Koyasan

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和歌山縣 高野山 (Wakayama Koyasan) by ansel.ma

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精進料理 // Vegetarian Buddhist Cuisine
On my trip to Mt. Koya, I got to try shojin ryori for the first time! There are a lot of pricey restaurants along the tourist strip, but we found a dining-hall style place where we could try a variety of dishes for a very reasonable price (less than ¥1500, IIRC). 

Veggie tempura and sesame tofu are always high points, but I was totally enamored with the walnut miso served with the pickle assortment, the yuzu-seasoned lotus root, and the multi-colored noodles in clear broth that came in place of miso soup. We had a nice assortment of nimono, too; my favorite, as always, was the tofu fritter. And while I’m generally indifferent to konyaku, the little lines they’d scored in the sides here gave it a fantastic, noodley texture that I couldn’t get enough of. 

It’s surprisingly rare to find vegetarian food here, and it seems that Japanese people tend to perceive the entire genre as bland, but this was such a fantastic and memorable meal. I hope everyone has a chance to try it and challenge their assumptions!

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November Japan by DanÅke Carlsson

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Kongobuji Koyasan by DanÅke Carlsson