Japan Offers Culinary Scholarship with Free Travel & Lodging

Looking to make a life change? You could move to Japan for eight months and learn to cook.

By Ethan L. Johns
April 17, 2018

Image: Emily Suzanne McDonald/Getty Images

So you love a good bowl of ramen or an impeccably-grilled unagi. Sure, you can eat out at Japanese restaurants to your heart’s content, but eventually your wallet will get angry. It might be time to travel to Japan and learn how to make those favorite dishes for yourself.

Intrigued? Then you might be interested to know that the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries is sponsoring a program for foreigners that allows them to travel to and live in Japan while learning about Japanese cuisine in the finest restaurants—all for free. That program—the Japanese Cuisine and Food Culture Human Resource Development Program—is now accepting applicants.

First off, a disclaimer: this is not a program for people who have never cooked before. In order to be eligible, you have to either have attended a culinary school or worked in some form in a Japanese kitchen. The program is intended to promote Japanese cuisine around the world, so you should be able to prove that you actually want to do something quantifiable with the knowledge about to be bestowed upon you.

If you meet these criteria, consider the perks. You’ll be flown in and out of Japan from your home for free. Your accommodations in Japan will be paid for, so no need to hunt for an apartment. And, most importantly, you’ll participate in classes that will teach you both the Japanese language and the essential techniques of the country’s renowned cuisine.

We’re talking fresh Japanese ingredients, Japanese tea ceremonies and field trips to fish markets, farms and sake breweries.

Applications for the program must be submitted before the end of the day on May 15th. Participants will arrive in Japan on July 1st, and the program will last until the end of February 2019. While travel, housing and tuition are subsidized, attendees will need to pay for their own living expenses.

So, no, sadly you will not get to eat unlimited free ramen on the weekends. So start saving those pennies and send in your application.

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About Ethan L. Johns

Ethan is the Food News Writer at Genius Kitchen. An expert on the Parisian bistrot, he likes bitters and salted butters, and is no fan of dessert unless it's made with fruit. His hobbies include reading up on the history of borscht and attempting to roll perfect couscous by hand. Twits & Instagram @EthanLJohns