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Try Japanese traditional meal at a world heritage site, Daigo-ji Temple

2018.07.18

Kyoto is often admired as “a city where cultural and historical valuables have been preserved.” In fact, I actually think so, too. Kyoto has been attracting not only tourists and foreign students but also any kind of people by its eternal history and culture, which like leaving its mark on the history. Moreover, the modern technologies is even added to the history.

I have been to many popular sites in Kyoto, such as Kiyomizudera Temple, Kinkaku-ji Temple, and Ginkaku-ji Temple but I had never tried a traditional Japanese meal at a temple. In general, the meals offered at Japanese temples are called “shojin-ryori.” The meal created by the chef of Daigo-ji temple isn’t just traditional. He is creating “Gozan-ryori,” which is based on the shojin-ryori but also uses seasonable vegetables produced in the area. I am sure that you are curious about what kind of dish it is. This time we will introduce “Gozan-ryori” with the history of “Daigo-ji Temple,” a little-known place among sightseeing spots in Kyoto.

Try Japanese traditional meal at a world heritage site, Daigo-ji Temple

The modest temple “Daigo-ji”

It is 40 minutes by subway from Kyoto Station to Daigoji Temple. It is about 15 minutes on foot from Exit 2 of “Daigo Station.” The main gate peeped out behind a big tree. Here we came to Daigo-ji Temple!

The modest temple “Daigo-ji”
As I cross the road and gradually approach the gate, now I can clearly see the character of a stone monument called “Historical Site Daigo-ji Temple,” which was hidden in a tree a little while ago. There have been a lot of visitors although it doesn’t have gorgeousness like Kinkaku-ji nor bustle like Kiyomizudera. But I believe that this modest atmosphere is the reason why the temple has been attracting us.

A little fun in Daigo-ji Temple

I visited there at a first day of holiday weekend. Around 11 AM, the weather was just comfortable, and there were fewer tourists. So, I thought that it might be perfect to spend holidays. It may have been f the consecutive holidays, there were various stalls selling things along the path.

A little fun in Daigo-ji Temple
There were wine glasses, old watches, buttons, wooden toys such as cranes, trucks, classic cars and convertibles and many more. Everything is made faithful to the originals, and drawing attention to visitors.

“Ugetsu-jaya” at Daigo-ji Temple where you can also find souvenirs of Kyoto

“Ugetsu-jaya” at Daigo-ji Temple where you can also find souvenirs of Kyoto
Ugetsu-jaya at Daigo-ji is not only a place to taste Japanese traditional meals but also to buy various Kyoto souvenirs.

“Ugetsu-jaya” at Daigo-ji Temple where you can also find souvenirs of Kyoto2
For example, a face mask with cherry extract, cherry flavored solid perfume, a plastic file folder with cherry pattern, Uji matcha flavored peanuts and matcha rice crackers and so on. These could be good as commemoratives of your visit.

Daigo-ji Temple Ugetsu-jaya Onshi-kan

Finally, it is time to introduce Gozan-ryori (cuisine). Since I've made a reservation in advance, I was lucky enough to have it at Ugetsu Onshi-kan! Reservations can be made on the website. It comes with an entrance ticket for Sanboin.

Daigo-ji Temple Ugetsu-jaya Onshi-kan
The entrance of Onshi-kan makes us remind the history of Japan. There is a staircase made of wood, and old shoeboxes at the entrance (inside is tatami room. we must take off shoes at the entrance). I walked in a dark brown corridor. When I opened a sliding door, a Japanese restaurant with tatami floor just appeared in front of me.

Daigo-ji Temple Gozan-ryori

Because it is the first Gozan-ryori, which is rare to eat, I wanted to taste a variety of things. So I chose “Ichimi-zen” allowing to taste many kinds of dishes little by little.

Daigo-ji Temple Gozan-ryori
Since it comes in two layered bento box (left: the first layer, right: the second layer), it looks a lot and seemed that I cannot eat up. But each portion is small. They mainly use beans, white fish, seasonal vegetables like bamboo shoot, and they’re generally low in calories, but it made my stomach actually quite full.

Daigo-ji Temple Gozan-ryori2
Natural yuba (tofu skin) sushi roll was the only rice dish (on the right end). Only two rolls were served but enough even for a big eater! Even if this sushi doesn’t make you full, you may also have dishes full of bean protein and fish. From the upper left corner, fish tempura, tofu. From the bottom left, grilled fish and egg dashi roll, eggplant dengaku (coated with miso).

Daigo-ji Temple Gozan-ryori3
I realized that soy sauce and wasabi go with raw food in Japan. While tasting refreshing tofu, I was thinking about such a thing.

Daigo-ji Temple Gozan-ryori4
This is the first layer box. The second layer box that I mentioned earlier contains dishes, which mainly use protein. This is the first layer box, which uses seasonable vegetables.

There was a variety of dishes such as simmered vegetables, mekabu seaweed, which is perfect in a hot day, and spicy pickles for refreshment. The middle and bottom of the second row of the right are the desserts; fruit jelly and matcha rice cake. The colors are brilliant!

Daigo-ji Temple Gozan-ryori5
Personally, this chimaki was quite interesting (the second from the left in the middle row). Chimaki is usually made of rice, but this one uses fu (wheat gluten) to wrap yuzu citrus miso paste. I enjoyed its chewy texture along with sweet and sour miso paste with yuzu flavor. Even later, the flavor lasted in my mouth.

Daigo-ji Temple Gozan-ryori6
There is no need to hurry after eating meals. Why don't you make a plan where to visit while enjoying the afterglow of Daigo-ryori with roasted green tea. If you visit Daigo-ji Temple, you will be satisfied with the quiet getaway to refresh yourself!

“Ugetsu-jaya”
35-1, Daigo Higashiojicho, Fushimi-ku, Kyoto City
http://www.daigo-ugetsu.jp
15 minute-walk from Daigo Station on the Tozai Subway Line
No credit card acceptable

※ This information was updated on April 30. Please check directly to the facility for the updated information.

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