Shojin-ryori: vegan Buddhist cuisine

If you're a vegetarian or vegan, you must try “devotional cuisine” at a Buddhist temple.

Shojin-ryori is the traditional cooking of Buddhist monks in Japan. Made entirely without meat, fish or any animal products, we think everyone should give it a try! Typical shojin-ryori meals centre around tofu and soybean-based foods, seasonal mountain vegetables and wild plants. Pungent flavours like garlic and onion are avoided so as not to overpower the five subtle flavours: sweet, sour, salty, bitter and umami. A balance of colours is also a hallmark of shojin-ryori cooking.

Shojin-ryori was brought to Japan from China by the monk Dogen, the founder of the Soto school of Zen Buddhism. Buddhism believes that the killing of animals interferes with a human's spirit, and while vegetarianism is rare in Japan, Buddhist monks still follow a shojin-ryori diet.

While many temples across Japan serve shojin-ryori meals, our favourite place to try it is during a temple lodging stay on Mount Koya.

Shojin-ryori: vegan Buddhist cuisine

located in Mount Koya

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