Written by Hilary Keyes
Vegetarian Dining In Japan: MATCHA's Complete Series
Are you looking for a vegetarian, vegan or gluten-free dining place in Japan? We have compiled here a list of vegetarian restaurants and useful information sources on vegetarian dining.
A country with a rich cultural history, dozens of World Heritage sites and incredible cuisines, is it any wonder that more and more people are choosing to visit Japan on vacation? But, for some visitors to Japan it is hard to find an appropriate place to eat. Vegetarian dining is still quite rare here, while "vegan" and "gluten-free" dining are even more difficult to find.
It is for this reason that we have gathered here all of MATCHA's articles on various vegetarian and vegan restaurants in the Kantō area (except for one fabulous spot in Kyoto!) to make choosing a place to eat easier on those with dietary restrictions. At the bottom of this article you will also find a section detailing restaurants that, while not exclusively vegetarian, have vegetarian-friendly dishes available on their regular menu or can provide vegan dishes with a reservation in advance.
One important thing to keep in mind: for many Japanese restaurants, vegetarian cuisine does not include meat (beef, pork or chicken), but may include fish/seafood, dairy or egg products. If you cannot eat these for any reason, please look for those shops that have been specifically called vegan.
For Halal dining:
To get a better understanding of what foods are and aren't available in general in Japan, this article gives a general overview of where you can buy ingredients to prepare your favorite dishes or to pick up healthy vegetarian options on the go.
If you are traveling outside the Tokyo area, these two apps are the fastest and easiest way for you to find vegetarian and vegan friendly restaurants on the go.
If you would like to try some of Japan's traditionally vegetarian dishes or shōjin-ryōri, look no further than Komaki Shokudō in Akihabara. All the dishes here are made from vegetables, beans and grains only.
Perfect for vegans, Sora no Iro, located in Kōjimachi is the best place to find delicious all-vegetable rāmen and other Japanese noodle dishes. Even the noodles have vegetables in them here!
Are you a vegan, vegetarian or gluten-free person hungrily wandering through Tokyo Station? Check out Soranoiro NIPPON and its incredible 100% animal product free rāmen. This shop also has a really cool interior that you won't want to miss.
Also located conveniently in Tokyo Station, T's Tantan offers vegan noodle soup specialties. Their dishes, made with great care, are not only very beautiful looking, but also very tasty. When in Tokyo Station, give their dishes a try! It's the perfect place to enjoy vegan ramen.
Living in Japan and wondering where or how to find like-minded friends? Then by all means, please take a look at the Tokyo Vegan Meetup Group. With this group you can make friends, share recipes and even try new, seasonal dishes all in English.
In the above article we introduce five popular shops including a cafe that serve raw vegan dishes. They are ideal places for lunches or when you want to go somewhere a little different.
Harajuku and Shibuya are known for their great crepe shops, so luckily there is one that is vegan/vegetarian-friendly! Made with zero animal products and natural beetroot sugar, these warm desserts will steal your heart.
If gelato is more your sweet of choice, then head to the uniquely named à le Loïc, in the Venus Fort shopping center at Aomi station. Produced by a chef from the south of France, these frozen treats are unbelievably delicious!
AIN SOPH.Soar in Ikebukuro is one of the first vegetarian/vegan establishments in the area and offers healthy, delicious dishes and a bilingual menu, making this a good place for those who aren't confident in their Japanese abilities.
Want a hamburger that would make anyone jealous? Try the all-vegetarian friendly burgers sold at these three cafes. There are dishes for everyone, including those with religious restrictions, at these shops.
Being a vegan or vegetarian doesn't mean you have to give up on ice cream! These three cafes serve ice creams, sundaes and parfaits that would put dairy-based ones to shame.
If you like international cuisines, are vegetarian or vegan and prefer a marcobiotic diet, then CHAYA Macrobiotic In Shiodome is the place for you. Dishes range from Indian curries, Korean bimbimbap and delectable desserts - not to mention dishes that you can take home with you for later.
Color-coded signs enable anyone to order scrumptious muffins with ease at this popular spot in Zushi, Kanagawa. Not only a bakery, they also have vegetarian/vegan friendly dry goods, and a bar on weekends.
Restaurants with Vegetarian-friendly Menu Options
Located right by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government buildings, Oto Oto has dishes that can be customized and made to match any requirements needed - vegetarian, vegan, halal or kosher.
Though the other shops on this list have plenty of healthy choices, SKY GUILD offers not only a great view but also a vegetarian menu and comes highly recommended by dinners with dietary restrictions.
Although sushi requires raw fish or eggs, at Heiroku Sushi you can also find delicious vegetarian rolls and get service in English.
If you would like to experience dining in a traditional Japanese restaurant but need a vegetarian or vegan menu, then making a reservation at Ginza's Gonpachi G-Zone is your best choice. By reserving in advance, the chefs can prepare special vegan/vegetarian friendly dishes for you and your guests, or your guests can order directly from the standard menu.
This fun, hands-on sushi experience can't be beaten and if you make reservations ahead of time, AWOMB in Kyotocan accommodate most dietary needs.
For Japanese fine dining in Roppongi, these six shops offer a great selection of dishes that non-vegetarians and vegetarians alike will enjoy; most shops offer or can offer vegetarian menus if reservations are made in advance.
A unique dining experience, this French restaurant serves some great fusion food and, while it has a heavily vegetable and bean biased menu, can make vegan dishes with reservations in advance.
Tokyo Midtown is a great place to shop, eat and see the city - and here you can enjoy some delicious traditional Japanese dishes and vegetarian (not vegan) friendly foods, such as seafood soups, and great breads.
The Japanese omotenashi (consideration toward the guest) is also seen in the way the people in this country do their best to provide appropriate services to all their customers. The number of vegetarian/vegan restaurants keeps increasing daily and we will also continue updating this list, so please use it for reference!