October 07, 2010: Koya Mountain Monastery

October 7, 2010


Photo: Charles Thuener (showing lunch and a fire ceremony)


This summer Yoshio was a guide taking a group through different parts of Japan. One stop was a Buddhist monastery in Kyo Mountains. The monastery was founded 1200 years ago by a Buddhist monk by the name of “Ko Bo” who was of the “Shin Gon” or “true word” sect of Buddhism. The monastery can only be reached by cable-car and is about as remote possible to the hustle and bustle of modern Japanese life, yet modern Japanese companies often send employees here for mental Zen training.

Yoshio’s family has belonged to the monastery for at least four generations back, (that he can accurately trace but most likely they have belonged for much longer). In addition to Zen training (and probably the most beautiful views on earth, judging from the photos Yoshio’s group took) the monastery serves “sho jin” or vegetarian cuisine. Having 1200 years of experience, the monks have refined their cooking to a visual and culinary art (however austere it may seem to a Westerner.)

A typical menu for the day might include:

Breakfast: Rice porridge with pickled plum and radish and a few vegetables

Lunch: Miso soup with a few pickled vegetables and rice


  • Asparagus wrapped in tofu skin
  • Five kinds of stewed vegetables
  • Tofu with vegetables
  • Wheat veggie dumplings
  • Chestnut rice

The fire ceremony, shown above, is Buddhist ceremony commemorating the passing of ancestors.


One comment

  1. What a wonderful menu. The wheat dumplings sound mouth watering. I am interested in how the Japanese maintain a balanced diet. I need to have more protean…as it slowly goes into the bloodstream and prevents a big sudden drop in blood sugar levels. I strive for 50m to 60 grams a day …spread out so that my blood sugar doesn’t go crashing downward. Carbohydrates are to be kept at a medium level.

    Does Japanese cuisine incorporate meat, chicken or fish at each meal? Per ounce, how much protean is in tofu?

    This web site is fascinating. i am learning so much.

    keep up the delicious work.

    Kathy Avery

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