Restaurants & Cafés


‘Eat to live, don’t live to eat,’ says the pamphlet of this Zen restaurant in the garden of Tenryu-ji , so you would be forgiven for expecting gruel. Luckily, only monks-in-training eat so ascetically. Here, you’ll be seated on the floor of a long tatami room; off-season you might have the room to yourself, whereas in peak season you’ll have dozens of fellow diners. Waitresses flutter about with lacquer trays bearing colourful vegetarian dishes. Meat and fish are proscribed, of course, but so are overpowering ingredients, such as onions, garlic and spices. There are three sets (¥3,000, ¥5,000 or ¥7,000), but even the cheapest will fill you up. It’s a good idea to book ahead.

Kyoto Shortlist

Review updated October 2009


Tenryu-ji, Saga, Ukyo-ku, Kyoto

Transport Arashiyama station (Keifuku line), Saga Arashiyama station (JR Sagano line).

Telephone 075 882 9725

Open 11am-2pm daily.

Admission ¥¥.

Please note: All information is correct at the time of writing but is subject to change without notice.


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