The Best 11 cooking classes in Kyoto
One attraction for foreigners is definitely the Japanese culture of food. Many agree it’s delicious, beautiful in both appearance and presentation and very healthy.
Kyoto is a popular destination, welcoming more than 50 million visitors a year, where visitors enjoy dining out during the day and at night time. But you may want a more exciting food experience whilst in Kyoto?
There are many cooking classes for foreign tourists – both adults and children – where you will cook, eat what you make and get a special experience that only you can have in Japan.
It might be the first time for you to cook Japanese food, or you may have already done before, but cooking with local people would be a great experience.
We introduce the best 11 cooking classes in Kyoto, so why don’t you plan to join one for a unique and unforgettable time?
- Sushi class
- Japanese sweets class
- Matcha class
- Ramen class
- Gyoza class
- Bento class
- Japanese cooking classes for vegetarians and Vegans
- You can’t miss the Kyoto cooking classes!
Sushi used to be Japanese fast food during the Edo period (1603-1868) but now has become a global food.
So let’s start with a Sushi class – and it is a very authentic one!
URL: Sushi Cooking Class
1.Homemade Sushi and Okonomiyaki
Not rolled sushi (“maki-zushi”), but it could be the first time for you to make “oshi-zushi” and “temari-zushi”?
You will learn to make these delicious and beautiful homemade sushis’ and Japanese pancakes – okonomiyaki – from scratch in a private kitchen with a very friendly Japanese lady called Yukari-san.
You may know a lot about sushi, but maybe not “okonomiyaki”. Okonomiyaki is like a Japanese pancake with sauce and mayonnaise on top. It can be a meal or a snack and is very popular in Osaka and the Kinki area.
There is a sushi class and an okonomiyaki class, but the classes are so good that you can cook and eat both!
There is a very famous “path of philosophy” nearby, which follows a cherry-tree-lined canal. It’s quite beautiful, especially in April with lots of cherry blossoms blooming.
You can walk around the area, and just maybe you will be comfortably full after the cooking class?
2.Enjoy making Sushi & the Matcha tea ceremony
Yumiko-san welcomes you and will teach you about Japanese cuisine. The class includes making nigiri-zushi and maki-zushi with tofu and vegetable miso soup and tamagoyaki – a Japanese omelette.
It’s wonderful to able to make sushi by yourself. Have you ever eaten at sushi restaurant.
At the end of the class there one more experience waiting for you – you will partake in a tea ceremony with Japanese sweets, and you might even be making a bowl of matcha green tea.
You can’t miss this whole package of Japanese culture!
Chion-in temple is in the Higashiyama district, and is not far from the class. The temple renovation will be finishing in April and you will be able to see the new ‘hon-den’ (main hall). There is also the Yasaka shrine which is very famous for the Gion matsuri festival in summer. A huge number of people visit and enjoy the street foods and feel the local atmosphere with Japanese hoppings.
3.Art of Sushi Roll making class
The class is given at a beautiful temple with a 400-year history in Kyoto, so you will feel very special having the class there.
Making “makizushi” at home is not that difficult, but you will learn the art of “makizushi” during the class.
Japanese chefs found a new technique to include animals or characters in sushi, so the sushi culture has been evolving quite a lot.
Your makizushi will be this type of makizushi, and yours will be of a flower pattern or penguin face, so you might want to take pictures before you eat them!
It’s great much fun making, looking and eating such interesting sushi, and Noriko-san who has over 600 students.
Also, the Kyoto aquarium and Kyoto railway museum are nearby so that it will be a great and varied day for the family.
Japanese sweets class
If you enjoy Japanese sweets, Kyoto is a sweet heaven, as there are so many fantastic ones.
But why not make your trip more special by making your own Japanese sweets with a Japanese sweet specialist?
4.Wagashi class with Yasue-san – Japanese tea master
Wagashi means Japanese sweet, and they are very creative in appearance.
You can try your hand at making a kiku flower shape wagashi from “nerikiri” dough with Yasue-san, who trained as a wagashi craftswoman after graduating from the food science and nutrition programme of the agricultural faculty of Kinki University.
Yasue-san is also a tea master, with a qualification from the Ura-senke style’s associate professor. She has more than 25 years of experience of the tea ceremony, and at the end of the class, you can enjoy the real culture of the tea ceremony.
The class is not far from the Nishiki Market where you can see and buy many of Kyoto’s foods, including daifuku sweets (round mocha stuffed with red bean paste) and okonomiyaki, all available whilst you explore the market for Japanese goods.
Matcha is very popular all-over the world – especially Matcha KitKat.
Matcha powder is the ingredient for making the tea for the tea ceremony.
Here is some information regarding the matcha class!
URL: Tea Ceremony Class
5.Sakura – Tea ceremony with Aya-san, a qualified teacher
Aya-san teaches how to make matcha tea so that everyone can have an authentic Japanese tea ceremony.
But, and here is the special addition for you, you will also be wearing an ancient style kimono, giving you the full experience of the tea ceremony, transporting you back in time to the Heian period (794-1185)!
Aya-san is a licensed teacher from the Omote-senke school of tea in Kyoto, giving you a real experience of the tea ceremony. You can ask any questions and Aya-san is happy to answer, so enhancing your time in Kyoto for you, your family and friends.
Ponto-cho and Hanamachi are entertainment districts where you might get the chance to see geiko and maiko in the evening! There is also an area called Shijo-Kiyamachi where most of the clubs and bars in Kyoto are located, so you can enjoy bar-hopping as well.
Japanese foods are not only limited to sushi and tempura – ramen is very popular for Japanese and has been gaining popularity around the world.
Would you like to learn how to make ramen?
URL: Ramen Cooking Class
6.Ramen Factory, making ramen and buying souvenirs
Ramen originally came from China, and ever since, the Japanese people have been inventing different types of ramen, and now ramen has become one of most popular foods for the Japanese.
You will learn how to make noodles and the accompanying soup from scratch, as well as roasting the chicken for the top of your ramen – in fact everything all by yourself, but with instruction from Arisa-san and Michiyo-san. Your original ramen should be quite delicious, especially after the challenging time taken to prepare it.
You will also get an apron and have a class that will make you feel like a real ramen chef – you can also take the apron home with you as a souvenir.
There is the Fushimi-Inari shrine nearby, an iconic shrine of Kyoto which is very famous for its 5,000 vibrant torii gates. The location of the shrine is on a mountain, so you can enjoy hiking before or after the class.
Gyoza is a Japanese meat or vegetable dumpling which is both crispy and golden brown in colour on the outside, and juicy on the inside. It goes very well with rice, ramen and beer!
URL: Gyoza Cooking Class
7.Juicy, crispy pork gyoza from scratch with Yukari-san
Gyoza is originally from China, but it’s very normal for the Japanese to eat gyoza at a Japanese, Chinese restaurant or at home. People also make homemade gyoza dumpling skin by themselves, even with small children as it’s not difficult to do, so it is a very popular and fun activity to do among Japanese families.
In the class, you will learn how to make the dumpling skin for gyoza, with the usual filling of pork, but gyoza can have a tofu or shrimp filling which is available (but please let Yukari-san know in advance).
The Ichijo-ji area is nearby which is very famous as a “ramen battleground”. Here you can see long queues running from the front of the popular Kyoto ramen restaurants.
Bento are Japanese style lunch boxes, usually with rice, meat and vegetables. Bento boxes contain lots of nutrition and are very healthy. You’ll also be amazed to see that recent bento box culture includes popular characters, such as Pikachu, Doraimon and Mickey Mouse to name a few!
URL: Bento Cooking Class
8.Character Bento cooking class
Bento box culture has become more popular throughout Japan, using many different characters or animals to decorate the bento box contents – this is called “kyara-ben” (kyara from the word character; ben from bento).
This cooking class teaches foreign people how to make character bento boxes from scratch.
Vegetarian and vegan menus are available.
Maruyama Park is quite nearby, so why don’t you take the opportunity to take your own “kyara-ben” and enjoy a picnic?
Japanese cooking classes for vegetarians and Vegans
Don’t worry if you are vegetarian or vegan, as there are cooking classes in Kyoto that cater to your taste!
9.Vegan ramen and gyoza
Good news for you if you are worried about having ramen because of gluten intolerance or other allergies.
There is a ramen cooking class in Kyoto where you can experience cooking gluten free ramen, and the class is especially suitable for vegetarians or vegans.
Sakiko-san who runs Japanese cuisine cooking lessons for vegetarians or vegans, also offers the experience of learning how to make ramen – so you can trust and enjoy her class – both cooking and eating ramen without any worries.
Hanami-koji is not far from the class and you will be amazed to stroll around the unchanged, traditional atmosphere of Kyoto, seeing machiya, which are long wooden houses, a typical design of Kyoto. You might also bump into a maiko-san during your exploring!
10.Haru cooking class
Haru cooking class is run by Taro-san who offers classes in Japanese standard home cooked dishes for vegetarians or vegans.
If you would like to have an experience of homely Japanese food, Haru is the one you should join.
Not only food, but the class is given at a beautiful Japanese detached house, so you will be totally immersed into a Japanese atmosphere and learn more about Japanese culture.
The menu changes depending on the season, so you can look forward to finding what you will be cooking on the day.
Shimogamo Shrine is located in the area, and you will be surrounded by peace and quiet, offering you time to take a break from a busy sightseeing schedule. Couples often visit the shrine to pray for the famous god of marriage, and a famous festival called “Aoi matsuri” is held in May allowing you to enjoy an elegant ancient Kyoto ritual.
URL: Haru cooking class
11.Uzuki cooking class
The Uzuki cooking class features cooking with yuba, tofu and local kyo-vegetables.
You will cook 3 to 4 different kinds of Japanese vegetarian and vegan dishes.
Kyoto has its own food culture, and you will learn special, unique dishes which are quite normal for Kyoto locals.
The dishes are very delicious and presented beautifully.
You can’t miss a visit to Ginkaku-ji temple, which is not far from the venue.
You can experience the wabi-sabi culture that is unique to Japan, and also the stunning Japanese rock garden.
URL: Uzuki cooking class
You can’t miss the Kyoto cooking classes!
If you enjoy Japanese food and sweets, why don’t you try to gain the experience of authentic cooking while you are in Kyoto?
You will gain quite an experience, but also have a lot of fun spending time with Kyoto’s locals, which will be an unforgettable Japanese memory for the rest of your life.
Hope the article has been useful!