Shojin Ryori is a meal that literally makes you experience zen. A traditional vegetarian cuisine that follows the philosophy of Buddhist Monks in Japan; Shojin means ‘The path to enlightenment’. The concept of this meal is based on the principles of simplicity and harmony. Each dishes are prepared with a wonderful balance of five different flavors and colors. Equilibrium in the nutritional factor is the focal point of the preparation of these dishes.
The one thing that sets this meal apart from various other cuisines is the ‘nothing goes to waste’ philosophy when preparing the food items. Each and every piece of the ingredients are incorporated into the meal some way. According to the ancient Buddhism belief, Garlic, Onion and Meat are not used in Shojin Ryori.
This is the perfect meal for those who are vegetarian or follow veganism. There is limited use (if any) of egg and dairy products. Fish is replaced by seaweed or vegetables. Do confirm with the staff just to be sure. Commonly found items in this cuisine are Vegetable Tempura, Kenchin Jiru (miso soup), Goma Dofu (Tofu) amongst other things.
Kyoto is the best place to try Shojin Ryori. The price is steep considering the extensiveness of the meal, but this is one meal that truly makes you experience the spiritual side of Japan. Be prepared to sigh with pleasure since this meal satiates your tongue while giving you a feeling of purification.