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Host: Keiko

Kyoto, Japan

USD
$24-$52 per person

Obanzai dining experience in North Kyoto

Host offerings
  • House
  • Home cook
  • Pets
  • Vegetarian
  • Alcohol
  • Transportation
  • Cooking experience
  • Market visit

Meet Keiko

Keiko-san is a fun and friendly retired English teacher who is passionate about food, pottery and music. Living in the north of Kyoto with her elderly parents, Keiko’s home is modern, but maintains Japanese tradition with tatami rooms. Growing up, Keiko learned to cook from her mother and grandmother, and as an adult, she continued to hone her skills by watching cooking shows. She specializes in Obanzai cooking, a method distinct to Kyoto that relies heavily on vegetables, seafood and other ingredients that are seasonal and local to the Kyoto region. Keiko is excited to share this distinctive cuisine with guests from other parts of the world, and to showcase a part of Japanese culinary culture that is unique to the Kyoto region.

"I always have a good time cooking because I can forget about everything else. Cooking makes me happy, and cooking for someone and talking to and sharing my meal with them is even better."

Curious to know more? Read guest blogs about their experiences with Keiko:
Guest blog 1
Guest blog 2
Guest blog 3

What to expect

Please note menu might vary. If there are particular dishes you are interested in trying, please include your request in the booking form.

In-home meal: (1-6 guests) Keiko will welcome you into her home in typical Kyoto style: with a drink and a sweet. Sitting on cushions on the floor, gather around the low, Japanese-style dining table to share a traditional Obanzai meal prepared by Keiko. Her father may join you for food and conversation, if he’s home. Your menu might include Japanese home-cooked dishes such as nikujaga (a Japanese dish of meat and potatoes stewed in soy sauce), kinpira gobo (a sweet and savory sauté of burdock root and carrots), saikyo-zuke (Kyoto-style miso-marinated fish) and dessert. After this cultural experience and wonderful meal, Keiko will drop you off at the train station.

Cooking experience: (1-5 guests) Join Keiko in her small but welcoming kitchen to learn to cook a traditional Obanzai meal. During the hour long cooking lesson, Keiko will demonstrate how she artfully presents her delicate dishes. Once the dishes are complete, you will join Keiko at the low, Japanese-style dining table and feast on your creations!

Notes: Keiko's father is a little hard of hearing but enjoys conversing with guests when he is around. Please note that Keiko's elderly mother suffers from dementia and Keiko is her primary caregiver. Because of this, she may sometimes need Keiko's help during the experience but most of the time, she rests in her room. Occasionally this might lead to unexpected outbursts and on rare occasion, a last minute cancellation. We wanted you to know so you don't feel uncomfortable should this happen.

Traveler reviews

Keiko gave us a glimpse into Japanese culture that we could not have seen without going to her house and spending time preparing the meal with her. The lunch was also delicious and beautifully presented. But above all, having that time in Keiko's home, being exposed to dozens of little details of daily life, that is what made it very special. I am very glad we had the opportunity to start our week in Kyoto with this experience. Our favorite dish was the potato and chicken stew, sooooo yummy!
- Noemi July 04, 2017

We loved having Keiko as our host! She was qualified, hospitable, and easy to converse with- not to mention a good chef. We had an outstanding afternoon with her! Our favorite dish were the stuffed mushrooms.
- Madeline

Keiko was very nice and helpful. She really let us do the cooking and we enjoyed it very much. We learned all kind of things about the Japanese culture and food. Things that helpen us understand Japan later on in our trip. We especially liked cooking Dashimaki Tamago!
- Dennis

Keiko was a wonderful host and we spent a lovely few hours in her company. She welcomed us into her home where we enjoyed good food and conversation. Traveling Spoon is such a great way to connect with the culture of the place and see a side you wouldn't see otherwise. Keiko lives in a quiet residential area far away from the tourist sights. We made four dishes with her and then shared lunch. She also explained Japanese tea to us. She gave us lots of good tips on where to buy Japanese ingredients and happily answered all our questions about life in Japan. Thank you Keiko and Traveling Spoon for the wonderful opportunity. It was a highlight of our trip!
- Fiona

Keiko is a great host, the food was very good (we opted for cooking with her which was very fun and we highly recommend it) and she is a lovely person and an interesting conversant. We took a peek of the Japanese day-to-day and Keiko was very patient to explain a lot of thing to us about Japanese living. Everything was really good but we particularly enjoyed the stew and the egg roll (definitely will be doing this one at home). I also enjoyed trying the smoked tea.
- Belén

My friends and I enjoyed our Japanese Traveling Spoon experience very much. Keiko was an excellent host and very attentive to our needs.
- Greg

Keiko was an incredible host. We loved being able to learn about the food, how to cook, and her life in Japan. Her kindness and hospitality made us feel at home, and we can't wait to experience the Traveling Spoon in other places around the world!
- Bobby T.

Keiko was an incredible host who spoke excellent English and was a great conversationalist. It felt like we were able to learn a lot about the culture and have meaningful personal conversation with a new friend. I would do this again more to hang out and talk with Keiko than for the food - although the food was very good. Unforgettable cultural experience!
- Jared

I can honestly say Keiko made my trip to Japan, the experience with her was the highlight of my trip! She is a warm, friendly and gracious host and I really enjoyed learning about traditional Japanese cooking and their customs and traditions. Was so lovely to cook such a beautiful meal with such great company. If ever in Kyoto you'll be missing out if you don't visit Keiko, she is an angel and I would highly recommend an experience with her!
- Indianna

I have taken many cooking classes around the world and this was my favorite! Communication from the beginning with my host Keiko was very good. Her home is lovely and she provided a warm welcome when I arrived. The dishes we prepared together were simple and I learnt alot about Japenese cooking from Keiko. We enjoyed a great lunch together and I felt I could have stayed the whole day talking. Keiko is such a lovely and kind person. I highly recommend this experience.
- Deborah

Keiko was such a fantastic teacher, cook and host! As a former English teacher, she was very easy to talk to, and it was great to sit around the table and chat about food and our different cultures. My favorite dish was the fried lotus root with chicken – I could have eaten the whole plate by myself. Keiko was also very knowledgeable about different teas, and served us a selection so that we could taste and understand the differences. After our lunch together she even drove us down to her favorite tea shop, Ippudo. That tea shop and the surrounding area became our favorite spots in Kyoto. We wouldn’t have discovered it without her! Thank you, Keiko for a wonderful (and delicious) afternoon!
- Nick and Emily

Keiko was warm and wonderful. She was an excellent host, with delicious food and wonderful conversation. As a bonus, she introduced us to all different types of tea! We learned a lot about Japanese food and we really enjoyed cooking and eating with her. Thank you, Keiko!
- Dorna

Keiko provided us with such a special and unique travel experience. As amazing as all the restaurants in Kyoto were, it was such a breath of fresh air to get outside of downtown and have a truly authentic in-home culinary experience. It provided such wonderful to context to all the delicious foods we had already been eating (and inspiration for my next excursion to Japantown back home in San Francisco!). It was a true highlight and Keiko went out of her way to make us feel comfortable and welcome. Keiko was a fantastic teacher and provided great context regarding the go-to ingredients for cooking in the Kansai region of Japan. The recipes were delicious and accessible - I can't wait to make dashi on my own now!
- Nikki

We literally could not have asked for a better experience! Keiko was extremely warm in inviting us into her home. She was formerly a teacher and it showed in learning how to cook the things she was showing us. The food was all delicious, fresh, and authentic. Her conversations with us were also extremely memorable. When we got lost taking the train to her, she insisted on picking us up in her car. She also drove us to the right bus station for where we needed to go after our meal.
- Louis J

Wonderful hosts and fantastic cooking experience and meal. Great conversation about culture and etiquette. Thanks to Keiko and Mayumi for such a wonderful day. We have memories to keep forever.
- Sesame Jane

Keiko was an exceptional and thoughtful host! We learned about Kyoto's regional cuisine in addition to different types of preparation for some of the most well known Japanese dishes, like miso soup. We had a really hands-on experience learning how to prepare some of the dishes in Keiko's cozy kitchen. Her English was excellent and we had lovely conversation about her passion for food and cooking and some of her great recommendations for touring around Kyoto. This was our first Traveling Spoon experience and they knocked it out of the park - can't wait to try it again!
- Margueritte

Keiko was welcoming, generous, and kind. It was truly the highlight of our trip to Japan!!
- Tom

Keiko is a delightful woman, who made my experience easy. I was early to the train station, wanting to be sure I was not late for her 6:15 pickup -- and she was early too, knowing guests typically did what I did! The food was mostly ready, so served quickly and efficiently, with explanations of what each dish was. Keiko has lived in the US, so has a sense of cultural differences, which we were able to talk about during the meal. Her English is excellent, and she is a genuinely nice person. She also gave me several good suggestions for gardens to visit the next day.
- Linda

Keiko is friendly! Her home is cozy and the food is delicious. We tried different drinks such as sake and tea. Mayumi also demonstrated the tea ceremony after meal. Interesting experience!
- Su

Our lunch at Keiko's place was brilliant. Totally met all of our expectations. We enjoyed every single minute. Our host Keiko is a wonderful person, she picked us up from the station, taught us a lot about Japanese culture and cuisine. Together we prepared a delicious meal. There was so much to eat that after lunch we didn't eat anything else for the whole day. It was our first experience with Traveling Spoon but it was so good that we would like to repeat it in future. Our special thanks once again to Keiko to be such a lovely host!
- Natalia

We had a fabulous time during our Traveling Spoon experience! The food, our host, the cultural experience-- all perfect! Traveling Spoon offers a unique experience to interact with a local and learn about the culture of where you're visiting. What better way to learn about a country than through food and conversation! I absolutely loved my experience with Keiko in Kyoto, Japan. All was great! Keiko was a gracious host who welcomed us into her home and spoiled us with delicious food and great company.
- Kaitlin

Keiko is THE perfect cook and host! She arranged everything meticulously in advance. During our market trip she explained so much about Kyoto's food culture that I started to feel home. ;-) And, by the way, the food was excellent and plenty. She prepared six different, very tasty dishes! I feel privileged given the opportunity being her guest. Try to do the same if you are in Kyoto!
- Nora

Keiko was amazing. This part of our trip was the most memorable by far. Our dinner with Keiko really helped bring us closer to Japanese culture. We could ask questions and get a much better understanding of the ways of life in Kyoto. Keiko is an amazing host. Her English was excellent so communication was perfect. She was able to teach us more in a single lunch then we were able to learn from from any exhibit. She made our trip everything we wanted it to be. I loved trying all the types of tea she had along with the history behind them. We loved every minute with Keiko!
- Stephen

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Keiko

$24-$52 USD

per person
100%
Satisfaction Guaranteed
  • 100% Satisfaction guarantee or your money back
  • Free cancellation up to 48 hours in advance
  • Your credit card will not be charged until your host accepts your booking
Pricing
1 person 2-4 ppl 5+ ppl
In-Home Meal
$42 $32 $24
Cooking Experience + Meal
$52 $40 $32
Alcohol
$8 per person
1 person 2-4 people 5+ people
In-Home Meal
$42 $32 $24
Cooking Experience + Meal
$52 $40 $32
Alcohol
$8 per person
Experience Timings
Lunch Dinner
In-Home Meal
12:00pm-2:00pm
Cooking Experience+ Meal
11:00am-2:00pm

Meet Keiko

Keiko-san is a fun and friendly retired English teacher who is passionate about food, pottery and music. Living in the north of Kyoto with her elderly parents, Keiko’s home is modern, but maintains Japanese tradition with tatami rooms. Growing up, Keiko learned to cook from her mother and grandmother, and as an adult, she continued to hone her skills by watching cooking shows. She specializes in Obanzai cooking, a method distinct to Kyoto that relies heavily on vegetables, seafood and other ingredients that are seasonal and local to the Kyoto region. Keiko is excited to share this distinctive cuisine with guests from other parts of the world, and to showcase a part of Japanese culinary culture that is unique to the Kyoto region.

"I always have a good time cooking because I can forget about everything else. Cooking makes me happy, and cooking for someone and talking to and sharing my meal with them is even better."

Curious to know more? Read guest blogs about their experiences with Keiko:
Guest blog 1
Guest blog 2
Guest blog 3

What to expect

Please note menu might vary. If there are particular dishes you are interested in trying, please include your request in the booking form.

In-home meal: (1-6 guests) Keiko will welcome you into her home in typical Kyoto style: with a drink and a sweet. Sitting on cushions on the floor, gather around the low, Japanese-style dining table to share a traditional Obanzai meal prepared by Keiko. Her father may join you for food and conversation, if he’s home. Your menu might include Japanese home-cooked dishes such as nikujaga (a Japanese dish of meat and potatoes stewed in soy sauce), kinpira gobo (a sweet and savory sauté of burdock root and carrots), saikyo-zuke (Kyoto-style miso-marinated fish) and dessert. After this cultural experience and wonderful meal, Keiko will drop you off at the train station.

Cooking experience: (1-5 guests) Join Keiko in her small but welcoming kitchen to learn to cook a traditional Obanzai meal. During the hour long cooking lesson, Keiko will demonstrate how she artfully presents her delicate dishes. Once the dishes are complete, you will join Keiko at the low, Japanese-style dining table and feast on your creations!

Notes: Keiko's father is a little hard of hearing but enjoys conversing with guests when he is around. Please note that Keiko's elderly mother suffers from dementia and Keiko is her primary caregiver. Because of this, she may sometimes need Keiko's help during the experience but most of the time, she rests in her room. Occasionally this might lead to unexpected outbursts and on rare occasion, a last minute cancellation. We wanted you to know so you don't feel uncomfortable should this happen.

Traveler reviews

Keiko gave us a glimpse into Japanese culture that we could not have seen without going to her house and spending time preparing the meal with her. The lunch was also delicious and beautifully presented. But above all, having that time in Keiko's home, being exposed to dozens of little details of daily life, that is what made it very special. I am very glad we had the opportunity to start our week in Kyoto with this experience. Our favorite dish was the potato and chicken stew, sooooo yummy!
- Noemi July 04, 2017

We loved having Keiko as our host! She was qualified, hospitable, and easy to converse with- not to mention a good chef. We had an outstanding afternoon with her! Our favorite dish were the stuffed mushrooms.
- Madeline

Keiko was very nice and helpful. She really let us do the cooking and we enjoyed it very much. We learned all kind of things about the Japanese culture and food. Things that helpen us understand Japan later on in our trip. We especially liked cooking Dashimaki Tamago!
- Dennis

Keiko was a wonderful host and we spent a lovely few hours in her company. She welcomed us into her home where we enjoyed good food and conversation. Traveling Spoon is such a great way to connect with the culture of the place and see a side you wouldn't see otherwise. Keiko lives in a quiet residential area far away from the tourist sights. We made four dishes with her and then shared lunch. She also explained Japanese tea to us. She gave us lots of good tips on where to buy Japanese ingredients and happily answered all our questions about life in Japan. Thank you Keiko and Traveling Spoon for the wonderful opportunity. It was a highlight of our trip!
- Fiona

Keiko is a great host, the food was very good (we opted for cooking with her which was very fun and we highly recommend it) and she is a lovely person and an interesting conversant. We took a peek of the Japanese day-to-day and Keiko was very patient to explain a lot of thing to us about Japanese living. Everything was really good but we particularly enjoyed the stew and the egg roll (definitely will be doing this one at home). I also enjoyed trying the smoked tea.
- Belén

My friends and I enjoyed our Japanese Traveling Spoon experience very much. Keiko was an excellent host and very attentive to our needs.
- Greg

Keiko was an incredible host. We loved being able to learn about the food, how to cook, and her life in Japan. Her kindness and hospitality made us feel at home, and we can't wait to experience the Traveling Spoon in other places around the world!
- Bobby T.

Keiko was an incredible host who spoke excellent English and was a great conversationalist. It felt like we were able to learn a lot about the culture and have meaningful personal conversation with a new friend. I would do this again more to hang out and talk with Keiko than for the food - although the food was very good. Unforgettable cultural experience!
- Jared

I can honestly say Keiko made my trip to Japan, the experience with her was the highlight of my trip! She is a warm, friendly and gracious host and I really enjoyed learning about traditional Japanese cooking and their customs and traditions. Was so lovely to cook such a beautiful meal with such great company. If ever in Kyoto you'll be missing out if you don't visit Keiko, she is an angel and I would highly recommend an experience with her!
- Indianna

I have taken many cooking classes around the world and this was my favorite! Communication from the beginning with my host Keiko was very good. Her home is lovely and she provided a warm welcome when I arrived. The dishes we prepared together were simple and I learnt alot about Japenese cooking from Keiko. We enjoyed a great lunch together and I felt I could have stayed the whole day talking. Keiko is such a lovely and kind person. I highly recommend this experience.
- Deborah

Keiko was such a fantastic teacher, cook and host! As a former English teacher, she was very easy to talk to, and it was great to sit around the table and chat about food and our different cultures. My favorite dish was the fried lotus root with chicken – I could have eaten the whole plate by myself. Keiko was also very knowledgeable about different teas, and served us a selection so that we could taste and understand the differences. After our lunch together she even drove us down to her favorite tea shop, Ippudo. That tea shop and the surrounding area became our favorite spots in Kyoto. We wouldn’t have discovered it without her! Thank you, Keiko for a wonderful (and delicious) afternoon!
- Nick and Emily

Keiko was warm and wonderful. She was an excellent host, with delicious food and wonderful conversation. As a bonus, she introduced us to all different types of tea! We learned a lot about Japanese food and we really enjoyed cooking and eating with her. Thank you, Keiko!
- Dorna

Keiko provided us with such a special and unique travel experience. As amazing as all the restaurants in Kyoto were, it was such a breath of fresh air to get outside of downtown and have a truly authentic in-home culinary experience. It provided such wonderful to context to all the delicious foods we had already been eating (and inspiration for my next excursion to Japantown back home in San Francisco!). It was a true highlight and Keiko went out of her way to make us feel comfortable and welcome. Keiko was a fantastic teacher and provided great context regarding the go-to ingredients for cooking in the Kansai region of Japan. The recipes were delicious and accessible - I can't wait to make dashi on my own now!
- Nikki

We literally could not have asked for a better experience! Keiko was extremely warm in inviting us into her home. She was formerly a teacher and it showed in learning how to cook the things she was showing us. The food was all delicious, fresh, and authentic. Her conversations with us were also extremely memorable. When we got lost taking the train to her, she insisted on picking us up in her car. She also drove us to the right bus station for where we needed to go after our meal.
- Louis J

Wonderful hosts and fantastic cooking experience and meal. Great conversation about culture and etiquette. Thanks to Keiko and Mayumi for such a wonderful day. We have memories to keep forever.
- Sesame Jane

Keiko was an exceptional and thoughtful host! We learned about Kyoto's regional cuisine in addition to different types of preparation for some of the most well known Japanese dishes, like miso soup. We had a really hands-on experience learning how to prepare some of the dishes in Keiko's cozy kitchen. Her English was excellent and we had lovely conversation about her passion for food and cooking and some of her great recommendations for touring around Kyoto. This was our first Traveling Spoon experience and they knocked it out of the park - can't wait to try it again!
- Margueritte

Keiko was welcoming, generous, and kind. It was truly the highlight of our trip to Japan!!
- Tom

Keiko is a delightful woman, who made my experience easy. I was early to the train station, wanting to be sure I was not late for her 6:15 pickup -- and she was early too, knowing guests typically did what I did! The food was mostly ready, so served quickly and efficiently, with explanations of what each dish was. Keiko has lived in the US, so has a sense of cultural differences, which we were able to talk about during the meal. Her English is excellent, and she is a genuinely nice person. She also gave me several good suggestions for gardens to visit the next day.
- Linda

Keiko is friendly! Her home is cozy and the food is delicious. We tried different drinks such as sake and tea. Mayumi also demonstrated the tea ceremony after meal. Interesting experience!
- Su

Our lunch at Keiko's place was brilliant. Totally met all of our expectations. We enjoyed every single minute. Our host Keiko is a wonderful person, she picked us up from the station, taught us a lot about Japanese culture and cuisine. Together we prepared a delicious meal. There was so much to eat that after lunch we didn't eat anything else for the whole day. It was our first experience with Traveling Spoon but it was so good that we would like to repeat it in future. Our special thanks once again to Keiko to be such a lovely host!
- Natalia

We had a fabulous time during our Traveling Spoon experience! The food, our host, the cultural experience-- all perfect! Traveling Spoon offers a unique experience to interact with a local and learn about the culture of where you're visiting. What better way to learn about a country than through food and conversation! I absolutely loved my experience with Keiko in Kyoto, Japan. All was great! Keiko was a gracious host who welcomed us into her home and spoiled us with delicious food and great company.
- Kaitlin

Keiko is THE perfect cook and host! She arranged everything meticulously in advance. During our market trip she explained so much about Kyoto's food culture that I started to feel home. ;-) And, by the way, the food was excellent and plenty. She prepared six different, very tasty dishes! I feel privileged given the opportunity being her guest. Try to do the same if you are in Kyoto!
- Nora

Keiko was amazing. This part of our trip was the most memorable by far. Our dinner with Keiko really helped bring us closer to Japanese culture. We could ask questions and get a much better understanding of the ways of life in Kyoto. Keiko is an amazing host. Her English was excellent so communication was perfect. She was able to teach us more in a single lunch then we were able to learn from from any exhibit. She made our trip everything we wanted it to be. I loved trying all the types of tea she had along with the history behind them. We loved every minute with Keiko!
- Stephen

Pricing
1 person 2-4 ppl 5+ ppl
In-Home Meal
$42 $32 $24
Cooking Experience + Meal
$52 $40 $32
Alcohol
$8 per person
1 person 2-4 people 5+ people
In-Home Meal
$42 $32 $24
Cooking Experience + Meal
$52 $40 $32
Alcohol
$8 per person
Experience Timings
Lunch Dinner
In-Home Meal
12:00pm-2:00pm
Cooking Experience+ Meal
11:00am-2:00pm
Host Contact
  • You can send a message to this host using the button below. Frequently asked questions can be found in the section below. Your host's address and phone number will be provided upon booking confirmation.
  • Message host
FAQ

    You can cancel your experience 48 hours or more before your experience date and receive a full refund. To request a cancellation once you have made a booking simply log in and click the "Request Cancellation" link from the bottom of your booking. Your refund will be processed immediately (note it can take up to 10 business days for this refund to post to your credit card statement). Please note that for cancellations within 48 hours of your experience we unfortunately cannot offer a refund; this is because our hosts typically purchase food and begin their preparations up to 48 hours before the experience.

    Most of our hosts are able to accommodate dietary restrictions and allergies, including vegetarian and gluten free options. For vegetarian travelers, we have an icon on each host profile to indicate whether that host can also offer a fully vegetarian menu. There is a section in the booking form to note any allergies or dietary restrictions which will be sent directly to your host.

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    Hosts typically respond to booking inquiries within 72 hours. If for some reason you have not heard from your host or if you have any questions you can always contact us at reservations@travelingspoon.com.