Shojin Ryori

I had a fancy meal.

shojin ryori

It was a 3 hour endeavor, and by the end I was so stuffed I couldn’t finish my strawberries. I begged my friends to eat them so I wouldn’t offend the chef.

This is shojin ryori, vegetarian Buddhist cuisine. No animals were harmed in the making of this meal, my friends. Unlike the multi course kaiseki ryori meals I have had in Kyoto, which are very rich from miso and fish, this meal was light and flavorful. Almost refreshing.

Starting at the top left: tea with brown sugar sweets; sesame greens, pickles, and sweet black beans; walnut tofu and soup with yuzu and something that looked like grass but didn’t taste like it. Second row: vegetables and tofu made with a rice batter that puffs when it is fried, dipped in salt rather than a sauce; shitake sashimi that were incredible and tasted like they could have been fish; more mountain greens, a fruit similar to an apricot, and the only konnyaku I have ever enjoyed. Last row: hand-cut soba served in a basket; rice, miso and mushroom soup, and more pickles; finally, strawberries for dessert. I missed snapping a photo of one course, a baked soup with vegetables and a ginko nut, probably because I was getting behind on my courses and was focused on eating everything before they took it away.

This dinner was pricey, but one of the best meals I have had in Japan and the casual yet elegant environment was perfect for a Sunday evening with friends. And who can put a price on that, really.

Itosho いと正 is located in Azabu juban. Check here for a map.

13 thoughts on “Shojin Ryori

  1. Looks so delicious I cannot wait to return to this beautiful country where each sense is truly satiated I am vegetarian – please could you tell me where I can find similar recipes It all looks so light and fantastic

    • Carol Ann, I’m sorry, I have no idea where to find recipes for these dishes. I could hardly tell what I was eating! 🙂 I recommend checking this place out when you return, and maybe you can replicate the flavors.

  2. I hope someday I may experience a meal just like this and in the same environment. Every dish looked so pleasing and delicious! Thank you so much for sharing this, Angela!

  3. Azubu Juban! That’s so close to where I am, but I’ve never spotted this place before! I’ve always been hesitant about shojin ryori because they don’t use onions or garlic, which I love. Maybe it’s time to give it a try!

    • I know! I lived in Juban for 2 years and never knew it existed. It is on the opposite side of the block from 7-11, near the station exit 2. Also near Pointage, do you know it? I LOVE this place, they have a great lunch set for bread lovers. 🙂

  4. Pingback: Vegetarian Ramen | Saké Puppets

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