Written by MATCHA-PR
Japanese Vegan Sweets! Plant-Based Souvenirs At Tokyo Station
Vegan snacks and sweets are available for purchase at Tokyo Station! From sweets by Tokyo Banana to matcha cookies, these desserts are full of flavor made entirely of plant-derived ingredients. They are also alcohol-free and Muslim-friendly. Read to learn about these treats and where to find them.
Indulge in Vegan Cookies and Sweets from Japan!
Craving something sweet in Japan, but without dairy and eggs? You are in luck, as three major confectionery companies in Japan have come out with vegan, plant-based sweets that are also friendly to Muslim travelers. From rich matcha cookies to langue de chat biscuits, these healthy and tasty desserts make it possible for all to enjoy Japan's sweets and special gift culture.
One vegan editor and other members of the MATCHA team taste-tested these sweets. Continue reading to learn about these plant-based treats, where to find them, and what we thought about them!
High-Quality, Clearly-Labeled Plant-Based Treats For All
People have struggles eating vegan, vegetarian, and with other dietary restrictions in Japan––especially with desserts and snacks. However, these plant-based products made through collaborations with East Japan Railway Company (JR East) and major sweets makers, including the company of Tokyo Banana, are made carefully so that those avoiding milk, eggs, or other animal products can eat with peace of mind.
There is no compromise on flavor, texture, or appearance, allowing for a experience of delicious desserts and the omiyage (souvenir and gift-giving) culture in Japan, regardless of dietary restrictions.
The clear plant-based mark on the packages makes them easy-to-recognize. Furthermore, allergens are listed with pictographs, making it easy to understand regardless of which language you speak. All are free of milk, eggs, butter, and other dairy products, as well as gelatin, honey, and other animal-derived ingredients. Vegan-friendly sweeteners are used instead of white sugar and there is no alcohol contained in the treats.
JR Tokyo Station started selling these baked goods on February 25, 2020, making them a convenient, easy choice to pick up for those riding the Shinkansen or using one of the station's many public transport lines. Other locations in Tokyo will also have them available for purchase, so be sure to keep an eye out for them.
We introduce three vegan snacks that we highly recommend as souvenirs from Tokyo.
1. Vegan Almond and Caramel Treats from Tokyo Banana
Picture courtesy of GRAPESTONE
Tokyo Banana is a line of miniature cakes well-known in Tokyo, sold as souvenirs. This same line representing Japan's capital now includes decadent vegan sweets: the Almond Caramel Sand. The treat features almond, caramel, and shortbread-like flavors made into small, sweet bars (4 cookies: 648 yen; 8 cookies: 1,296 yen; prices include tax) .
Picture courtesy of GRAPESTONE
These cookie bars come in adorable packaging featuring the iconic Tokyo Banana look. They are packaged into easy-to-hold, bite-size portions, making them fun to enjoy with friends and family and on-the-go.
The outside is well-textured and has a creamy, almost buttery flavor. This contrasts deliciously with the caramel filling, which is chewy and sweet. Almonds throughout the cookie add a nutty, satisfying layer of flavor.
Hearty in taste and texture, this is a great choice for any sweet tooth looking for a one-of-a-kind souvenir from Tokyo. We also thought the sweetness, rich flavor, and easy-to-hold shape make this treat also suitable for younger audiences, including children.
2. A Tokyo Classic! Gorgeous Langue de Chat
Tokyo Campanella is a popular Tokyo sweets series of beautiful cookies, tarts, and other high-quality baked goods. The entirely vegan cookie is the Tokyo Campanella Brown, a delightful langue de chat cookie (a cookie with two thin, crispy baked biscuits sandwiching a filling). A package of 8 cookies costs 1,200 yen, and 16 cookies costs 2,400 yen (including tax).
Picture courtesy of I'LL
The cookies are baked to a light and crisp texture. There is a creamy, sweet white chocolate filling between the biscuits that adds a smooth contrast and moistness to the cookie to balance it out. The cookie has a gentle flavor, ideal even for those who don't crave sugary treats.
Langue de chat cookies are popular in Japan: treats like Tokyo Campanella are well-known, as well as langue de chat cookies from Kobe and Sapporo. Now, all can indulge in this French-style cookie with a beverage for an elegant and delicious teatime!
For those shopping for a friend or family, Tokyo Campanella Brown is a thoughtful gift for someone with a sophisticated sense of style. The contrast of the crispness and creaminess of the cookie also makes a satisfying treat for yourself after a long day.
3. From Matcha to Florentines! Delightful Bite-Size Las Olas Cookies
If you have a hard time making up your mind when it comes to flavors, the petite sweets from the Las Olas lineup from Gateaux de Voyage are for you! This entirely plant-based collection includes miniature versions of matcha, chocolate, and banana cookies, two varieties of snowball cookies, and a Florentine. Gateaux de Voyage, is prominent confectionery known for French-style baked goods. This quality is reflected in the flavor, texture, and presentation of these charming vegan desserts. Six cookies cost 648 yen, 12 costs 1,296 yen, and a pack of 24 costs between 2,160 yen and 2,484 yen (including tax).
We were impressed with all of the diverse offerings. The matcha-flavored cookie has a light green tea scent, blending well with the sweetness of the cookie dough. It is a soft, chewy cookie. Pair it with some green tea or matcha for teatime.
Cookies are sold in individual boxes. Picture courtesy of Gateaux de Voyage
The chocolate cookie has a rich cocoa flavor and is not too sweet or too bitter. It is slightly chewy, like the matcha flavor. For those looking for a classic dessert, try the banana cookies, which we thought tasted just like non-vegan chocolate chip cookies from the store. The texture and taste are similar to the Country Ma'am brand from Japan or Mrs. Fields from the United States,
The snowball cookies in white and pink are very fragrant. They are dusted with a sugary powdering and are on the sweeter side. The white-colored treats have a delicious nutty flavor, and the pink cookies are berry flavored, with a balance of sweetness and tartness. For those who love nutty bars, the Florentine is the perfect treat, with a crisp texture, sweetness, and full flavor.
Picture courtesy of Gateaux de Voyage
Each treat is sold in adorable packaging with soft, pastel colors, hinting at how delicious and adorable these small desserts are. Be sure to look for them at retailers in Tokyo! We recommend trying all the flavors and cookies to decide which is your favorite.
Finding Vegan Gifts and Sweets in Tokyo
These creative treats are delicious and plant-based, allowing people more flexibility and choice in their dietary lifestyle. The adorable presentation and full taste of all the desserts received positive comments from many at MATCHA about how much flavor they had, and how they tasted the same as ordinary sweets. After trying all of these cookies, we thought that these sweets raise the standard quality of desserts in Japan for plant-based food.
These treats are available for purchase at the south transfer gate between the Tohoku, Joetsu, and Hokuriku Shinkansen and JR lines at Tokyo Station, and at Nomono Tokyo outside the ticket barrier. You can also find these treats at other locations throughout Tokyo.
Try these delicious, beautifully-presented sweets for yourself!
Written by Jasmine Ortlieb
Sponsored by East Japan Railway Company