My birthday was at the end of March and I wanted to celebrate by going somewhere special- especially as we had family coming over to visit and I wanted to show them delicious traditional Japanese vegan food.
Bon or otherwise known as Bon Taito or Fucha Bon is a Buddhist vegetarian restaurant offering multicourse lunches and dinners. They are known for their simple, delicate-tasting food and their elegant and relaxed atmosphere. Bon is also one of the top-rated restaurants in Tokyo on HappyCow!
If you’re looking for a sophisticated, traditional Japanese dinner experience then you’re in the right place! Let me tell you what Bon has to offer!
At a glance
Cuisine: Fucha Ryori (Buddhist vegetarian)
Vegan or vegan options: 100% vegan
Price: ¥5,000 – ¥10,000 per person
Reservation required?: Yes
Capacity: 2 – 40 people
Bon specialises in Fucha Ryori, (a variety of Shojin Ryori) which got brought over to Japan from China around 300 years ago.
Fucha Ryori is a type of vegetarian cuisine that Zen Buddhist monks eat. The two characters to make “fucha” (普茶) can mean ‘a meal eaten which begins and ends with tea, aiming to create friendship and peace among those eating together.’
As their meals are Buddhist meals, they don’t use any onions or garlic (or anything strong smelling) and serve seasonal items which are presented beautifully.
Bon is set in a beautiful and traditional building with water features, small gardens, and a cobbled stone corridor leading to private tatami mat rooms with sliding paper doors.
In total, they have 10 rooms. 8 Japanese-style rooms with tatami mats with a capacity of 2 to 40 people and 2 “Hori-gotatsu” rooms where you can sit down on a chair.
Compared to the other rooms which were inside the main building and all next to each other, ours was even more secluded. With no neighbours and the only room in the front of the building, it felt as if we were the only ones there.
The interior is stunning, decorated simply in earthy tones, hanging artwork and Ikebana flower decorations. The room had exposed beams, featured bamboo as well as other natural materials and had a low window in one corner of the room with a view of the garden creating a sense of peace.
Eating at a low table and sitting on the floor on chairs with supportive backs was very grounding and being in this space felt very tranquil and calm.
The menu at Bon
As mentioned before, Bon offers multi-courses so the food will depend on how many of those you choose.
As we visited in March, we ate from the spring menu with seasonal ingredients and sakura-flavoured or shaped items with hints of pink in our meals.
Which course to choose at Bon
(All prices exclude 15% tax)
- ¥5,000 (£29.35/ $37.11): Lunch- weekdays only
- ¥6,000 (£35.21/ $44.53): 2 soups, 6 dishes
- ¥8,000 (£46.95/ $59.38): 2 soups, 6 dishes
- ¥10,000 (£58.69/ $74.21): 2 soups, 8 dishes
Bon is definitely not cheap, especially with the added 15% tax, but, if this is something you can afford, it’s somewhere you have to try for a traditional multi-course Japanese meal.
How to make a reservation at Bon
You have to phone to make a reservation in advance. My dad was able to book it for us but they are able to speak some English.
They have many people coming so making a reservation shouldn’t be a problem. If you’re unsure, speak to your hotel reception about it, I’m sure they’d be happy to help out!
10-course meal at Bon
As it was my birthday and we would be spending it with our family who we were originally supposed to do this trip back in 2020, we went all out and booked the 10-course meal – we were celebrating after all!
On the table, we were given an English leaflet with the concept and course to expect and then each dish was explained once they were in front of us.
The items came in such beautiful and traditional plates and bowls. Many dishes would be covered with a lid, so it felt very exciting to lift the lid and see what was underneath- it was like opening a present!
Everything on the plate was carefully placed and each item had a purpose. You could really tell that a lot of care went into each dish. I’ve never had a meal like this one, it was so pretty, it was literally like a piece of art on a plate in front of me.
The people serving our meal would come through the sliding side door and each time we were all so excited to see what the next course would look and taste like.
This was the first time I had tried some of the ingredients and flavours that were put in front of us. They can taste strange and different if you are not used to these flavours – I certainly didn’t love everything we tried.
But, that’s what makes it exciting and gets you out of your comfort zone, and as far as I’m concerned, there is no better way to experience a country than through its food.
The people working here are very warm and did their best to explain everything on our plates. The chef even popped in at one point to say hello!
At one point we lost track of what number course we were on and got a surprise box of mock eel, which was the most incredible thing I’ve tasted! I used to be a big fan of fish and this mock eel had the most surreal texture and a sweet and smoky savoury sauce on top.
Our meal started with sakura tea with a tea sweet and ended with matcha tea and tea sweets, just like the meaning of Fucha.
If you would like to have a look at everything I ate at Bon, have a look at this video here!
Things that are close by:
- Walk around Ueno Park: 23 minute walk / 20 train
- Visit Sensoji Temple: 15 minute walk / 13 min train
- Wander Nakamise Street: 21 minute walk/ 14 minute train
- Shop for kitchenware in Kappabashi Street: 14 minute walk
- Visit Star Plaza: 18 minute walk/ 13 minute train
- View lilies of Shinobazu pond: 33 minute walk/ 21minute train
Other restaurants close to Bon:
- PQ’s: Vegan – 1 minute walk
- Monkey magic: Vegan – 14 minute walk
- T’s tantan ueno: Vegan- 29 minute/ 22 minute train
- Shochiku-en: Vegan- 11 minute walk
- Hatoya Asakusa: Vegan- 7 minute walk
How to get to Bon
ENG- 1 Chome-2-11 Ryusen, Taito City, Tokyo 110-0012
JP- 〒110-0012 東京都台東区竜泉１丁目２−11
10-minute walk from exit 3 or 4 of Iriya Station on the Hibiya subway line
Monday – Saturday 12:00-15:00 (LO 13:00) | 17:30-21:00 (LO 19:00)
Sunday 12:00-15:00 (LO 13:00) | 17:00-20:00 (LO 18:00)
Phone: 03-3872-0375 (reservation time: 10:00-21:00)
Bon was an amazing restaurant and It was fun being able to try food and flavours you would otherwise not know about. Being able to try a country’s traditional food definitely adds to the adventure of seeing a country.
Although Bon is more on the higher end of restaurants I have featured, I think everyone should have a chance to be able to try traditional food when visiting a country. This is more than a meal, it’s an incredible experience you probably won’t get to try in many other places.
Bon is a wonderful traditional restaurant and a once-in-a-lifetime spot but it may not be to everyone’s taste. So, if you’re looking to try Japanese food with a lower barrier of entry then you might like this restaurant!