Jobs in japan
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Posted 1/10/13 , edited 1/10/13
Hi guys, am 21 and am a full time chef and I'm from the UK

Japan has the most michelin starred restaurant in the world. I want to move to japan for that and other reasons.

I have a few question that i hope people could me with.

1. What are their opinion on western food?
2. How hard is it to find a job as a chef?
3. Is there any advantages in having qualification from the UK?

Any extra info on life as a chef in japan would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance for anyone that helps
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Posted 1/10/13 , edited 1/10/13
I hope that you realise that the Japanese are a lot more... passionate, about food than the people in the UK. You better be good if you hope to make a living from it. Really good. Also depends on what kind of chef you want to be. Work in a proper restaurant? Or start up your own one? etc blah blah blah, what would I know, I'm not a chef.

1. The Japanese in general aren't really picky, as long as what they're eating is good food. Although I've heard a lot of japanese people say that western food is very greasy and rich, comparatively speaking.
2. Depends where you go, and what kind of restaurant you want to work at. I assume that this michelin starred is a top class thing, so I'll just say that the Japanese are very old fashioned, and you'll probably not get to even cook at first when you first start, no matter how good you are, unless you have connections. It's a question of respect.
3. Well it won't be a disadvantage.

I think the biggest problem before all this though, is getting a working visa.

You can ignore all that anyway, I've never even lived in Japan.
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23 / M / UK
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Posted 1/10/13
I can imagine that they are very passionate about what they do, so am i thats why i want to go over and learn. I didnt expect to go there and land the best job, i just wanted to find out what is like. I was expecting to maybe start of as an apprentice, yh i do know about working visa and such. Am just doing research before hand you could say. Thanks for the info tho.
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Posted 1/11/13
Cool reason I wish you all the luck !
Maybe you could check some job websites ? I think it's going to be really hard to eventually end up in a Michelin star restaurant or just a high class restaurant, but it's not impossible !
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Posted 1/12/13

5ugarRush wrote:

Hi guys, am 21 and am a full time chef and I'm from the UK

Japan has the most michelin starred restaurant in the world. I want to move to japan for that and other reasons.

I have a few question that i hope people could me with.

1. What are their opinion on western food?
2. How hard is it to find a job as a chef?
3. Is there any advantages in having qualification from the UK?

Any extra info on life as a chef in japan would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance for anyone that helps



1. I would say it depends on each person. I believe (this is my opinion) anything is cool as long as it's not over ¥2,000.
2. Depends on each restaurant. I never been a chef so I won't know for sure.
3. Well I was born in Hokkaido so I don't have any information. Sorry mate.


You might want to consider getting a working visa and being a bit fluent with the Japanese language. I went to Issen issen Youshoku (一銭洋食), which is a western restaurant in Kyoto and I say it's kinda good (for me).
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Posted 1/14/13
Also it depends on who you're cooking for, some have higher standards
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Posted 1/20/13
did you just watch Niro Dreams of Sushi ???

i watched that on netflix a month ago, and they talked all about the top michelin rating, of his underground subway sushi restauraunt
it was pretty inspiring...

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Posted 1/20/13
I believe you can get a Working Holiday Visa as a UK citizen. I think that you're much more likely to get work when employers don't have to deal with the hassle of getting you a working visa.
Posted 2/1/13
Long hours good pay
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Posted 2/1/13
Hey Sugar Rush,

I'm a chef from America that has the same aspiration to work in the best kitchens in the world in Japan

1. Western food is available all over the place, Japanese love all kinds of different foods, but much like America they take the original and make it their own. Japanese Italian food is exactly that, it is not traditional Italian. Actually the most traditional food I had there was Indian, aside from Japanese food. Burgers are a very big culture there right now also.

2. As far as I know, it's very hard to find jobs there for chefs from other countries as the culinary world of Japan is lauded as the best in the world. A lot of the Michelin Star Restaurant of Japan are actually European restaurants, as well as Japanese fare. Joel Robuchon has a starred restaurant there and if you speak French/some Japanese is may be advantageous. Also, try to find chefs from America, UK, Australia (English speaking countries) that have opened their own restaurants in Japan and get in contact with them about possibly externing. I know there's a culinary school in Gifu, Japan with a soba noodle master that speaks English, there's a New York chef that's got a very popular ramen house in Tokyo, so you just gotta look for what you want to be doing there. Also as far as regions go, Tokyo varies from street food to extremely fancy and it holds the most starred restaurants, Osaka is considered the food capital of Japan as it has so many different varieties and is home to many of the street foods that are nationally popular. Kyoto is more of the haute/upper class cuisine area with kaiseki restaurants that are extremely elaborate coursed meals. In the South Hiroshima and Miyajima Island have very simple comfort food aesthetics based on simple ingredients and practiced technique, while if you go to Nagasaki you'll find an eclectic collection of food from China, Holland, Korea, and other various nations as it was a major trade port for generations during both the Tokugawa Shogunate and Meiji Restoration. Even further south in the islands you'll find Okinawa which is kind of considered Japan's Hawaii as the food itself is indigenous due to Buddhism/Shintoism not spreading as widely there the food has more land animal emphasis with pork dishes as well as an indigenous alcohol to the island, it's more resort based and you could very well find a hotel cooking job there. Your best bet would be looking at major international hotel chains, getting a job with them and making it known that you will be working your way to the Japanese branch with them. Oh and there's also Hokkaido which someone above mentioned earlier. Hokkaido is an amazing place for food in Japan right now as it is the most experimental, they do new twists on common dishes like ramen, udon, and even make cheeses that have won awards in international competition of French and Italian cheeses.

3. Having qualifications from the UK is very beneficial if you're trying to land a job at an English ex-pat bar/pub, which there are quite a few of in Japan. While I was in Osaka we spent a few nights checking out different pubs/bars/izakaya and ended up in 2 or 3 different English pubs where most people spoke English.

I hope this was helpful, and please be sure to share anything you find about getting jobs out there as I'll be trying to find them too when I get out of school in September!

Best of Luck,

Eating In Bed
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