Originally eaten in sacred temples, the representative cuisine of Japanese Buddhist monks is called shojin ryori. A traditional Buddhist cuisine with a legacy spanning hundreds of years in Japan, shojin ryori was adopted from China during the 13th century to accompany the rise of Zen Buddhism. In alignment with Buddhist values where eating meat is forbidden, shojin ryori is strictly made from plant-based dishes, making a humble meal that’s entirely vegetarian. Minimal in seasoning yet full of flavor, the use of vegetables in the place of meat has long been a feature in Japanese cuisine. This cooking technique called modoki ryori substitutes meat and fish products with mushrooms, tofu, and seaweed, creating a fine balance of flavor that’s simple yet refined.
Spiritual and humbling, anyone can enjoy shojin ryori, typically consisting of a simple soup and three side dishes. With a diverse balance of flavors, textures, and aromas, the result of shojin ryori is an honest meal, somehow so harmonious and beautiful in its simplicity. More accessible than ever, shojin ryori can be eaten at Michelin-starred restaurants in Tokyo or enjoyed during a local temple experience. You can even learn about ingredients and methods for making this meaningful meal for yourself in a hands-on cooking class. Join a shojin ryori experience to discover the unfailing beauty of this simple and honest food.