On February 8, 2023, the creators of 10 award-winning food experiences convened at Tokyo Big Sight for the EAT! MEET! JAPAN 2022 ceremony.
A governmental program created by Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF), EAT! MEET! JAPAN recognizes and promotes the top Japanese food experiences across the country.
This year’s award ceremony was punctuated by two surprises: a special appearance by Shizuoka prefecture’s mascot, a giant wasabi fairy by the name of Sabi-chan; and an announcement about an upcoming project for 2023 (more info below).
What is EAT! MEET! JAPAN?
EAT! MEET! JAPAN is a program funded by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF), which has been running for four consecutive years starting in 2019. The project seeks to discover the top food experiences in Japan and support their advancement by providing marketing support, consulting from industry professionals, and video production services. By promoting new and unique food experiences that have the potential to captivate tourists year after year, MAFF aims to increase repeat visits to Japan.
The EMJ selection criteria are as follows:
- Is this an experience that involves food and can be explained as 食×〇〇 (“Food x XX”)?
- Is this an attractive experience for tourists visiting Japan?
- Is this an initiative that fully conveys the appeal of Japanese food?
- Is this an initiative that leads to the consumption (export) of local products through case studies?
- Is the initiative using food/ingredients that will lead to exports?
- Is the target country clear?
- Is this an initiative that can be expected to have sustained visit results?
EAT! MEET! JAPAN 2022 Award-Winning Food Experiences
Representing 9 prefectures of Japan, the 10 winners of EAT! MEET! JAPAN 2022 were selected from 101 applicants. The EAT! MEET! JAPAN award-winning experiences for 2022 are diverse, yet they all share one commonality: allowing travelers to gain deep insights into Japanese gastronomy while celebrating the people who are preserving Japanese food traditions.
EAT! MEET! JAPAN 2022 Winners
Soy Sauce Making and Factory Tour in Kawagoe
Make Your Own Pet Food From Scratch! Fishing and Grilling in Mie
Takashima, the City of Fermentation: Miso, Soy Sauce, and the Original Sushi
New Project for 2023: Products That Convey Regional Food Culture
Following presentations and Q&As with each of the winners, a new project was announced for 2023. Starting this April, MAFF and the travel agency JTB will be accepting applications for Japanese food products that can be sold through cross-border e-commerce. Selected products will be reviewed by a team of experts who will consult on how best to package and market them. Applications are open for two months, beginning in April 2023.
A recording of the full award ceremony can be viewed on the official Japanese EAT! MEET! JAPAN website.