In this day and age, more people are focused on changing their diets to be healthier, be it for themselves or for a love and respect for the animals around them. Vegetarianism and veganism are now quite popular diet trends and restaurants the world over are beginning to take notice and cater to these lifestyles. The tricky part is finding them. Since Japan is a popular tourist destination, what better place to start than one of the hardest places in the world to find vegan centered cuisine? Here are seven of the best vegan and vegetarian restaurants in Japan. To find these restaurants easily, make sure you have access to Google maps. Check this comprehensive review of pocket wifi in Japan to learn more on how you can stay connected while in Japan.
Rainbow Bird Rendezvous, Tokyo
A perfect cafe to wipe away a lazy afternoon reading a book or writing. Coming here, you’ll never be in want for something delicious. This eatery specializes in vegan…everything, honestly. The menu is chock full of vegan selections from lunch, to dinner, to coffee and even smoothies. Any vegan who has ever tried to make a smoothie will tell you that it isn’t really easy. Everything served here is organized from local farmed sources. It isn’t far from Shibuya, so it’s an easy enough trek if you’re up for a local adventure.
Little Heaven, Kyoto
Kyoto itself is a top destination for any Asian traveler, so this is our first stop. Little Heaven is a highly exclusive and recommended vegan cuisine comprised of the freshest seasonal ingredients found in the area. They have everything the discerning vegan could possibly want, including vegan sushi which is reportedly to die for. The owner and chef will even personally greet you if you have any questions, so the service is fantastic to boot. They aren’t open every day, however, so it’s recommended to call a few days in advance to ask about scheduling.
Yet another situated in the sublime serenity found within Kyoto, this one resides within a World Heritage Site near Tenryuji Temple, where Shigetsu can be found. Zen is practiced zealously here and you’ll find yourself seated in a tatami room beside the tranquil garden and hypnotic koi pond. You’ll find a treat in their exquisitely prepared meals with traditional tea, Miso soup, and tofu. And while the 500 yen cover charge is a bit daunting, the prices don’t vary too much.
AIN SOPH. Ripple, Shinjuku
This is an absolute must for any vegan who might yearn for the old, mouthwatering taste of a burger. Here, this is exactly what you’ll get; a vegan burger! And while most people labor under the belief that vegan portions are small and healthy, Ain Soph is renowned for their big portions of healthy, yet delicious and comforting soul food. And that’s not all they’ve got; they also boast delicious mac and cheese, among other things. They make every ‘meat’ dish with soy meat and seitan, or ‘wheat meat’, with which they make delicious crispy chicken burgers. For anyone thinking about trying vegan dishes, visit a country that takes its cuisine very seriously and give Ain Soph a whirl.
T’s Tantan, Tokyo Station
This place has a much more laid back vibe to it, making it seem more like a cafe than a traditional restaurant. Here, you’ll find your money and interests’ worth in some of the best vegan ramens Japan has to offer. They also open early so as to treat their customers to some delicious vegan breakfast options, which are notoriously tricky. Among their dishes are gyoza, bipimbap, karaage, and so much more. Their ramen along blasts apart the unhealthy myths that surround the noodle and it’s powerful enough to hold its own against its classic cousin.
Tokyo Shiba Tofuya Ukai
Now it’s time to get a little fancier. Here, you’ll find an authentic Japanese atmosphere with matching dishes comprised of tofu. Vegans almost unanimously regard tofu as a special ingredient, high in protein as a meat substitute. Here, you’ll find it prepared to perfection in kaiseki style in multiple courses. You’ll have no shortage of dishes to try here and while you’re waiting for your food, you can soak up the traditional atmosphere with the breathtaking interior inside the restaurant and the sparkling exterior of the city, with Tokyo Tower located right next door. Why not ascend after your meal and relax basking in the glow of the city all around you?
Glutenfree Cafe Littlebird, Yoyogi
This cafe is special because it hits all the notes. These days, the growing emergence of celiac disease makes digesting gluten a problem for many people. So allow us to introduce Cafe Littlebird, where you can find not only a wide selection of vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free items in a selection you wouldn’t believe until you saw it; ramen, fried chicken, parfaits and even pancakes—all of it entirely gluten-free, amongst all the vegan options available as well. This is truly a special little establishment and a must experience for anyone wanting to taste the wonders of Japanese cuisine without any dietary restrictions getting in the way.
Tastes and diets evolve constantly and with them, so must restaurants. The wise establishments change with the times to cater to the growing and expanding tastes and if they’re successful, their notoriety grows and spreads like wildfire. Japanese cuisine is truly unique and special amidst the wide array of choices from all across the world. Ten years ago, none of this was even possible. Japan, ever-evolving, has proven that it can handle even the most finicky of customer’s tastes.