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Local Imoni Culinary Experience

Yamagata Prefecture

Create the soul food of Yamagata Prefecture from scratch.

Every year, Yamagata prefecture holds the biggest imoni festival in Japan along the riverside of Yamagata City‘s Mamigasaki river. This event uses industrial cranes to transport imoni pots with diameters of 3 meters to 6.5 meters to cook around 30,000 bowls of imoni! No wonder Yamagata is famous for imoni and that it is known as one of the soul foods of Yamagata!

Yamagata imoni is a taro and beef stew, typically eaten in fall when the weather starts to get cold. Besides the imoni festival, it is common to see groups of families, friends, coworkers, university students or schoolchildren have imoni-kai (imoni gatherings) alongside any riverside of Yamagata Prefecture during the fall. This culinary experience we are offering is available all-year round, so you will not be limited to fall to create your delicious stew.

Imoni recipes slightly differ depending on the region which is cooking it. The Murayama region uses a soy-sauce base and beef, whereas the Shonai region uses a miso-base with pork. Neighboring Miyagi Prefecture’s Sendai City uses miso and beef. However, the base ingredients of the stew are basically the same, adding konnyaku, burdock root, chinese cabbage, and taro root, which is similar to potatoes. In this experience, you will be cooking the Murayama region-style of imoni.

With our imoni culinary program, you will learn to make your own imoni from market to table with an experienced local Japanese cook and an English-speaking guide, an opportunity rare to many travelers!

Experience a Imoni Culinary Experience

What's Included

Ingredients, cooking and dining utensils and room hire
English-speaking guide
Local Japanese market excursion to buy quality local ingredients
Guidance from an experienced local Japanese cook


¥12,000 per person

Additional takikomi gohan: ¥15,400 per person

Experience Availability

All-year round

Average Duration

3 hours

Meeting Location

Yamagata city

Minimum amount of participants

In the case of 1 person, you can pay the price of 2 people to have a private cooking session with our talented local imoni cook, accompanied by an English-speaking guide. 

Important notes

Experience availability may vary. Reserve to confirm availability.
Please notify us at least 3 days before if you must cancel or modify your reservation.

A Trip to the Local Markets

For the first part of this imoni experience, you will go to a nearby market to pick up fresh, local harvest to use in your imoni. The local Japanese cook and your guide will assist you and explain each specialty of the ingredients and what each adds to the imoni.
Your local Japanese cook may purchase some Yamagata beef beforehand to use in your imoni, if you get lucky!

Preparing the Imoni

Together with your local Japanese chef and English-speaking guide, you will make the imoni by preparing the ingredients by washing and cutting them as you get to know your chef and talk about the local area. You will learn how to cut and prepare unique ingredients you may not be used to, like taro, konnyaku or burdock root, as well as how to cook them.

Before you know it, your imoni will be ready!

Optional takikomi gohan: For those who need another side dish, this option is perfect for you. Create takikomi gohan, a simple dish where you only need to place ingredients in a rice cooker and let cook. Mix rice with various vegetables like mushrooms, carrots etc. and chicken (recipe can be altered in accordance to dietary requirements) and add the sauces to create a delicious ready-made rice dish!


After around an hour, your imoni will be ready to eat! Enjoy your delicious stew with your Japanese chef and guide and connect with the locals with food.

Sample Program Outline

10:00-10:30: Meet and head to the nearby local market.
11:00-12:00: Prepare the imoni with your local Japanese cook.
12:00-13:00: Eat your finished stew!

Imoni Culinary Experience reservations

You can send a booking inquiry for your experience below. After we receive your inquiry, we will confirm the booking with our partners and send you a booking confirmation email at least 3 days before your desired date.
Please note this form does not confirm the availability of an experience or reserves an experience straightaway.

Cancelation policy

Our general cancelation policy for our experiences is below. Cancelation fees may vary according to exceptional circumstances.

3 business days before date of experience


2 business days before date of experience

30% of total price

1 business day before date of experience

50% of total price

Same day

100% of total price