Vegetarian and Vegan Restaurants in Tokyo
Vegetarian and Vegan Restaurants in Tokyo
Being vegetarian or vegan in Japan has long been considered a rather tricky situation. Between the ubiquity of dashi and other fish-based sauces in many dishes, plus the fact that most of Japan's iconic cuisine features some element of meat, the country has been a little slower than its western counterparts at hopping on the meat-free bandwagon.
That said, in recent times, and in Tokyo especially, plenty of new culinary innovators are coming up with ways to cater to vegan and vegetarian guests. From major chain outlets to small, niche restaurants, the meat-free way of eating is gaining plenty of ground and becoming far more accessible.
While there are already plenty of lists out there offering tips on vegetarian choices in Japan, we thought it'd be hand to create a list of vegan options for those wanting to eat popular Japanese food specifically. Enjoy!
AFURI is not your typical quick dinner after work salaryman fare. It's one of Japan's most innovative and stylish ramen chains. It's also one if it's most popular too, especially with younger, health-conscious crowds. Their signature meat-free dish is the Rainbow Vegan Ramen, a bright bowl of egg-free noodles, vegetables, and a light and delicious vegetable-based broth.
Locations: Sangenjaya, Nishi-Shinjuku, Shinjuku, Nishi-ikebukuro, Ebisu, Nakameguro, Azabujuban, Ropponhi, Harajuku
Over the years, T's Tantan has become a staple in the vegetarian and vegan culinary scene. This cozy chain serves up an impressive selection of vegan and vegetarian dishes, both locally and internationally inspired. Their vegan tan tan ramen, however, is a signature dish. It's such a hit that they also sell prepackaged, instant ramen version of the dish in the restaurants and selected convenience stores.
Locations: Ueno, Marunouchi
Noodle Stand Tokyo
Located in the vibrant neighborhood of Harajuku, Noodle Stand Tokyo is a laid back ramen shop that's perfect for tired tourists looking for somewhere to take a break and fuel up. The store sells a variety of both traditional and fusion ramen dishes, but it's their vegan option that's also their most exciting. The coconut miso ramen is a combination of creamy coconut and salty miso topped with soy meat, greens, and ginger, which tantalizes the tastebuds and warms the soul. It comes in both vegan and non-vegan versions.
Senjo Handmade Gyoza Shop
While the physical store may be tiny, the legend of the gyoza at Senjo Handmade Gyoza Shop is larger than life. This compact store in Ikebukuro is run by a long-serving Taiwanese born Tokyo resident, who hand makes all gyoza pieces herself. These gyoza are not your regular run of the mill dumplings though, the multi-colored gyoza is more Taiwanese, so they're bigger than your typical Japanese offerings, and they come in an unprecedented combination of flavors. There plenty of vegetarian and meat versions available here, as well as two vegetarian lunch sets and one vegetarian dinner course.
Google Map: https://goo.gl/maps/DbLfdzM5stLThSdWA
For something a little more high-end, try Gyoza Shack, the bar and gyoza hangout located in the locally loved neighborhood of Sangenjaya. As well as unique and upmarket choices for carnivores like lamb and gorgonzola and ground chicken, they also serve coriander (cilantro) stuffed vegetarian options, which goes perfectly with a well-paired sake.
Google Map: https://goo.gl/maps/8VeLhEhBh3yeQ9au6
Gyoza Bar Comme a Paris
Another hipper than most gyoza joint is Aoyama's Gyoza Bar Comme a Paris. This effortlessly trendy, the restaurant serves gyoza paired with wine, as opposed to beer. As the name alludes, Gyoza Bar Comme a Paris draws inspiration from French fusion cooking, so don't be surprised when you see dishes like 'onion gratin gyoza' on the menu. Their main menu also features vegetable gyoza with a side of three different homemade dipping sauces.
Tendon Tenya Tempura
Tendon, one of the best, most satisfying ways to enjoy tempura isn't always easy to find for those wanting to avoid seafood. Luckily there's the budget-friendly chain store Tendon Tenya Tempura. For vegetarians, there's the vegetable tendon, which for only 560 yen, will get you a bowl of rice topped with six different vegetables like sweet potato, mushroom, lotus root, eggplant, pumpkin, and beans.
Location: Ikebukuro, Shibuya, Harajuku, Shinjuku, Akihabara, Ryogoku, Asakusa, Ueno, Ameyoko, Ginza, Tsukiji, Tokyo Station
Tempura Shinjuku Tsunahachi Ginza
Definitely an integral part of Tokyo's tempura legacy, Tempura Shinjuku Tsunahachi Ginza was founded back in 1923, and today has branches throughout the city. Here you can make the lunch set vegetarian by ordering just from the vegetable menu, and there's plenty to choose from, or you can order a set and request that it's made vegetarian only. Do be wary if you go with the lunch set, there's a chance the miso and sauce have been made with dashi (which contains fish stock).
Located just below street level off the main drag of Omotesando is where you'll find Crayon House, an organic greengrocery and restaurant with one of the best vegetarian buffets in the city, which often also serves tempura. While it's a buffet-style operation, it's hard to know exactly what you're going to get on any given day; you can rest assured that no matter what you do pick up, it's going to be healthy, veg-friendly and delicious.
One of the main challenges of finding truly vegetarian okonomiyaki is that many places use katsuodashi, a type of fish infused dashi in their batter. This is not the case at Tsuchiya; a delicious make it yourself okonomiyaki restaurant in Shinjuku, just be sure to ask for the strictly vegetarian batter. Popular with both locals and non-Japanese speaking guests, it's a welcome restaurant that's flexible and a whole lot of fun.
Google Map: https://goo.gl/maps/8MsBvsrK74urSwk69
Another Shinjuku okonomiyaki outpost worth visiting is Zen, a casual restaurant that serves up some of the best vegan - yep vegan - okonomiyaki in Tokyo. They use yam (sticky mountain potato) instead of egg and hold the dashi broth. As well as selling vegan okonomiyaki, the restaurant also offers meat-free variations of other Japanese classics like vegetarian yaki udon.
Yasai Izakaya Genki
With a name that translates to vegetable restaurant cheerful or something close to it, Yasai Izakaya Genki always going to be a good time for vegetarians. This super cozy and cute Uchikanda izakaya has meat dishes and plenty of vegetarian fare, including okonomiyaki with avocado. While they may not all be listed, the izakaya also serves up vegan options too, just ask the staff for recommendations.
Coco Ichibanya, also colloquially known just as Coco, is Japan's biggest curry chain. In recent years, they've made a comprehensive vegetarian curry menu a staple of around 10% of their ubiquitous outlets, most of which are in central Tokyo areas. For a list of stores that serve vegetarian curry, you can check out their website.
Location (Veg outlets): Akihabara Showadori, Roppongi, Shinjuku Station West Exit, Tobu Asakusa, Shimokitazawa, and Ikebukuro Sunshine City
Soup Curry Samurai
The trendy corner of Shimokitazawa is unofficially Tokyo's most curry obsessed neighborhood, with countless restaurants serving up all variations of the stuff. Soup Curry Samurai is one of the area's most loved curry shops, thanks to its delicious, vegetable-filled curry plates that are as delicious as they are photogenic. The store, which is part of a national chain, has plenty of Japanese curries, including excellent choices for vegetarians.
Tokyo Shiba Tofuya Ukai
Tucked next to the iconic Tokyo Tower sits Tokyo Shiba Tofuya Ukai, an elegant traditional restaurant that serves classic Japanese style kaiseki cuisine. This multi-course offering comes in a variety of seasonal tasting menus, with vegetarian options available. While it's a little more expensive than your regular night out, if you have an interest in classic Japanese culture, it's worth the experience.
Without question, Daigo (醍醐) is one of Tokyo's most incredible restaurants, and proof that being vegetarian in japan doesn't mean you have to miss out on all the good stuff. This two Michelin star restaurant specializes in shojin ryori, a meat-free style of preparing food that has been crafted by Buddhist monks since the 13th century. A meal at Daigo is a lavish, multi-course affair overflowing with incredible cuisine and an appreciation for the culinary gifts mother nature provides.
The Roppongi-located restaurant Shojin Sougo is another wonderful choice for those wanting to sample shojin ryori. It's a little more low key than the other two kaiseki options on this list but just as impressive whether you're feeling like a lunch set or multi-course dinner.
Itamae Sushi EDO
Given that sushi is mainly fish; it can be difficult for non-seafood eaters to appreciate the much loved local dish. At Itamae Sushi EDO, however, the team has crafted an impressive menu featuring vegetarian and vegan sushi plates that look and taste as good as regular sushi. If you want something super international, go for the avocado and veggie rolls, which are a fun and colorful play on the classic US sushi staple, the California Roll.
Gonpachi Sushi Shibuya
This Edo style sushi bar and izakaya have outposts throughout the city, but this one has a special focus on sushi. This stylish chain really goes all out with its vegetarian sushi, which looks as masterfully crafted as any fish-based version you're bound to get. The menu changes every day so you’re always in for a surprise.
The crew at Mominoki House take their culinary presentation very seriously, which you can tell by the colorful display that is their vegan sushi plate made with brown rice. Beyond impressive sushi offerings, they also serve a variety of other delicious meat-free dishes like vegetarian karaage (fried chicken) and vegetarian steak.
Tip: Vege Map
If you can't quite find what you're looking for here, or you're on the hunt for something more, we suggest you pick up a copy of TOKYO VEGE MAP by NPO Jaan Vege Project. There's a list of locations where you can pick up the map on the website, if you're here for a while you can also contact and ask for a copy to be sent to you (for the cost of the postage fee).
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