Koyasan! A Return To The Scene Of The Crime

Tomorrow morning (July 3 in Japan, though it’s only dawning July 2 in the U.S. now) I’m traveling to Koyasan (Mount Koya), in Wakayama Prefecture — one of Japan’s most sacred peaks and the setting for my newest Hiro Hattori mystery, Trial on Mount Koya, which releases July 3. As part of my ongoing project to climb 100 of Japan’s most famous peaks in a single year, I’ll be climbing and hiking on and around Mount Koya on July 3 and 4, to celebrate the release of this new novel.

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Shojin Ryori – Japanese Temple Cuisine

Shojin Ryori – Japanese Temple Cuisine

Although I love most styles of Japanese cooking, my favorite is shojin ryori, or temple cuisine. This style of cooking, practiced primarily in Buddhist temples, came to China from Japan along with the Zen Buddhism. Since Buddhist practice forbids killing animals for consumption, shojin ryori contains no meat or fish and also eschews the use of “exciting” or “pungent” ingredients like garlic and onions.

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Shojin Ryori: Buddhist Temple Cuisine

In Japanese, shojin ryori (devotional cuisine) refers to a style of vegetarian cooking practiced at Buddhist temples. Like most forms of Japanese cooking. the dishes served in temples change with the seasons, and generally utilize local vegetables and regional specialties. Some temples offer abundant meals with dishes worthy of five-star chefs, while others serve more simple fare, but the shojin ryori visitors can taste in  Japanese Buddhist temples generally adheres to a few universal rules: — The meal will not include any animal products. (This includes dairy products like milk and cheese as well as meat, fish, and eggs.) — Dishes do not include garlic, onions, hot peppers

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