Multi-course meals and lunch bento box. Price: Moderate more-less
Vegan, Japanese, Buddhist
Ryusenji 1-2-11, Irya (Taito-ku)
Tokyo, Japan
38720234

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more-less
  • Reservations required
reviews

Reviews

First Review by jasminetea
Meggie and Ben
Meggie and Ben
  • vegan
Contributions
+846

Best Shōjin Ryōri We Had in Japan

4 Posted on 05 / 04 / 2014

My husband and I went to Japan in April 2014 and tried lots of traditional Buddhist cuisine/temple food. This was by far the best shōjin ryōri we had anywhere in Japan. The experience of the traditional private dining room and garden, the way the staff serve you, and the general atmosphere make it an unforgettable experience. It's definitely a must-see if you're going to Tokyo!

My only caution would be that to a Western palate shōjin ryōri is quite different. Nothing to do with the restaurant, just the food in general. One of the other reviewers said that they think Bon is better than Millennium and I would have to disagree. I think as far as a traditional Japanese dining experience and traditional Buddhist cuisine goes it's #1, but it's not my favorite restaurant I've ever been to.

Pros: Best shōjin ryōri in Japan, Unforgettable atmosphere, Great staff
Cons: Odd flavor/textures for a Western palate
poopixie
poopixie
  • vegan
Contributions
+100

Everything is perfect, a must-have experience

5 Posted on 05 / 04 / 2014

I basically agree with everything the reviewer before me has said! I came here for a special birthday meal during our Tokyo holiday (booked in advance) and was blown away. It was like a dream, the whole experience. If you really love and apreciate food, culture, tradition...just go.


eatinggreen
eatinggreen
  • vegetarian
Contributions
+311

May be the world's best

5 Posted on 02 / 06 / 2014

Can't believe I haven't already reviewed this place, considering it's been our go-to place for special nights out for many years now.

What can I say - this is the real deal. We live in Japan and have tried almost all the temple cuisine restaurants but this is still our favourite. We've also traveled the world far and wide and can't think of any meal we've had so far that could beat it. It's more than a meal, it's an experience, a tradition, a treasure trove of knowledge and also a special interaction with the dedicated old couple who prepare each and every bite with loving care.

The presentation of the food is second to none and the tastes are rich and varied. The food comes out in courses and the menu changes monthly to reflect and celebrate the exact season. You do need to order in advance as their 'no waste' policy means they only have as much food as they will need on hand. They also need notice as they begin the preparation process in advance - when you see how intricate the cuisine is, you'll understand why!

We've taken lots of foreign visitors here and we've found some love it, others have trouble with the traditional flavours and textures. Either way though, if you've only ever experienced Japanese food overseas or in modern Japanese eateries it's likely you don't even know whether you like real traditional Japanese cuisine. Even if you find out it's not for you, the night is sure to be an experience. If you're here and you're vege (or even if you're not!), this one's not to be missed.

Pros: food is to perfection, authentic in every way, an awesome pverall experience
Cons: not all organic, expensive (but worth it), not open late

tokyoeric
tokyoeric
  • mostly-vegetarian
Contributions
+22

Step back in time & enjoy traditional temple food

5 Posted on 06 / 26 / 2012

This is one of a handful of historical restaurants left in Tokyo that continue to prepare and serve food the same way they have for decades... You step in the front door, take a deep breath, and feel life slow down...and then begin to enjoy the amazing Buddhist temple food prepared at Bon.

They have alcohol and if you advise them of any food allergies ahead of time will accommodate. You must start your dinner early as they close early.

I've taken many visitors and Japanese to this restaurant and everyone has enjoyed the food and experience. It is one of the more reasonably priced restaurants for shojin ryori in Tokyo...though it is still not cheap.

Pros: Amazing food, Old-fashioned atmosphere, Quiet
Cons: Closes early
hokusai77
hokusai77
  • vegan
Contributions
+2074

An amazing experience

5 Posted on 03 / 18 / 2012

Bon is a restaurant specialized in traditional Japanese vegan cuisine (shojin ryori). A bit expensive, but definitely worth it. You will be accomodated in private rooms where you will be served a set vegan menu based on traditional Japanese dishes. Definitely not to miss when in Tokyo.

Pros: excellent food, gastronomic experience, relaxing
davidyatesau
davidyatesau
  • vegetarian
Contributions
+28

Fantastic

5 Posted on 08 / 26 / 2011

As usual in a foreign city and pulled out the Happy Cow iPhone app and navigated ourselves to this phenominal place in the old town Japan. Read the other reviews as this place is a must for any Vegetarian in Tokyo

Pros: Great Food, Great Presentation, Great Building
Cons: Tiny bit over priced
Miggi
Miggi
  • vegan
Contributions
+495

Amazing experience

5 Posted on 01 / 24 / 2011

The other reviewers have said it all, really. It's expensive, hard to find, and totally worth it for the experience!
The atmosphere and presentation of the food is amazing. Some of the food is delicious, some is just weird - some of the pickled veg were just way too much for us. Check out the photos of the dishes on Happy Cow - tried to get all 12 courses.

Pros: it's an experience, atmosphere, decor, fountains, try new flavours
Cons: expensive, hard to find
PlanetEarth
PlanetEarth
  • mostly-vegetarian
Contributions
+68

Worth it

5 Posted on 12 / 07 / 2010

It is difficult to get the peace, respectful service, Zen decor, carefully prepared, varied food which this place offers. It is beyond ordinary "restaurant". I ate here three years ago and this time was just as wonderful.
I think there is some minor sea-food based ingredients used, as is the case with many veggie Japanese places.

Pros: food, service, atmosphere
Cons: location tricky, not 100% veg
  • eatinggreen eatinggreen

    Just to let you know that there are definitely no seafood ingredients used at Bon. Unlike some of the others, they are the real deal :)

    more-less
sarastoked
sarastoked
  • vegetarian
Contributions
+21

Unique experience

5 Posted on 04 / 27 / 2010

Make no mistake, this place is not cheap and is the most i've ever spent on dinner, but I don't regret one bit.

Reservations are a must and the place is a little tricky to find. You may have to ask for help. Someone ended up walking us over to the restaurant.

We dined in private in a small room, sitting on tatami mats. Our feet were kept toasty by heated mats underneath the table. The staff was very friendly, but spoke little english. They attempted to explain what each dish was, but it was hard to understand and I couldn't remember everything! The food was beautifully and thoughtfully prepared prepared using fresh and in season ingredients. We ate here during the week the cherry blossoms were in full bloom so our meal featured cherry blossoms in several dishes and dishes were decorated the beautiful pink flowers.

The meal started and ended with tea and included a sweet wine apertif.

For about 70000 yen each, we received 12 courses. We did not have sake, although they did have it available for an extra cost.

Overall i'm very glad this was the first place we ate when arriving in Tokyo. If you're staying is Asakusa, Bon is a short 30-40 minute walk away. I don't know if I would eat here again, only because of the cost, but if I were visiting Tokyo again with friends I would be tempted to bring them here. It was more than worth the cost and a unique experience that I recommend to everyone visiting Tokyo.

Pros: lovely atmosphere, fresh and seasonal, friendly staff
Cons: expensive
  • Jan Hicks Jan Hicks

    We are thinking about going here while in Tokyo, as we'll be staying in Asakusa, but are a bit surprised by the price you have quoted. Do you really mean 70000 Yen, or 7000? 70000 is about £500!

    more-less
Ballinghoff
Ballinghoff
  • vegan
Contributions
+22

Once in a Lifetime (at least) Experience

5 Posted on 07 / 21 / 2008

For atmosphere, presentation, service, freshness of ingredients and taste, I give Bon an enthusiastic Five Happy Cows! I didn't think any restaurant could beat the experience at Millennium in San Francisco, but Bon did. It exceeded my expectations.

Bon is located in the Asakusa area of old Tokyo, in a small shrine marked by a single character that represents its name. It serves Fucha Shojin Cuisine, vegetarian dishes in the tradition of the Zen Buddhist monks of China and Japan. It is located at the Otori Shrine, which is a ten minute walk from Exit No. 3 of the Iriya Station, but we took a taxi and were thankful, as there is no sign in English on the building.

We chose the 8,000 Yen option, and were served about 15 courses of small dishes, all delicious as well as amazing works of art, in a private, simple but beautifully furnished room. The menu used many seasonal ingredients, as well as many we did not recognize. The dinner started with a tea ceremony, followed by appetizers, soups, cooked vegetables, chilled/seasoned tofu, tempura, pickles, white rice garnished with green tea, and ended with fresh fruit. The total bill for two people, including the service fee, was about $180, but it was well worth the experience. The dinner was served over a period of about two hours.

All of the servers knew at least a few words of English, and as I only know simple words and phrases in Japanese I was grateful for the effort they took to explain what parts of the dishes should not be eaten (e.g., garnishes), how some of the items were to be eaten, and to accommodate simple English requests for water and tea.

The restaurant is open for lunch from noon until 3PM and dinner between 5 and 7PM, every day except Tuesday.

As noted on the menu "Bon means 'Buddhist Believer' and was chosen as a sign of respect for the origins of Fucha as a way of Buddhist practice". If you visit Tokyo, this restaurant is a must! For us, it was a truly enjoyable, delightful and memorable experience.

Pros: Excellent food, Beautiful atmosphere, Artful presentation
jasminetea
jasminetea
  • vegetarian
Contributions
+77

A shrine to the vegetable

5 Posted on 05 / 06 / 2007

The ambience of this place is superb. We turned up without any reservation and were lucky enough to get our own room where we were served a thoughtful 10 course meal. I didn't believe it when one of the waiters thought we were movie stars! And then I didn't believe it when he said John and Yoko dined in the same room once, although I wanted to. Back to the food. Everything was so exquisitely cut, from the tofu to the lotus root to the delicate beans and dragon fruit and courgette flowers. The miso soup had a healing effect and the whole atmosphere of the Buddhist guesthouse put me at ease. We were told what all the food was when it was served (in English) and I took photos as it looked so good. It was expensive though...

Pros: Delicious
Cons: Expensive!

 

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Last updated: 2012/03/18

 

Added: 2007/08/01

 

Added by: Guest

 

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