Bring the taste of Japan back home with you by learning to make your favorite Japanese food from the people who know it best.

One of the best parts of traveling in Japan, without question, is the food. Japan’s cultural commitment to culinary excellence means the memories of the foods you eat here will last a lifetime.

Unfortunately, though, so will the cravings.

Maybe you’re lucky enough to have a Japanese restaurant in your home country neighborhood, but there’s no guarantee that their cooking is authentic, or that their cooks are experts in the particular Japanese dish you want to eat. The solution, therefore, is to become the expert yourself, and there’s no better way to learn legitimate Japanese cooking than from Japanese people, which is where airKitchen comes in.

airKitchen matches local Japanese residents with foreign travelers, and brings them together for lessons in Japanese cooking, taught in the residents’ own kitchens. Classes are available across the country, with particularly large numbers of hosts in Tokyo, Yokohama, Kyoto, Osaka, Nagoya, Hokkaido, and Fukuoka.

Each class lasts about three hours (including, of course, eating the meal itself once you’ve made it), and the international focus means that hosts are proficient enough in English to give you the necessary instructions and carry on a conversation while you peel, chop, and cook. Oh, and since you’ll be cooking in actual homes, the programs also double as a unique look into daily home life for Japanese people, something most travelers never get the opportunity to see.

A quick look through airKitchen’s currently available classes is enough to get anyone’s mouth watering, with openings in Tokyo to learn how to make temari sushi, ramen or udon noodles from scratch, gyoza, cute character bento, Buddhist monk vegetarian shojin ryori, and traditional wagashi desserts like daifuku (the soft-as-Uniqlo-sheets Japanese sweet dumpling). It’s not just outgoing amateur chefs who offer classes either, as a few listings are from professionals who give lessons in their own restaurant kitchens after hours.

For most classes, your teacher will even come meet you at the nearest train station, so you don’t have to navigate the labyrinths of Japanese residential neighborhoods by yourself. Prices vary by exactly what you’ll be cooking, but most hover around 5,000 yen (US$45), although we spotted at least one 1,500-yen bargain.

airKitchen’s complete class listings can be found on its website here, and while picking just one might be hard, it looks like any will make for a very special experience, and also help turn you into the undisputed hero of your next potluck party.

Related: airKitchen
Top image: Press release
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