Ever since washoku, traditional Japanese cuisine, was added to UNESCO's Intangible Cultural Heritage list in 2013, global interest in the unique culinary arts of Japan has grown. Visitors to Japan are increasingly eager to seek out authentic food experiences and, in response, services catering to their needs are springing up rapidly in major urban centers such as Tokyo and Osaka.

For the most part, these services have involved restaurants translating menus or allowing visitors to make reservations in English or other languages. Some tours geared toward foreigners tourists may provide cursory explanations on culinary culture and table manners, perhaps even a word or two on the aesthetics of food presentation, but those seeking to gain more in-depth understanding of Japanese cuisine have not had much luck finding solutions that fit within the limited time frame of a typical tourist's stay.

Starting from January 23rd 2018, the Japanese Foodstyling Culture Association proposes to remedy this situation by providing three-hour courses especially geared towards non-Japanese people entitled: "Foodstyling Culture Ambassador Workshops."

In response to popular demand, the workshop will focus on the three themes of "sushi," "Japanese sweets" and "contemporary Washoku."

Participants will learn about the history and background which gave rise to the culture of Washoku in which details take on a world of meaning. They will also learn about selecting and matching Japanese tableware to food, the basics of food plating, and finally about proper manners to enjoy Washoku.

At the end of the three-hour workshop, participants will be certified as "Japanese Foodstyling Culture Ambassadors" and will receive an official "ambassador record book."

If it sounds interesting, here are the details you need to know:

  • Dates (planned): January 23rd, 2018 (Tue.), subsequently every Tuesday and Thursday.
  • Time: 10:30 AM (meet at Umegaoka Sta. on the Odakyu Line) until 1:30 PM
  • Place: Japanese Foodstyling Culture Association (Within the premises of "Ryori no aru Fukei), 2-33-30 Umegaoka, Setaga-ku, Tokyo (東京都世田谷区梅丘2-33-30)
  • Cost: 12,000 JPY (includes food and textbook), tax inc.
  • Minimum requirement to conduct class: 2 participants
  • Registration: Official website. (English-language version available from early January).
  • Inquiries in English: itadakimasu@nihonwasyokutakubunka.com

Foreign students studying in Japan who register in groups of at least four qualify for a discounter registration fee of 7,000 JPY per person.

In the workshop's press release, Japanese Foodstyling Culture Association CEO Junko Tsukitani had this to say about her motivation in creating the Japanese Foodstyling Culture Ambassador program:

Through our association, we would like to invite foreign tourists and residents alike to become more familiar with Japanese cuisine, so that they can in turn promote the wonderful and profound world of Japanese culinary culture across the globe.

By - grape Japan editorial staff.