Feel like you’ve spent ages in Japan without getting to taste an actual home-cooked meal? Why not try KitchHike, a one-meal homestay that lets you and your friends book a single meal at a host’s home in a variety of locations in Japan?

This online service allows users to book lunches and dinners ranging from $10-50 per head (it’s tourist-oriented, so prices are listed in USD), with most falling in the $20-30 range.

Rice balls

Rice balls
(Photo courtesy of KitchHike)

The friendly cooks offer a set, limited variety of dining options that you can peruse, and users are free to view hosts’s profiles and pose questions on the way. Bookings for up to ten people are usually available for lunch and dinner. And not to worry—there’s even a specific allergy tab in the booking flow.

Most hosts are just food-loving locals who want to share their cuisine with people from other cultures.

Founded in May 2013, the idea emerged from a quartet of Tokyo-based marketers and IT engineers who were looking for a simple way to bridge cultural and linguistic divides that could also make a bit of money.

KitchHike has since expanded from its original six countries to encompass 25, including the Philippines, Malaysia, Korea, Turkey, Italy, Brazil and the U.S.

Since these are real, home-cooked meals, each one requires a reservation. If your selected cook isn’t available on the desired date or fails to respond within 48 hours, you won’t be charged, and refunds are possible up to three days prior to your booking.

Payment is only possible through PayPal—and be aware that there’s a roughly 26 percent “service fee” hidden on top of the list price, so don’t kid yourself that this is a meal on the cheap: You’re doing this for the experience.

If you’re worried about dining satisfaction, just check the other user reviews or read diner stories at the KitchHike magazine (http://blog.kitchhike.com/en/).

Book here: https://en.kitchhike.com/special