tamago – egg We are both vegetarian (don't eat seafood either) and would love to hear of any tips or suggestions for food while visiting Japan. Although it can be expensive—our lunch at Bon was 5000 yen ($47) each—it’s worth splurging on shojin ryori at least once as it’s an experience as much as a meal. yasai – vegetables Answer 1 of 8: Hi All, Myself and my partner are travelling to Tokyo and Kyoto for two weeks at the end of October. In theory, Japanese food has the potential to be delicious and wholesome for both vegans and vegetarians. We also had a break from Japanese at the excellent Pizzeria Onda. Your tips will surely make a difference. Yet, vegetarianism is still present in Japan and associated with Buddhism. The Japanese diet is generally very healthy, but it also mainly centres around fish and meat. You could also use Google Translate (see above). Here are our tips for surviving Japan as a vegetarian: Simon trying to translate a Japanese menu in 2011. They all have lots of entirely vegetarian or vegan restaurants. We found the array of fresh noodles and tofu in supermarkets to be delicious and reasonably priced. nan des ka? Vegetarian in Japan!?! This list may help. We used them to book our stay at Hotel Musashiya, a lovely ryokan overlooking Lake Ashi in Hakone, where you can see Mount Fuji. Rice crackers (senbei) are available everywhere from market stalls to convenience stores. Zen Buddhism first arrived in Japan in A.D. 538 and prompted Emperor Tenmu to prohibit the killing and eating of meat in A.D. 675. “It’s a Wild West,” Cohen observed of the vegetarian and vegan restaurant possibilities in Tokyo. Our favourite vegetarian restaurant is Bon, which serves exquisite multi-course fucha ryori in beautiful tatami rooms. The Shibuya branch is a take away and standing online spot whereas you can enjoy take-out or eat-in options at the Yokohama branch, which specializes in a wide range of vegan curries. katsuobushi nashi de onegai shimas – without bonito (fish) flakes please We picked up this crunchy, chilli-covered rice cracker at the Nishiki market in Kyoto. Vegetarian- … I update this guide regularly (originally published in January 2012) based on our experiences on multiple return trips. One word of warning; traditionally, shojin ryori is vegan—and even omits pungent flavors like garlic and onion—but the use of dairy is not considered harmful to animals by modern monks, so it is occasionally used. There are now more vegetarian and vegan restaurants as well as traditional Japanese restaurants offering vegetarian options (with handy English menus). These multi-dish meals are beautifully presented and use seasonal ingredients. Another option vegetarians in Japan should try are kurotomago, eggs boiled in hot springs which become black because of the water's sulfur. Google Maps — Vegetarian restaurants result for Tokyo Japanese Restaurants. Copyright © Japan National Tourism Organization. We’ve had some of the most unusual and delicious meals we have ever eaten there. Its cuisine, shojin ryori, is an important part of monks' devotion to a life of abstention from violence against living beings. We love the vegetarian set lunches at Hobodo Cafe, Veg Out, and Padma. Google Translate is also a helpful tool for reading menus. Helen Marvell shares her thoughts, some tips and gives a little bit of inspiration. By clicking the Submit button, you give consent for us to store your information for the purposes of displaying your comment and you accept the terms of our Privacy Policy. Eggplant is grilled until soft and melty with a sweet caramelised miso topping. It’s a local speciality in Nikko. Konnyaku is known in English as Devil’s Tongue. They are delicious grilled rice dumplings served on a stick in a sesame and walnut sauce. The vegetarian menu is not available in all their branches, but most of them seem to have it these days. In Natural Lawson, the healthier version of Lawsons, you might have more luck finding vegetarian-friendly snacks. Be careful in tofu restaurants, though, as they aren’t usually vegetarian, and even if they can make a vegetarian meal for you, they will probably use dashi. With locally sourced produce you’ll be able to get your normal vegs and a wide range of typical Japanese vegetables , giving you a chance to get a bit more creative with your cooking and try some traditional Japanese … An increasing number of ramen shops in Japan now offer vegan ramen, so you can enjoy this classic noodle soup without meat. It often features in shojin ryori (Buddhist vegetarian) meals. With Westernization, a lot of meat-based dishes appeared in the tables of most households. Sans reservations, we bravely walked out of […] We only eat miso soup in vegetarian restaurants where we know they haven’t used dashi. Ramen chains that have vegan ramen are Chabuton, Kyushu Jangara Ramen, and Afuri. They aren’t as common as the other stores though. The food was Italian-inspired and utterly delicious including a pesto, potato and mascarpone pizza and grilled vegetables with an incredible pesto dip. We had a fantastic fucha ryori meal, which is a version of shojin ryori with a focus on tea, at Bon in Tokyo. Don’t be too worried though—although learning to read Kanji takes a lot of time, the spoken language is easier to pick up that I expected. They also have branches in Kyoto and Hokkaido. Plus they are a lot of fun and you’ll get to enjoy a delicious meal. It was surprisingly good, but it isn’t that filling so we were glad we had fries and onion rings with it. Erin • nev-clockJuly 3, 2020 • nev-balloon190. Browse the JNTO site in one of multiple languages, Contrary to popular belief, there is a wealth of vegetarian and vegan options in Japan (you just need to know where to look...), Sake 101—The Ultimate Guide to Japanese Sake, Experience the cultural and culinary arts of Kagawa. We heated ours up at home and served with a salad. Naigamo yam is rather unusual and wasn’t like the dense, heavy yam that we are familiar with but instead was light, crunchy, sticky, and watery. It’s best to do some research online on sites like Happy Cow and plan ahead where to eat. In the photo above konnyaku was served like sashimi with a dark miso sauce. We used Google Translate’s image feature to translate ingredient lists on packaging just by pointing our phone’s camera lens at it and pressing the camera icon in the app. In Tokyo this vegan class with a Michelin chef in Shibuya looks great, as does this five-course vegetarian meal in Ikebukuro. Meals are usually served in your room and they are some of the best meals we’ve had in Japan. Onigiri at Family Mart in Japan. We skipped the included miso soup as it contains dashi. Vegetarians have more options, with cheese strings, quail eggs and lots of pastries to choose from. Vegetarians can therefore enjoy a 100% vegetarian, and incredibly hearty, meal known as shojin ryori in the places Japanese Buddhism is largely practiced: in Koyasan, near Osaka and Kyoto, or in the mountains of Dewa Sanzan (Tohoku Region, south of Aomori). Milk Land in Shinjuku does an excellent value vegetarian lunch set. Many Japanese curry places will offer a vegetable curry, but it’s likely the roux was made with meat. Fuji Tempura Idaten has a vegetable tempura set (skip the miso soup) and Peace Kawaguchiko has a vegetarian hot pot and a few noodle soups. Tokyo has many options for vegetarians. This chilled sesame tofu is one of the most common dishes in shojin ryori. The monks make it possible to enjoy delicious, healthy, creative Japanese meals and be sure that it is all vegan. It’s just nice to be able to sample the wider array of veggie-friendly restaurants in the cities for at least part of your trip. There has been a recent proliferation in such restaurants in Japan, particularly in the larger cities. It’s different from the Indian version but still tasty. It all starts to fit together.” While Cohen found a number of vegetarian and vegan options in Tokyo, she also saw vast opportunity for someone with the passion and determination to make it a reality. As most people already know, I’ve changed my way of eating back in November of 2011 and decided to make a lifelong commitment of being a vegetarian. The elegant and artfully prepared cuisine, served on beautiful plates and dishes of Kamakura lacquerware, tends to be made up of soybean-based foods, such as tofu, along with seasonal vegetables. Our restaurant guides to Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka list more options (see below). You acknowledge that your email will be transferred to Mailchimp for processing. It is better to be clearer and instead say “watashi wa niku toh sakana wo tabemasen” which means I don’t eat meat or fish. See our guide to the 50 Best Gifts for Travelers which includes unique suggestions for exploring the world at home. There is plenty of tofu in Japan and it is much higher quality than anywhere else in the world. and she pointed out the right one. This always made people smile. We loved this Kyoto cooking class with Uzuki. They also stock the vegan T’s Tantan instant ramen. Curry is really popular in Japan. We’re also a fan of T’s Tantan instant ramen pots when we’re in Tokyo for a quick meal. Although there are still few restaurants compared to a lot of major cities, Japan also has a vegetarian tradition, Shojin Ryori (Monk cuisine), and there also many cuisines serving vegetarian dishes! Vegetarian and vegan restaurants are a safe-zone where you don’t have to worry about animal products surprising you in your meal, or asking for modifications. It’s a jelly-like substance made from the root of the tuberous plant konjac. Cold soba (buckwheat) noodles are popular in the summer served on a bamboo tray with nori seaweed, spring onion, wasabi, and a soy sauce dipping sauce that we skipped as it has dashi in it. Simon with his mitarashi (soy sauce) dango in Takayama. Some are particularly proud of their vegetarian cuisine, so search online to see which ones specialize. Ryokans are often great places for veggie meals if you explain your requirements. Although you could use the recommended phrase or vegetarian card above and turn up in any Japanese restaurant and hope you get a meal, we found it much more enjoyable to eat stress (and dashi) free at vegetarian restaurants or Japanese places with vegetarian menus. I don’t think any of the burgers are vegan but apparently you can ask them to print out a list of ingredients to check. We were tempted by the tubs of spicy cucumber at 7-Eleven, but unfortunately they contain fish sauce. Although being a vegetarian in Japan is a daily challenge, it’s nothing that you can’t do! Taste and Scent is mostly vegetarian and has a good value set lunch with rice and various salads. Vegetarianism and veganism is not as popular in Japan as it is in the West, so you'll find there's often some confusion as to what you can and can't eat. Tempura, deep fried vegetables in batter, is the easiest vegetarian Japanese food to find. Vinegared sushi rice stuffed in a fried tofu pouch. It’s in Ibaraki which is 12 minutes from JR Osaka station or 20 minutes from JR Kyoto station by train. Other options are this ramen and gyoza cooking class in Osaka with vegan and halal options. We are both vegetarian (don't eat seafood either) and would love to hear of any tips or suggestions for food while visiting Japan. The packaging is clear so it’s easy to identify without reading Japanese. These are some vegetarian Japanese meals and snacks to look out for. The food is a highlight of Tokyo for us and the quality is outstanding from high-end restaurants to simple ramen shops. Bakeries are also a good place for a snack. In Osaka, Okonomiyaki Chitose can do a vegetarian version (including one with noodles) if you ask. This works for restaurant menus too, although we found most places we visited had English menus. Being a vegetarian in Japan can be difficult, but with some effort and pre-planning it can also be very rewarding. Self catering helps save money and we get a break from worrying about where to eat. It’s a … A great opportunity to try homemade kaiseki, a gourmet, multi-course traditional Japanese meal, is in a ryokan or traditional inn. They are quite plain but still a good vegetarian option. Being connected will make it easier to find vegetarian restaurants using Google Maps and Happy Cow and it also allows you to use Google Translate. It’s also sold in convenience stores. Check ahead to avoid any unpleasant surprises. In nearby Okayama City there are a few options for vegetarians especially Yasai-Shokudo Koyama, which is a restaurant that focuses on vegetables and can make a vegan set meal. Vegetable and eggplant vegetarian curry at CoCo Ichibanya. I'd probably be in major cities like Tokyo and Kyoto but maybe go on day trips to smaller towns and temples. All Rights Reserved. Umeboshi pickled plum onigiri rice balls and natto. – do you have…? Historically, fish was key to survival. Asia. For an entirely vegan curry head to Coco Ichibanya, Japan’s largest curry chain, and look for the separate green vegetarian menu with a range of different curries. Plain and umeboshi (pickled plum) are the most common vegetarian onigiri. Complete guide to vegetarian food in Japan After our first work-week in Japan, a much deserved celebration was due. Eating one is said to add seven years to your life. Their tasty lunch set is vegan and the miso soup is made without dashi (the noodle soups are not). Heinraku is a wonderful small restaurant in Takayama run by the friendliest lady and has pages of vegetarian options on the menu—I loved the Hida miso ramen. Vegetarian foods to try in Japan. Things we WISH we knew BEFORE moving to JAPAN 来日前に知っていたかった事 - Duration: 10:50. Taking a vegetarian cooking class in Japan is an excellent way to learn more about Japanese cuisine, make sense of the confusing ingredients, and learn what you can and can’t eat as a vegetarian. Enter your email to sign up for our monthly newsletter with exclusive travel tips and updates. We’ve also found that non-vegetarian restaurants are increasingly offering dashi-free options, but you do need to hunt these places out in advance. Indian restaurants serving vegetarian meals as well are regularly found in any town in Japan. Rice and vegan-friendly noodles make up the base of most dishes. Keep in mind that these foods are available in Japan as vegetarian dishes but individual restaurants may add fish flavoring and other non-vegetarian ingredients because there is little awareness of purely vegetarian diets. Share your travel photos with us by hashtagging your images with #visitjapanjp. Answer 1 of 8: Hi there! You might do Osaka's Namba - Dotombori -Shinsaibashi area in the evening/night after visiting Nara. Meat dishes are very popular and fish broth is widely used in Japanese cuisine. In Koya-san you can get shojin ryori meals for dinner and breakfast by spending the night at a temple. Be careful of croquettes though—Simon bought a potato croquette from a stand and it turned out to have chunks of meat in it. Yuba is made from the thin skin that forms on the surface of boiled soy milk—it sounds weird but it’s delicious, creamy, and light. Although it usually isn’t vegetarian, it can be adapted to be by using vegetable fillings. Cultural Perception of Vegetarian Food In Japan Interestingly enough, Japanese people were prohibited from eating meat for more than a thousand years prior to 1868. We tried this at Tosuiro tofu restaurant in Kyoto and Komekichi Kozushi sushi restaurant in Nikko. My husband and I are visiting Japan at the end of August. You can also eat non-fish products like omelettes or noodles whenever your friends are abducting you to the local sushi restaurant, or even eat only vegetables at the grilled meat restaurant. Shojin ryori or Zen Buddhist temple cuisine is the beacon of hope for a vegetarian in Japan. It certainly has a different texture from the tofu we are used to as it’s soft, creamy, and melts in your mouth. You could try telling people that you are vegetarian (“Watashi wa bejitarian des”) but they probably won’t understand exactly what this means. Japan is mostly mountains and has little arable land. Since chicken, fish, and stock may be considered "bejitarian," you may want to find a way to explain your diet that's more all-encompassing. This page contains affiliate links. Foodie Tours Japan, a Tokyo-based firm that offers food-focused walking tours, introduces tourists to vegan, vegetarian, Muslim-friendly and gluten-free options in English or German. And it doesn’t mean eating only at vegetarian and vegan restaurants in Japan either – you are just as entitled to a tendon (tempura-topped bowl of rice), things on sticks grilled over charcoal, and a steaming bowl of ramen as the omnivore next to you.. On our second visit to Japan we found it was much easier to explain what we couldn’t eat by showing restaurant staff a card we’d printed from Just Hungry—they have options for a variety of dietary requirements. Vegetarian cuisine in Japan is incredibly flavorful. Since our first visit to Japan in 2011 the situation has much improved. Answer 1 of 8: Hi there! Learn how your comment data is processed. And it features the same “smoky, fragrant taste” of its animal-based counterpart—made possible by the company’s unique “direct fire grilling method.” Another option vegetarians in Japan should try are kurotomago, eggs boiled in hot springs which become black because of the water's sulfur. We haven’t done one in Tokyo yet, but this vegan class with a Michelin chef in Shibuya looks great as does this five-course vegetarian meal in Ikebukuro (just a few stops from Shinjuku on the train). Many will be filled with fish, but there are usually some umeboshi (sour pickled plum) and kombu (dried kelp) options. Being vegetarian in Japan can be tricky! What do I need to know about being vegetarian in Japan? Not many Japanese people speak English (although this is improving) and learning a few phrases is essential to making your needs as a vegetarian understood. So yes, going meat-free as a vegetarian in Japan is feasible. Not all ryokans cater for vegetarians, so check with them before you book or see if the reviews mention vegetarian meals. But you can always ask to have the meat taken off your dishes, and sometimes even find plant-based dishes on the menu. To my surprise, I found many options. Cakes with Faces 67,224 views. Although Japan can be challenging as a vegetarian if you just wander into any restaurant, with some planning you can find some amazing meat-free meals. Slow Luck is a tiny place focused on using vegetables in creative ways and has a vegetarian menu. There are an increasing number of vegan restaurants including Green Earth, Rocca, and Cafe Atl. For on-the-go protein, natto (fermented soybean) is available in ready-to-eat packages, but, be warned, the accompanying sauce is often dashi (fish stock). Next time I’d like to try this vegan ramen cooking class that’s listed on Airbnb Experiences and has fantastic reviews. The simplest solution to being vegetarian in Japan, like anywhere is to make your own food. Add some vegetables and you can make an easy stir-fry. Ours wasn’t a planned night out – But dinner was on the agenda. But Japanese food is so delicious that we always want to eat as much of the national cuisine as possible. However, if you get the chance to try shojin ryori, it makes a light, healthy and beautifully photogenic meal, which is a fun cultural experience for vegetarians and meat-eaters alike. The best places to stay in apartments are the bigger cities like Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka where there are plenty of options. For more of our favourites, see our vegetarian Kyoto guide. They're readily available in the hot spring town of Owakudani and other onsen areas. Consider taking your own soy sauce around with you for a splash of fish-free flavor when only the basics are available. While known as Buddhist vegetarian cuisine, the literal translation is "devotion food." I highly recommend taking an unlocked phone to Japan and buying a data SIM card when you arrive. Fish seems to be in everything including the soup stock used to make miso soup. Shojin Ryori is the traditional dining style of Buddhist monks in Japan, which is made without meat, fish and other animal products. We recommend Shigetsu for shojin ryori at Tenryuji temple. Packaged beans, edamame, simple garden salads and inarizushi (rice in a tofu pocket) are all options that can help you make a filling meal when other options aren't available. Oyaki is a speciality of the Nagano prefecture and we tried it in Matsumoto. This page contains affiliate links. oishikatta des – that was delicious. So we put aside the jet lag and joined the traditional Friday night revelry in Yokohama. See our 2 week Japan itinerary for more details about what we ate in Nikko, Takayama, and Kanazawa. They're readily available in the hot spring town of Owakudani and other onsen areas. The hit-list of traditional foods that most people visit Japan with can be yours for the taking, just with a few precautionary measures. We had excellent vegetarian sushi at Komekichi Kozushi in Nikko, Little Heaven in Kyoto, and Morizuya Ryokan in Kinosaki Onsen. If you're a little adventurous, you may even discover some new ingredients to add to your vegan cooking arsenal when you go back home. It is often possible to find meals without meat or fish in them or at least restaurants may be willing to adapt meals for you, but the biggest problem is that fish stock or dashi is used in many dishes. We ate yaki onigiri at an izakaya (Japanese pub). See our privacy policy. The monks make it possible to enjoy delicious, healthy, creative Japanese meals and be sure that it is all vegan. Since then I have been committed to this lifestyle and I love it! The main flavour came from the salty nori seaweed and hot wasabi that it was served with. You can try local specialities at Self Tacoyaki Bar Iduco, Matsuri, and Okonomiyaki Chitose. My husband and I are visiting Japan at the end of August. Chilli rice crackers at Nishiki market in Kyoto. Vegetarian, vegan or pescatarian in Japan? It's roughly the 96 most common vegetable dishes in Japan. Osaka is very vegetarian-friendly if you plan in advance. Hats off to you sir! Shojin ryori or Zen Buddhist temple cuisine is the beacon of hope for a vegetarian in Japan. On our first trip to Japan we tried to avoid dashi as much as possible, but there were times when we didn’t have much choice so decided to be flexible about it. sumimasen – excuse me. If you get stuck, like we sometimes have when the vegetarian restaurant I researched was closed, try looking for Indian or Italian restaurants which always have meat-free options. Vegetarian version of local speciality hoba miso at Sukuya in Takayama. There’s something for every budget. But eventually I got accustomed to some of the foods and soon began to like them. ! Differences include food standards, laws, and general cultural attitudes of vegetarian diets. Whether you’re vegan, vegetarian, environmentally-conscious, have allergies or are just looking to eat a little cleaner in 2021, be sure to check this guide to the 10 best vegan and vegetarian-friendly spots in Tokyo. There are many amazing places to visit in Japan and you can find vegetarian options in smaller towns. Make sure you specify no dashi. We usually stay in an Airbnb apartment for at least part of our trips to Japan. The best way to find local veggie gems is to search Google Maps, which should offer a few results for vegan ramen, vegan sushi and, of course, Western vegan options. Please read our disclosure for more info. Amazing work! It’s easy to be vegetarian in Kyoto. To avoid this order zaru soba (above), cold noodles that don’t come in broth. Yasai Cafe Meguri in Nikko serves vegan lunch sets and Komekichi Kozushi has tasty vegetarian sushi options and is one of the few places open in the evenings. Shojin Ryori is upscale Buddhist vegetarian food. Mimikou does delicious vegetarian curry udon and Gyoza ChaoChao has a vegetarian gyoza menu. Luckily there are vegetarian options in Japan, especially around the locations of Buddhist communities. Do Japanese people really know anything about animal free diets and would they be able to try it too? The Vie de France chain is found in many train stations and has options like margherita pizza slices, cheese rolls, garlic bread, and pastries. When you're outside of major cities, consider staying in a ryokan where they will be able to create spectacular feasts of vegetarian Japanese food if you contact them ahead of time with details of your dietary needs. We tried many of these tofu dishes in shojin ryori restaurants. Whilst Japan is slowly becoming more accustomed and open to vegetarian options it still displays a certain ignorance towards and lack of knowledge of the concept: surprising when you think that vegetarian favourite, tofu, was first made popular here. Luckily, Japan’s assortment of vegetarian convenience store snacks can help. Happy Cow is an indispensable resource for finding vegetarian and vegan restaurants. 7-Eleven, Lawsons, and Family Mart are the most common convenience stores and you’ll find one on every block in cities. The delicious food is one of the reasons we keep returning to the country. Be aware that anything that includes broth is likely to be fish dashi unless you are eating in a vegetarian restaurant or the menu says it doesn’t use dashi. Rice Great care is taken to avoid waste in preparing this cuisine, and even the tops of vegetables are used for stock. Japan is a vegetarian paradise wrapped in a vegetarian hell. From vegetarian butchers and junk food to decadent desserts and smoothie bowls, Metropolis has all your cravings covered. That’s not to say you should only visit the big cities. :) One of the 12 courses of our vegan feast at Bon in Tokyo. The word "bejitarian" (vegetarian) is widely understood but can be a little more flexible in definition than you might appreciate. We found this phrase very useful and successfully used it in restaurants to get a vegetarian meal.“Tabemasen” means “I don’t eat” so you can add any word in front of that. Good luck with the move and enjoy all the delicious veggie food in Tokyo! It is reconstituted in water and becomes springy and sponge-like, absorbing the flavours it is cooked in. Onigiri (rice balls) are found at every convenience store and supermarket and make good cheap packed lunches. For more Japan tips see our post on planning a trip to Japan for everything you need to know. They have a vegetarian section of their English menu that explains the ingredients of the different types of okonomiyaki and we got ours without dashi by showing our vegetarian card. Family Mart and 7-Eleven now have English labels on their salty snacks so it’s easier to find plain crisps and avoid the many shrimpy things. The big cities onsen areas living beings are now more vegetarian and vegan restaurants as well are regularly found the. And shredded cabbage plus other ingredients the big cities the water 's sulfur moving soon to Tokyo, maybe are... At your table Fuji tempura Idaten in Kawaguchiko ( near Mount Fuji ) want to eat luckily Japan. 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