To understand the soul of Japan, perhaps there is no better place to start than in the kitchen. From the centuries-old refinement of kaiseki cuisine to comfort foods like tempura, ramen, and curry, Japan’s food reflects its love of ritual, tradition, and appreciation for the changing seasons. In recent years, hundreds of cooking classes have sprung up catering to students eager to embrace Japanese cuisine. I’ve had the pleasure of taking cooking classes around Japan, including studying obanzai (Kyoto homestyle cooking) and shojin ryori (temple cuisine) in Kyoto, Kaga ryori in Kanazawa, and wagashi in Kamakura. Below are some of my favorite English-language cooking classes in the Tokyo area.

Tokyo Cook

Cozily tucked inside Restaurant Shojin Sougo in the heart of Roppongi, Tokyo Cook brings together some of Tokyo’s top culinary professionals from a variety of specialties (soba, sushi, tempura, kaiseki, shojin ryori). Michelin-starred chef and owner Daisuke Nomura (formerly executive chef at Daigo and one of PlantForward’s Global 50) and Tokyo Cook founder Kazumi Masuda envisioned the school as a natural extension of Shojin Sougo. At Sougo, Chef Nomura has reimagined formal shojin kaiseki cuisine to incorporate international influences, unconventional ingredients, and a contemporary, playful sense of plating and tableware that makes this ancient vegetable-forward temple cuisine accessible while staying true to its roots.

With a wide range of both one-day and intensive courses, Tokyo Cook offers courses not commonly found in other cooking schools, such as seasonal kaiseki and popular seasonal shojin ryori, where students learn basic cooking methods, philosophy, and history. Ample English-language handouts with recipes, ingredient backgrounds, and color photos are provided, and all classes include complimentary drinks and dessert served alongside the dishes made in class.

Find more details on our Concierge listing.

A Taste of Culture

Award-winning cookbook author, food writer, and culinary ambassador Elizabeth Andoh offers hands-on classes as well as intensive workshops on washoku fundamentals from her Setagaya kitchen; for those unable to attend in person, she also offers a class through the Craftsy platform. This culinary arts program is perfect for those looking for a deeper exploration of ingredients, preparation and presentation techniques, and traditional foodways.

Find more details on our Concierge listing.

Buddha Bellies

Lonely Planet-recommended and 2018 TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence recipient, this vegetarian / vegan / halal / kosher-friendly cooking school with studios in Yushima and Jinbocho (location depends on day) offers hands-on washoku, traditional and decorative sushi, okonomiyaki, bento boxes, sukiyaki with Wagyu beef, and wagashi classes. This is a great choice for those new to Japanese cooking and those looking to learn homestyle dishes.

Find more details on our Concierge listing.

Chagohan Tokyo

Chagohan Tokyo offers a wide range of hands-on Japanese cooking classes, sake tastings, tea ceremony with optional kimono plan, rickshaw tours and food tours from a serene cooking studio in Tokyo’s Kappabashi kitchen district. Vegetarian and vegan classes are also available, including a shojin ryori menu developed by Kakuho Aoe, chief priest at Ryokusenji Temple. Furnished with antiques, gorgeous ceramics and folk art from around Japan, Chagohan is perfect for those looking for an immersive cultural experience that extends beyond the kitchen.

Find more details on our Concierge listing.

Nagomi Visit

This NPO brings together local hosts and international guests through the experience of cooking and eating at the hosts’ homes. The company’s goal is to be a cultural exchange program that is accessible to everyone, easy to use, and where real friendships form. With 900 hosts all over Japan, from Hokkaido to Okinawa, Nagomi Visit offers a great chance to meet locals, learn about Japanese culture, and cook some delicious Japanese food.

Find more details on our Concierge listing.


“Lunch Box place” in English, this cooking class  blends authentic and traditional Japanese cuisine with vegetarianism. Comfortably follow the class in English and immerse yourself in traditional bento-making culture. Master how to make the iconic tamagoyaki, or fried egg rolls, or learn about vegan alternatives such as the vegan karaage using textured soy protein. Whether you’re a vegetarian or a meat lover, you will find an interesting skill to add to your daily meals.

Find more details on our Concierge listing.