When planning this trip I researched a lot. Especially, about all the vegan options that could be found; thanks HappyCow! I also checked blogs, Instagram, YouTube and Facebook groups, etc. However, I never thought I’d have such a big list of vegan restaurants that I wanted to try in Japan!
132 options in Kyoto, 391 options in Tokyo and 90 in Osaka. Those were the main places I was going to see during my trip.
Wow! The hard part was being able to decide which ones to visit during my stay in Japan. Obviously, I couldn’t visit them all. Therefore, I had to reduce the list depending on the reviews, the location of the restaurant and whatever caught my attention.
I was definitely interested in trying the vegan versions of Japanese food. That was an important point to consider.
Restaurant schedules are also something to take into account. Many would close after lunch and wouldn’t re-open until after 5. Others don’t open on Sundays. But, almost all of them close the kitchen at least 1 hour before their closing time; so don’t even think about showing up half an hour before the last hour of service.
After doing that research, I saved the places that were close to the sightseeing I was doing. Then, I tried to create an itinerary. Of course, things can change, but this at least gave me an idea so I could plan my time better. Also, I knew I’d have someplace nearby to eat.
On this list, I’ll show you my favorite vegan restaurants in Japan, as well as the places where I found vegan options. Finally, I was also able to learn how to make my own vegan ramen from scratch in Osaka.
Without further ado, let me show you all the vegan food that I could try in Japan!
All the Vegan Food I had in Japan
💚 Vegan Restaurant 💜 Vegetarian 💛 Restaurant with vegan options
💚 T’S TAN TAN (Ueno Station)
I wanted to go to this restaurant for a long time. I have always been a ramen lover. Then one day, I discovered I was going to be able to eat vegan ramen in Japan! It was a no-brainer to me that I had to visit this place.
The restaurant is located inside JR Ueno station, I recommend you visit if you are already there. Otherwise, you’d have to pay for a train ticket to be able to enter.
It was Sunday and a little past lunchtime so there were not so many people. This is quite contrary to my experience at the Tokyo station branch!
There are fewer ramen options compared to the Tokyo station counterpart. But, they have the most popular ones such as white sesame, golden sesame, and black sesame ramen. In addition, you also find curry dishes, fried soy meat, gyozas, and desserts.
You can order individual or combo dishes. I decided on the Golden Sesame ramen and opted for the combo with soy meat. For starters, I got the gyozas. Everything was delicious.
I don’t know how to explain it, but when I had the first bite, I couldn’t believe it. The flavors were so perfect that I felt so much joy at every single bite! It has to be hands-down the best vegan ramen I’ve tried.
This is one of my top favorite vegan restaurants in Japan. If you visit Tokyo, put T’s Tan Tan at the top of your list. I highly recommend!
💛 BIO-CAFE (Shibuya)
I was walking the streets of Shibuya when it was lunchtime, so I decided to go to the nearest place I had around. That was Bio cafe.
This is a small cafe that offers some vegan options, teas and desserts.
When you go tell them you are vegan so they can give you a special menu. There, it’s clearly indicated which dishes are suitable for vegans.
I spent some time trying to decide between the pasta or the vegan burger. In the end, I chose the burger.
The portions are a bit small, but luckily the salad bar and tea are self-serve and you can go as many times as you want.
The soup of the day is also included in the meal. The soup changes every day so ask if it’s vegan. The one they had that day, unfortunately, was not vegan.
💜 BLUE TREE CAFE (Shibuya)
Blue Tree is a few meters from Biocafe. A vegetarian cafe where you can find wraps, salads, drinks and vegan desserts.
The day of my visit the only dessert they had were cookies, which is not bad. But, I was looking forward to something more decadent like a vegan cheesecake or that kind of thing.
I chose a Chai Latte with almond milk to drink.
💚 AIN SOPH JOURNEY (Shinjuku)
The Ain Soph restaurant chain has several branches in Tokyo and recently in Kyoto. Ain Soph Journey is famous for desserts. Ain Soph Ripple, also in Shinjuku, is famous for burgers and vegan comfort food.
Their heavenly pancakes are the star dish of the place, but that day I had cravings for savory food. Well, I did want a dessert, but not something that big.
I decided to order the Hayashi rice with mushrooms. The mushrooms are cooked in a delicious red wine sauce and it comes with a salad.
For dessert, as I could not decide between crème brûlée or tiramisu I ordered both. I didn’t eat both the same night, even though it was tempting. So I got the tiramisu to take-out and eat it the next day while exploring the area near Meiji Jinju shrine.
Ain Soph along with T’s Tan Tan is also on my list of favorite vegan restaurants in Japan. You should definitely not miss it.
During my trip, I was unable to visit Ripple but I hope I can go next time. And, of course, to also try the heavenly pancakes from Ain Soph Journey!
💛 KYUSHU JANGARA RAMEN (Harajuku)
This restaurant specializes in ramen and offers one that is 100% vegan. Everything from the broth to the noodles and toppings is suitable for vegans.
I visited the Omotesando branch, a rather central place to go to eat. Especially if you travel with people who are not vegan because everyone can find Japanese options for all tastes.
The ramen broth is lighter and not as rich and creamy as the one from T’s Tan Tan, but it was equally delicious.
You can order extra noodles for 200 yen.
They also have a branch in Akihabara which has vegan ramen and more locations in other parts of Tokyo; but, I’m not sure if all of them carry the vegan option.
💚 T’S TAN TAN (Tokyo Station)
Being able to find this restaurant inside the huge Tokyo station was an odyssey!
Finally, when I was able to find it there was a huge line of people waiting to get in. I was starving, but I was already there. I didn’t want to leave and venture somewhere else after spending so much time looking for the restaurant in the first place. So, I decided to do the line and wait for my turn.
Once I got in and sat down I browsed the menu. I found it more difficult to decide what to eat. Unlike the Ueno station branch, there were at least 8 ramen options.
I decided to order the Oriental ramen in a combo. I chose the fried soy meat again because I really liked it last time. The ramen was very nice, but I think my heart belongs to the Golden Sesame that I tried the first time.
💛 BELL CAFE
Bell Cafe is a small restaurant very close to the Nikko Toshogu Museum.
They offer a Shojin Ryori (temple meal) menu called Monk’s Fest, which comes with miso soup, rice and several extra dishes made with Yuba (Tofu skin).
When checking with the owner about the ingredients of this set she confirmed that the tempura was not suitable for vegans. It contained egg in the premix batter. So, it was not possible to take out and make it vegan. She very kindly offered me a salad to replace the tempura.
On the time I visited there was no problem with the other dishes including fish-based dashi. But, apparently that has changed and this set is no longer suitable for vegans. People have recently reported that it contains dashi and cannot be eliminated. If you decide to visit this place check again to make sure.
💚 KOUSAGISHA CAFE (Northen Kyoto)
An out of this world experience. This hidden gem is less than 10 minutes from the Philosopher’s Path.
They have a daily menu that includes several samples of macrobiotic food. All vegan, all fresh, all delicious. They also offer desserts, coffee, and wine.
The ambiance and the décor are super cozy. The owner is the same person who is responsible for attending, so maybe if there are many people you’d have to wait a bit.
My meal consisted of soup, rice, some soy meat, and, salad. There were also other side dishes and pickles.
Their menu is small and changes according to seasonal ingredients. This lunch was around 1800 yen, so for lunch could be a bit expensive. However, the price/quality & quantity made it totally worth it. I was super satisfied and would definitely go there again! Because of this, Kousagisha Cafe earns a spot on my list of top vegan restaurants in Japan that I recommend to visit.
💚 TENRYUJI SHIGETSU (Arashiyama)
This restaurant is located inside the Tenryuji Temple and offers a menu of Buddhist vegan cuisine (Shojin Ryori).
My lunch consisted of several courses with small side dishes, miso soup, rice, tea, and dessert. You can taste all the 5 basic flavors: sweet, bitter, salty, acid and umami. They also offer a dinner set but that one is more expensive.
They have a traditional layout where you sit on the floor over a tatami mat while enjoying the view of the temple gardens. Simply incredible.
It was a very enjoyable experience. Just note that is not the cheapest meal, but I recommend you try a Shojin ryori menu at least once during your stay in Japan.
💚 GOMACRO SALON (Centre Kyoto)
After a streak of bad luck, in which I had to buy an emergency umbrella and walk under the rain I found refuge at Gomacro. The restaurant I was originally going to visit (Morpho Cafe) was closed, so I had to change plans.
Since I was going to visit Nijo castle I decided to head to Gomacro salon instead and have lunch there while I was sheltered a bit from the rain.
They had interesting looking options such as a curry set, ramen, a macrobiotic meal set, and more. I ended up trying the vegan burger, which was absolutely delicious, and a sesame chai latte to warm me up a bit.
I also wanted to try the sesame curry, but maybe I’ll save that one for the next time.
💚 VEGAN’S CAFE (Fushimi Inari)
To get to Vegan’s café you have to walk a bit from the Inari station. I enjoyed this walk because I could see a little more of the life of Kyoto outside of the super touristic places.
I arrived almost an hour before closing so I didn’t have much time as this cafe closes quite early. But the point in favor is that thanks to that I didn’t have to wait long!
They attended me extremely fast and there were not so many people in the restaurant.
I ordered one of the recommended dishes which was the Chargrilled tofu rice bowl and I was speechless. Just spectacular, out of this world!
I ordered a matcha milkshake as well. The ramen looked quite tempting, but I had already eaten enough versions of ramen in Japan so I considered it appropriate to get something different.
Vegan’s cafe earns the star to be on my top favorite vegan restaurant in Kyoto and Japan!
If you visit the Fushimi Inari shrine you should stop by Vegan’s Cafe.
Chabuton wouldn’t have been my first choice and I definitely would have preferred to go to some vegan restaurant in Osaka. But, I was going to eat with someone else and we decided that it was the best option at that time because of the location and hours.
Here you need to place the order through one of the machines at the entrance. They only have 2 vegan options. The ramen was nice and it had loads of veggies, and the gyozas which were also a tasty addition.
💛 MEDAKA NATURAL KITCHEN
Medaka is a macrobiotic food restaurant with some vegan options and desserts.
It was again an improvised option. The places I really wanted to visit were closed that day (Sunday) or they were a little far from where I was. I already had a commitment outside of Osaka in the afternoon so I did not have much time. Medaka was the closest place I counted on to be able to have lunch before leaving.
This restaurant got quite a line for lunch. I had to wait a bit to be able to enter. This made me feel a bit frustrated at some point because I could see clean empty tables inside but still, we were waiting. On top of that, I was running out of time. Luckily, the wait was worth it as the food was pretty good and the portions were enough to quench my hunger.
I had a vegan set meal which came with miso soup, soy meat, rice, salad, and side dishes.
MAKING RAMEN- SHO’S COOKING CLASS IN OSAKA
To put the final touch to my stay in Japan I decided to take a cooking class to learn how to make my own vegan ramen!
Although this cooking school is not totally vegan, the class to make ramen is. They also have the flexibility to adapt any of their other classes for vegans/vegetarians.
So this is in a nutsell all the places I visited in Japan and the vegan food I found. There were other things I could try like street food or making my own meals but that’s another topic. At the end of this trip and although it has been several months since I returned to Panama I still dream of the things I ate in Japan.
I definitely want to go back again and visit all the other places that due to lack of time I couldn’t go. Because even though it can be a bit tricky to find vegan food in some places once you do it it’s like discovering a hidden gem.
I hope my list has given you some ideas of places that you could go when visiting this country.
Have you visited Japan yet? How was your experience traveling as a vegan and what were your favorite places?
Leave your comments down below. And, don’t forget to follow me on my social networks for more tips and recommendations on how to travel as a vegan.
New to Japan? Why don’t you check these posts as well?