Monday, March 3, 2014

Article: Vegan Restaurant Recommendations for Tokyo

Asakusa Shrine
On a recent trip to Tokyo, I had the chance to eat some great foods. While I was expecting several decent vegetarian options, I was pleasantly surprised at the number of vegan options, particularly in the Tokyo area. Many of the websites are in Japanese only, so I recommend using Google Chrome's integrated translate feature if you don't read the language. Also, some restaurants have menus in both English and Japanese, but you may want to check ahead of time to confirm.

Shinjuku Area:
Hanada Rosso's Burger
Harajuku and Shibuya:

  • Brown Rice Cafe - A vegan cafe with an organic, macrobiotic feel. Has juices, teas, rice meals, etc. and a nice atmosphere. Located in an eco-friendly building.

Ueno and Ryogoku:
  • Genmaikoso - A more expensive restaurant with meat and vegan options. Lunch tends to be more affordable. Very close to the Edo-Tokyo museum, which I highly recommend.
Ghibli Museum in Mitaka
Mitaka is a beautiful area near Tokyo. We visited for the wonderful Ghibli museum, which I highly recommend if you enjoy any of the films (just be sure to buy tickets in advance). Vegetarian options are a little more limited. I did find this place, however, but it was only open for lunch and we didn't get a chance to try it.
  • Sarasya - Appears to be a health center with a small vegetarian-friendly cafe. May only be open for lunch. Click here for information on an alternative site.
Eating out in Japan can get expensive and sometimes eating at a vegetarian restaurant can be inconvenient due to odd hours or the location. Fortunately, there are almost always a few options nearby at the ubiquitous convenience stores! From nuts for snacking to a light meal of vegetable onigiri, convenience stores are often a great budget option. Just watch out for hidden fish and other non-vegan ingredients. For a list of ingredients to avoid at convenience stores, check out this post on Veg Out Tokyo.

If you do want to make it clear that you're a vegan in Japanese, I recommend saying more direct phrases such as "Sakana wo tabererenai" ("I can't eat fish") and "Niku wo tabererenai" ("I can't eat meat") as opposed to using the term "vegan," which seems less commonly understood, particularly outside of vegetarian restaurants. For more vegan language tips, check out this post on Veg Out Tokyo.

For more ideas, check out this post from Time Out Tokyo or visit Happy Cow.

Disclosure notice: Please verify any claims with the restaurants and/or stores, especially if you have any allergies or concerns.

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