One of the best things anyone can bring back from Tokyo is a love of Japanese food. I don’t know about you, but the thing that surprised me most about my first trip to Japan was that I said yes to every tempting morsel (and 10-course meal) that came my way, but when I got home and stepped on the scale…I’d LOST WEIGHT. That’s because food here is wickedly healthy in every way, but so tasty I had no idea I was being so virtuous.
But the downside is, a lot of it is hard to find in restaurants outside of Japan. It’s a little torturous to be pining for that perfect bite of yakitori grilled chicken, but not be able to scratch that itch when you’re half a world away.
Unless you learn to make it yourself! And the most entertaining way is to do it is to set aside a few hours to take a cooking class while you’re here, taught by a Japanese professional chef. I’ve been searching for a great cooking class to recommend to you, and after taking Chagohan Tokyo’s class yesterday, I’ve finally found it!
The toughest question is, what to learn first? I finally decided that I’m most ashamed of how many boatloads of perfectly good vegetables and shrimp I’ve transformed into soggy, greasy nuggets, so I decided to really stress the system and take the tempura class.
And…OMG, miracle of miracles, in two hours, they actually taught me how to turn this:
And here’s the bonus bit: Chef Masa didn’t just teach me how to make excellent crispy tempura, I went home with some killer new knife skills and cutting techniques, and was armed with the why of deep frying, so now I can also make all kinds of other stuff that was beyond my reach before (who said donuts? SHUT UP)
And finally, two more extremely important points:
One: Masa-san and Junko-san speak great English. They’re not only able to teach in a natural and easily-understandable way, they can also field questions and answer them with ease. As a veteran of many Tokyo workshops/classes, I can tell you this is super rare, even among the ones that advertise “English available.”
Two: You can book in advance and online, in English. They have a really nice and easy-to-use website that allows you to reserve in advance, with a foreign credit card. If you’re reserving WAY in advance, you may need to email them and be a little patient while they juggle their busy teaching schedule to reply. Don’t wait too long, though – classes fill up fast!
If you want to cut to the chase and see what’s available while you’re in Tokyo, here’s the link to their booking page.
*Also, just so you know…
I never take freebies or payment of any kind for stuff I recommend on Only In Japan – if I’m telling you I loved something, it’s because I’m a paying customer myself, and genuinely want you to experience the goodness too.
Know someone who’s planning a trip to Japan? If you think they might enjoy, this, share it! Here’s the link:
And if you’d like to get new & different Japan tidbits, don’t miss all the amusing stuff that you’ll only see in
It’s my new monthly newsletter, and when you join, you’ll be automatically entered to win the monthly book giveaway, get directions to a fabulous Beyond Tokyo destination, learn to make a Japanese home cooking dish & more! And, of course, it’s free. (Here’s what was in the first issue, if you’d like to check it out.)
You can easily unsubscribe at any time, of course, using the link at the foot of every newsletter. And, just so you know, I hate spam too, so I’ll never share or sell your info.