Updated: November 22, 2017
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Shojin Ryori: Buddhist Cuisine in Kyoto for an Unforgettable Japanese Experience

While you are visiting Kyoto, you should try having a very traditional and unique experience by having Buddhist monk cuisine in or by a temple. This will undoubtedly be an unforgettable experience in Kyoto.

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Shojin Ryori 精進料理

Have you ever heard of Shojin Ryori? It is traditional cuisine for Buddhist monks. Respecting the Buddhist philosophy, animal products are not used; simply fresh and seasonal fruits and herbs.
Just because this cuisine is vegan that does mean this cuisine is by any means bland. Dish after dish, it is colorful, creative and delicious. Even if you're not vegetarian or even vegan, you will find it delicious!
This can be enjoyed within a temple or at a restaurant around the temple. This will definitely make for an unforgettable Japanese zen experience.
(Please note that some of the restaurants may use fish products, so please ask ahead when making a reservation!)

Shigetsu

Shigetsu is a wonderful place to try Zen Vegetarian cuisine. Taking into consideration Buddhist ideals, this restaurant does not use any animal products to make their dishes. Everything is carefully prepared using only seasonal fruits, vegetables, and herbs. If you want a true taste of zen, you should try this!
Courses are between ¥3,000-¥7,000 and you can book a reservation online from their website. I think that eating within a temple makes for an amazing experience.
Img ka thumb 2 300x239 175 http://www.tenryuji.com/en/index.html

Kangaan

Akari1 400 http://www.kangaan.jp/
Kangaan is located near the Kuramaguchi station and nearby the Kamo river. What a magical place to have lunch or dinner.
Courses are between ¥5,000-¥15,000.
This restaurant is a delight for vegans, and even if you're not, it is a delight for the senses. Imagine having a many course meal served to you while having a breath-taking view on their garden.
Kuro 800 http://www.kangaan.jp/

Yoshuji

Yoshuji is located close to the Sanmon station.
Vegan or not, this is one of the tastiest meals you will have in Japan, and the courses are really affordable here; between ¥2,160-¥3,240.
Although it isn't in a temple, it's in a rustic shop outside the temple and the service is very friendly.

Ikkyu

Ikkyu is a ryokan near the Kuramaguchi station.
They cater a lot of the neighboring temples so the cuisine is authentic and also exceptional.
The courses are between ¥4,160 (for a lunch box)-¥14,260.
Please note that this restaurant is by reservation only and you have to pay cash.

Izusen

Izusen is by the Daitoku-ji (temple). It isn't the fanciest restaurant on this list, but it is by no means less delicious.
With the course, it's dish after dish of delicious, refined cuisine. This restaurant is also vegan, but non-vegans will not be disappointed, it is excellent!
The courses start at ¥3,240.
P botan http://kyoto-izusen.com/

Ajiro Main Store

Ajiro is a historical restaurant in Hanazano Teranomaecho. They serve bento boxes for ¥3,000, and the course meal is between ¥6,000 and ¥10,000. You should really try the "yuba" which is a Kyoto specialty. "Yuba" is the skin that forms when you boil soy milk, it has a very delicate flavor and is delicious when dipped in a yuzu sauce.
Address:28-3 Hanazono Teranomaecho,Ukyo-ku,Kyoto

Manpuku-ji Temple

This temple has a strong Chinese influence and can be seen in the temple's appearance and also in the food served here.
You can get a bento for 3,000 yen, or a course for 5,000 or 7,000 yen.
Also, for 1,000 yen you can participate in a meditation session.
34 Gokasho Sanbanwari, Uji-shi, Kyoto

Kasuian

Although this restaurant is not a temple, it does offer Shojin Ryori. This guesthouse offers courses between ¥6,000-8,000. The presentation is very colorful and more modern looking if you would like to try shojin ryori with a twist!
Hayashi-shitamachi 400, Chion-in, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto

Finally...

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There are many places to visit in Kyoto to tick off your travel journey, but to make your experience truly memorable, you should have Shojin Ryori at least once!
Lili Wanderlust
I love traveling and discovering new cuisines. Japan has a panoply of local dishes to try. I also love yoga, coffee, reading, and cycling.

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