“Food was a major part of my time in Tokyo and this gave me a peak behind the curtain, to say the least. There’s a reason why Japanese food is among the best in the world.”

Ciara Johnson traveled to Japan with ANA and documented her journey, detailing her time exploring the rich history and culture of both Tokyo and Kyoto. As a content creator who regularly shares her experiences as a solo female traveler, Ciara planned an itinerary ideal for anyone looking to explore Japan — be it with friends, family, or as an intrepid party of one.

Topping Ciara’s itinerary was an afternoon at Tokyo Cooking Studio with Chef Yukari Matsushita — and the experience didn’t disappoint.  

Describing the cooking process as being “thorough and entrenched with Japanese history and culture” Chef Matsushita’s course introduced Ciara and her fellow classmates to the delicious world of made-from-scratch Japanese cuisine. 

Throughout the course of the class, Chef Matsushita offered hands-on instruction and walked the students through the processes of making sushi and miso soup as well as several accompanying small bites.

“While I enjoy dishes like sushi and miso soup, I never thought I’d be preparing these meals for myself,” says Ciara.

It’s one thing to visit and feast on the local delights, but it’s another thing to get hands-on with it and learn the importance of each ingredient.

Taking a cooking class is nothing new for Ciara. As a seasoned solo traveler who seeks to truly steep herself in local culture, Ciara likes to learn about traditional dishes in every country she visits because, as she puts it, “culture informs food.”  

Already a fan of Japanese cuisine, the experience of actually making some of Japan’s most iconic dishes gave Ciara a deeper appreciation for their art and intentionality.

The experience felt truly immersive and I walked away with new knowledge about Japanese food culture.”

“It revealed the amount of time and effort that goes into crafting the Japanese dishes that we all know and love. Each ingredient and step play an important role in the final product.”

While the cooking class was a highlight of Ciara’s culinary experiences in Japan, it wasn’t the only one. “The Japanese food was the highlight of my flight as I was able to get a taste of Japan before I even landed,” she says. 

According to Ciara, the cooking class experience would be perfect for anyone interested in Japanese food culture. Her best advice is to join with an open mind and an empty stomach. “You don’t need to be an expert cook, you’ll learn just how capable you are.”

Cookie Settings