Ryoanji is a famous temple in Kyoto, Japan. It is most famous for its rock garden, consisting of small white raked stones, with 15 larger rocks positioned in the gravel.
Just outside the garden is a model that shows the positions of the rocks. When viewed from the ground you can never see all fifteen rocks at once. Fourteen is the most that can be seen at any one time.
A lot of people sit and watch the garden for a few minutes before moving on.
Yudofuya vegetarian restaurant
If all that time spent looking at rocks has made you hungry, there is a traditional vegetarian restaurant in the grounds. It isn’t easy to be vegetarian in Japan, but if you are in Kyoto it is easier than in many other places due to the temple restaurants that serve vegetarian food.
It is called Yudofuya, and the main dish it serves is yudofo (which is tofu served in hot water). We didn’t have to book when we went there – we arrived before 12pm and it was fairly quiet. This was January by the way.
There are only three items of food on the menu, so we ordered all of them. First was the ‘vegetarian dish with yudofu’. Quite pricey at ¥3,300, but tasty. It consisted of lots of small vegetable snacks. Also pictured is the rice which cost us ¥200.
The third item is the ‘yudofu’. It is a big pot filled with loads of soft tofu. It cost us ¥1,500 and was very good.
All three dishes together are enough for two people. In the restaurant you have to sit on the tatami floor, and you get a great view of the garden out of the window.
The restaurant soon became busy, so you probably should arrive early.
Here is the menu which you can just about make out from my photo. I’ve written the text out under it. Our three dishes came to a total of ¥5,000.
Yu-dofu (boiled soy bean curd with vegetables): ¥1,500
Vetetable dish with yu-dofu: ¥3,300
Juice (Cola, Orange, Kirin-Lemon): ¥200
There is also a note explaining that if you only order a drink there is a ¥300 cover charge. And if you want to share the Yu-dofu dish between multiple people (without ordering other dishes) they’ll charge ¥200 for each extra person to cover ‘chopsticks and spice’.