If you are interested in taking cooking classes in Japan, there are several good resources to consider in addition to TripAdvisor. Most English-language Japan guidebooks like Frommer's, Fodor's, and Rough Guide will mention a cooking class or two for a given city, while others can be discovered in local city guides. Most larger Japanese cities will have some sort of English-language guide with activities and classes; like Nagoya International Center monthly newsletter at http://www.nic-nagoya.or.jp/en/e/nago....

First, consider how much free time you have. Many classes are 3+ hours plus travel time; in the case of Elizabeth Andoh's Taste of Culture in Tokyo, it is a half-day class; after the students finish cooking and eating, the class goes to a park near her home and then to a Japanese market to point out various seasonal ingredients and pantry staples. Make sure that you give yourself enough time for transportation to and from the class and build in extra time in case you want to explore local markets like Nishiki Market in Kyoto and the Kitchen District in Osaka.

Once you've located a class that you're interested in, read the fine print carefully. Some classes have a minimum number of participants; if you are a solo traveler, you will have to wait until others also reserved for the same date to confirm it will happen. Also, payment methods can differ; for some classes such as Eat Osaka you pay in cash on the day, but in the case of Taste of Culture, you're required to make a bank deposit several weeks before the class. Also, be mindful of the language barrier; for example, the mochi- and soba-making classes at Shirakawago are only offered in Japanese.

If you're interested in a particular type of Japanese cuisine, like shojin ryori (Buddhist vegan temple cuisine), sushi, homestyle cooking, etc., write your instructor ahead of time and see if he or she is able to create a class around these dishes. Taro Saeki of Haru Cooking Class in Kyoto and Emi Hirayama of Uzuki Cookery; are more than willing to focus on specific dishes you are interested in learning (okoknomiyaki, chawanmushi, dashimaki, etc.). Emi now offers a Japanese sweets class, as does Mari from Japanese Cooking Class Tokyo (http://mari-cooking.p1.bindsite.jp/).

 

Ozeki School of Japanese Cooking

(http://www.ozekicookingschool.com/) : Shuji Ozeki is a fluent English speaker and is the owner and operator of his own cooking school, located adjacent to his (tiny!) soba noodle restaurant in a town outside Nagoya.

 

Osaka 

Eat Osaka (http://www.eatosaka.com): Arisa gives daily Englsh-run classes on Osaka favourites including okonomiyaki, yakitori and kitsune udon, as well as desserts and sake tasting.  

Osaka Kitchen (http://osakakitchen.net): Private Japanese cooking classes with delicious seasonal ingredients. Choose wagyu beef, maki sushi, chawanmushi and more, or work with Yoko to create a custom menu.

Kyoto

Haru Cooking Class (http://www.kyoto-cooking-class.com/): Japanese vegetarian/vegan, non-vegetarian with Kobe beef, Nishiki Market food trip, 3-4 hours, from 5,900 yen for the vegetarian course to 10,900 for the Kobe beef class, market tour 4,000 yen extra and additional 60-90 minutes

Uzuki Cooking Class (http://www.kyotouzuki.com/): small classes of 2-4, either three or four dishes per class, Japanese sweets class also available, 3 hours, 4,500 yen and up (3,000 yen for the dessert classes)

Tokyo

Cooking School Yuka Mazda (http://www.japanese-cooking.jp)

Sushi, Gyudon, Gyoza etc, classes are 4 to 5 hours. Supermarket tour on request free of charge. 

Fluent in English and 20 years of experience in professional cooking. Classes are fun and infomative. 

 

TSUKIJI COOKING (http://tsukiji-cooking.com/) Located next to and uses the food materials fresh from Tsukiji Market. Classes are 6,000 - 6,500 yen,  

A Taste of Culture (http://www.tasteofculture.com/):  hands-on cooking classes, workshops, market tours and intensive sessions

Buddha Bellies Cooking School Tokyo (http://buddhabelliestokyo.jimdo.com/): sushi, vegetarian, bento box, okonomiyaki, nabe, oyako-don, classes are 2-2.5 hours, 6,000 - 6,500 yen, open for lunch only

Japanese Cooking Class Tokyo with Mari (http://mari-cooking.p1.bindsite.jp/): Homestyle dishes, Japanese sweets, breads, vegetarian dishes, etc. from 6,000 - 6,500 yen

Yuka's Japanese Cooking (http://yucharism.com/jp/blog/japanese...) : YJC offers the intensive course as well. Hands-on style class. Includes the Supermarket Tour. Classes are 2 -3 hours. Open everyday (From Monday to Sunday) .  

(English-language) cookbooks and supplies

Cooking magazines and cookbooks are also very popular in Japan; larger department stores like Takashimaya will usually carry a few cooking titles in English, but be prepared to pay dearly compared to what you would pay in your home country.

Two must-sees for kitchen collectibles are Kappabashi-dori in Tokyo (http://www.kappabashi.or.jp/) and Doguyasuji in Osaka (http://www.doguyasuji.or.jp/); both carry wholesale restaurant supplies, plastic food models (be sure to check out the flagship store Maizuru (http://www.maiduru.co.jp/) in Tokyo), noren, and more. If you're looking to furnish your apartment on the cheap, you can find super-cheap place settings if you don't mind mismatched items!

Nishiki Market in Kyoto is a great place to pick up handcrafted knives and vegetable cutters from the venerable Aritsugu, which has been in business since 1560. You will also find Aritsugu knives and vegetable cutters in upscale department stores such as Takashimaya.