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It’s really tough being a vegetarian in Japan. That being said, I’m not a vegetarian around 25% of the time (BACON), so I can’t really speak from experience, but it’s so obvious. Unless you’re willing to eat fish, being a vegetarian is a huge pain in the neck.

There is hope for vegetarians in Japan, though, and that comes from a type of cooking known as shojin ryori (精進料理) which I guess sort of translates to “devotion/self-discipline cooking.” The idea is that this type of food will put you in the best frame of mind to understand Buddha’s teachings.

Over the course of several articles, I’m going to go over shojin ryori. In fact, I’ll even be eating and preparing shojin ryori food for your pleasure (I’m so bad at cooking) and education over the next few weeks. But first, we need to learn more about the philosophy behind it. Let’s find out.

Why Shojin Ryori?

shojin ryori

Besides being the most delicious vegetarian food on the planet (by a lot, mind you), shojin ryori is incredibly good for you. Eating like this, while difficult, is going to make you more energetic, feel better, and probably prevent 50 different kinds of cancer (while only giving you 3 or 4, nice trade). You do have to consider the salt intake that comes with this type of eating, but in terms of trade-offs shojin ryori is a very healthy option (you stop your scoffing, raw food vegans, or Buddha will smite you with his giant metal foot).

Really, though, when foods are fresh they tend to be healthy, and shojin ryori is (traditionally) all about the freshness of foods. While you and I just walk down to the grocery store to buy apples and naners any time of the year, Buddhist monks practicing shojin ryori harvest only seasonal fruits and vegetables even though the nearest Lawson’s is probably only three blocks away. But convenience isn’t the point! The point is that local seasonal foods bring you in flow with nature. Not only that, but the foods that grow in different seasons are supposedly the foods your body needs during that season. Mari Fujii who wrote “The Enlightened Kitchen” says it best:

The slight bitterness of spring buds and shoots [...] is said to remove the fat the body accumulates during the winter. Summer vegetables from the melon family, such as tomatoes, eggplants and cucumbers, have a cooling effect on the body. Fall provides and abundant harvest of sweet potatoes, yams, pumpkins and fruit, which revive tired bodies after the heat of summer. In winter, a variety of root vegetables, such as daikon radish, turnip and lotus root, provide warmth and sustenance.

The thing is, these kinds of foods are also extremely healthy for you. You won’t be digging up any McRibs (even though they’re seasonal too) in the ground around any Buddhist temple. Besides, McRibs contain too much sentient animal meat, and because Buddhists believe that all sentient life can achieve Buddhahood, they don’t eat said sentient life. So, shojin ryori is going to be plant based (includes sea plants). As shojin ryori chef Keizo Kobayashi says:

The abstention of eating flesh (meat, fish, fowl, etc.) and the limiting oneself to a vegetarian diet is a discipline of “right effort.” it is based on the precept of non-killing, for all sentient (living) beings have the potentiality of Buddha-hood. We realize that it is not possible to survive without sacrifice of living beings, for plant life is included, also. Through this practice, we strive to develop true awareness, reverence and appreciation of the interdependency, or oneness of all life.

So, it’s not just being vegetarian to be vegetarian. It’s really more about the state of mind you’re put in. You have to think about what you eat. You have to think about where the food comes from (and often get it yourself). The food as well as the preparation of the food prepares you for Buddha’s teaching. Not only does the food make you feel better, but it also makes you think.

Preparing For A Month Of Shojin Cooking

shojin ryori ingredients

It wouldn’t be particularly easy for me to spend the month cooking seasonally fresh vegetables, not to mention that the things that grow in Japan don’t necessarily grow here, so I’m going to rely on my local Asian grocery store to bail me out. I went through a couple of shojin ryori recipe books before heading to the store, writing down all the ingredients. I then went through to find the most common fresh ingredients (80/20 rule, baby), the ingredients I could buy once and use for a long time (konbu, sesame seeds, etc), and the fresh ingredients that only appear occasionally. I then went shopping, buying a ton of ingredients for around $100. It’ll come out to be quite cheap, all in all.

Over the next week I’ll be attempting to prepare several dishes, starting pretty simple. I’m going to focus on ingredient management and the pairing of dishes, since shojin ryori tends to be comprised of several separate pieces. Then, hopefully I’ll get better through trial and error.

Out of all the types of food I’ve had in Japan, I wouldn’t say this is the thing that I like eating the best (though it’s way, way up there). It is however the type of food I’m most fascinated with. Making something this delicious without meat or dipping sauces is quite remarkable. If I was to go all-in vegetarian, this would be the kind of food I’d eat. While it’s way more difficult to prepare than most vegetarian dishes, it is by far the best tasting.

So, I want to learn how to do it. Along the way I’ll share the process as well. I’m thinking this series will go something like:

  1. What is Shojin Ryori? (Complete!)
  2. Common Ingredients of Shojin Ryori (next week!)
  3. Preparing The Shojin Ryori Staples
  4. Meals You Can Try To Cook Too!

So, I hope you enjoy this little journey with me. Being a terrible cook, I’m not sure how pretty it’ll be, but I do hope you learn something. Maybe you too will be able to give all this a shot (there’s not too many resources out there on the internet, anyways). I’ll also always try to go into the ingredients and more into the philosophy of this kind of cooking as it comes up. There’s so much more to know about shojin ryori. Really, this is just the surface.

So, here’s my question to you: Have you eaten shojin ryori? I know many of you have been to Koya-san. The temples there have some great shojin ryori. You’ll also find it all around Japan at many other Buddhist temples too. If you’ve had it, share your experience and how you thought it tasted. Best vegetarian food in the world, ammiright?

P.S. Should you want to follow along, I’ll be following the books listed in the “sources” section below. The first book is easy to get, the second one a little harder. I’ll be mixing and matching as well as modifying recipes, so if you’d like to follow along or try this on your own, I’d recommend these two books to start (especially number 1).

Anyways, time to go make some konbu stock. I hear I’ll need a lot of it.

[hr]

Sources:

Shojin Cooking, The Buddhist Vegetarian Cook Book, by Keizo Kobayashi
The Enlightened Kitchen
, by Mari Fujii

  • ash

    ota tofu!! (I walk past on my way to work). fall is upon us fellow pdx’r. good luck with your shojin ryori!

  • http://www.tofugu.com koichi

    Seriously is the greatest tofu. They don’t make tofu like Ota tofu anymore, not even in Japan, which makes it kind of crazy that it’s in pdx.

  • http://twitter.com/cibeleanjo Robin Birdwell

    Ooh I am super excited about this. I’ve been a veggie for about a year, but only very recently have I ventured into any Japanese cooking. I await your instruction, Master Koichi.

  • http://twitter.com/Landorien Lan

    Really looking forward to this series!

    Can you recommend any recipe books in Japanese on the subject?

  • http://www.tofugu.com koichi

    If I come across any I’ll let you know – I’m sure there’s plenty out there!

  • http://www.tofugu.com koichi

    Prepare to make terrible food under my tutelage! :P

  • Kathryn Loeffler

    Kajitsu is a shojin ryori restaurant in NYC and it is delicious. I try to go once a month or so as they have a constantly changing menu.

    Kansha by Elizabeth Andoh is another excellent cookbook based on the shojin ryori tradition.

    Good luck!

  • http://www.facebook.com/sarah.cassidy.184 Sarah Cassidy

    I’m really looking forward to seeing how you get on. I’ve tried a few recipes from the “3 Bowls” book (http://www.amazon.com/Bowls-Vegetarian-American-Buddhist-Monastery/dp/039597707X/ref=pd_sim_sbs_b_3) with mixed success.

    I’ve been learning Japanese since January and I really want to visit Japan. There’s one thing really worrying me though – I’m vegetarian. I followed the link you gave for the first book and it mentions a Soto Zen restaurant in Tokyo. Are there many such restaurants in Japan or will I spend my whole trip eating boiled rice unless I can find a temple that will feed me!?

  • samjarnat

    This sounds like an interesting series. Can’t wait! Humor and info all rolled into one neat little package. Betty, step aside and allow Koichi Crocker to shine!

  • http://www.facebook.com/joshua.hurd Joshua Hurd

    I had some great shojin ryori while I was in Koyasan. The tofu… the tofu! No idea how they did it but there were at least three totally different preparations of tofu and all of them delicious. No fugu to go with it though :(

    Recently I’ve been cooking up some stuff like Kenchinjiru, kinpira gobo, and (not really shojin ryori afaik) chazuke. Tasty stuff. Looking forward to this series!

  • Mescale

    Its my understanding that most Vegetarians feel eating fish is justifiable homicide. And why not, I mean theres that song by Kurt Cobain, and vegetarianism is stupid anyway.

    Its ok to eat eggs and milk? Are you serious, steal unborn chicken babies and eat them, keep cows in a state of pregnancy so you can steal their babies milk so we can drink it.

    At least if you’re eating meat, the animal lives a life, then dies, instead of being kept alive in a perpetual state of broodiness so they can be harvested regularly.

    So lets get this straight you either are Hardcore Vegan, Omnivore or criminally stupid (Vegetarian).

    Oh and I guess I should give a shout out to picky eaters who don’t eat some foods for “health reasons” and consider themselves vegetarian for this reason, rather than “idealistic” reasons.

    Yeah you people, you’re just regular dumb.

  • DAVIDPD

    or TEMPURA EVERYTHING!!!

  • HatsuHazama

    Well, this is a nice turn of events… ke ke ke….

    What I mean is this was more unexpected than the how to be a baka gaijin series. Hey hey though, I might try make some and see how it is.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=806595022 Sandra Lavigne

    yay I love that you’re doing this :D
    will you share some recipes?
    and.. I heard that Shojin Ryori restaurants in Japan tend to be very expensive, do you know if this is true and/or if there are any good inexpensive ones in Tokyo? or do any regular restaurants offer Shojin Ryori menu options?
    I’m vegan and going to Japan next summer. the food issue scares me MUCH more than the language barrier, crowds, culture differences, etc

  • Koichinist

    Oh, God, our Koichi is well on his way to become a Japanese Buddhist monk! Will Koichi keep writing on here once he gets Enlightenment?

  • Reptic

    “Oh and I guess I should give a shout out to picky eaters who don’t
    eat some foods for “health reasons” and consider themselves vegetarian
    for this reason, rather than “idealistic” reasons.

    Yeah you people, you’re just regular dumb.”

    I’m not a vegetarian or anything (I’m a BBQ fiend), but despite this, even I’m aware that meat has been linked to a lot of cancers. If someone has the strength to drop eating meat for this reason (certainly a better man than I), more power too them. I don’t see how it’s dumb, unless they became super paranoid that everything they eat might contain “meat poison”. But I doubt they’d be like that.

  • Nicholas Meyer

    すえきち (I hope that is the proper word to use) (^o^)

  • Tofusan

    Let’s create the Ota Tofu Appreciation Society!

  • http://www.myjapanesegreentea.com/ Ricardo Caicedo

    I love Japanese food and I hadn’t heard about shojin ryori. I’m ashamed of myself!
    I’m eager to read the rest of the series.

  • Tiana

    I was in Japan for two weeks last December and as a vegan, I will definitely say it was a challenge but not impossible. I cheated and used the book “Vegan Japan” to show me all the little vegan restaurants and this is how I ended up eating Shojin Ryori at Shigetsu Restaurant in Arashiyama. I still dream of that meal! It was one of my best meals yet and I regularly cook Japanese food at home.

  • pinkcatmints

    I just returned from a year studying abroad in Okayama. I mostly cooked for myself, however, when eating out I made the exception to allow dashi containing fish into my diet. By allowing this (like katsuo flakes, which are in most everything… if I saw it on a label for ice cream I would not be surprised in the least- EVERYTHING) I was able to find something at most every restaurant. Otherwise, the vegetable sushi is suitable, not 100% a vegan place or anything (or even 10%) but you will find vegan options there. There are always veggie noodle dishes (soba, udon, soumen, etc) but again, the broth or dipping sauce will probably have the fish dashi in it – maybe some will just be kombu? In places like Kyoto and Nara, there will be a lot more options for you, but those are just two, and rather pricey, places.

  • DAVIDPD

    I would suggest making a huge pot of konbu dashi and then making soups and stews for your meals. Japanese soups are really easy to make, essentially simmered vegetables and mushrooms. Get some abura age, fried tofu, firm tofu, and you’re set. P.S. You can make okonomiyaki vegetarian!!!!

  • http://zoomingjapan.com/ zoomingjapan

    Yes, I’ve been to Koya-san as well as to many other places that offered Shojin Ryori, but haven’t tried it yet, but I definitely want to! :)

  • http://twitter.com/bomblol rick

    Ohhh, this is gonna be cool.

  • Skurt

    I ate a turnip once.. does that count?

  • Rashmi

    I’m looking forward to reading more about this, Koichi. Is Shojin ryori available everywhere or only in select places? My husband wants to visit Japan, but I’m reluctant because he’s a ‘no meat no fish’ vegetarian and I don’t want him to starve, neither do I want to lug boxes of instant dals and parathas along.

  • FoxiBiri

    I’ve been a vegetarian for 6 years, even while living in Japan, and while it was a little more difficult it wasn’t “really hard” (besides Japan’s lack of black beans and mexican food)
    肉と魚なしください ^^ are the magic words you can even throw in ベジテリアヌです, although my fellow veggie housemate told me once somebody thought that was his name…
    Sadly this lifestyle choice ment no sushi ;_; but you get over it. There are plenty of Japanese food vegetarians can still sustain themselves on and for cheap! Theres udon, yasai donburi, tamago yaki, soba, tofu side dishes, yasai tempura, okonomiyaki prepared without meat, and tofu or beans burgers from freshness burger!! I never did find yasai gyoza though :(
    Anyway, this Shojin Ryori project sounds awesome >.<"!! I can't wait to see what it's all about and hopefully try it myself :3

  • FoxiBiri

    freshness burger’s beans or tofu burger <3 it isn't that hard finding vegetarian or vegetarian modified dishes in Japan :3

  • FoxiBiri

    lucky for you there’s no cheese in Japan >.>

  • FoxiBiri

    I just want to point out that the eggs people eat aren’t fertilized… basically they’re chicken periods >.> not unborn chicken babies.

  • Yulia Smi.

    I’m vegan but I believe that if you recognize the cruelty surrounding your food you still have to be strong enough to give it up entirely. If you give up all products coming from animals- great! But if you only have the strengh to give up certain products (like meat) that’s awesome too. It’s still a contribution…

  • http://www.facebook.com/sarah.cassidy.184 Sarah Cassidy

    Thanks. I’ll look out for those then.

  • vivianlostinseoul

    Great post Koichi, can’t wait to read more!! I love shojin ryori but I don’t often cook it. Today I made vegetarian miso soup, it was quite tasty. Good luck!!
    http://www.vivianlostinseoul.blogspot.jp/

  • ジョサイア

    I’ll make the Facebook page and Google group :b

  • ジョサイア

    I’m really hungry…and you write a post about yummy food. >.>
    I go get “Chicken” sandwich now…

  • http://www.tofugu.com koichi

    He can probably make it, he’ll just be pretty limited in what he can eat. Shojin Ryori is available in other places besides temples, but it’s temples that most commonly have it, I’d say.

  • http://www.tofugu.com koichi

    Halfway there!

  • http://www.tofugu.com koichi

    *SHOCK FACE*

    They have Shojin Ryori that makes me want to turn vegetarian. You must try!

  • http://www.tofugu.com koichi

    I know right? Non Shojin Ryori vegans don’t know what they’re missing out on.

  • http://www.tofugu.com koichi

    Yay, edumacating!

  • http://www.tofugu.com koichi

    I will preach the ways of koichidamus

  • http://www.tofugu.com koichi

    But how do you hide from the dashi??? It has its little fish claws in everything D: D:

  • http://www.tofugu.com koichi

    Well, if you go to fancy Shojin Ryori place it’ll be a bit expensive… but like other commenter said, there’s some options (just not too many). If you can, make an exception for fish dashi and your life will become 100x easier.

  • http://www.tofugu.com koichi

    No eggs for making the flour stick to the veggies and no dipping sauce allowed in Shojin Ryori tempura, tho :(

  • http://www.tofugu.com koichi

    I’m just waiting for my healthy soylent green.

  • http://www.tofugu.com koichi

    Koya has the Koyadofu, which is frozen tofu that gets cooked. Apparently some monk accidentally left the tofu outside and it froze, and he was like “Meh, I’ll cook it anyways” and it was delicious. I betcha that’s 1 of 3!

  • http://www.tofugu.com koichi

    If you can make an exception for dashi, which is fishy, your life will be easier! If not, you can manage, but it won’t be the easiest thing in the world.

  • http://www.tofugu.com koichi

    Thanks! I’ll take a look at that book!

  • http://www.tofugu.com koichi

    lol – I have a feeling they’ve never heard of Facebook at Ota Tofu…

  • http://www.tofugu.com koichi

    IKR?? Cheese is so delicious and missing :(

    Same with good beer.

  • http://www.tofugu.com koichi

    Hmmm, suspicious use of quotes… hmmm….

  • DAVIDPD

    Tis a good thing one does not need eggs for making authentic tempura. Batter can be made from chilled soda water, baking soda, ap flour, ice cubes, salt. You can also cheat and oven bake them with a panko crust.

  • korina

    You could use a mixture of flour and water to make the flour stick to the veggies :) At least it works very well for celery root and breadcrumbs.
    So Shojin Ryori is all vegan if no egg is allowed? :D Going to Japan next year and I’m really interested in trying some traditional cuisine WITHOUT the fish in in.
    Really looking forward for your cooking :D

  • http://www.tofugu.com/ Hashi

    Glad to hear you’re getting back to your troll roots, Mescale.

  • FoxiBiri

    Ughh right… by the time I knew what dashi was it was too late >.>
    My japanese friend took me out for okonomiyaki and I asked her what the dancing flakes were on top. She told me they were good and to eat them, I was suspicious but because in the past she had always gone to great lengths to find vegetarian food I trusted her. That cunning beotch >.>
    I still get karma points for right effort though ne? I mean, Dashi is probably floating around in the Japanese air Dx

  • ジョサイア

    That is why you can’t find it anymore…

  • ジョサイア

    Dum dum dum…

  • Chester

    I am friends with a Buddhist monk. I’ve seen him down half a liter of sake without even wobbling, and he absolutely loves izakayas and kyabakura. For those of you who don’t know, kyabakura means “cabaret club,” otherwise known as “hostess bars.”

    Just wanted to throw that out there – not all monks are the same. This particular monk is the abbot of a small temple deep in the countryside. He services his area, and he is loyal and good.

    So, why does he drink so much sake? Well, see, sake is left at the temple as an offering. But Buddha doesn’t really come down from heaven to drink it. So the monk collects it and sets it aside. It’s not his to drink, but when he has guests, it’s his duty to entertain them. So, notice he drank half a liter of sake – my friend drank the other half.

    In other words, you might think that he’s breaking all the rules of Buddhism, but for his particular temple and his particular sect, his duty is to his people first, and that means taking them out for meals and giving them good sake to drink. And, believe it or not, if it is classy enough, a kyabakura is a perfectly acceptable place to take a business associate in Japan for a quiet drink. The women are there to break the ice, and they have to abide by some pretty strict rules if you’re at a classy place. You can also do karaoke. So there’s that.

    Anyway, Japan is awesome, woo! Drunk monks!

  • Kiriain

    Don’t tell me you raided Anzen Hiroshi.

  • Pepper_the_Sgt

    I once visited a Buddhist temple in Japan that was on a mountain. At the bottom of this mountain there was a BMW. Me and my friends thought “how funny would it be if that was a monk’s?” Then we saw a monk in full garb walking in the direction of the BMW and we starting joking amongst ourselves some more. Then the monk got in the BMW and drove away. Nothing more needed to be said. The scene finished better than we could have hoped.

  • http://www.facebook.com/sarah.cassidy.184 Sarah Cassidy

    Thanks. I will pretend I don’t know what’s in dashi then… Good luck with the cooking.

  • Jan Hicks

    Hi Sarah, my husband and I are vegetarian, too. We struggled a little in Tokyo, but most other places we’ve visited have had veggie choices. We used the Happy Cow site as well to track down genuinely vegetarian restaurants. Mikoan in Kyoto is a favourite as is Bon in Taito-ku (near Asakusa in Tokyo they serve a form of Shojin Ryori, it’s pretty expensive but worth it – 13 courses served over 2 hours).
    Happy Cow: http://www.happycow.net/
    My blog post about Bon: http://nihonnozasshi.wordpress.com/2012/06/27/bon-taito-ku-a-shojin-ryori-delight/

    Jan

  • http://www.tofugu.com koichi

    H-Mart, Anzen’s never has very fresh produce :(

  • http://www.tofugu.com koichi

    I don’t think it’s all vegan. I believe there’s some recipes that use honey, but it’s pretty darn close most of the time.

  • http://www.tofugu.com koichi

    “Dashi is probably floating around in the Japanese air Dx”

    Hahaha, this sums up Japan really well

  • http://www.tofugu.com koichi

    Yeah, like everything is calling for konbu dashi. I’m making small batches for now, though, trying out different methods for making it. There’s a surprising amount of variations on times, heat, no-heat, etc, so I want to figure out what makes the best!

  • http://www.tofugu.com koichi

    Yeah, Buddhist monks can be pretty interesting. It’s often just a job like any other. Some interesting monk stories:

    – Walked in on a monk reading a porno-mag, luckily that was all he was doing.
    – Like you mentioned, Monks with Mercedes / BMWs
    – Played amateur baseball with a team of Buddhist monks (plus a few other non-monks, like me)

    Monks are pretty sweeet.

  • http://www.tofugu.com koichi

    I hope so!

  • http://www.tofugu.com koichi

    This sounds like a very complicated thing :( But yeah, you’re right. I have recipes with baking soda / water / potato flour, though I don’t think they get as fancy as how you do it!

  • Koichinist, the Believer

    Porn? Really? Where do I go to become a Buddhist monk? Do I get accomodation and food? And internet access to Tofugu?

  • Peter Stanton

    Second to last paragraph (before the postscript) – “there’s” -> “there’re”. Cheers.

  • nagz

    good one! i assume after this you will lean back to some westernized type of vegetarian diet. (i was a serious meat eater. about 1 year ago i went lacto-veg and never looked back:) i’m a good cook too when it comes to japanese/chinese/indian food (but then again, i’m only scrapping the surface here)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=692660975 Sheila Mazur

    Great article! Looking forward to reading more of them about shojin-ryori. My wife and I are “5 day vegetarians”, inspired by Graham Hill’s TED Talk. We’ve been doing it since April and although there haven’t been any changes in our health, we do feel our conscious alleviated having cut down our meat consumption by 80%. We do include eggs, cheese and occasionally fish, which is probably why we’ve stuck with it for so long (you can have my cheddar when you pry it from my cold, dead hands)!

    Our approach was not to try and make every day items vegetarian (no tofu hot dogs), but to draw from dishes that are already vegetarian from different ethnic cuisines – from Asia to European Lenten meals – and save the burgers/steaks/buffalo wings for our two “meat days” as a treat.

  • http://twitter.com/LocalMonster ローカル・モンスター

    I’m very curious for this article series! First of all it’s been a while since I saw a Koichi article I think, and secondly I’ve been wondering about vegetarianism/veganism in Japan since I’m planning to move there one day and am vegan myself (well, I could probably go back to pescetarian if it’s too much hassle).

    Two wishes in one, great! :D

  • http://www.tadaimatte.com/ Ashley Haley

    Oh my gosh, I can’t believe I’m actually considering doing this for a month. I’ve never even considered going vegetarian, but it sounds like a great challenge!

  • TokyoVeggie

    Hi Sarah. I have been a vegetarian my whole life and I have lived in Japan for 4+ years. Let me tell you that I have had to “bend” my vegetarianism! Even dishes that say “vegetarian” often have dashi or some chicken, beef, or pork extract. Also, most waiters don’t know about vegetarianism, so if you tell them that you are a vegetarian, they will look confused. At best, they will tell you there is no meat in a dish, then serve it with shrimp, fish, or dried bonito covering the top… :( Your best bet is to be flexible about dashi and extract, at least. And when you go to restaurants, make sure to ask “Niku haitemasuka, sakana haitemasuka, she-fu-do haitemasuka”? They may look confused about seafood, so you can ask “ebi, kani, taku, ika, kai haitemasuka?” if you are really worried.
    Hope that helps! Good luck!

  • TokyoVeggie

    Being vegan in Japan is really, really difficult! You can check out the happy cow site or plan to visit a lot of (expensive) Shojin Ryori restaurants. I have never heard of a cheap Shojin Ryori restaurant, and regular restaurants do not offer these dishes, as far as I know. As a lifelong vegetarian living in Japan for 4+ years, I honestly suggest you try to make an exception for fish dashi at least for this trip. And remember that if a person tells you something is vegetarian, it sometimes will have egg, fish broth, meat extract, or seafood in it… Good luck on your trip!

  • http://www.facebook.com/jeremy.rawley Jeremy Rawley

    “All sentient life”…animals lower than mennish beings aren’t sentient. Fish-eating doesn’t count as vegetarianism–FISH AREN’T VEGETABLES!

    I could never be a Buddhist, Hindu, Jew, or a Muslim. Any religion that has a thing about what you can and can’t eat is nuts. I can say this because I’ve worked for Muslims.

  • nyluvsme

    You will find more vegan restaurants (Shojin Ryori) in Kyoto, Koyasan (Wakayama) and Nara. Kyoto is the MUST place for sightseeing while Tokyo is nothing special, just a large city.

  • nyluvsme

    Being vegetarian or vegan is not difficult if you choose to eat Japanese stuff. Of course dashi could be problems at some places though. Much variation than being rest of the world.

  • http://twitter.com/emination Emin Köklü

    I have to ask, WHAT! I’m German and Turkish, cheese is almost like rice for me… Ok, I think, Japan is not a good place to live xD

  • Ki-chan

    There is a broth used in place of dashi; it’s made from mushrooms, and just as easy to make.

  • Jo Somebody

    Why did you omit Christian?
    Also, fruit aren’t vegetables either… If people don’t know the word ‘pescetarian’ (apparently Chrome’s dictionary doesn’t!) then let them adjust ‘vegetarian’ as they see fit.

  • Maria

    I’m vegan been here for a month so far, the beginning was tough but now it is super easy!!!! I think it depends on commitment and creativity :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/YokaiAkito Gerran Coppin

    Thanks for sharing this series! I can’t wait to try out some of the recipes! <3

  • ncha

    hi koichi :) i’m taking shoujin ryouri for my 卒論. but i have problems with the literature, could you please help me? i could’t find keizo kobayashi’s book at the library in my country, and if i have to buy it, it’s way to expensive for a student like me :( waiting for your reply :)

  • chikoi

    Good. I will preach the Koichi Sutra. ^^

  • LunaPenumbra

    This is so interesting, I think this would be a great endeavor long term. I find different cultures and their food fascinating so this kind of satisfied the curiosity I had about shojin ryori. Being hispanic it’s nice to get away from the tacos and and pork dishes – while they are satisfying they can be heavy.