You’re finally heading to Japan, a food lover’s paradise! With a culinary tradition spanning centuries and regional cuisines as diverse as the country itself, you’re going to need some help navigating the dizzying array of delicious options. The best way is to dive in headfirst? Join a group or private food tour in Japan. Not only will an expert guide introduce you to foods you’ve never tried before, they’ll also share the history and culture behind each bite. In this article, we list our pick of the best 20 Japan food tours and details on the tour companies and guides running them.
From fish market tours in Tokyo to sake tastings in Kyoto, it’s time to get ready for an adventure your taste buds will never forget!
Arigato Travel are Japan’s top food tour specialists and have built up a longstanding reputation for excellent guides and carefully curated tours. Over the years they’ve been recommended by CNN Travel, Forbes, and the New York Times. What sets the Arigato Travel tours apart are their flexible guides who are trained to pass on their expert knowledge on Japanese food and culture while making sure that everyone is having fun!
They also have many family friendly tours and can smoothly accommodate requests as well as most dietary requirements. When it comes to the range of their tours, Arigato Travel offer over 40 experiences in the five major foodie cities including Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto and Hiroshima, and they have tours across Japan for both first-timers and returning visitors looking for new culinary experiences.
While we’ve not been on an Arigato Travel tour, one of our team has previously worked as a Travel Consultant for an award winning Japan tour operator, and has heard nothing but positive feedback from clients they booked onto Arigato Travel food tours. Based off this feedback, we can safely say the Arigato Travel food experiences are well worth joining.
*Our Picks of Arigato Travel Food Tours*
- Best of Shibuya Food Tour – Evening : In this 3-hour group tour, you’ll explore and experience Shibuya like a local! You’ll be visiting a Shibuya Depachika (this is an underground food market at an upmarket department store), and enjoying several local dishes at 5 food stops. The tour also comes with one drink and a dessert to sweeten your experience.
- Gion & Kaiseki Kyoto Tour – Evening : This is a three-hour tour where you’ll be strolling around the famous Gion district. During this tour, you’ll be exploring the gorgeous Shirakawa neighborhood and enjoying a Kaiseki 10-course Japanese dinner with green tea and dessert. One drink is also included. (Minimum of 2 people needed to book.)
Magical Trip are all about having fun on small group food tours where their local guides are the key to each experience. They run tours across cities on the Golden Route of Japan including Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka and Hiroshima and are well-known for their night food tours or bar-hopping tours that include several small food dishes.
In addition, Magical Trip have other experiences such as their Asakusa Cultural & Street-Food Walking Tour in Tokyo and their Fushimi Inari Hidden Hiking Tour in Kyoto. If you’re interested in Anime or Gaming, Magical Trip’s Akihabara Anime & Gaming Adventure might be perfect for you, as you’ll have the opportunity to encounter classic and current game culture and take part in a variety of Akihabara activities.
No matter which tour you decide to take, you’ll find their guides will be friendly and helpful, and will also provide time for the group to get to know one another while showing you their favourite local places.
*Our Picks of Magical Trip Food Tours*
- Tokyo Bar Hopping Night Tour in Shinjuku: A 3-hour group tour visiting the hidden bars in Shinjuku and enjoying eating local street food and drinks. Foods and Drinks during this bar hopping tour are included.
- Tokyo Night Foodie Tour in Shinjuku: In this 3-hour group tour, you’ll be exploring 3 foodie locations in Shinjuku. Enjoy seasonal nigiri sushi and indulge in a Yakiniku Japanese style BBQ dinner with Wagyu beef, and also taste an artisan Gelato for dessert.
Japan Wonder Travel
Japan Wonder Travel design one-of-a-kind tours in the most popular destinations for Japan food tours. This includes Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka where travellers can learn about Japanese culture and the local area while tasting authentic Japanese food and drinks. For those who like fish or enjoy exploring local markets, Japan Wonder Travel offer several Fish Market Explore tours in Tokyo, some of which include a Sushi Making Experience – perfect if you want to learn how to make sushi like a pro!
The great thing about Japan Wonder Travel tours is that you can get to choose from not only group tours but also private guided tours, either with fixed itineraries at affordable prices or a more personalised tour that you can fully customise to suit your needs. If you select a private tour, they can also pick you up from your hotel, which is super convenient.
Also, all of the Japan Wonder Travel guides are professionally trained and many hold a Japanese tour guide’s licence, so you can expect high quality tours that allow you to immerse yourself one step deeper into Japan during your trip.
*Our Picks of Japan Wonder Travel Food Tours*
- Tokyo Sushi Making Experience + Tsukiji Fish Market Explore Tour : A 4-hour group tour to explore Tsukiji Fish Market where you can sample food and green tea. After you’ll receive step-by-step guidance on how to make sushi from a professional sushi chef, before making your own perfect sushi.
- Kyoto Food and Drink Tour @ Nishiki Street & Gion : In this 3-hour group tour, you’ll explore the 400-year-old Nishiki Market and enjoy tasting several Kyoto foods and Kyoto brewed sake. This tour also includes walking around the alleys and streets of Gion and learning more about the fascinating Geisha tradition and culture.
Ninja Food Tours
Ninja Food Tours do things slightly differently than other tour companies as they own and operate a restaurant, and the founder is a licensed sake professional who runs a sake bar in Shinjuku. Because of this, they have a high criteria for restaurants they include in their tours and have behind the scenes knowledge of local restaurants and bars. Most of their tours are in Tokyo, however you can also book their food and market tours in Kyoto and Osaka.
Along with the food tours, Ninja Food Tours have a range of sake experiences – you can sip your way through their Tokyo Sake Tasting tour, enjoy their Wagyu Beef & Sake Pairing dinner, or even try an online Sake Class with a sommelier.
Ninja Food Tours also offer both group tours for those looking to socialise, or private ones if you want to have more flexibility and a completely customised tour. What’s great about their tours is that they can be designed around dietary requirements, so you can fully appreciate all the local dishes without being held back.
*Our Picks of Ninja Food Tours*
- Wagyu & Sake Paring : A two and a half hour group tour where you can experience a luxurious 8-course meal and taste wagyu beef prepared in several ways. You will see how sake compliments the wagyu with each dish, and you can also try Japanese craft sake.
- Asakusa Food Hunt : In this 2-hour group tour, you will get to explore Asakusa but away from the usual tourist spots. Take the chance to visit some of Japan’s little known family businesses and sample their delicious homemade dishes. You’ll get to find out about traditional Japanese eating habits, making it an ideal way to experience the culture.
City Unscripted operate in several countries so you may recognise them from your foodie travels in other parts of the globe! In Japan, they run personalised sightseeing and food tours in 11 popular cities including Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka. If you’re planning day trips, they have a range of private tour options available too such as from Tokyo to Kamakura, and from Kyoto to Nara or Osaka.
One thing that sets the services provided by City Unscripted apart from other tour operators is their aim to match guides up with travel preferences. You’ll also notice that there are plenty of multilingual tours available. For example, The Sushi Experience tour for sushi enthusiasts comes with 13 languages to choose from including English.
With the help of your flexible City Unscripted guide, you’ll feel as though you’re being shown around the city by a friend who can either take you through a formal sit-down dinner or introduce you to delicious snacks at local markets and stalls.
*Our Picks of City Unscripted Food Tours*
- On a Roll in Tokyo! The Sushi experience : This is a 3- hour private tour where you can explore Tokyo and try sushi from 4 very different eateries and stores to experience where the locals eat sushi. You’ll be stopping off at a department store food hall, a conveyor belt sushi spot, and a tiny 8-seater sushi shop where each dish is a work of art.
- Eat like a true Tokyoite : In this 4- hour private tour, you’ll visit an Izakaya Japanese pub and enjoy local foods and sake. You’ll also taste unique soft drinks from vending machines on the street, and learn about Japanese food etiquette and the secrets behind regional Japanese cuisines.
Tokyo Ramen Tours
For those seeking the tastiest ramen in all of Japan, let the experts at the award winning Tokyo Ramen Tours be your guide. Whether it’s Shio ramen. Miso ramen, or Tonkotsu, they know the best ramen restaurants in Tokyo, and their tours can be made fully customisable private experiences based on your preference. And for vegans and vegetarians who don’t want to compromise on taste, there’s even a specialty Vegan / Vegetarian Ramen Tasting Tour available.
If you’re interested in making ramen, or curious about behind the scenes of a ramen shop, you can join their Ramen Kitchen Experience tour. Here, you will understand more about the different elements that go into making ramen as well as get an opportunity to make your own in an actual ramen shop kitchen.
For those who can’t make it in person, Tokyo Ramen Tours has a Virtual Ramen experience. It’s the perfect way to explore one of the city’s most renowned ramen spots without leaving your home. And for fans hoping to take some authentic Japanese flavours back with them, they also have an online store selling packs of instant ramen that can be shipped anywhere – absolutely free! So you don’t need to worry about space in your suitcase!
*Our Picks of Tokyo Ramen Tours*
- Ultimate Ramen Tasting Tour: In this three-hour group or private tour, you’ll taste 6 completely different mini bowls of delicious ramen from 12 choices at three award-winning ramen shops in different Tokyo neighborhoods. During the tour you’ll also get to know all about the history of ramen and each restaurant from your expert guide.
- Ramen Kitchen Experience : A one-hour private or group class to learn all about ramen ingredients and preparation, before making 2 bowls of ramen in an actual ramen shop kitchen and tasting your ramen creations.
Nagoya is not boring
People from all around Japan flock to Nagoya to try the renowned local cuisine – Nagoya Meshi. The popular dishes draw in many foodies who wish to savor the delicacies of this city and Nagoya is not boring run a range of food tours where you can get to enjoy the hearty miso based dishes as well as sweet and savory street food treats unique to the area. There is the chance to join an All-You-Can-Drink Sake Nightlife Tour too where you can experience a typical Japanese night out, and while sampling local foods and drinks at Izakaya bars, you get to learn about Sake as well.
Visitors to Nagoya can also take in the culture of Japan with the range of experiences and classes that Nagoya is not boring have on offer, such as Kimono dressing, Japanese calligraphy, Ikebana flower arrangement, pottery and tea ceremony. To deepen your experience even further there are samurai experience tours in Nagoya and nearby city. All tours are private experiences.
Traveling to the city of Nagoya and taking a tour is an experience that should not be missed if you are a foodie. The Nagoya is not boring team are knowledgeable and friendly, and can provide food tours in multiple languages. Having lived in the city for many years, they know all the hidden gems and will make sure you’ll have plenty of excellent memories to take home.
*Our Picks of Nagoya is not boring Food Tours*
- Specialties of Nagoya Food Tour : On this three-hour to three-hour and a half private tour, you can enjoy Nagoya Specialties at 3 to 4 different restaurants, try 2 snacks at Japan’s oldest department store, have a drink at a local Izakaya, and get to know the culture and the history of the city.
- Street Food Walking Tour of Osu : This 2-hour private tour explores the famous Osu shopping area and its unique culture where you can get the chance to taste both savoury and sweet local street foods and snacks.
You might have heard the name of H.I.S (HIS Co. Ltd.) as it’s a large travel agency in Japan that offers tours and experiences in and around Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, Nagoya and Hiroshima as well as tours and sightseeing in Hokkaido and Kyushu.
Due to their industry connections, if you need any transport arrangements, HIS can easily make ticket reservations on your behalf, and should you desire private transportation or wish to stay at a luxury hotel, they can make these arrangement for you as well.
On top of regular food tours, cultural and gourmet experiences are readily accessible. In Tokyo, travellers can partake in a Kaiseki or Edo cuisine tasting as well as a seasonal Sumo experience with a Chanko nabe lunch or a traditional Yakatabune cruise dinner with bottomless drinks! For those who are interested in a Maiko experience, HIS offer a Maiko dinner show as an exclusive experience which comes with a Kimono rental experience to create an unforgettable cultural opportunity in Kyoto.
*Our Picks of HIS Co. Ltd. Food Tours*
- Kyoto Kimono Rental Experience and Maiko Dinner Show : In this 7-hour private party tour, you’ll walk around the old Nishiki market and popular Gion area in Kimono to really immerse yourself in the atmosphere of the ancient city. After, you’ll watch a traditional performance of a Maiko and enjoy a delicious Kaiseki Japanese multi-course dinner. You can also get a chance to talk to the Maiko and take a photo with her.
- Oshima Chinju Restaurant : A lunch or dinner plan at a Japanese restaurant with a beautiful night view overlooking the Tokyo station building. Taste a rich Kaiseki Japanese multi-course cuisine, and enjoy seasonal ingredients carefully arranged and served. Private rooms are available as an add-on option.
Hello! Tokyo Tours
Hello! Tokyo Tours offer both private and small group food tours in Tokyo, and private tours in Yokohama and Hakone. Their tours are basically cultural and food walking tours, so you will be exploring local areas on foot except when using public transport. Should you wish for a tad more luxury, it is possible to make arrangements for a private car when selecting one of the private tours.
In all of their tours, they include must-see places together with hidden gems and backstreets. You’ll be learning about Tokyo’s culture, customs, history and the local way of life from guides living in the area, and before you know it, you’ll be eating and drinking like a local.
For those wanting to explore the area at their own leisure, Hello! Tokyo Tours offer an engaging Self-Guided Audio Tour with two components. Everlasting Edo: A Guide to Nihonbashi’s History brings the history of the city to life, while Secrets of Sensoji; A Tour of Asakusa’s History, Art and Culture reveals many interesting facts about this diverse area.
*Our Picks of Hello! Tokyo Tours Food Tours*
- Small Group Tokyo Food Tour : On this five and a half hour group tour, you can enjoy 14 Japanese foods including both traditional and popular modern day dishes. Visit Nihonbashi, Ginza, Tokyo Station & Akihabara, and experience eating and drinking like a local at an Izakaya Japanese style pub plus other eateries.
- Tokyo Sake Tasting Class : 2 hours either held as a private class or small group class to learn about Sake, and taste 6 different sakes paired with light snacks. A full course dinner is available as an additional option.
Taste Osaka focus on offering top-notch food tours in predominantly the South Osaka area, so you can get to enjoy delicious local foods with drinks at some of the city’s most delightful eateries and bars – all far away from any tourist traps!
Apart from their Backstreet Osaka Nightlife Tour, they have an Underground Umeda Food Tour to explore the massive arcades stretching for miles underneath the Osaka Ekimae Buildings. While enjoying typical Osaka dishes with a drink at 4 different eateries, you can get to learn the historical facts and insider knowledge of Osaka from their expert guide. For an even more personalised tour, opt for their ‘Taste Osaka Custom Tour‘ where the itinerary is tailored according to your taste and preferences.
Whichever tour you choose, their bilingual guide will make sure that you can get the very best nightlife experience in Osaka – a city where levels of energy stay high and there are countless options for tasty street food until late in the night!
*Our Picks of Taste Osaka Food Tours*
- Backstreet Osaka Nightlife Tour : This 3-hour group tour explores Namba alleyways and some of their favorite backstreets. Discover the places that locals love, enjoy an Izakaya dinner and try a range of Japanese foods including sushi, kushikatsu, okonomiyaki and more.
- Underground Umeda Food Tour : Another 3-hour group tour that explores the massive underground arcades in Umeda (a major business, shopping and entertainment area of Osaka). Taste authentic local foods at 4 venues and enjoy a drink at each venue.
Best Japan Food Tour Operators Compared
We hope you found our picks above of the best 20 food tours in Japan helpful. In our comparison table below, you’ll find more details about each tour company including the cities they operate in and a popular food tour they run. Additional information along with prices and tour availability can be found by clicking on the website links to each tour below.
|Food Tour Company
|Best known for?
|Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, Hiroshima & more
|Friendly and highly-trained guides
|Best of Shibuya Food Tour – Evening
|Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, Hiroshima & more
|Night Foodie tours and themed tours
|Tokyo Bar Hopping Night Tour in Shinjuku
|Japan Wonder Travel
|Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka & more
|Food, city, and unique tours
|Tokyo Fish Market Tour @ Tsukiji – Enjoy Local Food and Drink
|Ninja Food Tours
|Tokyo, Kyoto & Osaka
|Eating at family run local spots
|The Best of Izakaya: Shinjuku Izakaya Tour
|Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, Hiroshima & more
|Private guided tours
|On a Roll in Tokyo! The Sushi experience
|Tokyo Ramen Tours
|Ramen tasting tours including vegan ramen
|Ultimate Ramen Tasting Tour
|Nagoya is not boring
|Nagoya & nearby areas
|Nagoya speciality dishes & treats
|Specialities of Nagoya Food Tour
|Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, Hiroshima & more
|Food & Cultural experiences
|Kyoto Kimono Rental Experience and Maiko Dinner Show
|Hello! Tokyo Tours
|Tokyo, Hakone & Yokohama
|Immersive food walking tours
|Small Group Tokyo Food Tour
|Authentic Izakaya experiences
|Backstreet Osaka Nightlife Tour
Your reviews of the Best 20 Japan Food Tours you don’t want to miss!
If you’ve joined any of these Food Tours in Japan recently, we’d love to hear your thoughts! You can drop a comment below, shoot us an email or use our contact form. We’re always looking to improve our content, so if we notice a common theme in the feedback we receive, we’ll be sure to update the article accordingly. Thanks in advance for sharing your experience with us!
Also, if you’re planning to visit Japan for the first time and want to make sure you’re all set to navigate your way around the country, we’ve got you covered. Check out our 15 essential tips to know when traveling in Japan as well as the Best Eco-Friendly ways to travel in Japan. This will help you get a better understanding of how things work and what to expect, so you can enjoy your trip to the fullest.
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Disclaimer: All information is correct at the time of publishing and we will review regularly to ensure it stays updated. However we would recommend checking each tour operator’s website for the latest tour information.