According to culinary school graduates, attending the culinary schools in Japan or any culinary school out there is an investment that is worthwhile-to hone your culinary skills and pursue a career in the restaurant and hospitality industry.
To so many others, the amount of money spent in a culinary school is a lot compared to the low wage of chefs. But in general, how successful you will be in the culinary industry is dependent on your skills.
The training you get in a culinary school is geared towards preparing you for a suitable job in any of the professional kitchens in the world.
There are so many benefits of attending a culinary school, but the best of them is that the degrees or diplomas obtained in culinary schools come with a lot of opportunities and higher salaries.
Furthermore, a culinary school is not required for an entry-level job in the culinary industry. However, a survey shows that 70% of employers require that general manager and executive chef positions be open to chefs who have culinary or pastry arts degrees.
Therefore, if you are dreaming of that executive chef salary, a degree or diploma in any of the culinary schools in Japan is a good place to start.
Why you will earn more as a culinary school graduate
Just as we stated earlier, degrees and diplomas often come with more job opportunities and higher salaries. Below are some of the reasons employers tend to pay more for culinary school graduates.
Reduced training time
Attending a culinary school reduces your training time and that simply means that the time it will take for you to become a professional is much smaller when you attend a culinary school than when you learn the art of cooking on your own.
Employers expect their new employees to have had some level of knowledge of what is done in the kitchen.
Chefs who attended a culinary school know their way around a kitchen and are also familiar with the kitchen terminologies.
Therefore in commercial kitchens where time is very essential, chefs who are trained and highly skilful tend to achieve so much in a short period of time.
Diverse skill set
Attending culinary schools in Japan exposes students to a wide range of techniques because they have learnt from a variety of chef instructors, instead of a single executive chef.
Graduates of culinary schools, therefore, take any new job with more tricks and a broad knowledge base.
Passion and dedication
One beautiful thing about culinary school graduates is the way they demonstrate their investment in the industry.
Most times, this is because they have invested so much time and money into their education and as such, they work with a different level of energy in order to recover their investment.
Employees with a passion for their work, tend to stay in their positions for a longer time. So even if the employee is paid a higher salary, the employee can still save money long term because dedicated employees reduce turnover.
Culinary school graduates are known for the level of professionalism that they display. They’re also more aware of kitchen etiquette.
Having passed through the rigorous training in the culinary schools and succeeded, same way such chefs succeed in the real-world kitchen environment.
The two types of culinary schools in Japan
In Japan, there are two types of culinary schools: private culinary schools in Japan and authorized culinary training colleges.
Most of these private culinary schools in Japan accept students who cannot speak Japanese while the professional colleges require some level of Japanese proficiency in reading, listening, writing and speaking.
Therefore, if don’t speak Japanese and is interested in studying for the short term, these private culinary schools in Japan might be the best option for you.
Also, if you are fluent in Japanese and ready to study for more than a year, these authorized training colleges might be your best pick.
Private culinary schools in Japan:
Number of years: 1 day to 3 months
Fee: starts from 40,000 JPY/year
Japanese proficiency: Not required
Housing: Availability of housing depends on each school
Part-time work: Usually not permitted(A visa for employment is required for that)
Full-time work: Usually not permitted( A visa for employment is required)
Certificate: School certificate
Authorized training colleges in Japan
Number of years: 1 to 2 years
Fee: starts from 814,000 JPY/year
Japanese proficiency: Required
Housing: Available at most schools
Part-time work: Possible up to 28 hours per week with a student visa(permission needed)
Full-time work: It depends on your major
What are you likely to learn in these culinary schools in Japan?
You will likely learn the following in any of the private culinary school in Japan:
- Japanese cuisine
- kaiseki cuisine (traditional multi-course meal)
- Yakitori (grilled skewered chicken)
- Soba (buckwheat noodle)
- Udon (thick wheat noodle)
- Japanese confectionaries and more
You will learn the following in the public culinary schools in Japan:
- Japanese cuisine
- Chinese cuisine
- Western cuisine and confectionaries.
Many schools admit students all year round for a variety of classes.
The courses at the private culinary schools in Japan range from a one-day private lesson to a 3-month course.
In the technical culinary colleges, most courses go over a year or two and start in April.
What is the range of tuition? private schools vs the technical colleges
Tuition in private schools ranges from 40,000JPY (363USD) to 1,000,000JPY (9,090USD), depending on the course term (one day to 3 months).
In the technical colleges, It depends on each school, but the tuition usually ranges from 814,000JPY (7,400USD) to 1,724,000JPY (15,672USD). (It doubles for a 2-year course.)
What is the student’s body like in these private culinary schools in Japan?
Students in their teens through sixties from Europe, Asia, North and South America, Oceania and Africa travel to Japan.
These students include chefs, private chefs, restaurant owners, non-experienced students as well as business people, all of them seeking a career change, and those who cook as a form of hobby.
In 2018, about 1000 to 2000 people visited Japan just to enrol in the private culinary schools in Japan.
What is the language of instruction?
Most private culinary schools in Japan do not require Japanese fluency. Their instructors can speak English, if not, an interpreter will be available.
Therefore you need not worry about language barriers.
In the authorized technical culinary colleges, you are required to have Japanese proficiency in reading, listening, writing and speaking.
Admission and eligibility
To find out the requirements and eligibility, choose any of the private culinary schools and check out their requirements on their website.
In some cases, there are professional courses in these schools that require working experience as a chef.
In the technical culinary colleges, you needed to have completed 12 years of formal school education overseas or equivalent to the high school curriculum in Japan.
Japanese proficiency is a requirement in the authorized technical culinary colleges and this test is administered by the Japan Educational Exchanges and Services and the Japan Foundation.
After submitting the required documents, you will take a Japanese test and have an interview.
Student work opportunities for students in the private culincary schools in Japan
The work opportunities available for you depends on your visa, but if you have a tourist visa or other short term stay visa, you might not be able to work in Japan.
Apart from that, it is also difficult to find restaurants that provide an unpaid apprenticeship or stage for people who are from other countries.
This is largely due to language barriers.
However, students with continued trial and who have shown their dedication, sometimes obtain opportunities to work as interns for a period of time-usually a short one.
With a student visa, you can work part-time for up to 28 hours a week.
Most common pat-time jobs include servers or kitchen staff at restaurants.
These jobs pay from 800JPY (7.2USD) to 1,200JPY (10.9USD) per hour. (The wage varies depending on whether you work in Tokyo or rural areas.) These students earn about 80,000JPY (727USD) to 120,000JPY (1,090USD) per month on average.
What are the Visa requirements
Most courses offered at the private schools are of three months duration or less, therefore you do not need a visa if you have a passport that is issued by that have visa exemption arrangements with Japan.
If not, when you need to apply for a visa, you will be needing a short term stay visa, such as a tourist visa.
You need a student visa to enrol in a 1-year or 2-year course. Each school offers support for obtaining a student visa.
Therefore, to check whether you need a visa to enter Japan, go to the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan or contact the Japanese Embassy in your country.
Most of these private schools do not have dorms, therefore there is every likelihood that you will be living in a hotel or an apartment near the school.
Usually, the price of a single hotel room starts at 8,000JPY (73USD) per night and the price for a short-term lease, studio apartment starts at 100,000JPY (910USD) per month in central Tokyo.
However, you can find cheaper accommodation in the suburban areas or you can look for a share house at a lower price.
The public culinary schools or the authorized technical culinary colleges have dorms for students from other countries. The price starts at around 50,000JPY (454USD) per month.
Private schools generally provide a school certificate. The school certificate is different from a diploma, but the certificate from a Japanese culinary school should give your future career an advantage.
While in the public culinary schools or the authorized technical culinary schools, students receive a diploma after they have completed two years or more at professional training colleges for culinary arts.
Also, if you complete one year or more of the curriculum determined by the school, you can obtain a cooking license, a national license approved by the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, without taking an exam.
The diploma you obtain from the technical colleges or the cooking license you obtain can help you in getting a job in Japan or elsewhere.
Career after graduation
Often times most students who graduate from the private culinary schools in Japan, leave Japan after graduation to practise their learned skills in their home country or other countries.
Students from abroad who graduate from technical colleges, having completed the professional training and obtained a cooking license can find a full-time job with a specified visa for designated activities or one year through five years at domestic Japanese restaurants. Find out about work visas on this website.
List of the top culinary schools in Japan
- Japan Culinary Institute, Shizuoka
- Tokyo Sushi Academy
- Le Cordon Bleu Tokyo
- Miyajima Ramen School
- International Ramen School
- Sushi Private Lesson
- 90min Sushi Making Workshop
- Tsuji Culinary Institute
Japan Culinary Institute, Shizuoka
This is one of the culinary schools in Japan whose mission is to bring authentic Washoku to people all over the world by realizing a high-level education on Japanese food culture as a whole.
They offer short and intensive cooking courses either for professional purposes or personal fulfilment. They offer the following:
Japanese Chef Training
-Yakitori Basic Course
-Yakitori Professional Course
-Ramen(Noodle) Basic Course Basic
-Ramen Professional Course
-Fast Food Course
-Japanese Confections Course
-Green Tea Course
-Shop Interior Design Lesson
-Japanese dishes and cutlery lessons
-Restaurant preparation workshops
They are Located in Atami, Shizuoka.
Tsuji Culinary Institute
This culinary school is one of Japan’s top cooking schools. They draw students from all around the country and the world at large.
The institution consists of two professional schools the Tsuji Culinary Institute and the Tsuji Institute of Pâtisserie.
The school has produced more than 140,000 graduates-many of whom are employed in Japan as well as overseas. Visit school.
Tokyo Sushi Academy
This academy opened in 2002 as the first sushi school in Japan. They teach students the basic knowledge and techniques of Edomae-style sushi in one to two months at the shortest.
As of the year 2022, more than 4,400 students graduated; 400 of these students were foreign chefs who afterwards are working in almost 50 countries.
They have English courses that started in the year 2015 and have continued to enrol more and more foreign chefs since then.
It is a private school with two branches in Tsukiji and Shinjuku in Tokyo.
5days Japanese Cuisine Course – 198,000JPY
5weeks Total Course (4weeks Sushi/Sashimi + 5days Japanese Cuisine)- 800,000JPY
Tsukiji Branch: KY Bldg 2nd Floor 4-7-5 Tsukiji Chuo-ku, Tokyo, Japan
Shinjuku Branch: 8-2-5 Nishi-Shinjuku Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo, Japan
Le Cordon Bleu Tokyo
This is one of the culinary schools in Japan that was founded in Paris in the year 1895. This institution today is considered as one of the schools with the largest network of culinary and hospitality schools in the world having more than 35 institutes in about 20 countries of the world.
20,000 students of over 100 nationalities are trained every year.
This institution combines innovation and creativity with tradition through its certificates, diplomas and bachelors and masters degrees. Not forgetting the online degree in gastronomy.
Besides Japanese Cuisine, Le Cordon Bleu Tokyo offers a wide range of culinary arts, wine, management and hospitality programmes.
It is a private school, located at 28-13 Sarugaku-Cho Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, Japan.
Course cost: Japanese Cuisine Diploma Programme – 2,997,000JPY
Miyajima Ramen School
This is one of the culinary schools in Japan that started in the year 2001, more than 1,000 students from over 50 countries are enrolled.
The school accepts both experienced chefs and chefs with no experience at all. They provide one-on-one courses mainly.
All the recipes taught at the school use no additives or MSG. You can replicate tasty Japanese ramen with ingredients available in your country.
This culinary school also provides free accommodations.
It is a private school, located at 1-9-2, Kowakae, Higashiosaka-shi, Osaka.
One-on-One Course – 55,000JPY/1day to 300,000JPY/6days
Intense Course in small groups – 280,000JPY/7days
Online Class – 60,000JPY/2days
International Ramen School
This is one of the culinary schools in Japan that was founded in 2012 for foreigners.
They are popular for their program combined with on-the-job training, at an actual restaurant. They have good support for students.
It is a private school with locations at; 1-1 Yamanouchi-cho, Kanagawa-ku, Yokohama-shi, Kanagawa and Inside Yokohama City Central Wholesale Market.
285,000JPY for the 8-day course
245,000JPY for the 5-day course
Most of their courses are recommended for the who wants to open a ramen restaurant with smaller initial investments.
Sushi Private Lesson
This is one of the culinary schools in Japan where students learn about authentic sushi in Japan.
They were founded in the year 2002 and has since then graduated more than 4,000 students from this famous sushi school in Japan.
Before enrolling, ensure that you contact the school at least 2-3 months before you enrol.
They are located at KY Bldg 2nd floor 4-7-5 Tsukiji Chuo-ku, Tokyo, Japan and at 8-2-5 Nishi-Shinjuku Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo, Japan.
It is relatively easier to take a private class in August and late December when regular classes are not in session.
Private class costs start at 66,000JPY (About 610USD) per 1-day, 6-hour lesson.
90min Sushi Making Workshop
This is one of the private culinary schools in Japan with professional sushi chefs that will teach you about sushi and techniques of how to make sushi in 90 minutes.
They have programs that will teach you the traditional Tokyo-style nigiri sushi.
The class is held on the second floor of a sushi restaurant, Tsukiji Sushi Omakase.
The class takes place 2 times a week (Tuesday and Saturday) before the restaurant opens.
5,500JPY per person
Here’s where to find them:
From Tsukiji 4 Intersection (on Shin-Ohashi St. and Harumi St.), which is the centre of Tsukiji, head east to the Kachidoki Bridge.
Japan is a very safe country and you will hardly get into trouble even when you walk alone at night. Even if you lose your wallet, in most cases whoever picks it up returns it to the police station.
Yet there are cases of rip-offs that target those that cannot speak the local language. Do not trust those who approach you to sell items or services on the street at night. Considering these culinary schools in Japan is not a bad idea regardless.