Plant Based Eating in Tokyo, Japan: a Culinary Adventure in the Far East
By Molly Patrick
Aug 31, 2019,
Okay, now it’s time to bring out the big boss.
Jackie was a delight to have as a guide, showing us some vegan hot spots in Tokyo.
If you’re ever in Japan, I highly recommend her tour. Her tour would be great to book at the very start of your trip because not only will you eat yummy food, you will also get a ton of tips about navigating plant based ingredients in a country where English is sparse.
Jackie, take it away!
Veganism in Japan is growing more and more everyday. It still has roadblocks to overcome, and I think the main problem for travelers is the language barrier.
Most non-vegan restaurants do not carry vegan options so you can’t pop into any random place and order something without fish, egg, meat, dairy, or honey. Definitely utilize Happy Cow and the Japanese version of Happy Cow, Vegewel (it actually has more listings than Happy Cow).
Japanese people love fish flavoring and they put it in nearly everything so it’s hard to avoid unless you’re eating at a specifically vegan or vegetarian restaurant.
Contrary to popular belief, there are many vegan / vegetarian restaurants in Tokyo. Just make sure you plan ahead and figure out where you’re going to eat before you go out for the day. It’s something even I do after three years of living here. I pretty much plan my days around the food I want to eat. Some of the places I list below are not in the most convenient location, but they’re so worth a short detour! I use Google Maps a lot to mark the spots I want to go to, then map my day around that area.
Lastly, convenience stores other than Natural Lawson’s (different than regular Lawson’s) do not have many vegan options, so it’s not great to use as a back up. Is it Vegan Japan is a very useful tool.
Japan has some of the best vegan food I’ve ever had, it’s just a matter of finding it. Here are my favorite spots. Happy eating!
Fully vegan. Saido is a beautiful vegan restaurant set inside the backstreets of trendy Jiyugaoka. It’s located in a little garden area, and the interior flows perfectly with this garden theme. Each and every dish is created with so much care and thought, it is impossible not to feel the love radiate from the dishes. They are all inspired and delicious. All of the creations are veganized versions of traditional Japanese food. Make sure to try the vegan eel, it is incredible!
Fully vegan. Cori has a wonderful menu ranging from crispy falafel and hummus to the soy chicken namban burger (my personal favorite) to jambalaya. Any dish you order from this cute hipster cafe will be delicious.
Fully vegan. T’s Restaurant is also located in Jiyugaoka and is the flagship restaurant of the T’s franchise. It has more selection of dishes than T’s Tan Tan, which only sells ramen. I recommend T’s Restaurant for their “karaage” (fried chicken) doria which is kind of like a lasagna. T’s Tan Tan is awesome for their golden sesame ramen. They only carry one ramen on the T’s Restaurant menu.
Hemp Cafe (Ebisu)
Fully vegan. Hemp Cafe is your go to if you’re feeling weighed down by all the rice you’ve been eating in Japan. It is absolutely wonderful and all the dishes are so fresh and light. I recommend the nachos and the tacos.
Fully vegan. Loving Hut is a staple in the vegan world because you can find them in many countries. The one in Tokyo is the most tasty that I’ve ever tried. However, it is only open on Saturdays. Saturday afternoon is a ¥2000 (around $20 USD) buffet style offering and dinner is a regular a la carte menu. Both are pretty phenomenal but the dinner allows you to try the dumplings and their vegan ramen, both of which are amazing.
Omni with vegan options. Nadeshiko is one of the few places in Tokyo that has nailed vegan sushi. Not only is it the cutest and most delicious sushi you’re going to find, but it is the only female owned and operated sushi restaurant in Japan! I recommend making a reservation as sometimes they are closed randomly.
Alaska Zwei (Nakameguro)
Fully vegan. This is the cutest cafe! They have the fluffiest focaccia and amazing karaage. Enough said! This is one of my go-to’s in Tokyo. It has a wonderful vibe and everything on the menu is cooked with such love and care. I recommend the karaage and any of the sandwiches because their focaccia is a must try.
Fully vegan. Google “vegan Tokyo” and Ain Soph will definitely pop up first. While they have many locations and all of them provide wonderful food, the Ripple burger shop is my favorite. This is your classic vegan junk food: Mac n cheese, chicken burger, French fries. All of it. Just get all of it.
Thank you Jackie! I wish I would have had this list before my trip! I will use it the next time, for sure.
Have you ever been to Tokyo and had yummy vegan food? Talk to us in the comments below, we would love to hear from you!
Wishing you a happy week. May it be filled with exploring the globe.