Plant Based Eating in Tokyo, Japan: a Culinary Adventure in the Far East

August 31, 2019 / Molly Patrick /

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Exploring Tokyo by foot is so much fun. We literally just started walking with no particular destination in mind. We went where the streets took us. The first thing I noticed was how pristine the city was. There were so many people (approx. 10 million), so many cars, so many buildings, so many trains – and yet there was no litter, it was really clean and it was also surprisingly quiet.

Tokyo is filled with old and new. In the middle of a modern busy area you will find an old cemetery or an old park or really old statues. It all lives together in harmony.


I don’t drink anymore, but if I did, I would definitely be happy to know that I could drink here in the daytime if needed (because let’s cut the crap, if you’re day drinking, chances are high that it’s more of a need and less of a want).

This does bring up a good point though (apart from defining my past drinking struggles). Not all restaurants have English menus. So, if you’re plant based this can be tricky because it’s not like you can go into any ol’ restaurant and point to something on the menu. You can only do this if it is a fully plant based restaurant – if that’s the case, point away! For this reason, it’s best to stick to vegan only restaurants and to pack plenty of snacks in your backpack or purse.

People in Japan struck me as having a lot of pride. They take their jobs seriously, regardless of what they do, and they make sure they look good while doing it. The traffic patrol people (above), cab drivers, corner store clerks, construction people – they were all so put together and professional.

This is a plant based friendly restaurant called Chaya at the Isetan shopping mall in Shinjuku that I found on Happy Cow. Make sure you download the Happy Cow app before you leave for your trip (to anywhere you go).

I referred to that app so many times. It is awesome for finding vegan options near you.

The menu was in Japanese and our server did not speak english. I used Google Translate to ask him what items were vegan on the menu. He pointed to three dishes and I randomly picked one based on the picture.

It really helps to not be picky in these types of situations. As long as it’s vegan, I’m good. When I get home I can go back to oil free and nutrient dense.

Lunch was a delicious success! It included an amazing veggie soup, brown rice, fresh salad, and vegan karaage (traditional karaage is fried chicken, the vegan version is made from soy). I forget what the white stuff in the bowl was but I remember that it was tasty.

This was a fried potato dumpling of sorts, how can one go wrong?

Heads up about finding restaurants in Tokyo. It can be frustrating. This restaurant above for example took us about an hour and a half to find. It was on the seventh floor of a shopping mall. We found the shopping mall, we went to the 7th floor – easy right?

NO! The shopping mall had like 4 different 7th floors. I don’t even understand how that works and I was there, making my way through multiple layers of seventh floors. It was like being in a labyrinth. The Shining came to mind at one point and I started to get panicky. We persevered, and luckily, we found the restaurant not long after Jack Nicholson’s face splattered across my brain. Bottom line, don’t start looking for a restaurant when you are already hungry. Start your search an hour after breakfast and you should be eating by lunchtime.

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Written by ex-boozer, ex-smoker, Co-founder, and CEO, Molly Patrick. They will help you eat more plants while throwing perfection down the garbage disposal.

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10 Comments

  1. Susan D on August 31, 2019 at 10:14 am

    Wonderful!!!! Sounds like you had a delightful time, and damn girls! You both are tenacious!!!!!

  2. Karen on August 31, 2019 at 10:26 am

    Loved reading this article. Thank you. My condolences to your dad❤💕🌺🦄❤🌈💕🌺
    Much love, karen

  3. Cisa on August 31, 2019 at 10:43 am

    Having lost my Daddy 5 years ago and watching and caring for older members of my family as they, frankly, decline, my heart goes out to you both. When we were younger, we
    seemed to be sailing in smooth, pleasant waters. As we get older, with those folks in our family declining and dying, it can so often seem that we have now lowered our sails and are simply attempting to adjust to the storm…
    I have learned that you never truly recover from the loss of a beloved. All that bullshit that people throw at you saying: “Oh, it will just take time” is actual fuckery. Instead, this becomes your new “normal”.
    It sucks and hurts.
    But, one thing that gives comfort to me is to share the stories and memories of those I have lost with my children who have never met most of these now dead folks. To share not only keeps the memory of those who died alive, but it establishes in my children who they are and where they come from.
    Even if there are no kids, I believe this type of recollection, to anyone with whom you want to share, in a weird way, I suppose, keeps those beloved lost persons alive…
    As for your dad’s stroke, I, again, am so sorry. This unexpected shit just falls upon us, and it sucks. Just remember to take care of yourself, and your mom should do so as well. (I know you are not in the same state as your parents.) Caregiving is exhausting but must be done…
    Warm thoughts of love to both of you.
    C

  4. Sue on August 31, 2019 at 3:42 pm

    What a great experience your trip was. Thanks for making me feel apart of it.
    So sorry to hear about Luann’s father passing. Never easy to loose a parent. Also sorry to hear about your father, hope he is on the mend.

  5. Danie Goodrich on August 31, 2019 at 4:05 pm

    Im sorry to hear about your dads. Fast healing for your dad Molly and condolences to Luann. Can you clarify the prices of the melons? It looked like $70.00 and $250.00 which seems highly unlikely. Love your weekly posts!

    • Luanne Teoh on August 31, 2019 at 11:39 pm

      The price of the melons are from around $250 for the rock melon to $700 USD. Yes hundreds 🙂

  6. Connie Winstead on August 31, 2019 at 4:34 pm

    I love going on these travel journeys with you guys. I’ve never been out of the USA so it is a real treat. We are currently going thru the ageing parent thing and it’s really hard. My wife’s Mom is in TX and we are in CA. Jenny was there for two months this summer finally moving her Mom to assisted living. So sorry to hear about both of your Dads. It so hard but nevertheless we persist. Thank you for your time and photos. You are so wonderful and real. Love Connie & Jenny

  7. Lesley Nicol on August 31, 2019 at 4:36 pm

    I have really enjoyed reading your experiences in Japan and love the photos. Very surprised to see the graffiti on the roller door in one of the small side street photos. I had to laugh because it seems the graffiti tag all looks the same in any language. Your writing really makes me want to go and visit.
    May you and Luanne and your loved ones concerned find all the support and strength needed as you go through this pain that life throws at us all.

  8. Marie Roberts on August 31, 2019 at 6:18 pm

    Thanks for taking the time to write this detailed blog – it’s fascinating!! I love your new jumpsuit!! Haha 🙂

  9. Cheryl on August 31, 2019 at 7:37 pm

    Your post rings true again for me. Lost my cousin yesterday. She’s only about 6 or 8 years older than me (I am almost 68) so I am feeling mortal. Thanks for the tips on traveling to Japan. It’s our next trip to plan.

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