November 02, 2023

Can I find vegetarian or vegan food in Japan?

In this article, we have listed the top 10 best vegan and vegetarian food in Japan. Plus, you will find 4 most affordable restaurants in Tokyo and Kyoto. Vegetarian dishes in Japan offers a delightful journey into the heart of a culinary tradition that beautifully combines simplicity and artistry. While Japanese cuisine is often associated with fresh seafood and succulent cuts of meat. 

The country's rich history and culture have given rise to a vibrant and diverse range of vegetarian dishes. Whether you're a dedicated vegetarian or simply seeking a break from meat. Exploring the world of vegetarian food in Japan opens up a whole new realm of flavors. You can find textures and culinary experiences.

In Japan, vegetarian cuisine is deeply rooted in the principles of balance and harmony, reflecting the nation's Zen Buddhist heritage. This culinary philosophy emphasizes using fresh, seasonal ingredients, expertly prepared to enhance their natural flavors. 

Top 10 Vegetarian and Vegan Food

Japanese cuisine offers a variety of delicious vegetarian and vegan options. Here are ten different Japanese dishes that can satisfy both vegetarians and vegans:

  1. Edamame: Edamame are young soybeans that are harvested before they fully mature. They are typically boiled or steamed and then lightly salted. Edamame is a popular appetizer in Japanese cuisine, often served in their pods, and diners squeeze the beans out of the pods before eating.

  1. Yasai Tempura: Yasai tempura is a delightful dish where various vegetables like sweet potato, bell pepper, zucchini, and eggplant are thinly sliced, lightly battered, and deep-fried until they become crispy and golden. Tempura is often served with a dipping sauce made of soy sauce, dashi (a type of stock), and grated daikon radish.

  1. Agedashi Tofu: Agedashi tofu consists of silken tofu cubes that are lightly dusted with potato starch and deep-fried until they are golden brown and crispy. They are typically served in a savory dashi-based broth and garnished with grated daikon radish, chopped green onions, and bonito flakes (which can be omitted for a vegetarian version).

  1. Vegetable Sushi Rolls: These rolls, also known as maki sushi, are made with a variety of vegetables, like cucumber, avocado, carrot, and pickled radish. They are wrapped in sheets of nori (seaweed) and vinegared rice. Common vegetarian rolls include avocado rolls, cucumber rolls, and kanpyo (dried gourd) rolls.

  1. Hiyayakko: Hiyayakko is a cold tofu dish. Soft tofu is chilled and served with various toppings, such as grated ginger, sliced green onions, soy sauce, and bonito flakes (skip the bonito flakes for a vegetarian version). It's a refreshing and simple appetizer or side dish.

  1. Nasu Dengaku: Nasu dengaku is a dish featuring grilled or broiled eggplant slices that are topped with a sweet miso glaze. The miso glaze adds a rich and savory flavor to the tender eggplant.

  1. Soba Noodles: Soba noodles are thin noodles made from buckwheat flour and wheat flour. They can be served hot in a savory broth or cold with a dipping sauce. Toppings often include grated daikon radish, sliced green onions, and seaweed.

  1. Inarizushi: Inarizushi is a type of sushi where sushi rice is encased in a slightly sweet, marinated tofu skin pouch, giving it a unique and pleasing combination of flavors and textures. It's naturally vegan.

  1. Miso Soup: Miso soup is a traditional Japanese soup made with miso paste, which is a fermented soybean paste. It is typically flavored with ingredients like tofu, seaweed, and green onions. The flavor can vary depending on the type of miso used.

  1. Gomaae: Gomaae is a dish made with blanched or steamed vegetables, such as spinach or green beans. These vegetables are dressed in a sesame sauce, which is made from ground sesame seeds, soy sauce, sugar, and sometimes a touch of mirin (a sweet rice wine). The result is a flavorful and slightly sweet vegetable side dish.

Food in Japan offers a diverse range of tastes and textures, making Japanese vegetarian and vegan cuisine both delicious and satisfying.

Top 4 Vegetarian and Vegan restaurants in Japan

We have listed 4 best and most affordable food in Tokyo and Kyoto. The following list will tell you about vegetarian restaurants in Japan. 


Here is the list of 4 best and most affordable vegetarian and vegan foods in Kyoto: 

  1. T's Tantan (Tokyo Station): T's Tantan is a well-known vegan restaurant located within Tokyo Station, making it a convenient stop for travelers. The restaurant specializes in vegan ramen, featuring a rich and flavorful sesame-based broth. They offer a variety of ramen options, including spicy versions, and the noodles are made in-house. 

  1. Nagi Shokudo (Shibuya): Nagi Shokudo is a vegetarian and vegan-friendly restaurant located in the Shibuya area. The restaurant focuses on providing healthy and flavorful meals, with options such as vegan curries, rice bowls, and salads. Their menu often features seasonal ingredients, and they prioritize using organic produce. The rustic and welcoming ambiance adds to the overall dining experience. You will find one of the best Japanese foods in Tokyo.

  1. Afuri (Harajuku branch): While Afuri is primarily known for its non-vegan ramen, the Harajuku branch offers a special vegan ramen option. This vegan ramen features a soy-based broth that's both savory and satisfying. The menu also includes vegan-friendly toppings and accompaniments. 

  1. Itadakizen (Minato): Itadakizen is a vegan and macrobiotic restaurant located in the Minato district. The restaurant's name reflects its philosophy, which translates to "gratitude for food." Itadakizen offers a variety of organic, plant-based dishes that are not only delicious but also nourishing. The serene and calming atmosphere makes it a perfect place to savor healthy vegan cuisine.


Here is the list of 4 best and most affordable vegetarian and vegan foods in Kyoto

  1. Choice (Gion, Kyoto): Choice is a vegetarian and vegan-friendly restaurant located in the historic Gion district of Kyoto. The menu includes a mix of Japanese and international dishes, such as curries, sandwiches, salads, and vegan sweets. With its location in a traditional part of the city, Choice provides a blend of old-world charm and contemporary plant-based dining. You will find one of the best vegan foods in Kyoto

  1. Mumokuteki (Near Kinkaku-ji, Kyoto): Mumokuteki is a cozy vegan restaurant situated near the iconic Kinkaku-ji (the Golden Pavilion) in Kyoto. The restaurant offers a range of plant-based Japanese and international dishes. Popular choices include their set meals, which provide a variety of tastes and textures, and their desserts made with a creative twist.

  1. Vegetable Lab. Kyoto (Central Kyoto): Vegetable Lab. Kyoto is a restaurant that focuses on creative and seasonal vegetarian dishes. Their menu includes a variety of salads, grain bowls, and other plant-based options. The restaurant aims to highlight the natural flavors of vegetables while offering a modern and welcoming dining atmosphere.

  1. Veg Out (Higashiyama, Kyoto): Veg Out is a vegan-friendly restaurant and cafe located in the Higashiyama district of Kyoto, near many historic temples and shrines. They serve vegan curry dishes, sandwiches, and a selection of sweets, making it a great place to recharge while exploring the city. The restaurant's cozy and casual ambiance provides a welcoming retreat for travelers seeking vegan options.