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Temple Breakfast In Tokyo! Dining At Tsukiji Hongwanji's Cafe Tsumugi

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Eating meals at a temple is growing in popularity in Tokyo. At Tsukiji Hongwanji, the 18-dish Buddhist-inspired breakfast menu at the temple cafe Tsumugi is a must-try. We introduce this set meal and other nutritious dishes available at this Buddhist temple near Tsukiji Market.

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Temple Breakfast in Tokyo: Savor A Traditional and Trendy Meal

Temple Breakfast In Tokyo! Unique Dining At Tsukiji Honganji's Cafe Tsumuji

There has been a separation from religion and everyday life for many people around the world. However, the Roman Catholic Church and other Western religious groups are implementing progressive reforms. Temples in Japan are also finding creative ways of reinvention.

Tsukiji Hongwanji Temple in Tokyo is one such location. Striving to be an inclusive place of worship, this Buddhist temple holds lunch concerts and special talks by priests. As a result, it has become a center for a diverse community from all walks of life. The breakfast served at its on-site cafe has also become popular among Tokyoites.

So what exactly is this popular temple breakfast? In this article we answer just that!

Start Your Day at Tsumugi! An On-Site Cafe at Tsukiji Hongwanji Temple

Colorful Cafe at Tsukiji Honganji's Cafe Tsumuji

This tasty temple breakfast can be savored at Tsukiji Hongwanji Temple's cafe, Tsumugi. The eatery is located inside the information center, which is next to the temple hall. The plastic food models on display outside the cafe are sure to pique your appetite!

The interior mixes Japanese traditional design and modern aesthetics. This tranquil ambiance feels like a much-needed oasis within this bustling metropolis.

The 18-Dish Breakfast Platter

Colorful Cafe at Tsukiji Honganji's Cafe Tsumuji

The most popular menu item is the 18-dish breakfast platter (1,800 yen before tax). This colorful meal features 16 small dishes, rice porridge, miso soup, and green tea.

Based on the Buddhist cusine shojin ryori, the set menu has a host of small, simple dishes made from vegetables and tofu (some dishes also include meat and fish).

Colorful Cafe at Tsukiji Honganji's Cafe Tsumuji

The breakfast stays true to its locally-minded concept by using ingredients purchased in Tsukiji. Dishes from famous local restaurants are also featured, including Tsukiji Shoro Honten's tamagoyaki (rolled omelette), Tsukiji Edoichi's tsukudani (*), and Kibun Sohonten's deep-fried fish tofu.

The rice porridge brings all the small dishes together and is all-you-can-eat.

Colorful Cafe at Tsukiji Honganji's Cafe Tsumuji

When you pick up the small dishes off the paper tray liner, you'll find their names written in both Japanese and English. It's a fun way to choose what food to try next!

Breakfast is available daily from 8:00 to 10:30. Additionally, the 18-dish platter is limited to 110 meals a day. If you're eager to taste this morning set menu, we recommend arriving early to secure a spot in line.

*Tsukudani: a traditional Japanese dish where a variety of ingredients, including seaweed and seafood, are simmered in a sweet-and-savory sauce.

Buddhist Vow: The Significance of the 18 Dishes

Colorful Cafe at Tsukiji Honganji's Cafe Tsumuji

You may be wondering why the set contains 18 dishes. The answer lies in Amitabha, the main Buddhist deity at Tsukiji Hongwanji Temple.

It is said that Amitabha fulfilled 48 vows before attaining enlightenment.

Colorful Cafe at Tsukiji Honganji's Cafe Tsumuji

Among Amitabha's 48 vows, the 18th vow has been regarded as the most profound. The belief promises that "I will never forsake any living being." This pledge reveals the compassion of Amitabha.

Contemplating on the 18th vow may add another layer of enjoyment to the temple breakfast. You can start your day feeling both refreshed in the body and spirit.

Authentic Japanese Morning Meal: The Tsukiji Temple Breakfast

Colorful Cafe at Tsukiji Honganji's Cafe Tsumuji

If you are interested in trying a traditional Japanese breakfast, we recommend ordering the Tsukiji Temple Breakfast (750 yen before tax).

The plate consists of traditional breakfast staples including grilled salmon, rolled omelets, salad, multi-grain rice, and miso soup. It is also a great selection for those who prefer a light breakfast.

A Variety of Japanese Beverages

Colorful Cafe at Tsukiji Honganji's Cafe Tsumuji

In addition to green tea, Tsumugi serves matcha floats (650 yen before tax), roasted green tea lattes (560 yen before tax), and other refreshing Japanese drinks.

Pictured above is a seasonal drink called Hassaku Orange Japanese Black Tea (680 yen before tax) (*). The black tea has a subtle aftertaste that is complimented by the refreshing Hassaku orange and mint flavors.

Enjoy the serene view outside the window with a drink in hand.

*The tea menu changes seasonally.

Shop for Souvenirs and Gifts

Colorful Cafe at Tsukiji Honganji's Cafe Tsumuji

Picture courtesy of Tsukiji Hongwanji Temple
Take a walk around the information center after breakfast. The bookstore carries a wide selection of books on Buddhism, and the official gift shop has a variety of souvenirs.

Colorful Cafe at Tsukiji Honganji's Cafe Tsumuji

Picture courtesy of Tsukiji Hongwanji Temple
From reusable bags with the temple's logo to modern altar fittings, keep your eyes out for unique gifts.

Services for All Visitors

Colorful Cafe at Tsukiji Honganji's Cafe Tsumuji

Picture courtesy of Tsukiji Hongwanji Temple
We suggest paying a visit to the temple hall, too. The temple welcomes all visitors and provides pamphlets in Various languages including English, Traditional and Simplified Chinese when you walk in.

According to Reverand Kitamoto from the temple's public relations team, "The design of Tsukiji Hongwanji Temple is inspired by ancient Indian and Asian architecture and features a stained-glass window in the entrance with numerous animal carvings. This temple embodies diverse cultural elements adopted by Buddhism as it spread along the Silk Road. We hope all who visit enjoy this unique temple building."

For those interested in Buddhism, you can attend the English Dharma Service (free admission) held on the final Saturday of each month from 17:30 to 19:30 (*).

At Tsukiji Hongwanji Temple, visitors can experience this place of worship more casually. Start your day off with a nutritious breakfast, and perhaps you can appreciate the bustling streets of Tokyo in a new light.

*Due to COVID-19, services have been postponed since April 2020. Visit the temple website for additional information.

Photos by Karin Hirokawa
In cooperation with Tsukiji Hongwanji Temple

Written by

Previous experience as an editor at a women's media company in Japan. I lived in Australia for a while and joined MATCHA after returning to Japan. In charge of editing, promoting sponsored content, and creative direction. I love watching Western TV series.
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