(I chose and paid everything myself, this blogpost is not a paid advertisement.)
Tokyo is my absolute favourite destination and I’d love to spend a little more time there. Especially now that being vegan in Tokyo has become a little easier. Happycow lists quite a lot of places now, so you’re not limited to avocado maki anymore. Here I have listed my favourite food sources for you:
My favourite soup ever! This all vegan Japanese restaurant has several outlets, and this one is located at Keiyo Street inside Tokyo Station. You can get amazing ramen, also curry, gyozas and really tasty vegan chicken. Service is nice and very fast. There also is one at Ueno Station, one at Narita Airport and one in Jiyugaoka.
Meanwhile you can also get an instant ramen version of their famous soup, which is also available at convenience store Natural Lawson (see further below).
I got so crazy about this soup, I put a lot of effort into reconstructing it at home. And it turned out pretty well! Click here for the recipe if you’re interested in how to make it.
WHERE I ATE AS A VEGAN IN SHIBUYA
This cute little restaurant is in Shibuya and has western and Japanese seating to chose from. They offer several different Japanese sets. I had one with fried “chicken”, rice, soup, salad and pickles veggies and I gobbled it up to the last crumb. Delicious. Cash only. Have a look at their Facebook page here.
This Indian vegetarian restaurant chain also has several outlets in Tokyo and I went to the one in Shibuya, just a three minute walk from the Hachiko monument. Seriously, this is the best vegan Indian food I have had outside of India. Or maybe even including India.
I went to the Shibuya restaurant three times. The first time for the buffet, where I did everything wrong piling food on my plate and getting the curries all mixed up while you were actually supposed to fill the different curries into the silver bowls, the salad into a glass bowl, use the plate for rice and I’m still not really sure where I should have put the naan. I only noticed the different arrangement on the other tables on my way back to mine. Too late for me, but you guys know now. Was delicious anyway and most things on the buffet were vegan and clearly labeled.
The next time I ordered a spinach curry and a huge delicious naan. It was absolutely perfect, and I didn’t think things could get much better, but the next evening, I took friends there and there seems to be a different and quite extensive evening menu where we discovered a naan burger! Of courses that was delicious as well.
There are outlets in Ginza, Harajuku and Ogikubo.
Can this place please also open a restaurant in Berlin? In my street maybe …? I know Berlin is supposed to be vegan heaven, but I think there is a shortage in really good Indian places for vegans. At least in my neighbourhood.
I was curious what Nataraj Harajuku would be like. In Asia, at least I have seen it in Japan and Hongkong, they have these tall buildings that only consist of restaurants. You get on the elevator to the 8th for and there is that fancy Indian place. I don’t think I have ever come across something like that in Europe?
Anyway, the Indian food I got at Nataraj Harajuku had a slight Japanese influence. I wouldn’t have thought that combination would work, but I got curious, ordered a naan with mustard leaves and sesame and it was delicious. And the homemade ginger ale was so good! Check out Nataraj’s website here.
For more recommendations in Shibuya, check out this YouTube Video by Tsukimi Tube:
WHERE I ATE AS A VEGAN IN SHINJUKU
View from my hotel room in Shinjuku with mount Fuji in the background
I often see plastic versions of the food in the windows or on a buffet in front of restaurants and think it’s absolutely hilarious, but usually I’m not interested in the food. But this cute cafe located on the 6th floor inside Lumine 1 mall in Shinjuku also has vegan food on display for those who are vegan in Tokyo!
They have a large selection of vegan desserts. I went for an almond cappuccino and a yummy matcha tiramisu. The view also enlarged my pupils: in front of the window is a store with cool kitchen toys! And of course I couldn’t resist getting a new plaything which you are going to see in one of my next cooking tutorials. Check out Wired Bonbon’s Facebook page here.
(Update 11.03.2019: Apparently they took a step back again and offer the vegan meals only in some places now. If you have any new information, please let me know.)
I usually try to avoid places that also serve meat, but I included this curry house chain for several reasons: there is one literally everwhere and it’s perfect for a quick Japanese curry.
They have a few vegan options which are clearly labeled on the menu. Service was fast, my veggie curry was fine and not expensive. And they sell instant curries too.
Their outlet at shinjuku station is open 24 hours, so even as a jet lagged European you can get vegan food at any time! I also liked the retro colour scheme of the place. For their website click here.
Vegan Food Tour Shimokitazawa
I was lucky to be the only participant that day and have the lovely tour guide Mana all to myself. We met at the train station in the trendy neighbourhood of Shimokitazawa. I was a little early, so we popped into a nice organic food store, and it was such a luxury to have my personal tour guide tell me what was vegan and someone who could really read the ingredients, so I didn’t have to fumble around with my google translate app, and could also recommend things. I bought a vegan Japanese soup base that I’m curious to try at home.
After that we went to a little organic restaurant and I got an amazing plate with a huge variety of veggies, all prepared in different ways. That was so much fun, and doesn’t it look pretty! I especially liked the tempura.
That was just the starter though! The main course was a vegan ramen soup at a very authentic little soup shop with a cool ramen ordering juke box, where I got an amazing ramen soup. Next stop was a really beautiful teahouse where I had a mochi soup for dessert. I love mochi, the little glutinous rice sweets, especially with red beans, and this soup was a variation I had never even heard about before! The café also sells some cute kitchenware and I bought two pretty breakfast plates to play with at home.
I got to know some interesting new things about Japan on that tour and had a great time, not to mention the authentic food. I am very glad I went. If you’re into vintage shopping, you might want to stay in Shimokitazawa a little longer. Almost every other shop is a second hand clothes store and you will surely find some treasures.
The tour is organised by Magicaltrip.com, who also offer a lot of other interesting tours, such as a bike tour which also sounds great and seems to be suitable for a vegan in Tokyo. Have a look at their website here.
Natural Lawson and other convenience stores where you’ll find food as a vegan in Tokyo
As a vegan in Tokyo, shopping for snacks can be tricky, as a lot of things look vegan at first sight but are not. Meat or fish are often just considered seasonings. So something called vegetable rice can still contain pork, which using the google translate app will show, when scanning the finely printed ingredients (Check out my blogpost on useful apps that I recommend for traveling here.) Onigiri that just consist of salted rice are usually safe, and so are edamame.
And then there are the soups by T’s Tantan at Natural Lawson, which are of course always vegan. I highly recommend joining the facebook groups “Vegan Japan” and “Is it vegan (Japan)” when spending time as a vegan in Tokyo. That group is extremely helpful, I found a lot of interesting information there. And you can check out the website “Is it vegan – Helping you stay vegan in Japan“, and download this guide by I travel for vegan food.
As far as I can tell, all these things I bought at convenience stores are vegan.
At Narita Airport, there’s a T’s (see above), so that’s like hitting the jackpot, but if you’re departing on an international flight from Haneda Airport you’ll find vegan food after security too.
There’s a place called true soup which offers a vegan marked soup called Seattle. The place is easy to find, the soup is good, you can take it on your flight and it stays quite warm for a while.
Cosmetics and Souvenirs for a vegan in Tokyo
If you should run out of cosmetics, you will find several outlets of the Body Shop and Lush all over Japan. A very special highlight is the Harajuku Lush Store. The sell only bath bombs, which move through the store on conveyor belts like sushi. Some of them are Japan-themed and exclusively sold there, just like the maneki neko (lucky cat) that you can see in the title picture. A perfect souvenir that will also make your suitcase smell amazing.
If you stay in Tokyo for longer, it might be a good idea to get the Tokyo Vegan Guide* (Kindle or Paperback).
A relatively new thing that I really want to try soon is called air kitchen plus. People will cook vegan food for you in their private home or even offer cooking classes! Isn’t that the coolest thing ever? Have a look at their website here.
Have you been a vegan in Tokyo and have further tips? Did you find amazing food I should try next time? Let me know in the comments.
For further inspiration, you can have a look at my Pinterest Board VEGAN IN TOKYO/ JAPAN
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