About certificates in Japanese Cuisines

Many chefs may want to get a certificate after studying in Japan. There are basically three categories of the certificate that foreign chefs can obtain for Japanese cuisine.

Both private culinary schools and professional training colleges for culinary arts (Chorishi Senmon Gakko) issue a graduate certificate. Whereas private schools issue a school certificate, professional training colleges issue a diploma.

About the difference between private schools and professional training colleges, see our article of culinary schools in Japan

Graduation Certificates

Certification of cooking skills for Japanese cuisines in foreign countries

The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries issued “Guidelines for Certification of Cooking Skills for Japanese Cuisine in Foreign Countries” on April 1, 2016 to enhance the overseas promotion of Japanese cuisine and food culture. This guideline aims to promote Japanese cuisine, food culture, and produce appropriately and effectively in foreign countries.

It provides private bodies with common rules so that they can spontaneously certify foreign chefs who acquire a certain level of knowledge and skills for Japanese cuisine. The certification has three categories in accordance with the chef’s experience and knowledge.

As of March in 2019, 913 foreign chefs are certified under this guideline: 8 chefs are ranked Gold, 315 are ranked Silver, and 590 are ranked Bronze.

Cooking License (調理免許 – Chorishi Menkyo)

When we say a “license” for chefs in Japan, it generally indicates a cooking license.

3.8 million people have obtained the license so far, which is issued to about 40,000 people every year. There are two ways to obtain the license.

Cooking License


After engaging in cooking service at restaurants, including a cafeteria, or food service facilities for two years or more, you need to take an exam conducted by prefectures. Pass the exam and you can apply for the license to the governor of the prefecture where you live.


After graduating from a training facility for chefs, you can apply for the license to the governor of the prefecture where you live.

Not only the Japanese but also foreigners can obtain the license, but its requirements for Japanese proficiency may be a challenging hurdle. For your reference, you can work as a chef at restaurants in Japan even without a cooking license.

The three categories above are not required for learning about Japanese cuisine or finding a job, but a certificate is likely to give you an advantage when you change jobs or apply for a visa.

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