All TopicsNewsCultureJapanese Snacks & CandyFood & DrinkTravelEntertainmentMember Spotlight
TokyoTreat Japanese Snacks BlogThis Japanese Chef Is Taking the Art of Food to a Whole New Dimension

This Japanese Chef Is Taking the Art of Food to a Whole New Dimension

Tanner SchroederTanner Schroeder
Published Time
Posted on 
July 20, 2020
Modified Time
Updated last 
June 21, 2022

This Japanese Chef Is Taking the Art of Food to a Whole New Level

Have you ever heard the old saying that “you eat with your eyes first”? 

Well, we’re all pretty serious about our Japanese food here at TokyoTreat – and as dedicated Japan foodies, we love documenting all the delicious food Tokyo has to offer on our instagram almost as much as we enjoy eating it! 

It’s the least we can do to show our appreciation for the culinary art we experience daily, but of course, there’s always someone out there who takes things to the next level. 

Long before the age of the ‘gram, Japanese chef Itsuo Kobayashi has been documenting his culinary journey in a beautiful way – no smartphone, camera or internet required! In a style that invokes the same mouth watering magic of a studio ghibli film, Itsuo Kobayashi has been creating detailed illustrations of everything he eats for the past 32 years! 

Kobayashi has always had a knack for illustration, and sometime in his late teens decided to begin documenting meals he particularly enjoyed with an illustration in his journal.

 By the time he turned 20, Kobayashi had become a successful soba chef, and later, moved on to feeding school-children at a cafeteria, spreading the love of his art and craft for a living. All told, to this day Kobayashi has produced over 1,000 illustrations of Japanese food! 

Overtime, like any talented artist, Kobayashi has developed his own unique style that really captures the essence and personality of his subjects – or, in his case, his meals! Much like Japanese-style cooking, his illustrations are as simple as they are detailed, with focus and precision helping to convey the unique experience of a Japanese bento, bowl of ramen, or tempura rice bowl. 

In fact his art is so wonderfully appetizing it almost reminds us of the quirky plastic food models that most Japanese restaurants use to show passerbys a little taste of what they can expect inside! Pretty cute, huh? 

Unfortunately, Kobayashi’s career as a Chef was cut short when he developed chronic neuritis, a debilitating and often-painful neurological disorder that significantly reduces the mobility of it’s victims. 

As a result of all this, most of Kobayashi’s time is spent indoors, and while we used to cook many of the meals he illustrated, he now primarily relies on delivery as well as his mother’s cooking to both fuel himself and his artistic projects! 

For some, being confined to your own home may halt any creative inspiration, but for Kobayashi, there’s always an endless amount of new culinary experiences to try. 

This spirit of always trying something new has carried over into his artwork, as well! For decades Kobayashi’s artwork has primarily been focused on 2D illustration, collage and text, but now he’s taking things to a whole new dimension with these awesome 3D pop-up pieces! 

While Kobayashi’s home is also his art studio – his illustrations have managed to travel all over the globe, becoming famous worldwide! Just like the Japanese food he illustrates, Kobayashi’s art has become highly desirable in the United States. 

Last January, his unique artwork sold for $3,000 at New York’s Outsider Art Fair. Not a bad deal, wouldn’t you say? 

Man, looking at all of these delicious drawings is making us hungry! Are you ready to bring some of these home? Let us know in the comment below!

Make sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for more news straight from Japan!


Enjoy Delicious Japanese Candy And Snacks Every Month!

Enjoy Delicious Japanese Candy And Snacks Every Month!

Starting from $32.50 USD

Get TokyoTreat

Author avatar
Tanner Schroeder

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Articles

A person chilling on a beautiful anime beach.

Anime Beach: Five Amazing Episodes to Watch!

Get ready to dive into the deep end of why these episodes hold such an enduring appeal!

June 18, 2024
A lush forest on SHikoku Island.

Shikoku: Five Amazing Places to Explore on the Island!

Shikoku is one of the four main islands in Japan. It presents a captivating blend of natural wonders, rich history, and delightful traditions.

June 11, 2024
A room at the Nakagin Capsule Tower.

Nakagin Capsule Tower: What Happened to It?

In the heart of Tokyo, there once stood a futuristic marvel known as the Nakagin Capsule Tower! This quirky, innovative structure was a beacon of 1970s avant-garde architecture and a symbol of Japan’s rapid post-war modernization. So, what exactly happened to this fascinating building? When was the Nakagin Capsule Tower built? The Nakagin Capsule Tower,...

June 06, 2024
The Awaodori Festival in Kagurazaka, Tokyo.

Kagurazaka and More: Five Best Retro Tokyo Neighborhoods!

Beyond modern Tokyo’s hustling and bustling atmosphere, there are still traces of vintage scenes. Follow us to Kagurazaka and four more fantastic retro neighborhoods in Tokyo!

June 06, 2024
A psychedelic art piece in Shinjuku Station, depicting an eye.

Shinjuku Station: The World’s Busiest Train Station!

Shinjuku Station is recognized as the busiest train station in the world, with around 3.6 million passengers passing through each day. Shinjuku Station is recognized as the busiest train station in the world, with around 3.6 million passengers passing through each day. With its lively vibe and endless attractions, it truly captures the energy and spirit of Tokyo. Let’s explore more fascinating things about it!

June 05, 2024
A statue that features the Godzilla franchise.

Godzilla Franchise: Why Is It Still So Popular?

For 70 years, the Godzilla franchise has stomped and stormed through many aliens and monsters imaginable!

May 31, 2024
PricingBeginner’s Guide to TokyoTreatUpcoming BoxPast boxes
Support & Information
FAQContactHelp CenterBlog

Be a TokyoTreat Insider!

Join our newsletter and receive tasty news and deals!

AnIchigo Logobrand.
Copyright © 2024 TokyoTreat™. All Rights Reserved.
Accepted Payments
Visa payment availableMastercard payment availableAmerican Express payment availableDiscover payment availablePayPal payment available