Tastes & Souvenirs

Koyasan has many unique traditional dishes including Vegetarian Cooking (Shojin-ryori) and Sesame Tofu (Goma-dofu) which are commonly offered at Shukubo temples. Please try to experience such colorful tastes found here in Koyasan, even something as simple wild edible plants found in the region can taste great. Also you can discover various renowned specialties and take them home as souvenirs.

Vegetarian Cooking

The Koyasan’s vegetarian cooking was established under the strict Buddhist precepts prohibiting eating meat, ever since the time Kukai founded Koyasan. This cuisine has evolved throughout the years, and has been preserved to the present-day by the hard work of many priests and temples.

Its traditional uniqueness made by the delicate enhancement of a natural taste, the use of limited ingredients as well as the nonuse of meat, is the essence of the eating habits of Koyasan.

Based upon the Sobo Cooking, rooted in Buddhist mental training, this cuisine features, through simple refinements, a sense of the seasons, matching the five methods, five tastes, and five colors. Such good looking, substantial and delicious dishes are offered to visitors as Koyasan’s specialty.

Goma-dofu and Koya-dofu are Koyasan’s highly nutritious foods containing precious protein, and are served up very often if not all the time at any Shukubo temple.

Freeze-Dried Tofu

This is a reserved food which was born from the daily life and wisdom of the priests under the Koyasan’s shivering cold and strict life-style. Also, this dish is what made Koyasan’s name known all over the country.

Sesame Tofu

This vegetarian food is a highly nutritious part of vegetarian cooking. It is made by grinding roasted white sesame seeds, and boiling ground sesame seeds mixed with kudzu starch. Its unique sticky taste is born from the sufficient grinding of roasted sesame seeds. Here it can be seen as the essence of Shojin-ryori, a heartful cuisine.


This is a Chinese digestive medicine in which many kinds of herbs are compound. It is said that Kukai was initiated into the pharmacy during his stay in China in the T’ang dynasty (618-907). Furthermore, a variety of Buddhist articles such as a rosary, a thin wood plate for writing sutras (kyogi), a lucky charm and many others can be found in Koyasan.


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