8 November 2023

Taste of Japan: Recommended YouTube Channels

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Japanese cuisine has long captured the global imagination, with its profile ranging from the iconic culinary battles of "Iron Chef" to the intimate exposes seen in recent Netflix documentaries. Whether it's top chefs conjuring Michelin-starred courses, or sushi apprentices painstakingly searing sheets of nori and repeatedly perfecting their rolled omelets, the allure is unmistakable and extends far beyond the palate. This isn't just a world of taste; it's a realm deeply rooted in aesthetics and philosophy.

In this feature, we present a curated list of YouTube channels that bring the intricate universe of Japanese gastronomy right to your screen, making the complex art of this cuisine more accessible than ever. These channels offer a unique array of perspectives, providing exhaustive coverage of the multifaceted world of Japanese food. From cultural insights to historical context, they unlock facets of Japanese cuisine that are as intellectually stimulating as they are sensorially gratifying. It's an invitation you'd be well-advised to accept.


  • Japanesefoodcraftsman
  • Abroad in Japan
  • Paolo fromTOKYO
  • Strictly Dumpling


Step into the world of "Japanese Food Craftsman," a YouTube channel that serves up a cinematic feast focused primarily on independent eateries in Western Japan, all while maintaining a narrative flair that's distinctly its own. Conceived in a day-in-the-life documentary style, each video captures the soul of these establishments. While English subtitles are provided, there is minimal spoken dialogue, a clarity in visual storytelling that has helped many videos attract over a million views.

One cornerstone of the channel's content is the Yatai culture of Fukuoka. These portable food stalls are an irreplaceable feature of the city's culinary ethos. The scenes where a single individual seamlessly manages the stall setup, ingredient preparation, cooking, and customer service are, in many ways, spellbinding.

Amid a burgeoning trend of visually authentic culinary storytelling on YouTube, "Japanese Food Craftsman" stands out with its mission to spotlight independent restaurants. In a world saturated with stylized food content, "Japanese Food Craftsman" delivers an experience that is as unfiltered as the scenes you'd find on a street corner in Fukuoka today, enriching the viewer's understanding of Japan's culinary art and soul.

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In a world where food and art often get filtered through Instagram or jazzed up on TikTok, the "MOGUMOGU" YouTube channel stands out for its authenticity. It goes beyond showcasing popular Japanese restaurants, highlighting hidden gems and their charming owners.

The "Amazing Skills" series mesmerizes viewers with chefs skillfully preparing street foods like okonomiyaki and takoyaki. Each intricate step, from cracking and flying an egg to crafting perfect spheres of takoyaki, is captured on camera.

The "Grandma & Grandpa" series focuses on Japan's older generation, showing how they contribute to the food industry. It's not just about the dishes that have stood the test of time, but also the resilient people keeping these traditions alive.

Whether you're a foodie or just casually interested, "MOGUMOGU" offers more than just a feast for your taste buds. It's a well-curated selection of stories that dig deeper into Japan's culinary culture. If you're hungry for more than just food, "MOGUMOGU" is a dining experience you won't want to miss.

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Abroad in Japan

If you're fascinated by the enigmatic allure of Japan, then "Abroad in Japan" is a YouTube channel that deserves your attention. While it's not primarily focused on food, the channel enthusiastically explores Japan's culinary scene, offering entertaining insights into everything from high-end Kobe beef to convenience store food reviews. This often complements broader narratives on culture and travel.

Managed by Chris Broad, a British expat who has made Japan his home since 2012, the channel has evolved from a humble means of keeping family and friends updated to a global platform with an international following. Boasting millions of subscribers and hundreds of millions of views, it stands as one of the premier channels led by a foreigner focusing on Japan.

One of the channel's most remarkable features is its depth of coverage into the lesser-known facets of the country. Chris guides viewers on adventures that go beyond typical tourist attractions, leading them to hidden gems not mentioned in mainstream guidebooks. Moreover, Chris's unique style of narration, infused with wit and humor, not only engages but also educates the audience about the nuances of Japanese customs and lifestyle.

For those looking to explore Japan from a refreshing, entertaining, and deeply insightful perspective, "Abroad in Japan" is not just another channel—it's a rich and multidimensional gateway into the heart of Japanese culture.

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Paolo fromTOKYO

Located in Tokyo, Paolo and his partner Maiko manage the YouTube channel "Paolo fromTOKYO," which provides an insightful exploration of Japanese culture. Having lived in Japan for over 15 years, Paolo serves as a knowledgeable guide, offering viewers a well-informed perspective on Tokyo's distinctive way of life.

While the channel isn't solely focused on food, it does feature an engaging series called "Behind the Counter." In this series, Paolo invites viewers on a detailed journey into local restaurants, offering both interviews and daily routine footage. This approach brings a personal touch to the culinary scene, making the viewer feel as if they are sharing a meaningful dinner conversation with the chef.

Beyond culinary topics, "Paolo fromTOKYO" has a variety of offerings that are sure to captivate your interest. The channel includes fascinating tours of well-known food factories, revealing the production process behind beloved items like udon noodles and meat buns. These segments are both entertaining and informative, giving insights into the harmonious blend of craftsmanship and technology in Japanese food production.

Additionally, the channel features other diverse content, such as travel tips, airline reviews, and snapshots of daily life in Japan, catering to a wide range of interests. Overall, "Paolo fromTOKYO" is a comprehensive and welcoming resource for anyone curious about Japanese culture.

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Strictly Dumpling

In the ever-expanding universe of culinary YouTube channels, one luminary deserving of special attention is Texas-based Mike Chen, the force behind "Strictly Dumpling." While the channel primarily focuses on food, it does so with an international flair that sets it apart. Out of the diverse culinary traditions that make appearances on the channel, Japanese cuisine holds a particular place, constituting about one-tenth of the content.

What sets Chen apart is not merely the breadth of his culinary exploration but also the depth. He guides viewers through a variety of Japanese foods that span from the high to the low, the traditional to the modern. One video might delve into the meticulous art of kaiseki at a historic ryokan, while another could take you on a whimsical journey through Japan's odd vending machine snacks. Price is not the objective; it's the rich tapestry of the culture conveyed through its food.

So whether you are a dedicated epicurean or merely an adventurer in the realm of flavors, consider Mike Chen's "Strictly Dumpling" your indispensable guide to a world where every dish has a story, and every story is a portal to somewhere extraordinary.

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This concludes our introduction to recommended YouTube channels, but consider this your gateway to a deeper exploration of Japanese culinary arts. From enriching your dinner menus to finding invaluable travel insights, the possibilities are boundless. We invite you to tune in, educate yourself, and savor the experience.