Aug. 22, 2017 UPDATE

Daikon Stew at Senbonshaka-do: Good Health for the Whole Year!

Sharing Kyoto's writers went to have some piping hot radish soup at Senbonshaka-do: it was rather good!
Erika[ Sharing Kyoto Staff ]

There is a seasonal event in Kyoto that has been loved for ages by the locals. That event is the “Daigodaki” daikon (Japanese radish) stew ritual. In this temple ritual daikon, which has always been said to be good for health, is prepared for the parishioners and offered at the Butsuzen, Buddhist altar. By eating this daikon you will be healthy for the next year. Many temples around Kyoto have a daigodaki event in November or December, but this time we chose to go to Senbonshaka-do temple!

We are at Senbonshaka-do temple! This time we have the old members you know, Erika and Yoko, plus a new member to our team, Sampo!

A lot of people waiting for their daikon! It was lunch time so that might have been the reason there were so many people. On the announcements coming from the speakers they were telling about the meaning behind the daigodaki event and reading sutras. This made the atmosphere at the temple grounds resemble that of a small festival.

To get the daikon stew, you have a buy a ticket at a ticket booth. This is Sampo’s first job at Editor’s Report!

We got the tickets, so now it’s time to line up! But where is the end of the line…

The line just keeps going…

The line keeps on going, and even continues outside the temple premises. Almost like lining up for a popular amusement park ride. We asked a man working at the temple how long it was going to take and he said an hour! Our daikon stew is still far ahead.

But the line moved surprisingly fast.

Even though it was early December the autumn leaves of Senbonshaka-do had not all dropped yet, so we could enjoy the scenery while lining.

When you get inside the temple premises there are stalls by the line selling small dried sardines, pickles, dorayaki red-bean pancakes, and other things!

After you get your bowl of steaming hot daikon stew, you can eat it sitting on the benches here. If you can’t finish your bowl you can get a plastic pack for your daikon, but the radish will taste the best eaten right here and now.

It took us about 40 minutes, but finally it’s our turn! You hand the ticket to the lady and get disposable chopsticks and a bowl of daikon stew.

The daikon is simmered in a really big pot. When you get this far, you can already smell the good smell of daikon. I want to eat soon!

Finally we have some daikodaki stew! Inside the bowl there are three big slices of daikon and one slice of o-age deep-fried tofu. One bowl costs 1000 yen so at first I thought it was a little expensive, but you do get a lot of daikon for your money!

The daikon is stewed for a long time so it is so soft it is easy to cut with chopsticks. The daikon has soaked up the dashi soup stock and is really delicious! The daikon is stewed without peeling so you can also enjoy the different taste of the daikon skin. The o-age is sweet and goes really well with the daikon.

Some people also had onigiri rice balls from convenience stores… the taste of the daikon stew is pretty strong, so I would have liked to have some rice too.

Looking at this picture you can see that the daikon slices were really big! Yoko is really satisfied. It was worth the wait!

Outside in the chilly air, eating hot daikon stew, it warms your mind and body! If you want to be in good health for the next year, how about going to a daigodaki event?

A comment from the staff
I was surprised by the length of the queue to get some daikon stew. The people here do love their daikon! Maybe it was the long time spent outside lining up for the stew, or the temple surroundings, but the stew was even better than I was expecting. It is said that by eating this daikon stew you will be healthy for the next year, so that is a plus too. The weather was a bit on the cold side and the daikon stew hot, what else could you hope for?

Page Top