Do you ever find yourself wandering through the aisles of your local supermarket and feeling baffled by the array of jars in front of you, each with text and images more foreign to you than the one before? Have you ever been in a situation where you think you have sourced all the ingredients you need to make that perfectly fluffy sponge cake, only to find that you have mistaken one type of flour for another? Or, are you someone who wants to learn the authentic cuisine of your adopted country but don’t know where to start?

Preparing food, cooking
Photo by istock.com/AnnaRolandi

Here at Tokyo Cheapo, we believe that living in Tokyo doesn’t mean just flocking to the best ramen shops and sushi bars in town (though, that’s a good start), but pulling up your sleeves and trying to make these foods for yourself. Although cooking classes require a moderate upfront cost, the benefit is that the knowledge you gain from learning how to cook can be replicated time and time again in your own kitchen.

For those of you unsure of where to go for a class, take a look at the list below and start cooking your way to culinary excellence.

Sushi class with sake tasting

Making Sushi
Making Sushi at home | Photo by istock.com/Easyturn

The lesson takes place in a real sushi restaurant and is taught by the sushi masters themselves. You’ll make 7 pieces of mouth-watering sushi under their expert guidance, and then of course get to enjoy the fruits of your labor. After the lesson you’ll go on a tour to a local shrine where you learn about Shintoism from a local guide. Finally, you’ll stop by a sake shop and sample 3 kinds of local sake.

Allow yourself some time to get there though, the whole experience takes place in Fuchū, a 24 minute train ride from Shinjuku Station — if you manage to catch the Keio Line Express train. But when you think about it, this class is basically a 3-for-1 so it’s worth the journey. You can book this unique experience here.

Ramen and gyoza cooking class

Gyoza dumplings and beer
Photo by iStock.com/taa22

In this lesson offered by YUCa’s Japanese Cooking you will visit a Japanese supermarket to learn about Japanese ingredients before heading back to the studio and cooking up a storm. On the menu is the classic pairing of ramen and gyoza, all made from scratch — no instant ramen here. Don’t worry if you have dietary requirements, just mention it when you book and acommodations can be made. This is a great class for foodies and people living in Tokyo because you’ll get great insight into the ingredients and the supermarket tour means you’ll know exactly how to recreate the meal again at home.

Suggested Activity
Samurai Experience in Tokyo
One of the coolest things to do in Tokyo! Discover the samurai practice of Kenbu Tachibana Ittoryu, a special sword performance. During your class you’ll dress up in a samurai outfit and train with a katana (single-edge samurai sword). A photo shoot is included, Great experience for families and children!

Book your lesson here.

A truly homestyle cooking class

japanese recipe homecooking
Photo by iStock.com/Rich Legg

The host certainly doesn’t lie when she says her kitchen is on the cosy side, but with classes having a maximum of 6 people, Mayuko’s Little Kitchen arranges intimately sized cooking classes in the heart of Tokyo’s bustling metropolis. Having had the opportunity to teach Australian high school students how to cook, host Mayuko now makes it her mission to share her knowledge of Japanese cuisine and etiquette to travellers in the comfort of her own home. The menu for this cooking class changes day-to-day, but rest assured that what ever you make will be authentic, homestyle Japanese cuisine.

You can book a class with Mayuko here


Best Value Flights To Tokyo

Cook with the freshest ingredients

Tsukiji Market
Photo by Adriana Paradiso

Tsukiji Cooking is a prolific company offering classes all a stone’s throw away from Tokyo’s most famous seafood and vegetable market. A Japanese/English translator is on hand for all classes and every guest leaves with recipe cards so that they can recreate the dishes at home by themselves. They have a range of classes on offer, but we recommend this one that includes a tour of the Tsukiji Outer Market.

Japanese sweets

Japanese traditional confectionery cake wagashi on plate
Japanese traditional confectionery cake” wagashi” on lacquered plate | Photo by iStock.com/studiocasper

More of a sweet-tooth? Then this class on traditional Japanese sweets is the one for you. It takes place in a private home with a certified Nerikiri Art Instructor, so you know you’re in good hands. And if you’re not sure what nerikiri is, great! That’s exactly the kind of thing you’ll learn in this class. After a quick rundown of the ingredients, you’ll make daifuku mochi (strawberry and red bean paste stuffed rice cake) and three-colour dango (rice cake balls ona skewer). Then you’ll make — ready for it — nerikiri! Nerikiri is a type of traditional Japanese sweet that is colored and molded to reflect the season it’s made in.

Ready to make some food that looks too good to eat? Book here.

airKitchen

fresh pasta and pasta machine on kitchen table
Fresh pasta anyone?

airKitchen gives you the opportunity to learn to make delicious Japanese dishes from the comfort of your own home. This is a perfect for those living overseas — or those of us who live in Japan but are too lazy to leave the houe sometimes (no judgement here).

You can choose from a range of different dishes, including international options, with some instructors hailing from Italy, Thailand and Poland. Many of the instructors offer to personalise the menus. Plant-based and allergy-having cheapos rejoice!

Meetup

Girl baking cookies
Photo by iStock.com/tongpatong

The communities on Meetup keep up with the trend of organising events centred on socialising and cooking great food. For those of you who haven’t heard of Meetup before, it’s a website which allows you to search for and create your own groups within your local community. Meetup is home to a large number of cooking enthusiasts willing to share their time and knowledge with you. It’s a great way to make new friends and get know other foodies in Tokyo.

While we do our best to make sure it is correct, the information in this post is subject to change. Post first published in January, 2015. Last updated by Maria Danuco in September 2022.

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