This café has no business card, no listing on Google Maps, no review, no website and no social media presence! We have stumbled upon it one Sunday afternoon, in a bustling part of Kyoto in the temple district and were immediately drawn into the charming traditional Japanese house. Once inside, there was a sense of peace and tranquility.
The place was converted from an old Japanese house into a storefront, with its doors removed. The only item on the menu is 飲精進 or inShojin which was traditionally served to monks in Japan in the olden days. The drink itself is plant based, made of soy milk, Koji fermented rice and Kampo herbs. The fermented rice is scooped into a ball seen in the picture and is frozen, once stirred, adds to the refreshing taste and creamy texture of the drink.
Drinking inShojin is a mindful and relaxing experience. Here is how one should enjoy inShojin.
1. 静かに飲むことのみに気が向くようにする。Focus on the present moment to drink inShojin
2. 器内の麹氷がとけるまでよくかき混ぜて全体を混ぜ合わせるstir well until the frozen fermented rice melt away
3. ゆっくりーロづつ味わってお飲みください。飲み終えるまで心を静め飲むことに意識を向けることtake a small sip and savor inshojin, calmly and mindfully
We took the instruction written on a white foam board in front of us quite literally and enjoyed our inShojin in silence.
The Ingredients and Their Health Amazing Benefits
- Soy Milk: Non GMO, non-homogenized soy milk, using premium-grade locally grown soy bean. Soy milk is a good source of protein, vitamin A, vitamin B-12, potassium, and isoflavones. It contains as much protein as cow’s milk, yet is lower in calories than whole milk and contains very little saturated fat.
- Koji Fermented Rice is cooked rice that has been inoculated with Aspergillus oryzae, a non-pathogenous mold that is widely used in Japan. The mold releases enzymes that ferments the rice by decomposing its carbohydrates and proteins. What makes koji so special is that it digests starches and proteins and breaks them down into sugars and amino acids. It is used in a number of fermented Japanese food products, including mirin, amazake, sake, soy sauce, and miso. The health and beauty benefits that Koji rice has is extraordinary. The Koji rice malt breaks down the rice to produce many different enzymes, GABA amino acids (helps reduce stress and enhance relaxation effect) and vitamins, especially vitamin B6 (maintains healthy skin, mucous membrane, teeth, and hair), vitamin B5 (helps battle stress), folic acid (promotes generation of new red blood) and glucose (improves concentration and helps process complex thoughts). Amazake is rich in enzymes and probiotics that we know aid in digestion and help to maintain the good flora in our intestines keeping us regular. A modern day probiotic with deep roots in Japanese culture! It also contains essential amino acids and antioxidants also known to be good for us. It is also believed to aid in cell regeneration so it has a firm footing in the beauty industry as well. In addition, some also believe it to be the perfect hangover cure and a drinkable IV shot because of its high value of B vitamins.
- Kampō (or Kanpō, 漢方) is the Japanese study and adaptation of traditional Chinese medicine. The five Kampo herbs contained in inShojin are wolfberry or goji berry, dried longan, rehmannia root, apricot kernel and dried jujube, all combined to help fight fatigue and has anti-aging and anti-oxidant properties.
The café is open from 11:00 – 18:00, only on Saturday and Sunday. It is within walking distance from Maruyama Park and Kodaiji Temple in Kyoto. Since there is no location map, do get in touch and we will share its exact location.