This 400 year old temple invites you to worship their wide array of cakes and teas.

Tsukiji Hongan Temple, located near the famous Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo, has existed in one form or another since the 17th century. However, these days the business of religion is stiffer than ever in Japan causing temples like Tsukiji Hongan to find new ways to attract visitors.

That’s why they’ve undergone renovations to add new and enticing facilities to their temple in what is called the Tera To Project (Temple And… Project). It includes an information center, book depository, gift shop, and more.

Perhaps the highlight of these modernizations is the Tsukiji Hongan Temple Cafe Tsumugi run by the cafe-bar chain Pronto. By combining modern tastes with more traditional sensibilities, Tsumugi has come up with a very enticing line-up of menu items.

At the top is the huge 18 Hinmoku No Asagohan which is a bowl of rice porridge and a bowl of miso soup for 1,944 yen (US$17). That might sound expensive until you hear that you can get free refills on each!

…Still too expensive? Okay, then how about 16 other side dishes to go along with it?

The total number of 18 dishes in this set is symbolic of the Buddha Amitabha’s 48 vows that enable us to transcend into the realm of the Buddha. Of these vows the 18th is said to be the most crucial. Here it is for those looking to enlighten themselves.

“Provided I become a Buddha, if the beings of the ten quarters who, after having heard my name and thus awakened their highest faith and aspiration of re-birth in that country of mine, even they have recollected such a thought for ten times only, they are destinated to be born there, with the exception of those who have committed the five deadly sins (Anantarya), and who have blasphemed the orthodox Law (Dharma), otherwise may I not attain the enlightenment.”

I would explain what that means, but I have no clue. Luckily, if you dine at Tsumugi a qualified monk will be nearby to teach you its meaning if you so desire. However, if the 18 Hinmoku No Asagohan is too big and esoteric for you, Tsumugi’s menu still has a lot to offer, such as this relatively leaner six-piece set for 1,100 yen ($10).

If it’s an elegant breakfast you’re craving, the Kyoto-san Arare to Uji Matcha no Wa-Granola Cappuccino Flavor for 918 yen ($8) is a good bet. With Japanese items sourced from Kyoto, this is far from typical granola, served with a cup of frothy steamed milk for a lushly colorful and natural bowl of goodness.

For those who aren’t early risers, the cafe is open all day, serving up a range of sweets such as:

Kakigori Hojjicha Kuromitsu Cream with Warabimochi which is a pile of shaved ice flavored with a cream that has dark molasses and charcoal-boiled green tea mixed in. This is all topped off with a jelly-like confection dusted in roasted soy bean powder (kinako) for 950 yen ($8.40).

Imo Yokan no Wasanbon Brulee (pictured foremost) which is a traditional Japanese gelatinous candy made with sweet potato and topped with fine wasanbon sugar which is then roasted to a crispy brown glaze.

There are also a lot of less fancy sounding but equally delicious looking treats like green tea roll cake, strawberry shaved ice, and twin parfaits.

There is also a plethora of teas available, suggesting that the name “Cafe” is merely a stylistic choice. They include:

▼ A “Japanese English Tea” made from ginger and kumquat

▼ A fine batch of partially shaded green tea (kabusecha) from Mie Prefecture

▼ And some take-home containers of Beppincha which promises beautifying effects.

It’s a solid line-up of foods that makes you forget you’re dining in a Buddhist temple. So, if you’re interested in some fine food in a tranquil atmosphere or want to learn more about Jodo Shinshu Buddhism in the most delicious way possible, Tsukiji Hongan Temple is the place to be, unless you can manage to invite a monk out to Tsuta some time.

Restaurant Information
Tsukiji Hongan Temple Cafe Tsumugi / 築地本願寺カフェTsumugi
Tsukiji Hongan Temple / 築地本願寺
Tokyo-to, Chuo-ku, Tsukiji 3-15-1
Open: 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. (seven days a week)

Source: Tera To Project
Images: Press Release, PR Times (Top image edited by SoraNews24)
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