There are two main types of Shojin-ryori, Japan's time-honored take on Buddhist vegetarian cuisine: simple, practical dishes served to monks, and those served to guests as a mark of hospitality. The Tokyo version of this cuisine focuses on delighting guests with premium ingredients and aesthetics. Experience this traditional style with a modern twist at Daigo, a reservation-only restaurant near Tokyo Tower that's one of only two Michelin-starred Shojin-ryori restaurants in Japan.
Japan has a time-honored type of vegetarian/vegan-centric cooking known as "Shojin-ryori." It is based on the Buddhist belief of "do not kill" so meat and fish are not used and, among vegetables, green onions, garlic and ginger are not used. Shojin-ryori is divided into two types: one type was created for the Buddhist monks training at the temples and the other type was created for entertaining the writers and artists visiting the temples.
In many parts of Japan, the former Shojin-ryori is more mainstream and, because it is food for training, it is not meant to be a meal that is enjoyed. Only local ingredients are to be used and, when eating, no noise is to be made so it contains many soft foods. On the other hand, Shojin-ryori that was developed in Tokyo follows the latter type, or "Shojin-ryori for hospitality." In this type of Shojin-ryori, the essence is to consider how to please the customer and to take on various new challenges. The Shojin-ryori you can have in Tokyo today is no longer just traditional food or vegan food, but it has developed into a new genre of cooking to be enjoyed. The highest quality ingredients are procured from all over Japan and new and plentiful textures and appearances are devised. There are many Shojin-ryori restaurants in Japan but there are only two that have earned Michelin stars. They both belong to the "hospitality" school of Shojin-ryori, one in the city from which this type of Shojin-ryori originates, Hida-Takayama, and the other in Tokyo.
Daigo is a Michelin 2-star restaurant in Tokyo. It is run by the young, fourth generation restaurateur Mr. Yusuke Nomura, who is constantly taking on new challenges despite inheriting a restaurant with a long-standing tradition. Using his knowledge gained from training in the world of French cooking, he implements Western food presentation and always has over 100 wines on hand. He demonstrates flexibility and ideas that are not bound by the conventions of Japanese cooking. The dishes Mr. Nomura prepares in accordance with the season are all fresh and beautiful. Even though his dishes are low in sodium, there is a fullness of flavor and you will not be left unsatisfied.
Daigo is a reservations-only restaurant with all tables in their own rooms. Each room faces the Japanese garden from which you can enjoy the seasonal views. You will not believe that you are the center of the Tokyo metropolis close to Tokyo Tower. It is like a quiet retreat where you can relax. We hope you will enjoy the traditional yet uniquely Tokyo vegetarian cuisine.