Insider's Guide to Japan

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Demitrie T

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
December 2015

Although there was a mistake at the start of the tour and we were left behind, when I phoned the tour operator they were very apologetic and searched through the busy Nishiki markets to find us only knowing what colour clothing we were wearing. We were reunited with the tour group and went to the Sake Museum and the Cooking Class. We were generously refunded for the part of the tour we missed.

I highly recommend this tour operator. Although there was a mistake with the booking they did all that they could to reunite us with the tour group. The Cooking Class was a great experience.


5 star rating: Highly Recommended
November 2015

We were looking for a tour that offered a cultural experience of Japan and felt this tour experience looked to meet what we were seeking. We began with a tour of the Nishiki Market. Our tour guide Yosie, was excellent and knowledgeable about the foods and products available at the market. She taught us how to ask in Japanese for items to be used in our cooking class. Thie tour enabled us to see products and vendors we wanted to spend more time visiting. We were able to return to the market for shopping the next day to visit some of the vendors we wanted to spend more time shopping.
We then walked to the sake tasting. Since Yosie had been educated on sake brewing, she was able to share interesting insights about the sake and brewing process.The highlight was to taste the sakes and beer .
Our next stop was the machiya, where the cooking class would take place. Mieko was our teaching chef, who walked us through preparing miso soup, spinach salad with roasted sesame seed dressing, and maki sushi. We watched demonstrations and took part in some of the cutting and assembly. The result was a delicious dinner.
A couple notes for the experience. The directions to meet our guide were not provided and required calling the listed number for questions. Second, there is a bit of walking through out the tour sidewalk walking that might be difficult for some.
The entire experience was excellent and we recommend it for anyone.

Laura N

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
September 2015

This tour was amazing! The women were so sweet and knowledgeable and spoke English well. It was very interactive. I would 100% recommend this tour and the company.

Doru A

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
August 2015

Very interesting tour, even for men. The guide takes you to the market to get the components for making sushi. Then, you go to this house where the teach you how to make a perfect sushi. After that you eat your own masterpiece. It was great!

Marjorie T B

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
July 2015

Our tour through the Nishiki market was great, discovering the various types of preserved vegetables and fish was interesting and fun to look at. The artistry and creativity of the candies and all the foods was amazing. Our sake tasting was very educational and well done. The cooking class was so much fun and Yayoi did a fantastic job teaching us how to make miso soup, a delicious sesame dressing for our spinach salad and the trick to making rolled sushi. A big highlight for our family of 4! Domo Arigato Gozaimashta!!

Allison B

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
July 2015

I LOVED this tour! My husband and I ended up being the only ones on our particular tour, but that actually worked out great! Our tour guide was fantastic and I learned so much about the history of the market and the things we were buying. It was fun to pick out ingredients and ask for them in Japanese. The sake tasting was a lot of fun, too, and it was even cooler to see the historic area where it was made.

The cooking lesson really topped it off for me, though I had a great time! I already really love to cook, and I had tried a few things already with minimal success. Our teacher was really nice, and was able to show me how do things better or more neatly. I really can't wait to try cook everything at home. Dessert was new for me---vanilla ice cream with dark brown sugar syrup and soybean flour on top---but it might just be my new favorite.

All in all, I can't recommend this tour highly enough. I loved every minute, and hope that you will too! This tour company is amazing!

Steven P

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
June 2015

My family went on this tour in June. We had a great time.
The first half is a tour of the market -- great explanations of the products on sale there.
A lot of stuff is different than what it appears. The second half was cooking and eating a meal using what we had bought in the market. Really well done and worth the time and money.

Nicholas J

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
June 2015

Amazing tour ! Our guide was wonderful and the cooking class was fun and delicious ! Truly a highlight to get to know the city and its culture with a wonderful guide and two funny, kind cooking instructors whose lessons help support female entrepreneurs ! who helped me and my dad make a delicious meal :

Llara L

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
June 2015

This tour was amazing!

Dominique V

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
February 2015

Nobu, our guide was very nice. It was an amazing tour.
We enjoy the market tour, sake distillery without a feeling of being rushed.
The cooking class was a lot of fun.


5 star rating: Highly Recommended
December 2014


Georgios D

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
December 2014

Good English speaking guide for the walk throufh market with many intresting facts about the market and foods, very nice tradiational home and setup for cooking class, a very good experience


5 star rating: Highly Recommended
November 2014

Nobu our guide was nice and helpful, good English ! The walk through the market a wonderful experience. Then the brewery was Ok, a pity is not a working one but the sake tasting was good. And then the cooking was so much fun!!! We shared with a charming Vietnamese girl. We learned and had fun !!!

Lisa T

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
August 2014

It was much fun experiencing some of the foods of Japan and how they are prepared. Excellent program.

Michelle M

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
August 2014

Another fantastic experience w/ the ladies of the Women's Assn. of Kyoto. Tour included the market, an historic tea shop, local craft stores, and sake tasting. Our guide was patient w/ our many questions. Our cooking instructor was attentive, inclusive, and an excellent teacher. We highly recommend!

Dilip C

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
July 2014

This trip worth evry cent. The tour guide was well informed about myriad Japanese delicacies on display at the Nishiki market and our small group of eight people. At the sake outlet we tasted quality sakes and ended up buying a bottle for the cooking class. The cooking class gave us hands on experience at sushi-making. Our teacher was very clear in her explanations and all of us thoroughly enjoyed our experience, We will recommend anyone to take this tour.


5 star rating: Highly Recommended
April 2014

From beginning to end this was a wonderful afternoon! We met our guide Yoshie at the designated spot and after waiting about 15 minutes for 2 other people who never showed up, we started our tour of the Nishiki covered market! Everywhere we turned, we saw food which we could not identify, but Yoshie answered all our questions in excellent English. She encouraged us to taste various items, some sweets some seaweed, some cakes. She explained the differences in types of rice, tofu, bean curd, tea and more. We munched our way through the colorful market for about an hour. Then, since our feet were tired, we took taxis to the Sake Brewery Museum for a brief tour and explanation of the sake brewery process, but the bulk of the time was a tastings presentation. I never realized there could be so many different nuances in the taste of sake! We loved it so much we bought 2 bottles! Afterwards, Yoshie accompanied us to the mahiya, a traditional wooden town house characterized by black wooden slats in front. There, Yoshie left us in the good hands of Akiko, our teaching chef. The cooking lesson was basic but we had a lot of fun learning the secrets to making miso soup and sushi rice. We were taught how to make tamagoyaki, an omelet in a square pan called a makiyakinabe. Then we used pieces of the tamagoyaki along with pickled vegetable, crab sticks and cucumber to make our very own maki. After cooking , our meal was served to us in a private dining room covered with tatami mats. Akiko poured the tea for us and we feasted on the fruits of our labor! EXCELLENT TOUR ON ALL ACCOUNTS!

Tracy S

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
April 2014

Wonderful. Small group of 5, 3 of us. Nishiki Market was amazing. Bought items for our cooking class. The WAK, Womens Association of Kyoto are tremendous. So knowledged, gracious and great command of English. Thoroughly enjoyed learning how to make Dashi, Miso, Spinach sakad and course sushi

Lisa A

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
December 2013

My daughter and I absolutely loved this tour from the word GO! The Nishiki Market was interesting and fun as our guide shared delicacies from Japan . The walk through town was interesting, and the cooking class was fantastic. We enjoyed making miso soup, Japanese spinach salad, and sushi!! The sake tasting was also a hit. I highly recommend this tour as our guides were informative and fun!

David G

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
July 2013

Great experience exploring the tastes and sights of both the high-end and street markets. The Sake museum was interesting and the cooking of a meal in traditional style and then enjoying eating it together was a great way to introduce yourself to some of the culture and tastes of Japan.
Enjoyable and worthwhile tour.

Marjolaine B

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
July 2013

Tout était parfait. L'accueil était chaleureux et les cours bien préparés. À faire absolument !

Janet F

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
June 2013

Very interesting way to be involved in the culture, shopping, cooking and sampling the local food and drink. Hiro and Mieko, our guides were great.

Ronald M

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
April 2013

You can learn a lot from a country from it's food and from this point of view, this tour is a window into Japanese culture that would be hard to look through in any other way. The first part ofthe tour in the Nishiki Food Market provided an eye openning expereince to the diversity of Japanese food, not only for the beginner, but for the more experienced foodie. There was plenty of time to check out all of the stalls, and the guide for this part of the tour was extremely knowledgeable and could talk about all of the types of foods in any detail that you would like. Absolutely incredible variety, with plenty of opportunities to taste great food, including extreme food tasting for the adventuresome!

The second part of the tour involved a visit to a saki brewery followed by an introduction to sake with tastings. I wasn't sure waht to expect but was pleasantly surprised. The cooking part of the tour was expertly done and I won't tell you what we cooked and ate as i don't want to spoil it for you, but just to say, that I learned so much and had a great time. There were some in the group who were not so experienced cooks, but there was no pressure and everyone really enjoyed it. A wonderful way to spend an afternoon with insights into Japan that would be otherwise hard to come by.

Melanie D

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
October 2012

Was an awesome afternoon. We were the only people on the tour!!! We got to see what we wanted and learnt so much about Japanese culture, food, drink and how to cook it. To top it off once we had done our cooking we had dinner with our teachers. We felt part of the family. We would definitely recommend to anyone who wants to experience a little of the culture once you have seen all the sights!

viktoria s

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
May 2012

Nishiki market is great fun, tour guides are very well prepared and really caring. Recommended to everybody.

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Tour code: 5163KYO_COOK


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