Skip to main content

Crown Tourney 10/19/2019 - Honzen Ryori Style

The Tokugawa Shoguns

Through my research I discovered that there are three different styles of traditional Japanese cooking; Yusoku Ryori (court cuisine), honzen ryori (dishes for feudal lords) and kaseiki ryori (formal dinners).  The style that was chosen for this banquet was Honzen Ryori, whose roots are in the gishiki ryori (ceremonial cooking) exclusive to nobility in the Heian period (794-1185) (Kodansha).

The basic menu is one soup and three sides (considered minimum fare), which is referred to as ichijū-sansai (一汁三菜) . The number of soups and side dishes could vary from two to three soups, with three, five, seven or eleven accompanying side dishes.  Rice which is a basic staple food and pickles are not counted as side dishes. Although, the menu for Crown Tourney feast contained a staggering number of dishes (33 over three courses and a sweets tray), the soups, rice and pickles should not be considered in the final count of dishes that were served per course. In the first course, there were seven dishes, five in the second course and three in the third course.

A Honzen Ryori style meal would begin in a separate room with a formal ceremony called shiki-sankon. This ceremony is the precursor to the three times three exchange of cups at traditional Shinto weddings.  During the ceremony (shiki), a cup of sake would be paired with a side dish and drunk in three gulps.  This would occur three times (sankon) in total. Typical side dishes that were served to Iemitsu included dried sea cucumber intestines, abalone, wheat gluten soybeans and sweet seaweed

The diners would then go into a seperate room where the meal was served.  The food would be served on trays called suzuri-buta.   Food would be served in three courses; ichi-no-zen (first), ni-no zen (second), and san-no zen (third).  The Honzen Ryori style of service is believed to have originated in the 14th century. Three trays was typical for shoguns, while most samurai were limited to two trays of food. Larger banquets during the Muromachi period could have up to thirty-two dishes, including dishes that were meant to be decorative and not eaten.  Iemitsu's banquet in 1630 followed a seven, five, three format, which was the inspiration for the menu that was created and served at Crown Tourney feast. This is a typical style of service for Shogun in the Edo period (Rath).

When serving the food it is typical to place a bowl of rice to the left and soup to the right.  Behind the rice and the soup would sit three flat plates, one to the far left behind the rice, one to the far right behind the soup, and one in the middle. Pickled vegetables would be served on the side.  Chopsticks would then be placed in the very front of the tray supported by a hashioki (chopstick rest). Rice would be served in its own bowl, and the remaining items would be served either on small plates (sara) or small bowls (hachi) in individual portions. The number of dishes served on each tray varied depended upon the diners rank. For example, high ranking retainers would only receive five dishes on the main tray, while a shogun would receive seven, not counting salt, pickles or rice.

Stacked Red Lacquered Sake Cups


     Eric C Rath. (2013, June 9). Retrieved from

     Highlighting JAPAN. (n.d.). Retrieved from

     Kodansha. (1993). Japan: an illustrated encyclopedia. Tokyo.

     Stacked Red Lacquered Sake Cups for Elegant Ceremonies on Formal Occasions. (n.d.). Retrieved from


Popular posts from this blog

Spice Conversions --Ounces to Tablespoons, Conversions and Substitutes

One of the most useful tables for measuring I have found.  I cannot claim this as my work. I keep misplacing it however so thought I would place it here.  Please take a moment to visit the website where this came from.  It is full of useful information, how to's and video's.  Additionally, they sell meat processing supplies including hog casings and seasonings. Spice Conversions  Additional information courtesy of The Cook's Thesaurus Spice Conversion Substitute Allspice, Whole 1 ounce = 4 Tbsp. 5 whole berries yield 1 tsp ground equal parts cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg, all ground or, equal parts cinnamon and cloves, all ground or, equal parts cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and black pepper, all ground Allspice, Ground Angelica lovage (This also tastes like celery, and the stems can be candied like angelica.) or tarragon Anise, Ground 1 ounce =4 tbsp. fennel seed (This has a milder flavor and is sweeter than anise.) , or, star anise (str

Breakfast? Five Medieval Banquet Dishes that Can be Served for Breakfast

Looking to add a late Medieval flare to your breakfast?  These five hearty recipes will do just that.  Just click on the link and you will be taken to the post.  I hope you enjoy.     A Fryed Meate (Pancakes) in Haste for the Second Course (The Whole Body of Cookery Dissected, 1682) - cottage cheese and apples combined with warm and sweet spices create a delicate pancake. Traditionally served in the second course, this dish would make a lovely camp breakfast. A bit late for Medieval, yes, delicious and to be tried all the same.  Gammon of Bacon (A Book of Cookrye, 1591) - This is a delicious savory tidbit that creates a lovely hand pie which tastes like a holiday in a pie crust. Gammon, like ham, comes from the hind leg of a pig. Unlike ham, gammon is cured like bacon and sold raw. For this recipe I used a heritage cured ham, seasoned with pepper, cloves and mace, cut into thin slices and stuffed with parsley, sage and hardboiled egg yolks, cut to fit into the pie cr

Ten Easy Ancient Roman & Medieval Appetizers You Could Serve at any Get Together

Since my kitchen is being remodeled and I am unable to cook -- it is a remodel that starts with replacing plumbing and electric and will end with a new kitchen.  I thought I might try something a little different.  Simply click the link to be taken to the page to find the recipe. Please leave me a message and let me know if you would like to see more of these. Thank you! Ancient Rome Lucanicae --Grilled Sausage - This ancient Roman recipe creates a delicious sausage that you can serve alongside mustard, round it out with some olives, cheese and flatbread, fresh fruit and wine. You can't go wrong. Epityrum --Olives--roughly chopped olives marinated in a blend of herbs, olive oil and vinegar--Leave whole for an entirely different presentation.  Delicious! Moretum -- Herbed Cheese Spread - a delicious garlic and cheese based spread, serve as part of a cheese plate or on a vegetable tray. Can be made ahead of time and served as needed. Aliter Sala Cattabia --Snow Coo