Culinary Trip to Japan

The JRO Umami Culinary Challenge Contest rewards the Grand Prize winner a special culinary tour of Japan.

Model Schedule


Day 1

Dinner at Ningyocho Imahan, Tokyo's oldest sukiyaki restaurant. Learn the art of cooking with wagyu beef and the history of hot pot style cooking.

Day 2

Tour of Ningyocho Imahan Catering Center, a bento caterer. Learn about Japan’s unique bento box culture.

Tour of Hattori Nutrition College. This prominent cooking school provides practical training in Japanese cuisine. It is founded by Dr. Yukio Hattori, a judge in the Japanese TV show Iron Chef. Learn about the techniques and ingredients used in Japanese cuisine.

Day 3

Tour of Tsukiji Fish Market. In addition to a tour of this world-renowned wholesale fish and seafood market, the grand prize winner will have an opportunity to attend a tuna auction and enjoy a complimentary sushi breakfast at Daiwa Sushi.


Day 4

Tour of Su no Sato Museum, a centuries-old vinegar museum—the only one of its kind in the world. Learn the long history of vinegar (su) in Japanese cuisine and how it is made, the role of koji, and different types of su used in Japan.

Tour of Mizkan Headquarters, a condiments company specializing in vinegar. Learn about the varieties of su and sushizu. Experience a su tasting.

Tour of Nagoya Delica Foods. In this skillful precut vegetable factory, learn about efficient food manufacturing and delivery systems, and how the quality of fresh produce is maintained while fulfilling high volumes of orders.

Tour of Designer Foods. This high-tech R&D company specializes in analyzing the chemical makeup of vegetables to determine the optimal times to harvest and consume. Providing consumers with ways to identify the quality of foods is the goal of this company.


Day 5

Tour of the Japanese countryside in Kyoto.

Day 6

Tour of three premier kaiseki restaurants in Kyoto: Hyotei, Minokichi Takeshigero, and Kikunoi. All follow a different style of kaiseki, and the grand prize winner will have hands-on training in the skills and techniques in producing kaiseki meals in the kitchens of these restaurants.

Day 7

Tour of Kyoto City Central Market. Learn about the unique food culture of Kyoto in this lively fresh food market.

Tour of Nodaya. Learn about the history and process of making soba.

Tour of Yubaya. Learn about yuba, or tofu skin, and its role in Japanese food in this yuba manufacturer and store.

Day 8

Tour of Gekkeikan Sake, a 400-year-old family-owned sake brewery. Learn about the brewery business and all about sake.

Umami Recipe Contest is organized by