Ajiro in Kyoto is the Temple for Japanese Buddhist Cuisine

Shojin Ryori cuisine

Michelin one-starred Ajiro is certainly the temple of buddhist vegetarian (“shojin ryori”) cuisine with the foundation of its food being yuba, the tofu skin that Kyoto is famous for.  I’ve been here in both winter and summer and have enjoyed both visits immensely. Beautifully presented dishes are brought forth as we scoop the yuba from a simmering box of soy milk. So this is non-stop yuba snacking punctuated by vegetarian presentations of meat dishes. And best of all, whether it’s true or not, this is good food with little guilt.

The food is served as a course of dishes (“omakase”) with the number of courses defined by the price. The choice generally is JPY6,000, JPY8,000 and  JPY10,000 per person. The team at Ajiro don’t speak English but I’ve not found this to be deterrent although it may limit the description of what is being served. But I think that with vegetables, the risk is low that one is eating something unrecognisable.

I usually ask my hotel concierge to make the reservation for me but the one key recommendation is to request for a table seating as sitting on a tatami mat can be uncomfortable especially for those with bad backs and knees. Also, the restaurant closes at 9pm and their preference is for diners to eat earlier so I’d assume that last orders are probably at 7pm. Ajiro is located near the Myoshin-ji temple, around a 10-15 minute cab ride south from Kinkaku-ji (Golden Pavillion). It’s website is in Japanese only.