A yoga studio and restaurant offering harmony〈 studio monk / monk〉

A place where everyone can feel at home with themselves, created by two people who met through yoga.

  • Photograph:YUKA YANAZUME

Nestled in a residential area along the Philosopher's Path, "monk" is a house restaurant with a wood-fired oven at the center of the restaurant. The owner-chef, Yoshihiro Imai, offers a full range of natural delicacies, including vegetables from Ohara, which he purchases every morning. On the second floor, his partner Ena runs a yoga studio called "studio monk.

Time to face your true self

Ena first experienced yoga through instructional books and DVDs when she was a university student, and although she was self-taught, she felt comfortable with the practice. When she entered the workforce and began to feel a discrepancy between her mind and body, she reacquainted herself with yoga.

When I took a class, I realized that I had been feeling disconnected," she said. I was young at the time, and my job was very demanding, so I was always tired. I was always tired because I was working so hard. I wondered what was the real me, the me I was when I was working and the me I was in my private life. If I could put it into words now, I would say that I felt what is called the essence, the core of myself, during the yoga time, and it felt really good. I felt at home.

When I eventually decided to quit my job, I wanted to deepen my yoga practice a little more. That's how I took the teacher training, and I think that was the beginning of my yoga life and way of life.

Yoshihiro, on the other hand, has been practicing yoga in addition to cooking.

I first encountered yoga when I was backpacking in Bali as a student. There was a studio nearby, so I decided to try it. The experience left a deep impression on me. So I started Ashtanga yoga at the suggestion of a friend while working at the restaurant Emboka in Karuizawa.

When I moved to Kyoto for work, I was in charge of my own restaurant for the first time and had no friends, so I had a lot of worries, but the time I spent doing yoga was the only time I could get away from it all and go completely blank. It wasn't that I was a very deep Ashtanga practitioner, but I liked the style of Ashtanga.

It was also yoga that brought the two together. It was a conversation Ena had with Yoshihiro when she visited him as a customer at his store.

We started talking about how we practiced at the same studio. We started seeing each other every Tuesday at our early morning practice.


Always choose harmony

Ena says that when she first started practicing yoga, she thought that yoga was just about asanas (poses), but after encountering yoga philosophy during her teacher training and living abroad, where she focused solely on yoga, she realized that yoga is not just about asanas, but also about all aspects of life.

He says, "To put it simply, we always choose harmony in our lives. From the moment we wake up in the morning to the moment we go to bed, we are always making choices, like choosing between A and B. Even the roads we take, we are always choosing between right and left, between left and right. We have many opportunities to make choices, such as whether to go left or right on the street, or what to say to our children, but we must always choose harmony and not discord throughout the day.

By making each small choice with an awareness of harmony, I have been able to move my entire life in the right direction.

On the other hand, Yoshihiro, whose main job is to cook like a monk, feels that the concentration he has gained through yoga is being put to good use in his work.

When I was young, I thought about technical things," he says. I wanted to become a better cook every day, and I thought that yoga would change the way I controlled whether I could move the knife one millimeter or not, or whether I could turn the ingredients into garbage.

And, of course, the ability to focus on the emotional aspect. It is also a very good training to keep your concentration in a good state and to get into the zone when there are many things happening in the store. I thought it was a good tool to help me do a better job, even though I have an ulterior motive for yoga when I think of training. It was a time to get away from work, but it was also something necessary and important that was directly related to my work.

Never took the wheel of life.

Eventually, the two met through yoga and ended up creating their ideal place, "monk" and "studio monk," but the path to this point was not something they had planned in advance.

Ena had given up her role as studio manager and decided to work as a freelance yoga instructor. She also had plans to go to India. Yoshihiro, on the other hand, had just graduated from the store he was in charge of, Emboka Kyoto.

I was thinking of going abroad at that time," he said, "but then he said, 'I'm having a baby. So I decided to stay and run the store.

Ibaraki, where he was born and raised, and Nagano, where he had worked before, were also on the list, but he decided that Kyoto would be the best place to open a store, and the days of searching for a place to open a store began. I had the perfect size and feel for the location," he said. I had an ideal size and feel for the location, and I had a feeling that it would be nice to have greenery on the outskirts of Kyoto, and that feeling was gradually becoming more and more solid. I started looking for a place when I was about eight months pregnant, and I was in a dark period because I was unemployed and had no income (laughs). (Laughs) "I finally found my current place when my daughter was born.

Ena laughs, "It really just flowed naturally," to which Yoshihiro replies, "I never took the wheel (of life). In the five years since the birth of their restaurant and yoga studio, which was born after the birth of their child, the place where the two have put down roots has become not only a local favorite but also a magnet for visitors from far and wide.

A place where everyone feels at home in themselves.

In the first five years, I was able to solidify what I want to do as my job, how I want to cook, how I want to express myself, and how I want to express myself as a restaurant as a whole. I am looking forward to seeing what kind of world I will be able to see as I continue to deepen it over the next five to ten years. I wonder how deep a well I can dig." Yoshihiro has an image of maturing the restaurant and its cuisine, which he feels he is getting a good response from.

Ena, on the other hand, feels the joy of offering relaxation through yoga.

The keywords of the studio are 'harmony,' 'illumination,' and 'joy,'" she said.

I hope that people who come to the studio, not only for yoga, but also through this place, will naturally feel a time of integration of mind, body, and spirit (the true self), as I did when I first encountered yoga. I hope that this will be a place where people can truly relax into themselves, and when they return to their lives, they will be able to transmit such a sense of harmony and deep emotion to those around them.


studio monk

monk2F, 147 Jodoji-Shimonanda-cho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto, 606-8404, Japan

Google Map

Mail : hellostudiomonk@gmail.com

Tel : 050-3623-1853

Instagram : @studio_monk


147 Jodoji-Shimonanda-cho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto, 606-8404, Japan

Google Map

Tel: 075-748-1154

Mail: restaurantmonk@gmail.com

Dinner : 17:00~20:30(Last entry) 23:00 Closed on Sunday and Monday