If I had the means, I would explore every inch of Japan, but since I can’t…yet, I’ll have to settle for plenty of Japanese TV shows about food and travel. This is a list of what I usually look for at my local Japanese video rental store. From time to time I’ll come back and fill in more of this post. Please let me know if you’ve seen any other shows.
旅の香り = Tabi no Kaori (Scent of a Journey) (TV Asahi) 60mins each episode
This is a travel show where various hosts (usually of celebrity stature) travel regional parts of Japan sampling local restaurants, onsens, and other sights. (Series ended.)
チューボーですよ! = Saturday Night Chubaw! (TBS) 30mins
This is a variety show where a celebrity guest visits and helps the hosts prepare a dish. At the end of the show the guest rates the dish 0-3 stars. The hosts are very good at keeping the conversation flowing and entertaining. And part of the charm of the show is that not all of the dishes come out perfectly! During the show, they’ll also show you 3 restaurants that specialize in the evening’s dish and show you how each chef prepares it. They’ll also feature one upcoming, hard-working apprentice working at one of the restaurants. The recipe used for the show will be provided at the end of the program. While the ending credits are rolling, the guest usually gets a call from a close family or colleague. There are a few episodes you can find online, but they’re mainly because they feature a particular guest. But pretty much every show is pretty entertaining. If you’re looking for a pure cooking show, you might find this show has too much talking. However, this is a fun guest show with food. Here’s an recipe in English from the show.
ウチゴハン! = Home Meal! (TV-Asahi) 30mins
This is more of a pure cooking show. Follow the TV family as they prepare dishes, learn about specific ingredients and entertain guests. It can be a little silly at times, but the show shows good cooking techniques.
デイリーキッチン = Daily Kitchen (Tokyo MX)
フードバトルクラブ = Food Battle Club (TBS)
This is a battle show for the world of competitive eatting. There are a few episodes floating around online mostly pertaining to Kobayashi’s extraordinary feats of consuming huge quantities of food. But there are plenty of other competitive food eaters out there.
いい旅夢気分 = I Feel Like A Dream Trip (TV Tokyo) 60mins each episode
Travel and Food. They usually take a celebrity and his or her family and follow them on their visit to various Japanese cities or regions.
食彩の王国 = The Kingdom of Food Coloring (TV Asahi)
Guests and Food
人生の楽園 = Garden of Life (TV Asahi)
Travel and Food.
二人の食卓 = Table for Two (TV Asahi)
女神の勝負食 = Food Goddess of Victory (TV Asahi)
うまいもんニッポン 産地直送!極上グルメ = Tasty Foods of Japan (TV Asahi)
If you want to see how obsessive the Japanese can be about producing the best food check out this show. Each mango is carefully wrapped on the tree, etc. The Japanese are truly a foodie culture.
おかずのクッキング = Cooking Food In (TV Asahi)
遥かなるオイスターロードの旅 = Long Road Oyster Trip (TV Asahi)
Oyster lovers beware…
やじうまプラス = Ya ji uma plus (TV Asahi)
This is more of an informational show for young women. It includes cooking, fashion, shopping, trends, etc.
にっぽん菜発見 そうだ、自然に帰ろう = ??? (TV Asahi)
Regional food specialties.
Delicious Collection = Delicious Collection (TV Asahi)
Food and cooking. Sponsored by Nissin.
男子ごはん = Taichi x Kentaro Danshi Gohan (Boy’s Food) (TV Tokyo)
This is a cooking show featuring 2 guys. I think Taishi is from the group TOKIO and I’ve definitely seen Kentaro in some of the Japanese food magazines.
いきなり！黄金伝説 = Ikinari (TV Asahi)
This show covers different restaurant specialties. Usually there’s a panel of hosts and guests, they talk about food, and then have to answer a quiz. If they answer correctly, they get to eat. Losers only get to watch the others eat. The personalities are wild and funny. The food can be quite unique.
裸の少年 = Hadaka no shonen (TV Asahi)
Ever wonder where some of the Iron Chef people went? Chen Kenichi and Yukio Hattori as well as one of the regular judges are on this food show.
ルート８８ = Route 88
ザ！鉄腕！DASH！！ = Tetsuwan DASH !!
This is a travel show where they follow a couple of different groups of hosts travelling all over Japan in search of regional specialties. One host group are 2 guys in a solar powered van, which sometimes leads to unexpected plans when the sun goes down. It’s a fun show that often showcases bits and pieces of Japanese culture, foods, farms, and people that you would have never guessed existed.
嗚呼！花の料理人 = Cook Flowers
It’s a variety/game show kind of like Dotchi. The panel needs to earn 7 points over 3 quiz stages in order to eat the final prized dish. The losers have to watch.
未来創造堂 = Future Creation Hall
Another Sky = Another Sky
メレンゲの気持ち = Feelings of Meringue
This is a talk show with food.
欽ちゃん＆香取慎吾の全日本仮装大賞 = ???
this isn’t travel or food. It’s a hilarious talent show where ordinary people show off an act and get rated points 15+ gets you to the final round. They’ve been on the air for 30+ years.
ぶらり途中下車の旅 = Next Stop Discovery Burari
This is an interesting show where the host takes a particular train line and visits various special restaurants and shops at different stations along the route. (Series ended.)
MAKI’S MAGIC RESTAURANT (TBS) 60 min. x 43 episodes+
The host is Maki Mizuno, who has studied at Le Cordon Bleu, a famous British confectionery school well known throughout the world. Popular comedians from Osaka and Maki, the non-local of Osaka sets off on a search to local restaurants and invite gourmet chefs to the studio to discover the local gourmet food of Osaka ©Mainichi Broadcasting System, Inc. (MBS)(Osaka, Japan) (Description from TBS English site.)
路線バス乗り継ぎ兆海道縦断の旅 – Transit Bus Trip Across Hokkaido
3 Hosts travel all over Hokkaido via bus stopping and exploring restaurants and onsens along the way. Sometimes bus schedules and routes don’t work the way they want them to. ^^;; (Single Shows)
神出鬼没! みの高田(秘)爆笑旅行社 – Elusive! Mino Takada （Secret) Burst Out Laughter Travel Agency
Travel (Single Shows)
タカトシ温水が行くゆりかもめ小さな旅 – Taka Toshi Heated Small Journey on the Yurikamome
Travel (Single Shows)
石ちゃんダジャレ旅 – Ishi-chan’s Dajare Journey (Dajare = Word Play)
Travel (Single Shows)
Of course there are the classics such as Dotchi and Iron Chef, but they’re no longer any new seasons.
輝け! 料理の怪人 – Kagayake! Ryōri no kaijin Aired (2010.04.18)
This is a single show that features a review of several very special chefs in Japan, rates them on the type of cooking they do and picks a champion chef to represent the best of the bunch. My description doesn’t do the show justice, as you’ll see the “Ramen Sniper” is quite unique!