Cooking Class - Katsu Curry
Japanese curry is a staple household dish in Japan, and unlike the curry served in India and other parts of the world. Depending on the family, various ingredients such as potatoes, onions, meat, and carrots are used in addition to the standard curry roux cubes, making it a simple yet special meal loved by many Japanese families.
TOKYO KITCHEN is run by Yoshimi, and she will teach you the two secret ingredients used in her family’s take on Japanese curry. You will also learn how to make delicious “tonkatsu” (Japanese pork cutlet) to go with the curry in this exciting class, great for both solo and group travelers! Let her know in advance for vegetarian or gluten-free arrangements.
13. airKitchen - Anime Characters Lunchbox Class
Learn how to make an anime character lunch box from the winner of the 2018 International Character Lunch Box Contest! In this class, you will learn how to make a bento box that will impress all of your friends at lunch while learning valuable cooking tips and tricks.
While this class is located a little farther from central Tokyo, it is a popular class for children and equally fun for mothers to learn how to spruce up their children’s lunches! Vegetarian options are available, and the instructor Yoshie will cater to any level of cooking, so whether you’re a bento box aficionado or just an anime fan, you can learn how to make lunch boxes to look forward to.
Area: Saitama (Free pickup from nearest station: Shinden Station)
14. Sushi Mafia Tokyo - Tokyo Sushi Mafia Workshop
Sushi Mafia Tokyo’s workshop provides a tour of Tsukiji Market with an expert local guide, where you will be able to sample various foods and beverages. After the tour, the chefs will teach you how to make sushi using Michelin-quality ingredients.
Run by a team of expert and Michelin-starred chefs, you will have a unique sushi-making experience as you enjoy all-you-can-drink sake in the kitchen and on your walk! They also offer VIP experiences with special access to the Toyosu fish market if you are looking for an upscale sushi experience in Tokyo.
Area: Meguro-ku (Meetup location: Tsukiji Market)
15. airKitchen - Mochi and Traditional Sweets-Making Class
Miyuki’s Mochi and Traditional Sweets-Making Class will give you a crash course of some of the staple traditional Japanese desserts. These desserts are not only delicious, they are gorgeous artistic creations that are fun to make! Miyuki is an experienced chef who has appeared in various magazines and TV shows, and she will help you learn how to make these desserts on your own.
Mochi (rice cake) is a common ingredient for traditional Japanese desserts, and is used for its texture, flavor, and versatility. In this class you will learn how to make strawberry daifuku and “three-color dango” (mochi balls on skewers), in addition to “nerikiri wagashi” (a sweet made with sugar and sweet bean paste). Once they’re done, you can either take them home in a box or enjoy them with a bowl of matcha green tea. Take this opportunity to learn from a Certified Nerikiri Art Instructor!
Learn How to Cook Authentic Japanese Food from Local Experts
Japanese food is known for being delicious and healthy, and it is becoming increasingly popular all around the world. Anthony Bourdain even went as far to say, “If I had to eat only in one city for the rest of my life, Tokyo would be it.” Here, we have introduced 15 of our recommendations to get the most out of Tokyo’s rich food culture. Cooking classes are a wonderful way to immerse yourself deeper into Japanese culture and acquire a skill that you will hold on to for a lifetime, so why not join one?
Header Image: sasaken / Shutterstock
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The information in this article is accurate at the time of publication.