Professional Japanese Culinary Program in Tsuruoka, a UNESCO Creative City of Gastronomy
GEN Japan Co., Ltd. • Yamagata
"An exclusive, limited-time experience, this Japanese culinary program in Tsuruoka, Japan’s only UNESCO Creative City of Gastronomy, teaches specialized Japanese cooking techniques to food professionals in five languages."
Japan’s only UNESCO Creative City of Gastronomy, Tsuruoka’s diverse climate, varied seasonal ingredients, and active agricultural communities have given rise to the Gastronomy Creative Education Trust (G-CET), which creates specialized experiences to encourage sustainable food, local culinary traditions, and biodiversity.

This 2-day culinary program (4 hours per day) in Tsuruoka is specially designed for professional chefs and food connoisseurs with an interest in developing Japanese culinary skills like preservation, fermentation, and utilizing indigenous plants.

The lessons center around Japan’s rich culinary traditions, with a special focus on the local gastronomy of Tsuruoka. An introduction to the culture of Yamabushi (Japanese mountain ascetics) and Shojin Ryori (Japan’s vegetarian Buddhist cuisine) highlight the special connection between nature, food, and spirituality in the region that’s famous for the Dewasanzan pilgrimage.

The workshops also cover topics like preserving fresh fish (utilizing sake lees, miso, etc.) to maintain freshness and comparing various preservation techniques to European practices. Participants can taste various preparations of seasonal fish (fresh, aged 1 day, and aged 2 or more days), use traditional wild plants, make fresh sesame tofu, and prepare dashi (Japanese soup stock), a foundational skill in Japanese cuisine.


  • Visit Tsuruoka, the only UNESCO Creative City of Gastronomy in Japan
  • Join a group of fellow professionals for an intensive culinary program
  • Take workshops on aging fish, Shojin Ryori, fermentation, wagyu, and dashi
  • Learn about Tsuruoka’s rich culinary traditions and distinct local agriculture


  • Aged fish workshop (lunch included)
  • Intro to Yamabushi/Haguroyama culture with Shojin Ryori workshop (dinner included)
  • Traditional crops & fermentation workshop
  • Japanese wagyu workshop
  • Dashi (Japanese soup stock) workshop
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