Syojin Ryori Restaurants

January 23, 2017

by Sachina Matsumoto, Shin Okano & Kyousuke Maruyama

Shojin ryori is Japanese Buddhist cuisine. Since there are many Buddhist temples in Kyoto, one can find shojin ryori being served not only in temples to the monks, but also in restaurants around the city. Shojin means ‘work on a task hard’ and ryori means ‘cooking’.


Shojin ryorii was introduced into Japan with Buddhism by the Chinese around 6th century. For this reason, shojin ryori is practiced by monks and other believers from areas of Japan historically influenced by Chinese Buddhism. Buddhists monks were prohibited from eating meat by the Tennmu emperor in 675. Therefore, shojin ryori has traditionally been a vegetarian style of cooking.

In the Nara era (around 1300 years ago), shojin ryori was served in temples. These temples were open to visitors who ate shojin ryori while they were there. A few of the temples even ran shojin ryori restaurants, especially in Kyoto. Kyoto has had a strong influence of Shojin ryori’s style of cooking, eating, and table manners.

In the Kamakura era (around 1000 years ago), Buddhism became even more prominent. At this time, shojin ryori started to become more common outside of the temple, in the kitchens of ordinary homes. People in Kyoto tended to cook shojin ryori for special people who visited their house. In this sense, shojin ryori became associated with a high quality meal. This is why Kyoto now has so many well-known shojin ryori restaurants.


Shojin ryori is founded on Buddhist beliefs and principles. For example, it is based on non-violence. For this reason, historically Shojin ryori didn’t contain any fish or meat.

Also, shojin ryori treasures using seasonal ingredients. For example, in the spring it uses sprouts; in the summer green leaves, in autumn fruits and nuts, and in the winter, root vegetables. This closeness with nature and the season reflects the Buddhist value placed on being one with nature.

Over the years it has influenced Japan cuisine.. For example, Japanese food is well-known for being healthy. Shojin ryori mostly uses vegetables and soy beans, including tofu. It emphasizes the use of fresh foods only. When foods are fresh, they tend to be healthier.

Also, the Japanese mottainai spirit (what is this? explain it. Mottainai mean is “ don’t waste”) comes from Shojin ryori. (How does it come from Shojin ryori? Are you saying that without shojin ryori, there would be no mottaiani spirit? Because syoujin ryouri doesn’t make garbage. For example they use daikon greens and skin of daikon)

Common Ingredients

Shojin ryori can be made with all kinds of different vegetables, but these are some of the most common.


Daikon is called ‘Japanese white radish’ in English. Japanese radishes are in season from the autumn to the winter. Daikon is very healthy. It has a lot of vitamin A, vitamin C and dietary fiber. It is also easy to digest, and it can provide relief from constipation. Shogoin daikon is a special type of daikon grown in the Kyoto region. It is shorter, smaller, and more rounded than the typical daikon of Japan. You can find shogoin daikon in many shojin ryori dishes.

Shiitake mushrooms

Shiitake mushrooms are most important when making Shojin ryori. In addition to eating, they are also used to make dashi (What is this? Dashi is a kind of soup. It called stock in English). Shiitake mushrooms contain eritadenine, which helps to prevent arteriosclerosis. They also have lots of vitamin D when they are in dried form. Vitamin D makes your bones strong and helps prevent osteoporosis. Moreover Shiitake mushrooms are low in calories and good for dieting. They are delicious, too.


Gobo is called ‘burdock’ in English. The gobo root is primarily only eaten in East Asia. Horikawa gobo, which are grown in Kyoto, carry three times the amount of Vitamin C as normal burdock roots. The main season for harvesting and eating gobo is the winter. In recent years, gobo has become known as an anti-cancer agent.


Nasubi is called ‘eggplant’ in English. Nasubi has been cultivated in Japan for more than 1000 years. Moga nasu, which grown in the Kyoto region, is well known throughout Japan. The main season for nasubi is in the summer. Nasubi has many medical benefits that guard from food poisoning, toothache, mouth ulcer, eyestrain and arteriosclerosis.

These are only a few of the very fresh ingredients that we find in shojin ryori.Nasubi is called eggplant in English. Nasubi is cultivated in Japan for more than 1000 years. Mega nasu which made in Kyoto is very famous bland in Japan. Nasubi is seasons in summer.


There are a number of restaurants in Kyoto where visitors can enjoy syojin ryori. Here are three of them.


The first place where you can experience shojin ryori is Manpukuzi Temple in the south of Kyoto City. On the temple grounds, there is a restaurant where you can eat a kind of shojin ryori called fucha. Fu means ‘normal’, while cha means ‘tea’. The way to eat fucha dishes is with a group of people sitting around a table who eat without leaving. This restaurant has a 5,000 yen course and a 7,000 yen course. In the 5,000 yen course, 2~5 people sit at one table and eat in a Chinese style. In the 7,000 yen course, 2 people can enjoy all the fucha dishes they serve. Furthermore, visitors can order a lunch box made with shojin ryori for 3,000 yen.

This restaurant is open from 11:30 to 14:30. It is near Obaku station and it takes about 5 minutes on foot to arrive.

Address: Kyoto prefecture, Uji City, Gokasho Sanbanwari 34
Tel: 0774-32-3900


Shigetsu is a restaurant under the direct management of Tenryuji temple (where is this?68, Sagatenryuji Tsukurimichicho, Ukyo-ku Kyoto-shi, Kyoto, 616-8384, Japan), where you can enjoy shojin ryori. This restaurant has 3,000 yen course, a 5,000 yen course, and a 7,000yen course. The menu changes depending on the seasons. Shigetsu is open all year round and can hold up to 250 people.

It takes about 13 minutes on foot from Saga Arashiyama station, or 15 minutes on foot from Arashiyama Station.

Address: 68 Susukinobaba-cho, Saga-Tenryuji, Ukyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, 616-8385
Tel: 075-882-9726


The concept of this restaurant is to express gratitude for food. You can enjoy several kinds of traditional dishes such as kaiseki (what is this? Simple meals for tea ceremony. Kai means ceremony and seki means seat ) dishes, shojin ryori dishes, makunouchi  (what is this? It use to eat during intermission by audience. Maku means curtain and uchi means inside. ) dishes and so on. Costs start at 2,000 yen.

Izusen has three restaurants in Kyoto, with the one affiliated with Daitokuji Temple in Murasakino being one of them.


Address: Daijiin nai Daitokuji-cho Murasakino Kita-ku Kyoto
Tel: 075-491-6665

As you can see, shojin ryori is a unique type of Japanese cuisine. People who want to eat shojin ryori should visit Kyoto and go to one of the restaurants listed above. If so, they will experience a once-in-a-lifetime kind of meal that they will never forget for the rest of their lives.

La spécialité “yudôfu”

de Mariko IWANO et Midori KANEKO

Yudôfu est un plat à base de tôfu. C’est une des spécialités de Kyôto. Le tôfu est inséparable du plat nommé nabemono. C’est un plat de poisson ou de viande mijoté avec des légumes et servi dans une marmite en terre. Mais dans le plat yudôfu, nous pouvons apprécier le vrai goût du tôfu. Nous pouvons ajouter du poisson aussi. Généralement, on mange un nabemono à plusieurs, dans une atmosphère gaie et animée, parfois bruyante mais il y a beaucoup de gens qui aimeraient manger ce plat tranquillement, seuls ou dans un environnement plus calme.



A l’origine, ce plat faisait partie de la cuisine appelée shôjin ryôri : cuisine qui utilise principalement des légumes, sans poisson ni viande, destinée aux bonzes. Les bonzes ne mangent pas de viande ni de poisson par principe pour leur religion. La terre de Kyôto est riche en eau souterraire de bonne qualité. L’eau est importante dans la fabrication du tôfu. Elle contribue à ses qualités. Comme il y a beaucoup de temples et de sanctuaires à Kyôto, la cuisine à base de tôfu est très développée.


*recette du plat yudôfu (pour 3 ou 4 personnes)

Ingrédients : un tôfu (environ 400 grammes) , de l’eau, une feuille d’algue laminaire

Tout d’abord, mettre la feuille d’algue dans la marmite et faire bouillir.

Ensuite, mettre le tôfu et attendre jusqu’à ce qu’il soit chaud (environ 10 minutes). Vous y ajoutez aussi les légumes de votre choix. C’est tout !

*le restaurant Hanakagami

Nous sommes allées dans un restaurant qui sert du yudôfu, dans la rue Hanakagami près du temple Kiyomizu.

dans le restaurant Hanakagami


salle traditionnelle avec des tatamis


plan typique japonais


Vous trouverez ce restaurant en prenant la rue qui monte au temple Kiyomizu. La rue s’appelle Gojozaka.

Hanakagami signifie «N’oublions jamais l’esprit et l’enthousiasme du débutant !». Ce restaurant est très populaire auprès des touristes chinois, mais depuis peu, il y a beaucoup de touristes japonais. A cause des problèmes politiques entre la Chine et le Japon, il y a moins de touristes chinois à Kyôto.

Il y a 21 menus dans ce restaurant. Nous avons choisi le «menu yudôfu» et le «menu yuba».


«menu yudôfu» avec ses 7 plats


légumes sur le tôfu



«menu yuba» avec ses 6 plats


On peut manger ces plats à bas prix, et n’importe quand,  même en été, et on peut les préparer à la maison aussi. Kyôto est le berceau de la cuisine à base de tôfu donc si vous voulez goûter un bon yudôfu il faut venir à Kyôto.

Beaucoup de restaurants proposent le plat yudôfu sur leur carte,  dans les quartiers touristiques bien sûr comme par exemple à Arashiyama, dans le temple Nanzenji, etc … !



Rikako Ono, Yurika Kusano



Tougaden è un negozio di cucina a base di tofu che si trova in una machi-ya, una casa tradizionale di Kyoto rinnovata. Al pianterreno si vendono tofu, tofu fritto, ciambelle di yuba ecc (folgi di caseina di soia) e altri prodotti della casa; al primo piano c’è un locale per mangiare tofuyuba, dolci ecc.



Yudofu è un piatto di tofu bollito, fatto con tofu, acqua e alghe kombu.

Per prepararlo si stendono le alghe in una pentola, vi si pone sopra il tofu, si scalda il tutto in acqua e poi si  scola. Si serve in  un piattino e si mangia con una salsa. Oppure si può bollire il  in brodo il tofu precedentemente condito con salsa di soia e altri ingredienti. Quando  è pronto si aggiungono spezie e si mangia con il brodo. Questo tipo di yudofu è chiamato anche niyakko.

○ Il brodo e le spezie

Nel brodo per lo yudofu si può mettere solo la salsa di soia, oppure la salsa di soia mescolata ad altri condimenti, ad esempio sakè e mirin (una sorta di sakè dolce da cucina), oppure succo di arancia amara. Come spezie si usano spesso la cipolla gallese, il bergamotto giapponese, il rafano bianco grattugiato (a volte con peperoncino), scaglie di tonno essiccato ecc.



Yuba è un foglio di caseina di soia.

○ Preparazione

Si immerge la soia nell’acqua per una notte, la si macina finemente senza scolare, e poi si cuoce nell’acqua. In questo modo si ottiene il tonyu, cioè il latte di soia. Si cuoce poi ancora il latte di soia, finché sulla superficie si forma un sottile strato solido di caseina di soia. Il foglio così ottenuto è yuba. Yuba fa parte della cucina giapponese fin dal IX secolo, e all’inizio era un ingrediente della cucina vegetariana per i monaci buddisti, chiamata shojin ryori (cucina ascetica). Si mangia in tanti modi diversi: con salsa, con sashimi, insieme a riso bollito con altre pietanze ecc.


Nelle foto potete vedere varie combinazioni di piatti del locale, tutte ottime e abbondanti!

Sopra yudofu, a sinistra ortaggi in salamoia e una ciotola di riso e tempura di tofu, a destra una salsa, al centro rafano bianco grattugiato con peperoncino.


Sopra torta di formaggio al tofu; a sinistra riso e unohana (pietanze preparate con la feccia del tofu); a destra oboru tofu (tofu morbido acquoso), salsa per tempura e zuppa di miso; al centro il morbidissimo tempura di yuba con tempura di funghi


Dengaku: spiedini di tofu e konnyaku (gelatina di amido), bolliti, spalmati con miso dolce e poi arrostiti


INDIRIZZO : Nakajimacho 87, Nakagyouku, Kyotoshi 604-8004

TELEFONO : 075-212-1209

ACCESSO : Si prende l’autobus numero 5 dalla stazione JR di Kyoto, si scende alla fermata di Kawaramachi Sanjo e si cammina per 5 minuti. Oppure si scende alla stazione Sanjoeki della linea ferroviaria Keihan di Keihandentetsu e si cammina per 3 minuti.

ORARIO DI APERTURA : 11.00-20.30

Nel negozio è disponibile un menu in inglese per stranieri.

È vietato fumare in tutto il locale.

È chiuso solo l’ultimo e il primo giorno dell’anno.