Wednesday, October 28, 2009


Shojin ryori is a type of Japanese Buddhist cuisine, that according to Hachinoki's own website, was brought to Japan from China and Korea. Niiice, I like it when Japanese people finally admit that something good was originally brought over from Korea.

"Shojin" means a devotion to pursue a perfect state of mind banishing worldly thoughts and making efforts to keep striving for limitless perfection at each stage. Again, this is according to Hachinoki's own website, and like a lot of the English I encounter in Japan, seems to make sense and yet leaves me kind of scratching my head asking...wait, do I really understand what it says?

I don't know about pursuing a perfect state of mind by banishing worldly thoughts, but I personally find banishing worldly thoughts overrated anyway. My perfect state of mind is found when I am eating a perfect meal with good friends over good conversation.

Kamakura was my first jaunt out of Tokyo after moving here - it's a peaceful town just an hour outside of Tokyo filled with more temples and shrines than you can possibly visit in one day. It's also a beach town for surfers, but I never managed to get to the ocean during my day trip. A couple temples plus the Daibutsu (Big Buddha), rounded out by a nice shojin ryori meal pretty much takes up the whole day.

My lunch at Hachinoki was delicious, healthy and filling. It's the kind of food I came to Japan for...along with sushi, udon, soba, okonimiyaki and I guess pretty much all Japanese food.

There are three branches of Hachinoki in Kamakura so even without a reservation, getting a table for lunch wasn't difficult. They don't have English menus but the menus thankfully come with beautiful color photos so you can just point and choose your meal.

Rice with tiny dried anchovies to sprinkle on top, clear broth with yam and vegetables, tsukemono (pickles), gomae (spinach in sesame dressing), assorted stewed vegetables (eggplant, bamboo shoot, gingko nut and an orange leaf shaped blob made of tofu), grilled eel, tamago, oden and tofu)

Grilled female fish - there was barely any meat, mostly roe, which was bursting out of the fish

Food rating: ****
Bang for buck rating: 3

The essentials:
Location: Kamakura, Japan
Average price for meal for 2 (lunch): 7000 yen (~$80)

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