Vegan in Japan?

It’s been now three years since I became vegan, and one of the questions I get the most in regards to my lifestyle is how difficult is it to conciliate not eating animals or their by products and traveling. As if there were no fruits, pasta, vegetables and cereals in every country. Now, I’m being a bit unfair on that one because I’ll admit, while you’re traveling it’s sometimes tricky to be vegan. But please notice, “sometimes” and “tricky”. Nowhere do you read “always”nor “impossible”. With the good amount of preparation, including online preparation, vocabulary preparation and patience, being vegan on the road and abroad is always doable.

The first thing I always do is to check happycow.com , to see the list of vegan, vegetarian or vegan friendly restaurants avaialable in the city I am visiting. More often than not, the list is quite long and you have plenty of choices. Then, search for the word vegan or vegetarian in the language of the country (write it down if necessary), and you should be fine. If you’re renting a flat via airbnb you’ll have a kitchen which is veryyyyyy useful as a vegan, and even in youth hostels kitchens are available for you to cook some delicious vegan meals (it’s good for your budget too!).

The most challenging place I’ve been to so far, has been Japan. And it wasn’t even that challenging honestly. The idea that Japan isn’t vegan friendly is apparently well spread seeing how many people ask me about it, or ask for advice for a future trip. Among most clichés about Japan, many are true, including the one that they put fish in almost everything. But Japan cuisine also relies heavily on rice and vegetables, plus lately veganism has become trendier and more popular, which makes it a lot easier than what you’d expect to eat out. Not to forget the buddhist cuisine, which while a bit expensive, is delicious and at the least vegetarian at the best vegan.

When I first went to Japan in 2012 I was only a vegetarian, and found it super easy to eat vegetarian. Last year when I went back with my sister, as vegans, we still managed to enjoy a lot of delicious foods in all the places we went to (so not only Tokyo).

Here are a few examples of what we ate :

SAMSUNG CSC
Roasted veggies on the beach in Kamakura

SAM_1085 (2736 x 1824)

SAM_0635 (2736 x 1824)
Also a great way to learn vegetables&fruits (if you can read hiragana&katakana)
SAMSUNG CSC
A friend we made on the metro and with whom we enjoyed a mango juice.
SAM_0667 (2736 x 1824)
The said juice.

SAMSUNG CSC

SAM_2064 (2736 x 1824)
Peanut noodles with loads of greens.
SAM_2063 (2736 x 1824)
Vegan ramen in an entirely vegan restaurant in Tokyo station. Delicious!
SAMSUNG CSC
Rice burger!
SAM_2019 (2736 x 1824)
baked beans, soup, lettuce and an healthy sandwich, simple yet satisfying!
SAMSUNG CSC
Fancy fancy fancy onigiri in the train going to Kyoto.
SAM_1886 (2736 x 1824)
Homemade onigiri in Akameguchi.
SAM_0704 (2736 x 1824)
Vegan carrot cake and cheesecake in Tokyo.
SAMSUNG CSC
One of the best salads I’ve had, one of the many options available in a restaurant specialized in salads.
SAMSUNG CSC
Vegan bibimbap.
SAMSUNG CSC
Banana & tea, staples for a healthy start of the day!
SAMSUNG CSC
Mitarashi dango !
SAMSUNG CSC
Take away vegan gyoza -delicious-!
SAMSUNG CSC
Delicious vegan meal(minus the egg) in Kyoto, Arashiyama. The best tofu I’ve ever had.
SAMSUNG CSC
Vegan meal on the plane.

And there were plenty more of delicious foods not pictured, all of them very affordable and easy to find. Japan sure has very pricey vegetables and fruits, but it also offers many vegan or vegan friendly options. Just make sure you learn the words for dairy, fish, meat and eggs to say you don’t eat those, because many people don’t fully understand the concepts of veganism and vegetarianism ( I was presented with pork bowels in a restaurant after telling them I was a vegetarian …). However, Japan has proved to be a fairly good spot for me, both as a vegetarian and as a vegan, and I’ve always enjoyed the food there, the flavors and ingredients are incredible and delicate. Even the fruits are sweeter than in France! It’s probably my favourite country for food, and not only!

What about you? Do you have any good foody memories or really bad ones?

6 Replies to “Vegan in Japan?”

  1. WoW …!!! This is Incredible..

  2. I loved eating vegan in Japan ! The mochis, daifuku, dangos, onigiri, wagashi… I’ve been to this all vegan restaurant in Tokyo station too, it was delicious. I’me really looking forward to going back there ^_^

    1. i’m impatient to be back there too!and the vegan restaurants have amazing foods, i am dreaming of those ramen!

  3. It’s always a great pleasure to read a new article from you, i never been to Japan and i’m dreaming of it ! You just gave me much more reason to go there (sorry for my approximative English i am still learning) ^^

  4. Hi Antastesia,

    Thank you for sharing your experience. I came across your youtube channel and your video on what not to do in France but I was pleasantly surprised when I learned that you were vegan and also had a blog. I am currently living in Ronda, Spain and I have been a vegan for one year. It is not always easy because in Spain, vegan means you like your salmorejo with tuna and egg. I hope to go to Japan, this food looks hella tasty.
    itadakimasu! That is one of the only things I know how to say in Japanese, thankfully I have a chance to use it.

    Merci!

Leave a Reply