Buddha Bellies Japanese Cooking School, Jimbocho

By Chanyn Kirtman
June 2, 2014
Food & Drink

Going out for Japanese food is always a treat, but have you ever tried to duplicate your menu favorites at home? Apart from broiled fish and maybe simple udon dishes, Japanese cuisine can be intimidating for non-Japanese natives. If you are in the market to expand your skills in the culinary arts, Buddha Bellies Cooking School in Jimbocho is the perfect resource to learn how to make and roll sushi, design pretty bento box meals, and even master the skill of fish cutting.

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The owner and instructor of Buddha Bellies is Ayuko, a certified sushi instructor and trained professional cook specializing in Japanese fine dining. “I believe that good foods and nice conversation will make the world peaceful,” she says, and this is translated through her exceptional customer service, passionate demonstrations, and hands-on approach with her students.

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Ayuko meets her students in her red apron at the train station exit, conveniently located right next to the school. Then, as she chats away in English, she shows them into her intimate classroom, filled with a library of Japanese cooking books, a large table, and her kitchen tucked away in the back.

Ayuko’s classes cover almost every type of Japanese cuisine, including sushi, bento boxes, nabe, udon and chicken teriyaki steak, sukiyaki, and even specialized classes such as decorative sushi and vegetarian meals. The classes welcome all levels from beginners to advanced cooks, and teach the basic fundamentals of preparation, cooking and descriptions of utensils used for Japanese food. A special fish cutting class is offered prior to each sushi class, during which Ayuko explains the different knives used for cutting sushi grade fish as well as a demonstration on how to fillet and debone a whole fish.

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There is definitely a reason that Buddha Bellies consistently ranks high among activities in Tokyo on Trip Advisor. The cozy atmosphere and small class sizes provide a personal, one-on-one experience with a professional chef armed with a wealth of knowledge. This is a great idea for a date with the hubby, a ladies’ get together, or a fun surprise treat for an out-of-town guest.

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The school asks participants to book at least 24 hours in advance in order to prepare sufficient ingredients for each student (although classes fill up rather quickly, so it’s a good idea to book as early as possible). Check the school’s website for course descriptions and dates. All classes start at 11 or 11:30 a.m. except the fish cutting class, which begins at 10:30 a.m., and one evening class at 6 p.m. Costs vary depending on which class you book, but most range between ¥6,500 and ¥7,500. All payments are required to be paid via Paypal in advance. The booking will be confirmed after your payment is received.

The Deets

Address: 2F Uekuri Bldg., 2-4-3 Kanda-Jimbocho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo