• Izusen - Kita

  • (7)
  • White Veg-options

Serves fish, vegan options available. Shojin ryori food that's all vegan except for reported use of fish for broth (ask). On the grounds of Daiji-in, a subtemple of Daitoku-ji. Open Mon-Sun 11:00am-4:00pm.

Venue map for Izusen - Kita
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7 Reviews

First Review by hawkjo


Points +38

07 Aug 2023

Highlight of Our Japan Trip

Our group of 6 had our own room for lunch with a window that looked out onto a beautiful view. The women serving us were very kind and attentive. The food was one of the highlights of our 2 weeks in Japan. Each dish was delicately prepared and presented. The foods were both delicious and beautiful.



Points +38

29 Sep 2017

Fantastic variety of samples

A splendid spot at the Daitoku-ji area. The vegetarian combination contains many surprises of different tastes and textures. The starter of fried tofu is a delicacy.


Points +138

29 Sep 2017

Nice Shojin Ryori meal

I wasn't aware of the mixed reviews here or the doubts about whether the food at this restaurant was vegan. I just assumed it was, since it's a shojin ryori restaurant on temple grounds and I'm quite sure that everything I ate was vegan. I had a great variety of dishes, all very tasty and nicely presented. At 4300 yen I also thought this restaurant offered very good value for the price. Some shojin ryori restaurants leave you mildly hungry even with an elaborate spread of dishes, but this isn't one of them.


Points +608

07 Sep 2014

for a domestic tourist audience

Daitokuji is a famous temple in Japan and accordingly is highly touristed. The idea of eating temple food in a famous temple sounds good on tourist brochures and Isuzen feels to be designed to meet this demand. Unfortunately however in an attempt to please a mainstream meat-eating crowd they use animal ingredients - ludicrous, as it is totally possible to achieve robust flavours without. Even more unfortunate is that they don't notify the wait-staff of this fact, so even upon the most vigorous enquiry the staff will swear black and blue that the food is fully vegan. It is not. We found this out the hard way... having tasted the tell-tale bonito flake flavour in our meal we enquired as to whether the food was really vegan and were laughed at - how funny that the gaijin thinks it tastes like real fish! Another dish came out - again, that unmistakable fishy smell. This time we insist the waitress goes to ask the chef how he managed to manifest such a remarkably fishy flavour and smell. She comes back with a grave face... turns out they put fish in it. We asked how many of the remaining dishes contained dead animals and were assured there were none. But of course several more followed and by the end of the meal we were both feeling a bit off (funny how the body reacts to things it is no longer accustomed to!). We hope we made enough fuss of the matter to make them realize the gravity of the fraud they had committed and can only hope they don't do it again but realistically speaking we doubt they will cease using fish, more likely they will just be more careful to answer in the affirmative when inquisitive foreigners start asking whether they use fish. They certainly didn't seem to appreciate the importance of being honest up-front and had no concept of why a shojin restaurant should avoid using animal products.


01 Oct 2017

I've been eating at Izusen for a long time and I have no idea how you could possibly surmise they use fish in their dishes. I can assure you they don't.

The only thing fishy here is your review.


01 Oct 2017

Wow that was rude. Who makes up things like that? Honestly, some people.
I've been in Japan for 25 years, veg'n for 10+ years. My husband is a native Japanese chef (vegan, of course). So to say that I know my way around shojin ryori is a gross under-statement. In this case the chef actually admitted he used fish, there is no conspiracy theory involved. If it makes you feel any better though, we were there again earlier this year and this time there were no hints of fish and we actually enjoyed our meal. Note that the review you are commenting on is 3 years old and we made such a fuss about the matter that I think they may have actually taken heed and changed their approach. So you probably have me to thank for your enjoyable meals. You're welcome.


04 Oct 2017

If what you say is true, then you should amend your review and contact Happy Cow to let them know this place is vegan.

That said, I still don't believe what you said about using fish.

I'm sure the staff loved the fact you made such a fuss when you were there, That must have been nice for them.


03 Apr 2018

I contacted the owners by e-mail in Japanese and they responded they use fish to flavor their dishes. They said if I was okay with that I could have a meal there. So they didn't offer to make anything vegan (or even vegetarian) for me.


Points +33

27 Jul 2014

Wonderful food in wonderful setting

It is not easy to find inside the temple grounds of dai toku ji. But you can ask the people at the entrance to draw you a map. The restaurant is beautiful in Japanese traditional style. The food was wonderfully prepared and presented and really tasty. You get a lot of small dishes. It is not a cheap restaurant, but it is really worth it because you don't only get really great shojin ryori, you can enjoy it in a beautiful traditional environment.

Pros: Lovely environment, Great variety, great service

Cons: not cheap


Points +25

11 Aug 2013

Very Memorable and Impressive Food

My vegan partner (who has been a vegan for 10 yrs) and I had the best temple food ever here. Shojin Ryori (Japanese temple food) might be the only reason why I might come back to Japan again. The food in Izusen was beyond food that goes into the stomach. I can feel the spirit behind it by how they chose their water and ingredients. I'm a tea maniac and can tell that even though their tea was not so good, their water was soooo alive! They told us that they collected dewdrops from the mountain that they're in to make tea. Wow, the highest form of making tea, very impressive attitude.

Anyways, my partner chose the 4000-ish yen meal that included his favorite dish (ume/plum tempura) that my cheapest meal didn't have. My favorite dishes were their spinach shiraae (mayo-like tofu), yuba maki, and their tofu in general. The overall experience was a flow of goodies.
Updated from previous review on Sunday August 11, 2013

Updated from previous review on Sunday August 11, 2013

Pros: awesome food, traditional vibe and location, great water!


Points +13

29 Nov 2010

Delightful, but Subtle

Izusen is a shojin ryori restaurant within Daitokuji temple complex. The food was delicious, but very subtle. It's also a tour de force of vegetarian variety in Japan. I got the smallest dinner set (priced at Y3150) and received 12 or 13 dishes, each of which had an average of 2-3 different items on it. Items are mostly bite-sized, but with so many items my girlfriend was very full and I was satisfied. If you are unfamiliar with shojin ryori, research the story of goma dofu; it is delicious at Izusen. The restaurant itself was nothing particularly beautiful, but the food was worth it, even at $30 per person. Every vegetarian tourist should get shojin ryori sometime while in Japan, and read about its history, as well.

Pros: Delicious, Lots of variety, Good goma dofu

Cons: Far from subway, Expensive, Bland restaurant decor

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