Udon restaurants may also have a cold broth-free version. We especially love the healthy and affordable set lunches that most of these places offer featuring rice, miso soup, pickles, and an array of tofu and vegetable dishes. Luckily, Japan’s assortment of vegetarian convenience store snacks can help. Japan is mostly mountains and has little arable land. They also sell themselves on being healthy and have a number of vegetarian burgers on the menu—point to the picture menu to order. Fried tofu topped with grated daikon radish. For vegetarian and vegan visitors, the stay in Japan could be a dietary dilemma. In the photo above konnyaku was served like sashimi with a dark miso sauce. Most tempura restaurants have a vegetable option or you can ask for vegetables only. Overall, it is definitely possible to travel as a vegan in Japan, but it does take a bit of research and patience due to the language barrier. katsuobushi nashi de onegai shimas – without bonito (fish) flakes please Being a vegetarian in Tokyo isn't simple. In today’s world, being a vegetarian is not easy (even more so if you are vegan) so putting vegetarian and Japan on the same equation just makes it hell a lot harder! Japan. We skipped the included miso soup as it contains dashi. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Noodles in broth are found everywhere and are made from soba (buckwheat) or udon (wheat) with a range of fillings. Tempura, deep fried vegetables in batter, is the easiest vegetarian Japanese food to find. See our recommended restaurants in each of these cities below. Meat dishes are very popular and fish broth is widely used in Japanese cuisine. Naoshima Art Island is known for its contemporary art museums and iconic yellow pumpkin sculpture. They all have lots of entirely vegetarian or vegan restaurants. In Japan, you will quickly start to feel that there's fish in everything. This is particularly true if you're a strict vegan or vegetarian who won't consume dashi that is found in nearly every dish. nan des ka? Shojin ryori or Zen Buddhist temple cuisine is the beacon of hope for a vegetarian in Japan. The best way is to eat at a vegetarian restaurant—this is easiest in Kyoto, Tokyo and Osaka where there are lots of options. We’ve also found that non-vegetarian restaurants are increasingly offering dashi-free options, but you do need to hunt these places out in advance. It’s actually not tofu at all as it isn’t made from soy milk but from sesame paste, water and kuzu, a thickening powder. Heinraku is a wonderful small restaurant in Takayama run by the friendliest lady and has pages of vegetarian options on the menu—I loved the Hida miso ramen. Answer 1 of 8: Hi there! Sans reservations, we bravely walked out of […] Whether it is for religious or moral reasons, or simply because it can be delicious too, vegetarian cuisine in Japan is incredible. It's roughly the 96 most common vegetable dishes in Japan. The best place to try ramen is T’s Tantan, an entirely vegan ramen shop in Tokyo Station with tons of options as well as instant ramen to take away. With locally sourced produce you’ll be able to get your normal vegs and a wide range of typical Japanese vegetables , giving you a chance to get a bit more creative with your cooking and try some traditional Japanese … In fact, it was only when beef prices started to drop in the early 1990s did the consumption of meat in the country spike. The word "bejitarian" (vegetarian) is widely understood but can be a little more flexible in definition than you might appreciate. The Japanese diet is generally very healthy, but it also mainly centres around fish and meat. We use Booking.com to find ryokans in Japan—tick the Ryokan button in Property Type in the filter list to find them. The Shibuya branch is a take away and standing online spot whereas you can enjoy take-out or eat-in options at the Yokohama branch, which specializes in a wide range of vegan curries. Onigiri at Family Mart in Japan. Yet, vegetarianism is still present in Japan and associated with Buddhism. It doesn’t have much flavour but is valued for its texture, which we found rather strange. However, even when meat or fish isn't immediately evident in a dish, there's often hidden ingredients such as meat stock, dashi (fish stock) or bonito flakes that render a dish vegan unfriendly. But now that we have a lot of tourists from all over the world, the number of vegetarian/vegan-friendly restaurants are increasing to meet the demand. To make matters worse, many foods in convenience stores, bakeries or even Starbucks have misleading labels, and that “vegetable sandwich,” or “vegetable pizza” may actually have meat in it too! tamago – egg To be fair when I arrived Japan I sorta thought the same as you. With Westernization, a lot of meat-based dishes appeared in the tables of most households. Nasu dengaku is a delicious comfort food that we ate at Shigetsu temple restaurant in Kyoto. We loved the vegan ramen at T’s Tantan and Ramen Ouka. Vegetarians have more options, with cheese strings, quail eggs and lots of pastries to choose from. We used Google Translate’s image feature to translate ingredient lists on packaging just by pointing our phone’s camera lens at it and pressing the camera icon in the app. We usually stay in an Airbnb apartment for at least part of our trips to Japan. Eggplant is grilled until soft and melty with a sweet caramelised miso topping. The packaging is clear so it’s easy to identify without reading Japanese. Eating one is said to add seven years to your life. The best way to find local veggie gems is to search Google Maps, which should offer a few results for vegan ramen, vegan sushi and, of course, Western vegan options. Ramen chains that have vegan ramen are Chabuton, Kyushu Jangara Ramen, and Afuri. Since our first visit to Japan in 2011 the situation has much improved. The vegan movement in Japan is growing strong, especially in Tokyo and Kyoto, and you should have no problem finding vegan food there. Being vegetarian in Japan can be tricky! But seeing as Japan’s vegetarian movement is still quite young, those who ascribe to it can sometimes feel like they have to put their beliefs on hold to please their loved ones. Differences include food standards, laws, and general cultural attitudes of vegetarian diets. Today, vegetarianism in Japan still retains close ties with the Zen Buddhist community. Welcome to Vegetarian’s Japan Guide (*’ ’) We are a bunch of Japan travel/culture/cuisine vegetarian addicts who are always planning our next Japan trip! You could also use Google Translate (see above). It’s in Ibaraki which is 12 minutes from JR Osaka station or 20 minutes from JR Kyoto station by train. Tsukemono or Japanese pickled vegetables are an essential part of a Japanese meal and are always included in set meals. They are quite plain but still a good vegetarian option. To avoid this order zaru soba (above), cold noodles that don’t come in broth. The umeboshi (pickled plum) is on the top right. They're readily available in the hot spring town of Owakudani and other onsen areas. This raw salad dish turned up in a few of our meals. We’re also a fan of T’s Tantan instant ramen pots when we’re in Tokyo for a quick meal. The main flavour came from the salty nori seaweed and hot wasabi that it was served with. Search on Airbnb here. Sorano is a good tofu restaurant in Tokyo with vegetarian options marked on the menu and Tosuiro Gion in Kyoto can do a vegan set if you order in advance. We also had a break from Japanese at the excellent Pizzeria Onda. Japan (2496 listings) Vegan Vegetarian Veg-Options Chains Filters 0. Vegetarian version of local speciality hoba miso at Sukuya in Takayama. The delicious food is one of the reasons we keep returning to the country. You won’t find many vegetarian restaurants in Japan, except Tokyo, maybe. Vegetarian and vegan restaurants are a safe-zone where you don’t have to worry about animal products surprising you in your meal, or asking for modifications. Kyoto is especially worth visiting, as Japan’s ancient capital has a long tradition of shojin ryori or Zen Buddhist temple cuisine, which is entirely vegan. As well as onigiri, you can find inarizushi (sushi rice in a tofu pocket), edamame beans, pickled vegetables, boiled eggs, french fries (which were not as bad as you’d think), fruit including bananas and cut pineapple, salads (but be careful of the ingredients and dressing), plain cooked noodles, and lots of rice crackers and crisps. You could try telling people that you are vegetarian (“Watashi wa bejitarian des”) but they probably won’t understand exactly what this means. Read our comparison of different accommodation in Japan for more details. Historically, fish was key to survival. Shojin Ryori is the traditional dining style of Buddhist monks in Japan, which is made without meat, fish and other animal products. The simplest solution to being vegetarian in Japan, like anywhere is to make your own food. The Vie de France chain is found in many train stations and has options like margherita pizza slices, cheese rolls, garlic bread, and pastries. And it doesn’t mean eating only at vegetarian and vegan restaurants in Japan either – you are just as entitled to a tendon (tempura-topped bowl of rice), things on sticks grilled over charcoal, and a steaming bowl of ramen as the omnivore next to you.. We love the vegetarian set lunches at Hobodo Cafe, Veg Out, and Padma. :) Although there are still few restaurants compared to a lot of major cities, Japan also has a vegetarian tradition, Shojin Ryori (Monk cuisine), and there also many cuisines serving vegetarian dishes! I love the crunchy texture and salty, sweet and sour flavour that provides a contrast to the more delicately flavoured dishes. “It’s a Wild West,” Cohen observed of the vegetarian and vegan restaurant possibilities in Tokyo. Umeboshi packaging is usually pink and plain ones are clear. Mos Burger now also offers soy patty burgers but these aren’t vegetarian. Opt-out at any time (an unsubscribe link is at the bottom of every email). The kinpira rice burger is made with sautéed vegetables and seaweed inside two rice buns. Your tips will surely make a difference. They usually include various types of tofu, an array of vegetables, rice, pickles, miso soup, and more unusual items such as the jelly-like konnyaku (made from the konjac plant). Another option vegetarians in Japan should try are kurotomago, eggs boiled in hot springs which become black because of the water's sulfur. We’d rather eat a Japanese meal, but when that’s not possible it has stopped us from going hungry. It is reconstituted in water and becomes springy and sponge-like, absorbing the flavours it is cooked in. I spent two weeks in Japan eating all the amazing vegetarian food. We heated ours up at home and served with a salad. Taste and Scent is mostly vegetarian and has a good value set lunch with rice and various salads. Many Japanese curry places will offer a vegetable curry, but it’s likely the roux was made with meat. Vegetable and eggplant vegetarian curry at CoCo Ichibanya. Vegetarian, vegan or pescatarian in Japan? By clicking the link in the confirmation email, you consent to being sent newsletters and special offers. Although it usually isn’t vegetarian, it can be adapted to be by using vegetable fillings. Don’t be too worried though—although learning to read Kanji takes a lot of time, the spoken language is easier to pick up that I expected. Vegetarian in Japan!?! It is served as a matter of course at shukubo (temple lodgings), so book a stay if you get a chance. Vegetarianism, in Japan, is often a mystery to restaurant staff, and that is the source of much frustration to a growing number of foreigners, and Japanese, who don’t want to eat meat. In Tokyo this vegan class with a Michelin chef in Shibuya looks great, as does this five-course vegetarian meal in Ikebukuro. Natto, fermented soybeans, are a staple of the cuisine and fresh or pickled seasonal veggies are easy to find. Their tasty lunch set is vegan and the miso soup is made without dashi (the noodle soups are not). Browse the JNTO site in one of multiple languages, Contrary to popular belief, there is a wealth of vegetarian and vegan options in Japan (you just need to know where to look...), Sake 101—The Ultimate Guide to Japanese Sake, Experience the cultural and culinary arts of Kagawa. This chilled sesame tofu is one of the most common dishes in shojin ryori. You can try local specialities at Self Tacoyaki Bar Iduco, Matsuri, and Okonomiyaki Chitose. Konbinis (convenience stores) are a surprising goldmine of veggie snacks, perfect for when you're in a bind. But Japanese food is so delicious that we always want to eat as much of the national cuisine as possible. One of the 12 courses of our vegan feast at Bon in Tokyo. For on-the-go protein, natto (fermented soybean) is available in ready-to-eat packages, but, be warned, the accompanying sauce is often dashi (fish stock). The monks make it possible to enjoy delicious, healthy, creative Japanese meals and be sure that it is all vegan. The food was Italian-inspired and utterly delicious including a pesto, potato and mascarpone pizza and grilled vegetables with an incredible pesto dip. Some are particularly proud of their vegetarian cuisine, so search online to see which ones specialize. I’ll be moving soon to Tokyo from India. yasai – vegetables Self catering helps save money and we get a break from worrying about where to eat. Copyright © Japan National Tourism Organization. See our guide to the 50 Best Gifts for Travelers which includes unique suggestions for exploring the world at home. Lunch is usually much cheaper than dinner. Shojin Ryori lunch at Shigetsu, Tenryuji Temple, Kyoto. Taking a vegetarian cooking class while you are in Japan is a fun way to learn more about Japanese cuisine and enjoy a delicious meal. Another variation of the rice ball on a stick street food is dango, which we tried in Nikko and Takayama. Vegetarian restaurants are starting to pop up all over Tokyo. It’s best to do some research online on sites like Happy Cow and plan ahead where to eat. As most people already know, I’ve changed my way of eating back in November of 2011 and decided to make a lifelong commitment of being a vegetarian. Be careful of croquettes though—Simon bought a potato croquette from a stand and it turned out to have chunks of meat in it. Another option vegetarians in Japan should try are kurotomago, eggs boiled in hot springs which become black because of the water's sulfur. Rice crackers (senbei) are available everywhere from market stalls to convenience stores. Communication and understanding barriers can further add to frustrations; the concept of vegetarian or vegan diets isn't well-understood, and English isn't widely spoken, so simply requesting vegetarian cuisine may not be effective. Mimikou does delicious vegetarian curry udon and Gyoza ChaoChao has a vegetarian gyoza menu. Luckily there are vegetarian options in Japan, especially around the locations of Buddhist communities. – do you have…? Bakeries are also a good place for a snack. Foodie Tours Japan, a Tokyo-based firm that offers food-focused walking tours, introduces tourists to vegan, vegetarian, Muslim-friendly and gluten-free options in English or German. Japanese cuisine is known for its heavy use of meat and fish, with even the most innocuous-looking dishes usually containing non-vegan stocks or sauces. We’ve had some of the most unusual and delicious meals we have ever eaten there. So yes, going meat-free as a vegetarian in Japan is feasible. The cuisine is 100% vegetarian, and often vegan. Please read our disclosure for more info. Most supermarkets have extensive fruit and vegetable sections like most places in the world. Google Maps — Vegetarian restaurants result for Tokyo Japanese Restaurants. To my surprise, I found many options. Milk Land in Shinjuku does an excellent value vegetarian lunch set. We love the food culture and find vegetarian food in Japan to be high quality, beautifully presented, and healthy. They have a vegetarian section of their English menu that explains the ingredients of the different types of okonomiyaki and we got ours without dashi by showing our vegetarian card. This page contains affiliate links. Helen Marvell shares her thoughts, some tips and gives a little bit of inspiration. There are now more vegetarian and vegan restaurants as well as traditional Japanese restaurants offering vegetarian options (with handy English menus). Red rice and adzuki bean balls are another tasty packed lunch you can pick up from a convenience store. However, with a little planning, it's possible to navigate Japan and even sample vegetarian or vegan Japanese food, without compromising your diet. 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