During an evening at his restaurant in Seki, his passion shone through in everything he did in the kitchen. Ozeki Sensei started the evening by telling us about the dishes we were going to make. Then we all got stuck in—chopping, grinding and stirring the dishes he planned to serve us later that night.
— David Bernstein, Writer, United Kingdom
 

Shuji's approachable, generous demeanor coupled with thorough hands-on instruction and easy-to-follow translated recipes will equip you with the skills needed to recreate the wholesome and delicious dishes in your own home. Shuji will gladly share his vast cultural and culinary knowledge, answering any questions you may have throughout the workshop. 

Cooking workshops are comprehensiveintegrating cultural aspects with traditional procurement, preparation and cooking techniques. Chef Shuji and his team integrate various excursions in order to to give participants a memorable and authentic experience.  In a single day, you may find yourself picking seasonal organic veggies, catching ayu (sweetfish) in the rushing river, learning the secrets of tea ceremony and of course, chowing down on delicious, healthful fare.  

As explained below, Shuji offers several types of workshops that can be customised to your interests, skill level, schedule and dietary concerns. Most workshops can be integrated to provide guests with a tailored, comprehensive cultural experience.

Overnight accommodation is available for students seeking to combine workshops and cultural activities over the course of a couple days or for an extended period. Chisako and Koji welcome you to their Japanese-style home for an authentic homestay experience. Inquire here today! Also, details and pricing for Yasudaya Ryokan—a traditional Japanese inn located walking distance from Yamakyu Restaurant—is provided below.

Please have a look at the workshop details, and contact Shuji to plan your own personalised cooking session.


Cooking classes and workshops


Please note:

  • Please understand that fees are subject to a 10-15% variance due to fluctuating food costs. Chef Shuji will notify participants of the actual price at the time of inquiry and booking.

  • All prices are shown in Japanese currency (100JPY=~1USD).

  • Unless otherwise noted, fees are inclusive of 8% consumption tax, workshop ingredients, and translator/guide fees (when applicable). Participants are responsible for their own transportation costs to and from Seki.

  • Tea and water will be served during cooking classes and workshops, however locally produced sake is available for purchase at Yamakyu Restaurant. Participants may bring their own beverages as well.

  • All classes can be scheduled according to personal travel itineraries unless otherwise noted.

  • Overnight accommodation can be arranged in advance. Please see below.



Washoku 和食 workshop

In recent years, washoku, traditional Japanese cuisine, has become popular worldwide and in December 2013, it was granted the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage designation. Traditional home-style cooking balances aesthetic harmony with wholesome nutrition. Although deeply rooted in tradition, these dishes can be recreated and incorporated into daily meals. A typical washoku course consists of ichiju-sansai一汁三菜 (one soup dish, one rice dish and three different complimentary dishes).

The term washoku encompasses a wide array of dishes, from miso soup to regional specialties to home-cooked staples. In Shuji's washoku workshop, he will introduce you to his repertoire of favorites.

 If you have any special requests, please include them on the booking form. Suitable for all ages and skill levels.


Noodle-making and tempura 天ぷら workshop

Hands-on traditional noodle-making class using authentic techniques and traditional tools. Many udon うどん and soba 蕎麦 noodle dishes incorporate tempura—battered and lightly fried vegetables and seafood. Contrary to popular belief, tempura is easy to make, and the ingredients are readily available in supermarkets worldwide. Suitable for all ages and skill levels.

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Kaiseki 懐石 workshop

Kaiseki is a present-day art form, combining the taste, texture, appearance and colours of food in a precise and nuanced manner. This full-day workshop is ideal for professional chefs and hobby cooks interested in the finer points of sumptuous haute cuisine.

Participants begin their day by joining Chef Shuji in the marketplace where he purchases the finest fresh, seasonal ingredients to be used that day. In this comprehensive workshop students learn how to prepare a multi-course menu including one soup dish, one rice dish and five complimentary dishes (seasonal sashimi, tempura, as well as steamed, braised or grilled seafood, tofu and vegetables).


Shojin-ryori 精進料理 workshop

Zen vegetarian cuisine, rooted in Buddhist philosophy with a Japanese twist. Shojin-ryori combines a focus on quality, wholesomeness and harmony with simple cooking methods. Fresh, seasonal ingredients are used and dishes are prepared in ways that enhance subtle flavours. Healthy and mindful—elements of Zen cooking can be easily incorporated into anyone's lifestyle. Suitable for all ages and skill levels. 


Obento 弁当 workshop

Learn how to make compact, convenient, balanced, and visually appealing meals for yourself or loved ones. Obento has been gaining popularity worldwide as a trendy, creative and fun alternative to a standard bagged lunch. This workshop is open to students of all ages and skill levels, and is especially well-suited for parents and children.  


Combined cultural workshops


Obento 弁当 workshop & ukai viewing

Make specialty ayu (sweetfish) obento during an afternoon workshop and enjoy it that same evening onboard an authentic handmade wooden boat waiting for the sun to set.

After dark, cormorant fishing begins. This workshop is offered from May through October during the cormorant fishing season and is open to participants of all ages and skill levels. You can learn more about ukai here as well as by watching the video to the right.


Ozoni 雑煮 workshop and osechi おせち料理 sampling

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Osechi is one of the most unique Japanese culinary traditions. In the days leading up to New Year’s, an array of colorful dishes is prepared in order to be enjoyed with friends and family during the celebratory first days of the New Year, when most shops and restaurants are closed. The Ozeki family’s osechi consists of 24 symbolic specialties, each with a story behind its provenance. 

Learn how to make ozoni, the most auspicious of all New Year`s dishes, and enjoy a lunch of 24 different osechi specialties prepared especially for you by Chef Shuji. Three-week advance booking is essential, as at least one week is required to prepare the full osechi offering.


Genmai 玄米 cultivation and washoku 和食 workshop

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In this two-day hands-on workshop, students will learn to cook traditional washoku as well as participate in traditional rice farming. On the first day, Chef Shuji will teach students how to cook home-style Japanese fare using local ingredients from Rengenosato Farm, where Katsumi Yamada—a daishizen noho farmer expertly grows genmai, vegetables and beans. Yamada San is passionate about natural, ecological cultivation methods and eagerly shares his vast knowledge regarding environmentally-sound farming and mindful consumption. After a few hours in the Ozeki’s kitchen, all will enjoy a hearty meal of ichiju sansai.

Depending on the season, on the second day of the workshop students will head to the rice paddy to either plant rice seedlings or harvest mature golden rice stalks. Following a morning of rice farming, students will be served a nutritious lunch prepared by the Rengenosato farm using seasonal, freshly-picked ingredients.

Bento lunch box packed with boiled organic brown rice and vegetables and also miso soup

Bento lunch box packed with boiled organic brown rice and vegetables and also miso soup


Overnight accomodation at Yasudaya Ryokan

For guests who would like to experience the charm of traditional Japanese-style inn accommodation, an overnight stay at Yasudaya Ryokan can be arranged. This family-run inn is located walking-distance from Ozeki Cooking School and Yamakyu Restaurant and is a perfect option for those participating in two-day cultural workshops or extended-stay packages.          

Chef Shuji is most willing to personalise your cooking experience by catering to your particular areas of interest, travel itinerary, dietary concerns and past cooking experience. Please get in touch with Shuji to book your own tailor-made culinary adventure.