Food is one of the top attractions for many visitors to Japan. The nation’s distinct dishes have filtered across the world, with tourists already familiar with some of the more popular meals, like sushi and ramen, before even setting foot in Japan. In Kyoto, a great way to gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of Japanese cuisine is by taking a cooking class. These often provide insight into the history of the ingredients and food, as well as guiding guests through the technical processes involved in making certain dishes.
Across Kyoto, classes are hosted on how to make the internationally well-known favourites as well as lesser-known and regional delicacies. We’ve selected five of the best Kyoto cooking classes to explore during your trip to the city, taking into account various factors like the price, menu and past guest reviews.
FROM: $75/per person
This 90-minute cooking experience teaches participants the art of preparing ramen, from making your own noodles and chashu, pork, to creating the perfect broth. A vegan option is also available, just let your host know in advance. Based in one of the most popular ramen houses in Kyoto, you’ll taste and create three types of ramen sauces: miso, salt and soy. By the end, you’ll leave with the full recipe and ramen making skills that you can take home with you, as well as a complimentary souvenir: pick from a signature ramen bowl, t-shirt or apron.
From $88/ per person
This popular class introduces guests to the iconic Japanese convenience meal: the bento box. During this friendly and interactive class, you’ll learn how to cook the Japanese way. Under the guidance of a local chef, participants will learn about the history and origins of the food, watch master chefs demonstrate cooking techniques and learn to make their very own box. Examples of dishes include egg rolls, pickled vegetables, rice, breaded chicken and miso soup. After three hours immersed in Japanese gastronomy, you’ll end the day digging into your very own, handmade bento box.
From $75/ per person
Step back in time in this traditional Japanese house, where you’ll learn all about the classic homemade dishes and Japan’s gastronomy. Izakaya restaurants are informal establishments that provide an authentic social and cultural experience. Each class is limited to 12 participants and is instructed in two parts: cooking and sampling dishes that are authentic to both home and restaurant environments.
From $147/ per person
This experience is ideal for food lovers. Accompanied by a guide, guests explore the streets of Kyoto on a walking tour and stop off at the Nishiki Food Market, where you’ll learn about native produce and ingredients common in Japanese cooking. The next stop is a sake brewery museum, where you’ll take part in a sake tasting before making your very own Japanese menu: rolled sushi, miso soup and cooked salad. This is a small-group tour, limited to seven people to ensure guests get a personalised experience.
From $72/ per person
Over one and a half hours, guests are immersed in the gastronomy of Japan, with a focus on the discovery of one of the country’s most popular dishes: sushi. From how to prepare your sushi rice to the perfect way to finish a sushi roll, each step of the preparation process is explained. At the end of this experience, you’ll leave armed with sushi-making skills, as well as a sushi rolling mat and recipe sheet, so you can prepare sushi for friends and family back home.