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Reviews (18)

First Review by jasminetea

Best shojin ryori we tried - Edit

When we arrived, the staff were waiting for us and showed us our private room. It was so cute and the atmosphere very nice. The traditional Japanese setting was impressive; it seemed like we entered another era. The service was fast and the staff very friendly. It was wonderful because they spoke English very well and they could explain every dish to us.

Speaking about the dishes, they were some of the best we had in our life. All the little details in the presentation and the unique flavors of the dishes was mesmerizing. We had the opportunity to taste plenty of seasonal ingredients including plenty of sakura flavored dishes. There was too many wonderful food that we cannot decide our favorite.

It was the best way to finish our honeymoon to Japan and we definitely wish to return someday.

Pros: nice setting and atmosphere, amazing food and presentation, friendly and english speaking staff

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Spectacular (but not for everyone) - Edit

Executive summary: beautiful ambience of a Ryoutei, attentive service and exquisite cuisine. But shojin ryori is not for everyone.

Each party is assigned their own room. The rooms are all in classical Japanese décor, and normally one sits on tatami. Ours had a rug on the tatami, and a low table with low chairs placed on top of it, presumably to accommodate the gaijin. At first this was quite comfortable but after two hours I was getting sore and antsy (given the mismatch between my frame and the size and shape of the chairs and table). We took the big dinner course, consisting of 11 items. I lack the vocabulary to describe most of the food but there were various sansai (mountain vegetables), sashimi, tempura, various tofu items, a potato potage, rice and miso, and desert (sherbet and fruit compot). Everything vegan. It was exquisite, sophisticated, of the highest quality. Many of the items obviously require a great deal of preparation by an experienced and sophisticated kitchen. At 10,000 yen per person this was a steal. It wasn’t so much any particular item that delighted us but rather the way everything works together, much like in a symphony. We had beer and sake with our food, and tea of course.

This was one of the best dinners I’ve had in Japan, vegan or otherwise. Still, it’s shojin ryori which means that it’s not for everyone. Either you have already acquired a thorough appreciation of Japanese flavors and nuances, or you are the sort who can instantly appreciate any cuisine at the top of its game anywhere in the world. Otherwise, this may be a mixed bag for you. I am the former type, having lived in Japan for 17 years now. I doubt I would have appreciated this when I first set foot on these shores. And I am pretty sure that this will not work for most kids.

Apparently they get quite a few gaijin guests and can take phone calls for reservations in English. Most days one must be there before 19:00 and Sundays before 18:00 in order to be served the 11-item course. Reservation required.

Pros: Beautiful ambience, Perfect food

Cons: Seating slightly uncomfortable, Shojin ryori not for everyone

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Exquisite - Edit

Breathtakingly beautiful food, gorgeous setting and incredible service! I chose the ¥10000 set- an absolute steal considering the artistry and attention to detain invested in the high quality, seasonal ingredients. Our hosts brought each course in and explained a little about the aesthetic inspiration and ingredients involved. They were generous, friendly, attentive and made us feel comfortable and welcome. It was by far the best restaurant experience of my life and I will go again if I have the chance next time I return to Tokyo. Quite easy to get to on the Yamanote line, you have absolutely no reason not to go!

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Worth every penny - Edit

Had a Christmas dinner here and got the biggest set for 10,000 yen. Call ahead and tell them which set your group wants to get. You get a private tatami room and 5-star service. The food is just mindblowingly creative and delicious. We left extremely full and happy. It might be quite pricey, but it's decently priced for kaiseki fine dining.

Pros: Completely vegan, Very delicious, Authentic dining experience

Cons: Kind of expensive

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A perfect birthday dinner - Edit

We celebrated my birthday here in June 2015. We sat in a private room overlooking a garden, and were served by waitstaff who were all friendly and tried to accommodate our English-only questions. The dinner was an experience that lasted more than two hours. It was gorgeous and delicious: many, many small dishes with a variety of tastes, all beautifully presented. We were so full by the end, but happily so. As I understand, despite their use of some fish and meat terminology, it was a vegan spread.

Pros: Beautiful dishes & environment, Delicious food

Cons: Expensive, Reservations required

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Shojin Ryori Fucha style--worth the splurge - Edit

Location: Take Hibya metro to Iriya station; use station exit 3. With the traffic lights behind you, walk up the main road (Showa Dori/昭和通り) to the next set of traffic lights (approx 5 blocks);turn right into the wider of the two streets. (You’ll know you’ve gone too far if you walk past a Toyota dealer. )You'll see Bon restaurant signs attached to the light posts,green letters on white , on this street, for the next 7 blocks. Then there is a T -intersection with traffic lights. Cross the intersection and walk another 2 blocks, then turn left. Bon is about halfway down.( If you miss the left turn, the next road you’ll hit is Kokusai Dori, the wide street that runs along the west side of the shrines in Asakusa, so you’ need to turn around and go back a block. ) At the north end of the street that Bon is on is Otori shrine; another landmark is the Saitokuji Temple one block away. Bon has a sign in front with Kanji name and telephone number. (Prices, hours & a map are on their English website, & it's an easy walk from the JR Ugusuidano station, past Iriya station, following same directions )

Atmosphere & menu: lunch or dinner multi course vegan delights, served in private tatami room overlooking a garden. More veggies and less tofu than other shojin ryori styles I've had, but each course featured delicate, different flavors and textures. A must for those who can afford it! Remember to reserve by phone in Japanese , specify the meal you're ordering, one day in advance . Hours 12-3; 5-7, closed weds.
Updated from previous review on Thursday October 16, 2014

Updated from previous review on Thursday October 16, 2014

Pros: Delicious subtle flavors, An English website/description of meal, Easy to find with map/directions

Cons: Reserve one day in advance, Expensive

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Oishikatta!! - Edit

Wow...we had Lunch at Bon and were so happy we found this place on Happycow. Just delicious and various. So many flavours...you will be full afterwards but in a good way

Pros: delicious monk food, variety of the dishes, beautifully prepared and presentated

Cons: quite expensive (but worth it!)

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Best Shōjin Ryōri We Had in Japan - Edit

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

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Everything is perfect, a must-have experience - Edit

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.

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May be the world's best - Edit

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

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Step back in time & enjoy traditional temple food - Edit

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

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An amazing experience - Edit

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

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Fantastic - Edit

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

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Amazing experience - Edit

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

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Worth it - Edit

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

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Unique experience - Edit

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

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Once in a Lifetime (at least) Experience - Edit

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

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A shrine to the vegetable - Edit

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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