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Dine on shojin ryori in temples near Tokyo

Assorted vegetable dish

Shojin Ryori at Sankoin

If you are not ready to take the plunge and spend a day or more at a monastery, there are a couple places you can go to more casually enjoy this special meal in a temple environment. I think the whole experience becomes more than just the meal, such as you might get at a restaurant.

For example, a while back, we visited the beautiful zen temple, Sankoin in Koganei, just minutes north west of Shinjuku on the JR Chuo Line and enjoyed the presentation of the shojin ryori lunch there. Every single dish was prepared from simple ingredients, yet was intricate in arrangement. There was a short talk from the nun before the meal, but the whole two hours were for feeling whatever you feel through the dining area of the temple and the wonderful dishes. The temple had no particular rules the diners were asked to follow. It was so lovely. I hope you have a chance to visit these temples to enjoy the meals and the place!

Please note reservations are required at all four temples listed here, except for Choukouzan Shoutaij in Odawara, they only serve lunch.

Sankoin, Tokyo

Address: 3-1-36 Honmachi, Koganei, Tokyo
Phone: (042) 381-1116
Fax: 042-381-1235
Website in Japanese: http://www1.odn.ne.jp/sankouin/sankouin4.htm
Access: 15 minutes walk from JR Musashi Koganei station or a short taxi ride.

  • Call in advance to make a reservation.
  • The course meal starts at noon, so be there a bit early.
  • There are three courses to choose from: 3,500 yen, 4,600 yen, 5,800 yen (as of August, 2009)
  • Closed on Mondays, third Wednesdays, and fourth Fridays

Youkoin, Takao

Tengu? Mt. Takao

Youkoin, Takao

Takao-san is a great place to get away from the big city and be in nature. It’s only 45 minutes by Keio Line from Shinjuku to get to Takao-san, then to get to Youkoin, you can either hike up or get easier access by using a cable car or lift.

Address: 2177 Takao, Hachioji, Tokyo
Phone: (042) 381-1116
Fax: 042-661-1115
Website in English: http://www.takaotozan.co.jp/takaotozan_eng1/yakuoin/index.htm
Website in Japanese on shojin ryori: http://www.takaosan.or.jp/shojin.html
Access: 5 minutes walk from the Cable Car and Lift stop at Takao-san

  • Call in advance to make a reservation. Minimum number for a reservation is 2 person.
  • There are two courses to choose from: Tengu-zen ¥2,500 or Takao-zen ¥3,500 (as of August, 2009)
  • Closed between mid December through mid February.

English information on Takao-san and Shojin Ryori at Yakuoin at JNTO:

Komyoji in Kamakura

Address: 1-19, 6-chome, Zaimokuza, Kamakura, Kanagawa 248-0013
Phone: (0465)-22-7760
Website in English: http://park16.wakwak.com/~komyo-ji/html/shoujinryouri.html
Access: 15 minutes on the bus from JR Kamakura Station bound for Zushi Station via Kotsubo. The bus leaves from #7 at Kamakura Station bus terminal. Closest bus stop is Komyoji.

  • Call between 10 am to 3 pm to make a reservation, at least 3 days in advance. Minimum number for a reservation is 2 persons.
  • There are two courses to choose from: 4,000 yen or 5,000 yen (as of August, 2009)
  • Lunch is served either starting at 11:30 am or 1:30 pm. The meal is about 1 hour and 30 minutes.

English information on Komyoji: http://www.kamakuratoday.com/e/sightseeing/komyoji.html

Choukouzan Shoutaij, Odawara

Choukouzan Shoutaiji serves fucha style or Chinese style shojin ryori. This is at the top of my list of places I want to go for shojin ryori.

Address: 303 Iryuuda, Odawara-shi, Kanagawa
Phone: (0467)-22-0603
Website in English: http://www.choukouzan.com/english.html
Access: 5 minutes walk from Iryuuda station of Hakone Tozan line / Odakyu line. Iryuuda station on Hakone Tozan line is approximately one hour and 30 minutes from Shinjuku on Odakyu Express.

  • Reservation required with minimum party of 4.
  • There are three fucha-style courses to choose from; 4,000 yen or 5,000 yen( as of August, 2009)
  • Lunch is served at 12:00 pm and dinner starts at 5:00 pm

Please visit my previous posts to read more about the shojin ryori meals at temples
Zen Birthday Lunch at Sankoin
Food for thought: Shojin Ryori at Kenchoji, Kamakura

View Shojin Ryori at Temples in a larger map


12 Responses to “Dine on shojin ryori in temples near Tokyo”

  1. I assume not, but is there any way to enjoy this with a VERY limited knowledge of Japanese. It sounds incredible, but I doubt my awkward mumblings are up to par for the course.

    Posted by Robert Fecher | August 3, 2009, 11:23 am
  2. Fantastic! I’ve been wanting to learn more about shojin ryori!

    Posted by Melinda | August 3, 2009, 4:01 pm
  3. Hi Robert, I hope you get a chance to experience dining at a temple. I assume Choukouzan Shoutaij welcomes English speaking guests since they have information in English. Otherwise, if you get through the scheduling part, I do not think there’s much that requires Japanese. A bit of my self promotion – I do offer personalized services to accompany travelers to lunch, dinner, or other touring in Japan, for the exact reason you asked.

    Also,I know Tenryuji in Kyoto has foreign visitors and they offer shojin ryori overlooking their garden. I will do a quick post on that soon! We’ll find a good place for you!

    Posted by Et-chan | August 4, 2009, 7:28 am
  4. Hi Melinda,
    Sankoin is not far from you, right? They offer a cooking class as well. I’ve been wanting to go to their class. One of these days, I have to get there again.

    Posted by Et-chan | August 4, 2009, 7:31 am
  5. As a vegan looking for non-Indian food in/around Tokyo, I recently experienced 3 types of Shojin Ryori, although none was in a temple.

    Daigo in Atago Green Hills is a Michelin 2-star establishment overlooking a temple; the food and ambience was fantastic, and well worth the 6,000 yen per person (lunch). Everything is Kaiseki style (lots of individual courses), and if you’re not good at kneeling for a long time they have sunken Hori-gotatsu too.

    Bon in Iriya (near Ueno) offers Fucha (Chinese shojin ryori) Kaiseki food, again with a nice selection of interesting dishes although the environment and service is not as exceptional as Daigo and the prices actually seemed higher (7-10,000 per person, evening). However they guarantee that no fish or egg etc. is used, unlike Daigo where vegetarians/vegans should notify their needs in advance.

    At the other end of the scale, Ni Hao in Noda-shi (Chiba) is informal, simple Taiwanese shojin fare, inexpensive and friendly – not Kaiseki but an ordinary menu. Okara Gyoza and Wonton soup came to around 1350 yen.

    Posted by Ozaru | August 4, 2009, 9:49 am
  6. Hi Ozaru,
    Thank you for adding these places to the list. I’ve been to Daigo, but not other places. I remember Daigo had impeccable service and good food.

    I have to try Bon and Ni Hao.
    Bon English page

    Posted by Et-chan | August 5, 2009, 8:52 am
  7. Two other shojin ryori establishments in the Tokyo area I can recommended;

    Itomasa (aka Itoshou)
    3-4-7 Azabu Juban, Minata-Ku
    Tel 3454-6538
    Call to check hours
    Lunch & dinner, courses Y8k+
    Private room service

    4-1-9 Meguro Honcho, Meguro-Ku
    Tel 3710-4336
    6:30pm- Mon-Fri & 2nd Sat
    Hole-in-the-wall, 4 counter seats and tatami area out back, from memory, it’s been a few years since I last went. Dinner courses Y5k+ and good sake to wash it all down. Run by a very charming couple. Rick Kennedy review tip from TokyoQ days. Well worth the walk from either Musashi-Koyama (Tokyu Meguro Line) or Gakugeidaigaku (Tokyu Toyoko Line)

    Posted by John Wood | August 7, 2009, 8:31 am
  8. Thank you, John.
    Both いと正 (いとしょう)in Azaub Juban and 蔬菜坊 (そさいぼう)in Musashi Koyama look great. I will add these two to the future list as well. Arigatou gozaimasu!

    Posted by Et-chan | August 8, 2009, 8:31 am


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