Ajiro is a fine restaurant that serves shojin ryori (vegetarian temple food). It is located a short walk from the south gate of Myoshinji Temple.
"Ajiro" literally refers to the hats worn by zen priests. Neighboring Myoshinji is of course a zen temple, with multiple sub-temples. The restaurant itself is located in an old home just outside the gates.
The style of cooking that Ajiro serves was borne of a religious conversion that took place more than one millennia ago. Prince Shotoku Taishi converted to Buddhism in the 7th century, and as a result the Kyoto ruling class followed suit and similarly took up a vegetarian diet.
Thus, there is no meat, fish or dairy products on the menu.
Ajiro was recently listed in the Michelin Guide, in which it received one star.
From Hanazono Station on the JR Saiin Line, cross the large road (Marutamachi Dori) and then walk one block east along Marutamachi Dori.
At the first light, Marutamachi Dori will veer right. You should keep straight and then veer a bit to the left onto the tree-lined street that approaches the south gate of Myoshinji Temple.
When you reach the gate, do not enter but go right on the narrow street that runs past it. The restaurant is 50 meters down and on the right (south) side of the street.
If you are coming from Ninnaji Temple, Ryoanji Temple, or are already in Myoshinji, walk to the south exit, turn left and walk 50 meters. On your right.
075 462 4673 (no English spoken)
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Wednesday, December 30, 2009