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May 7, 2007 06:46 AM

Food Tours in Tokyo and Beyond...

I have come across this site on google while searching for food tours in Japan. My partner and I are having our Civil Partnership in July 07, and instead of having a formal "wedding list" we decided to opt for a culinary experience in Japan. We are both real foodies, and we both love Japanese food.

We will mostly likely be going to Japan for the second and third weeks of May 2008. We need a proposed culinary program to be included with our civil partnership invitations which will be mailed to all our guests.

Would anyone know of any travel or food agencies that provide food tours in Tokyo and other towns or cities in Japan? A combination of public cookery classes, tasting programs and market tours would be ideal.

I have come across a "Japan gourmet traveller" program, i attach the link ( I thought this program is excellent, although it is rather expensive for what is being offered.

Many thanks for you help.

Luiz Hara

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  1. I've never attended any courses/events at this organization, so I can't make a personal recommendation, but I have attended state-side lectures by Elizabeth Andoh, and she does a wonderful job of representing Japanese cuisine.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Debbie M

      Hi Debbie, thank you for that. I have indeed e-mailed Taste Of Culture last Sunday but unfortunately I have not heard from them yet. Their site is quite informative, and I have also bought Elizabeth Andoh's cookery book this week (hopefully in preparation for next year). Many thanks.

    2. Luiz-

      I don't know of anything organized, but here are a few things to check out:
      The Ramen Museum in Shin Yokohama - or

      The Gyoza Stadium -

      Ramen Town -

      Yakitori Alley -

      1. Hi Chowhounders

        Hope you don't mind if I resurrect this old thread. I am thinking about organizing my own personal foodie tour to Tokyo in Q1 2008. If I can find an organized tour or two, well, that would not be a bad thing. I've already bookmarked that fish market tour. If you hear of any other gourmet/foodie/culinary/streetfood tours, please let me know!

        I'll probably be back in a month or two for a critique of my itinerary. And perhaps a request for dinner companions...


        5 Replies
        1. re: kristainlondon

          I can tell you that the Shin Yokohama Ramen museum was well worth it. I had probably 3 of the best bowls of ramen I've ever had there. The gyoza stadium place was terrible. It was in the middle of a strange amusement park-like building and the place was empty, The gyoza so-so.

          1. re: meamhungry

            I think I read that the ramen thing was a temporary exhibit through the end of December? Can anyone confirm/deny?

              1. re: kristainlondon

                Yes, the Ramen Museum in Yokohama is permanent (and worth a visit). I know one of the malls out on Odaiba, Aqua City, has what appears to be an annual (at least it was there the last two years) ramen "contest" where they have a temporary set-up with six or so the top ramen chefs from around the country vying to be #1. I think it usually runs from Feb. to Nov., or something like that.


            1. re: kristainlondon


              Krista, check out this thead. If you scroll down, you will see one of my posts includes a link to an article from the Guardian. An English ex-pat in Tokyo has started running some food focused night tours, it might be worth enquiring although with diligent research I think that you can put together some worthwhile ones independently.

              Also if you´re interested in learning more about sake, the Sake Guy (aka John Gauntner, an American ex pat in Tokyo) runs his Sake Professional Course in Tokyo at the end of January, I did it earlier this year and it was a great time, educational and enjoyable. You will of course learn lots about sake but will also get to eat in izakayas with particularly good sake selections, some of which have fine food options to boot.

            2. The trip looks pretty cool actually.

              I checked out in detail the Tokyo trip, and it's definitely not worth the money.
              Keep in mind, you'll also need the JR Rail pass which I think is another 250 US or so.
              Plus, extra for the meals not included. I think if you have time to plan ahead, you can do something similar for less money (and less guidance!)

              Gifu Hachiman is another idea, it's about 20/45 minutes outside of Nagoya and its the birthplace of the sample food industry. I spent about 1300 yen and got to make my own fake tempura and took home some nice souvenirs. It's very cool.

              1. I can highly recommend a tour of Tsukiji Fish Market. I paid to go on a tour with two English speaking Japanese guys in October 2006. They both have experience working in/with Tsukiji and the Japanese fish industry so they have a lot of contacts that give those on the tour better access than just a regular person off the street.

                Tours groups are small (up to six people I believe) because the tour guides don't want to incur the wrath of Tokyo City Government (who own the property).

                Here's how I found out about the tour-

                The tour's not cheap and you have to get up dead early. I had to take very expensive taxi ride to get to the meeting spot because the subway/trains weren't running that early.

                If you're foodies, I highly recommend visiting Kyoto because the cuisine's a little different to Kanto (Tokyo area) as well as you can enjoy the architecture and history of the former capital of Japan.