Ryoanji Yudofu - Seigenin

  • Vegan Vegan
    ( 11 reviews )

13 Goryonoshita-machi, Ryoanji, Ukyo-ku (at /off Shimei Dori Rdi, near Gold Pavillion), Kyoto, Japan

Last order taken at 4:30pm. Named Ryoanji Yudofu (Ryoanji Seven Herb Tofu, in English), because its famous dish is yudofu (boiled tofu with vegetables and seven herbs). The restaurant is inside the Ryoanji Temple area, in the Seigenin building (a minor temple attached to the main temple and situated by the Kyoyoike pond- a 1000-year-old Koi pond). English menu available. Nice food and setting. Address in Japanese: 京都府京都市右京区龍安寺御陵ノ下町13. Note: kitchen may stop serving 30-60 minutes prior to closing, check ahead. Call for hours - tell us.

Categories: Vegan, Buddhist

11 Reviews

First Review by lemurcat

Very nice ambience but food is only ok - Edit

Food is quite expensive so i had high expectations for this restaurant. However we are both quite disappointed that the food did not meet our expectations. The tofu hotpot is very bland. We ordered a set meal plus a seperate tofu pot thinking that there is a difference but realised they are the same. And they actually combined my two tofu orders into one pot, which is fine. But if we had known this, we could have just ordered one tofu set to share. However, the settings are beautiful and love the ambience.
Service is good though. Japanese are courteous and friendly.
We visited right after our visit to ryoanji temple.

Updated from previous review on 2016-10-16

Pros: Good location , Nice ambience

Cons: Pricey

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Astonishing experience - Edit

We visited Ryoan-ji Zen temple one month ago. This restaurant, located in the heart of the temple park, offers a simple and strictly vegetarian Buddhist menu.
We tried two set menus based on rice, vegetables, and the famous specialty of Yudofu, boiled tofu with herbs and vegetables. You must try this place for its wonderful setting more than the food itself. We had lunch in an amazing tatami room with a superb view on a traditional Japanese garden.

Pros: location, atmosphere

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Strangely Disappointing, Very Touristy - Edit

Let me explain the 2 stars I gave this place. Sure, it's a nice view outside the screen doors, but you can enjoy the walk and the view without paying $70 for an overpriced mediocre meal in plastic plates made in China, in a room full of tourists with all sorts of accents, from German to Indian to Chinese. This won't feel authentic AT ALL as it is too touristy.

The real reason this experienced sucked was the lack of love in food... Almost every vegan restaurant I've been to (like 50 of them) had more love put in food than Yudofu. What was REALLY AWKWARD is that the lady who brings you food asks for money right then and there - at your table. And then when you add something to your order, you have to pay her each time... So you end up handling money while you are trying to enjoy your meal - very, very strange and a huge turn off.

The whole experience seems like a way to make extra money off tourists for providing a seemingly traditional experience because of the setting.... They also charge $200 yen for 'seating' even though the bland meal is already overpriced... Because the food lacked love and good intentions, it didn't sit well with either me or my party. The tea in a teapot was lukewarm, almost cold... The nabe (casserole) was supposed to be on a stove, with FIRE underneath it, but, again, it was all a show: the stove was there, but the fire was never lit for any of us in the room.... Portions were tiny and just dead... That food had no blessings, no love, no good energy you would especially expect from this place... And it's not authentic experience at all, due to how touristy it is... We were both like, what the heck did just happen? We paid less for MUCH better experiences in pretty much every vegan place in Japan... We ended up going to Choice Vegan Café later on the same day, paid less, and had a 10000 times better experience, so....... Think about it. I will never go back... The good thing is that I can still enjoy walking on the grounds in Ryoanji anytime I want, and I am never setting foot in that restaurant even if it's free.. Even if they pay me... The food just didn't have any good energy in it.... The white (non-organic) rice sucked, and the miso soup sucked... It all seemed like a way to rip off tourists by seating them in a Japanese-style room with some koi pond view... Well, once was enough...
Updated from previous review on Thursday September 03, 2015

Cons: asking for $$ during your meal, no love in food, way too touristy, not authentic

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wonderful experience - Edit

We ate here at noon. Clearly from what others have said, this is a lunch spot, and you shouldn't expect a late afternoon early dinner. I know they opened by 1030am on the day we were here. This was our favorite meal in Kyoto. The location is to die for. Overlooking the beautiful pond and garden. Can't say I am the huge fan of the boiled tofu, but all the other dishes were wonderful. We split one large set (at the server's suggestion) and it was plenty for two. Not too expensive considering the fabulous location. Highly recommended.

Pros: amazing location, great food, authentic temple experience

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Closes early - Edit

Like a previous reviewer, we rushed to arrive before the published time for last orders (16:30), arrived early and were still turned away, because the restaurant had decided to close early. The time had even been confirmed to us at the ticket counter when we entered the temple complex.

For those who are happy to chance random closing times, the price for the tofu dish alone was started at ¥1500, the set with tofu and vegetables was ¥3300.

Pros: Lovely garden

Cons: Random closing times

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looked amazing but closes early. - Edit

I rushed here by bus and arrived at 16.15. Unfortunately they had closed despite last orders being at 1630 and the closing time being 1700. This was a day when all five different kyoyo restaurants listed on happy cow that i tried to eat at ended up being closed. I hope other happy vow members have better luck with this as it looked lovely.

Cons: closes earlier than stated

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Great traditional experience - Edit

We came across this restaurant by chance while visiting Ryoan-Ji temple with its famous Zen rock garden. Recognizing the venue from the pictures on happycow we happily went in. It is a small quiet place overlooking beautiful gardens. Very traditional and authentic Japanese experience. They offer a small but delicious menu around Yudofu - traditional buddhist tofu food. Very tasty. Menu is available in English and waitress speaks a little bit English.
Not to be missed experience in Kyoto!

Pros: traditional, great view, tasty

Cons: not cheap

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Try the experience! - Edit

More than the food itself, this is a place to try for its setting, inside the beautiful Ryoanji temple precinct. After visiting the temple, you must go towards teh Kyoyo-chi pond. Restaurant is on the left (there is also an English panel). I speak Japanese, so no communication problem, but I guess you can also cope with English, even though there were no foreigners both times I went there. They have two shojin set menus, revolving around yudofu (boiled tofu).

Pros: fast service, beautiful setting and experience

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Beautiful setting - simple menu - Edit

The restaurant is set in the middle of a secluded section of the gardens @ Ryoanji. Looks out over a Koi pond and beautiful gardens. Traditional dining room - mats on the floor. Menu has just 3-4 items.

Pros: Beautiful setting, Authentic style

Cons: Few menu options, Hard to find

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Ryori good Shojin - Edit

Pardon the pun.

Went here with my ex who spoke fluent Japanese, so no communication issues. We sat cross-legged in a small room across from a trio of elderly Japanese women. That was memorable, but it might be less sociable if one's Japanese is poor or one doesn't have a fluent friend.

The food was medium to high-end Shojin ryori: delicate, subtle and some of the prettiest veg food in the world (http://img2.travelblog.org/Photos/14674/73982/t/463669-Shojin-ryori-0.jpg). I remember there was a delicious tofu pouch (not inari, but an actual bag) with mochi inside. I could have eat that all day.

Since Buddhists were the earliest to refine mock meats, this is a place to go to taste a piece of veggie history.


Pros: delicate, subtle, pretty

Cons: expensive

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Yudofu - Edit

The main attraction here is boiled tofu and veggies. You can get some other dishes and rice along with it, but it is a bit pricey. Everything is delicious but there is not much variety. You are recommended to see the (smallish) Zen rock garden first on the way to the restaurant.

Pros: vegan, delicious, healthy

Cons: no deserts, a bit out of the way

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