Enjoy a home-cooked meal with a Japanese family with Nagomi Visit. The best way to meet new people, learn about their culture and enjoy time at their home. Nagomi Visit has about 750 hosts who helped more than 4000 people from 67 countries enjoy Japanese food and hospitality. The philosophy behind the concept is to make new friends. I personally met my host Naoko in 2016 and we still keep in touch. It’s an amazing system to experience something unique during your stay in Japan and who knows maybe you make new friends.
Nagomi Visit what do you need to know?
Naturally, everything starts with finding a host. Please note that you have to book at least ten days in advance. The first thing you need to do is fill in the web form with the following information:
- In what area are you looking for a host.
- Enter the dates when you are available and if you want to have lunch or dinner.
- Do you come alone, together or with children?
- Name, age and country of origin.
- Upload a photo. You don’t have to, but I recommend doing so.
- Perhaps most important, write an introductory. It doesn’t need to be an essay. However, it is important that you write something about yourself.
- Indicate what kind of host you are looking for, someone with children or a group of friends, a solo host, or as I did, every host welcome.
- Indicate whether you are allergic to some food or can’t eat certain foods because you are a vegetarian etc.
Then it gets a bit exciting. Your profile will be online, and the hosts have three days to respond if they want to meet up with you. My first reactions arrived on day three. Was already getting nervous that no one wanted to meet me. If you have hosts that want to meet you after the three days are up, the roles are reversed. You get three days to choose a host from the people that responded. Once you’ve accepted a host you are all set to meet your unknown new friends.
There is a fee you need to pay, that fee will help to cover costs that the host makes for food and drinks and also to keep Nagomi Visit running. The price is 3500 Yen (about 28 Euro, 32 Dollar) per person. Childeren under the age of 5 are free. It’s a fixed price for any appointment made through Nagomi Visit. Also, good to know that Nagomi Visit is a non-profit organization. The main reason for not paying directly to the host on arrival is to prevent a change of setting because you have to hand over money. Must say I totally get that, the moment you pay money when you meet up it feels more like a living room restaurant. Also by paying on their website, they can assure that the price is the same for everyone.
Travel time and minimum duration of the visit.
The distance to the house of your host is always a maximum of one hour calculated from your departure station. Only hosts that meet that criteria will respond. After the payment is made, you will get to see where to meet your host.
The minimum duration of the visit is somewhere between two and three hours. However, don’t plan your visit with little time to spare the visit can always end up longer than you thought. My visit was about four hours; I had a great time however still had to return to Tokyo.
What else is there to know?
- All Nagomi Visit hosts speak English. Keep in mind that they may not always speak English fluid, have some patience in that case.
- The hosts will always do their best to prepare a delicious meal and give information about the food and share their culture with you. But keep in mind that they may have worked or still have a family to take care of. After all, it is not a holiday for them. Therefore, they may not have hours and hours on end to cook.
- If you want to help with cooking also write this in your profile.
- You will spend time at their home so behave accordingly and make sure you are not late for the appointment.
- Just look at it as eating at friends and not in a restaurant. Just socialize and help with anything if needed.
The most important thing is to be yourself, make sure you are hungry and ready to meet new people. It’s a nice gesture to bring a small present with you. Maybe something typical of your country, but it isn’t required. Before I forget the link to there website: Nagomi Visit. Like to know how my visit went? Read on overhere: Tsukiji fish market and Nagomi visit