In recent years more and more people in Europe and America have transitioned to a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle. There are plenty of options in supermarkets as well as in restaurants for lovers of veggies and tofu meat. There are very few vegetarians and vegans in Japan however and it doesn't seem like that is going to change soon. On the contrary to what many people believe the Japanese diet is based almost completely on animal products with maybe a few side dishes made of tofu or vegetables. Especially for vegans finding a restaurant to eat is a mission almost impossible. Dashi, fish powder is the base of many dishes and when it comes to sushi, cucumber and tofu might be your only options. Also important to note is that Japanese people often don't understand the difference between vegetarians and vegans so be careful. Want to cook vegetarian dishes at home? Maybe you can find something at these 3 websites for Japanese recipes!
1. T's Tantan (vegan)
T's Tantan is one of the most popular vegan ramen restaurants in Tokyo. Conveniently located in Tokyo station to feed hungry vegan travelers. Normal Japanese ramen often contains pork broth, pieces of pork, milk egg and dashi fish powder, T's Tantan doesn't contain any animal products and is therefore completely vegan! There are plenty of options available too, there is soy sauce ramen, sesame ramen and also 2 spicy "Tan tan" ramen. Tan tan ramen is usually made with milk and minced meat and is one of the least vegan ramen you can get but at T's Tantan they use soy 'meat', soy milk and tofu! And it's not even expensive, a bowl of ramen costs you about 900 yen which is about the same as it would in non-vegan ramen restaurant! Website
2. Kaemon buffet (vegan)
At Kaemon buffet located in Asakusa you can get your own veggies, soup, rice, pasta, bread, tofu, tofu meat and drinks! In Japan there is in fact a type of cuisine that doesn't use animal products and follows Buddhism and is called shojin ryori and the food of Kaemon is based on this Buddhist cuisine. This restaurant is therefore happens to be vegan but also doesn't use other ingredients that are not allowed in the Buddhist cuisine like sugar, scallions, Chinese onions, onions, garlic and chives. The best thing is that the buffet only costs 1500 yen which is relatively cheap for vegan food in Japan! The drinks are also organic, coffee as well as herbal tea are available and you can drink as much as you want!
3. Nagi Shokudo (vegan)
Nagi Shokudo is a vegan restaurant located in the trendy district Shibuya. The food is a mix of Japanese and international cuisines, there is something for everyone! You can choose a single dish which could be delicious soy meat, pumpkin, veggies and tofu and many more, you can also make it a set which means you get an additional bowl of healthy brown rice, pickles and miso soup! Depending on what you choose you spend about 900-1200 yen which is also very affordable for a vegan restaurant. If you like the food you can even purchase a cookbook sold at the restaurant and try to cook the dishes when you are back in your home country!
4. Ain Soph (vegan)
Ain Soph is a completely vegan restaurant with 3 locations: Shinjuku, Ginza and Ikebukuro! They serve different kinds of vegan foods like vegan curry, burritos, burgers, and they have delicious vegan pancakes and other desserts! You can order different courses for a luxurious dinner, like the celebrate course (5500 yen), the sanctuary course (3500 yen) or the heavenly pancake course (3200 yen). You can also order several smaller dishes which cost about 600-700 yen and the pancakes cost about 1300 yen. Ain Soph is a bit more expensive compared to the previously mentioned vegan restaurants but sometimes you just have to treat yourself!
5. Tofu ryori sorano (vegetarian)
Tofu Ryori Sorano is not officially vegan or vegetarian but has plenty of options since they offer mainly dishes based on tofu! You might even try to bring a friend who's not a tofu fan and convince them how delicious Japanese tofu is! On the English menu it's easy to find vegetarian dishes. They mostly have appetizer style dishes to share, similar to tapas. There are so many different kinds of tofu like avocado tofu, grilled tofu, grilled eggplant and vegetables in tofu skin and more! Beware that some dishes may contain dashi fish powder. Small appetizer dishes meant to share cost about 700 yen so don:t come on an empty stomach or be prepared to spend some money!
What is your favorite vegan or vegetarian Japanese food? Would you like to try any of these restaurants? Let us know in the comments below!
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