Road to Japanese Culinary Arts Award (JCAA)2024-2025

Help reimagine Japanese cuisine

Making Your Local Japanese Cuisine ~ Valuing Ingredients ~


  • 2024.7.11

    Application deadline extended!
    Asian Qualifier schedule is set!

  • 2024.7.1

    Applications are now open!

Road to Japanese Culinary Arts Award
JCAA for Foreigners

The Japanese Culinary Arts Award (JCAA) is open to chefs, licensed cooks, and culinary researchers of Japanese cuisine from around the world for the purpose of elevating and celebrating traditional Japanese cuisine. Participants will learn from each other, focusing on menu creation and Japanese cooking techniques.
By gathering talented people with the requisite skills and personalities to represent Japanese cuisine and culture, JCAA aims to invigorate the Japanese food service industry and promote Japanese food culture worldwide.

In the 10 years since UNESCO designated traditional Japanese cuisine (Washoku) an Intangible Cultural Heritage, the number of Japanese restaurants outside Japan has nearly tripled to about 187,000. Japanese cuisine’s growing popularity is fueled by foreign Japanese chefs and cooks who strive daily to improve their knowledge and skills and share the virtues of Japanese cuisine with the world.
Because many foreign Japanese chefs lack the opportunity to train in Japan or to work with Japanese chefs through friendly competition, JCAA has created the "Road to Japanese Culinary Arts Award”. This is an opportunity for you to participate in one of the top Japanese culinary competitions held in Japan. We encourage you to take advantage of this experience.

Yoshihiro Murata
Japanese Cuisine Goodwill Ambassador
Owner & Chef of Kikunoi
Honorary Chairman of Japanese Culinary Academy



Making Your Local Japanese Cuisine
~ Valuing Ingredients ~

As sustainability and environmental considerations gain prominence, Japan's food service industry is emphasizing the importance of using local products. Nevertheless, many traditional dishes that reflect local specialties and culture are threatened by the concentration of culinary ingredients in metropolitan areas and the decline of regional ryotei* culture.

We want to encourage chefs and others to explore the climate, culture, and local characteristics that form the basis of Japanese cuisine, and to adopt a spirit of Onko Soshin, or seeking new guidance from the past. In other words, we want you to acquire the knowledge and skills to look closely at local indigenous ingredients and transform them into beautiful Washoku creations that incorporate Gomi (the five tastes : sweetness, sourness, saltiness, bitterness, and umami), Goshiki (the five colors: red, blue/green, yellow, white, and black), and Goho (the core cooking skills: cutting, simmering, grilling, steaming, and deep-frying).

JCAA welcomes industry professionals who take pride in Japanese cuisine to compete for the Japanese Culinary Arts Award. By exchanging their knowledge of traditional Japanese ingredients and techniques, participating chefs develop the skills to help preserve, invigorate, and promote Japanese cuisine around the world.

* A type of traditional Japanese restaurant, which traditionally accepts new customers only by referral and which often feature entertainment by geisha. Ryotei are typically places where high-level business or political meetings can take place discreetly.

Guidelines for Entry

Foreign chefs competing for the Road to Japanese Culinary Arts Award will employ Gomi, Goshiki, and Goho to create dishes that reflect local specialties and culture from their own regions while respecting seasonality and showcasing the distinctive flavor of local ingredients. ”Local cuisine” can be a region in your home country or a region in Japan, but the dish you envision and submit for competition must be executed in a Japanese culinary format.

When applying for the competition, contestants will choose one ingredient (excluding seasonings) for which they will invent and prepare assigned dishes for the initial screening and final rounds. In the final round, contestants will execute their “new local cuisine” with their chosen ingredients and a surprise/unknown ingredient from JCAA.


Road to JCAA (JCAA foreigners section) preliminary rounds will be held in 3 locations:
A. European Qualifier: London
B. Asian Qualifier: Singapore
C. Online Qualifier: online

Your choice of ingredient and the local dish you submit need not relate to your place of birth or current place of employment. Please note, however, the final competition is scheduled for March 2025. Ingredients for your competition dish and menu should be selected with March seasonality and availability in mind. Between entry and the final competition, your chosen ingredient cannot be changed. If your chosen ingredient is unavailable due to seasonality at the time of application and the qualifiers, you may substitute a similar one until the final round.


In addition to certificates and medals, the winners of the final round in Kyoto will receive UMAMI prize (cash prize) from Japanese Culinary Academy in addition to a certificate and a medal, each prize winner in the Kyoto Final will receive the UMAMI Prize (cash prize) from the Japanese Culinary Academy as an extra prize.

JPY 1,000,000
Second place JPY 300,000  Third place JPY 100,000 

Judges(Subject to change)

First Stage

Masahiro Nakata(Taiwa Gakuen Education Inc.)


Second Stage
A. European Qualifier

Daisuke Hayashi(Roketsu Restaurant in London)

Yuichiro Akiyoshi(Chakaiseki Akiyoshi in Paris)

1 more judges(TBD)

Second Stage
B. Asian Qualifier

Akihiro Maetomo(MAETOMO Japanese Cuisine)

Mitsutaka Sakamoto(iKKA GOYO MAETOMO Japanese Cuisine )

Mitsutake Watanabe(Chef of Hazuki Japanese Cuisine)

Second/Third Stage
C. Online Qualifier

Masahiro Nakata(Taiwa Gakuen Education Inc.)


Final round,
appearance and tasting

Saori Ueki(Kobe Kokusai Cooking & Pastry College)

Shigeru Kagitomi(Niigata Cooking Technical School)

Ryo Katayama(Nakamura Cooking and Confectionery College)

Final round,
cooking operation

Shigeo Araki(uosaburo)


Shingo Sonobe(Heihachi Jaya)

Yoshiki Hirai(HIRAI)

Hideaki Matsuo(Kashiwaya)

Naoyuki Yanagihara(KINSARYU Yanagihara Cooking School)


  • Applicants must have non-Japanese nationality, regardless of current residence or employment in Japan.
  • Entrants must be available to participate in both the culinary training workshop March 4-8 and the final round of competition on March 9, 2025.
  • Duplicate entries to the European or Asian qualifiers and the Online qualifier are allowed.
  • Duplicate entries to the European and Asian qualifiers are not allowed.
  • Winners of the past Washoku World Challenge (organized by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of Japan ( are eligible to participate.

Organized by

Japanese Culinary Academy

Supported by

Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Agency for Cultural Affairs, Kyoto Prefecture, City of Kyoto

Cooperated by

Kyoto Culinary Art College

Partnership Schools

Utsunomiya Junior College Attached Junior High School, Utsunomiya Junior College Attached High School / Osaka Seikei College / KANSAI-CHOURISHI / Kitagawa International Specialty School / Kyoto Prefectural University / KOEN GAKUEN Ecole de Cuisine Patisserie / École de Cuisine et de Pâtisserie / Suzuki Academy / TSUJI Culinary Institute / Mizumoto Gakuen / Nakamura Academy / Nakamura culinary school / Nagoya Cooking Technical School / Niigata Cooking Technical School / BAIKA Women’s University / Ecole de Cuisine et Nutrition HATTORI / Hikone Sogo High School / Harada Gakuen / HOKURIKU GAKUEN / Ecole d’Art Culinaire de Miyagi


  • Submitted menus and recipes must not have been used in any other cooking competitions or contests.
  • Submitted menus and photos of completed dishes will not be returned regardless of whether they were selected or not in the qualifier rounds.
  • If the submitted menu is selected in the qualifier rounds, the copyright of the recipe will automatically belong to the Japanese Culinary Academy.
  • All personal information entered at the time of entry, such as names and addresses, will be protected and will not be reused for any other purpose.
  • Photos and videos taken at the competition, including those in which contestants and their creations appear, may be used on websites of the Japanese Culinary Academy and in publicity materials, according to our policy.

For Inquiries

Please contact the secretariat office for Road to JCAA: