Dewa Sanzan Shojin-ryori （Buddhist Priests Cuisine）
For over a thousand years, the sacred mountain site of Dewa Sanzan has welcomed weary traveler seeking inner peace and harmony. Upon this hallowed ground, the Mt. Haguro Sanrojo Saikan introduces visitors and pilgrims to the diverse flavors of a unique plant-based cuisine known as shojin ryori.
In the days of old, Yamabushi mountain priests consumed shojin ryori exclusively, drawing a profound connection to the landscape by eating meals sourced from the mountains they wandered. The priests believed the food let them appreciate the full blessings of nature and helped them better absorb the mountain’s spiritual energy.
Shojin ryori is prepared with wild plants, mushrooms, seeds, rice and fruit native to Dewa Sanzan. The priests prepared their meals with unique natural seasonings and vegetable oils, giving shojin ryori a distinct savory flavor. The techniques and ingredients pioneered by these priests would go on to shape modern Japanese cuisine.
Chef Shinkichi Ito is committed to preserving the ancient flavor of shojin ryori and bringing it into the modern era for a wider audience to enjoy. While promoting shojin ryori across France in 2011, the effects of the Great East Japan Earthquake prevented him from importing Japanese ingredients, so Ito opted to use local French produce instead. He created a new shojin ryori course called Tsuki Usagi, or Rabbit on the Moon, a completely vegan marriage of Japanese tradition and local French ingredients.
Now head chef at Mt. Haguro Sanrojo Saikan, Ito continues to draw upon the spirit of the mountains with each artfully prepared dish.