What is Shojin Ryori??
Unlike any other popular Japanese food like sushi or ramen, perhaps syojin ryori sounds very unfamiliar to people outside Japan.
Syojin ryori is a Buddhist vegetarian cuisine, a manifestation of the general Buddhist precept of ahimsa or non-violence. The principle of ahimsa (harmlessness) is being pictured as vegetarian meal.
How it looks like?
Because syojin ryori is a vegetarian meal, you won’t find any meat nor fish on this dish. The ingredients and the spices are usually come from the local area and sometimes only available according the current season.
Usually you will have more than 5 colorful plates and dishes that are arranged neatly with different food tastes and textures to savor. You can have the taste of unique sesame tofu on syojin ryori. Other than tofu, there are also rice, vegetable tempura and miso soup.
Most people will be skeptical with the taste, but syojin ryori is like an art that will please all your senses. The visually beautiful appearance will provoke your hunger; the different tastes, textures and temperatures, ranging from soft to crunchy, sour to sweet and hot and cold will excite you to try each part of the dish; and the familiar aroma of Japanese food will surely changed your mind about vegetarian meal.
Where I can eat the syojin ryori?
For the ultimate experience, syojin ryori can be eaten at temples that were open to public visitors, especially in Kyoto and Koyasan. At these temples, one of the monk would have the duty of being the head cook and supplying meals that paid respect to the strictures of Buddhist precepts.
Nowadays, commercial restaurant also provided modern syojin ryori known as fucha ryori for both practicing and non-practicing lay people.
Some Links for the place