Have you ever wondered how to make okonomiyaki, tempura, or Japanese style curry? AirKitchen is a new kitchen sharing service that offers visitors to Japan the chance to learn how to cook in local people’s kitchens. It was created to give visitors an opportunity to visit family homes in the nation’s major cities and learn how to prepare a meal in the comfort of the host’s home. Best of all, you get to eat the end result!

AirKitchen is an online platform matching service that connects foreign tourists who’d like to enjoy a cultural exchange with a Japanese family over the dining table with Japanese hosts who’d like to entertain foreign guests with their home cooking. No Japanese language ability is required, as all hosts can speak English. 

AirKitchen started in May 2018 and currently offers more than 1500 cooking experiences all over Japan every month. Travelers from 80 countries have learned about Japanese culinary culture through an airKitchen cooking class.

It’s easy to see the appeal. Tourism is all too often a passive experience. Simply traveling from one sightseeing spot to another often leaves travellers to Japan with a feeling of listlessness and dissatisfaction. AirKitchen classes give you a really useful souvenir of Japan: the ability to cook delicious Japanese food!

AirKitchen cooking classes allow travellers to get under the skin of Japan, a country renowned for reserve and formality. With airKitchen, you can enjoy an authentic and altogether more intimate experience of Japanese culture, by learning how to make the home-style cooking that Japanese families enjoy every day.

The recipes and cooking skills your host shares with you are sure to serve you well when you get home. Anyone wanting to cook Japanese food should know the basic items you’ll need to stock up on: ingredients like soy sauce, mirin, rice vinegar, miso paste, bonito stock and Japanese style rice. You’ll also need to know how to prepare them. Your host can explain all of the above, giving you skills you can take home to share with family and friends.

AirKitchen’s users report great satisfaction with their experience, with an average rating of 4.99 out of 5 stars across all cooking classes. Following her airKitchen cooking class, Caroline, a visitor to Tokyo from Hong Kong, wrote: “My chance to have cultural exchange with a Japanese host by making Japanese food together in their home was the most memorable part of my trip. I want to make the recipes I learned there again once I get back to Hong Kong!”

There are a large number of cooking experiences available through airKitchen, so visitors can book the one with the location, price, and menu that best suits them. Sushi and ramen-making classes are the most popular choices, but you can also learn how to make other classic Japanese dishes like soba, udon, tonkatsu, tempura, and okonomiyaki.

You can choose the cooking class to suit your tastes, dietary preferences and interests. Many airKitchen hosts offer cooking classes for vegans and vegetarians. Some hosts will show you how to prepare traditional local specialties. Others specialise in making bento boxes inspired by anime characters.

The airKitchen service is available all over Japan, from Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka, to Hokkaido and Okinawa. Booking is easy: all you have to do is find a host near you on the airKitchen website, send a reservation request and, once they’ve confirmed, meet them at the train station nearest their home. They’ll show you how to cook one of their favourite dishes and afterwards, you get to enjoy the meal with them. Easy!

For more information, visit the airKitchen website.

You can also look for classes by area:

By - George Lloyd.