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“Ichiju issai”: Less is more

I’m now in Gion, Kyoto!

Ichiju issai

“Ichiju issai” refers to a meal with one soup and one side dish.

This diet that emphasizes frugality and simplicity was adopted at Zen temples during the Kamakura period.

The sides dishes for a diet like this were very simple, and they were prepared using vegetables (even though the temples had served 1 soup and 3 side dishes on special occasions or when guests were present). This way of eating eventually spread to the general public, and gradually, the meal forms of “ichiju issai” (1 soup and 1 side) and “ichiju sansai” (1 soup and 3 sides) became the established norm among the people of Japan.

Breakfast Kishin (Zen-style lunch)

Komatsu-cho 555, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto-shi

By the way, the phrase “less is more” was coined by Mies van der Rohe, an architect who had made significant contributions to the Bauhaus. Another of his popular sayings is “God is in the details.”