Plant-Based Japan Travel – Tokyo 2

Here’s continuing from the previous list! Here are places quite near or further away from Tokyo’s train stations, and are near the following sightseeing spots. Reference map here.

Notes:

  • Veg*n is a shortened, inclusive term to refer to vegans and vegetarians.
  • This article is solely based on my experiences and research, thus may not represent the whole of Tokyo.
  • Accuracy of information cannot be guaranteed as there may be changes to the eatery’s operations

Edo-Tokyo Museum

It’s not the usual museum where you simply peer into glass cases. The exhibits were thoughtfully designed and brought the atmosphere of ancient Tokyo to life. You can also engage an English volunteer guide for free.

Designed by a famous architect from 1960’s Metabolism movement. Geeky designer moment for me.

Genki Tei (non-veg)

  • Alliums: Might contain, check while ordering
  • Alcohol: None tasted, sells alcohol

A cafe about 5 minutes walk away from Ryogoku Station and 8 minutes to the museum. Located at level 2. Servers could not speak English and had no English menu. Good thing they knew the word vegetarian and confirmed when I asked if something was vegetarian. Has a health grocery shop below with vegan mayo and other packaged foods like instant ramen and sauces. Review.

Brown rice instant ramen, available in 3 flavours (not gluten-free though).

Kanda

We stayed in this women-only capsule hotel 6 minutes from Kanda Station for a night. I won’t recommend staying more than one night. An interesting futuristic experience – capsules were comfortable but offered little soundproofing.

Yasai Izakaya Genki (non-veg)

  • Alliums: Request without while ordering
  • Alcohol: None tasted, shop sells alcohol. Vegan cheesecake has sake lees.

About 8 minutes away from Kanda Station, this vegetable themed izakaya (Japanese bar) can do a vegan okonomiyaki (savoury pancake) and tofu cheesecake. Okonomiyaki is customisable so feel free to make requests. Only has about 6 seats. A little hard to find as it’s in a residential area. The friendly and eccentric owner can speak very good English. Review.

A non-traditional okonomiyaki! Topped with fried mushrooms instead of dried fish flakes.

 

Senso-ji Temple (Asakusa)

Tokyo’s oldest and most famous ancient Buddhist temple with impressive gates. At the tourist information centre opposite the Kaminari gate (first gate with 雷门 lantern) , you can get a printed copy of Tokyo Vege Map.

The kind of place where all your photos will be ruined by tourists :/ .

Nakamise Shopping Street

There are many small shops leading to the temple. Some sell traditional Japanese sweets or snacks that are vegan, like rice crackers (check for fish sauce), yokan (agar based sweet), various mochi and crushed ice (in summer). Note that anything cake or pancake-like in Japan very likely contains eggs and dairy.

Sekai Cafe (non-veg)

  • Alliums: Labelled
  • Alcohol: None

4 minutes walk from Senso-ji. Sekai means world and this cafe aims to cater to people from around the world. They offer options for vegans, allium-free vegetarians, Muslims and gluten-free people. The whole cafe is halal; they also have a branch near Tokyo Sky Tree. The food quality is incredible, but menu is limited and doesn’t offer local food. Provides a printed Muslim-friendly restaurants map. Review.

First time having vegan creme brulee 🙂

Asakusa Ramen Toryanse (non-veg)

  • Alliums: One ramen has, the other doesn’t. Check when ordering.
  • Alcohol: Sells alcohol

In the shopping arcade near the temple. Offers 2 vegetarian ramens at an affordable price. I didn’t eat there, only passed by and saw this banner.

A cheaper option near Senso-ji.

Shimokitazawa

A hipster neighbourhood known for vintage clothes shops and quirky knick-knacks – somewhat like our Haji Lane. Not as crowded as other popular neighbourhoods, perfect for a chill afternoon in a cafe.

Live Juice (vegetarian)

  • Alliums: None
  • Alcohol: Sells amazake

A small smoothie and juice bar where I had the best almond milk ever! Review.

Natural House (non-veg)

Organic health grocery shop next to Shimokitazawa station. Spotted vegan breads, cookies and butter.

Finding vegan breads in Japan is even harder than in Singapore. 99% of supermarket and konbini breads have egg & dairy. Here, the only allergen listed is wheat (小麦).

Ginza

Popular shopping district for international brands, like our Orchard Road. I enjoyed the food here more than the shopping.

Nataraj (vegetarian)

  • Alliums: Present in the buffet, check while ordering
  • Alcohol: None tasted, shop sells alcohol

Indian food was the last thing I expected to eat in Japan as Singapore offers excellent Indian cuisine. We ended up here to take shelter from a sudden typhoon. It turned out to be a great experience – eggs and dairy were labelled clearly and the buffet offered fantastic value for the quality! Even had delicious vegan kheer! Review.

Vegan!! Naan!!

Notable mention

Gonpachi (non-veg)

  • Alliums: Unsure
  • Alcohol: Sells alcohol

Highly recommended by one of my Airbnb hosts. Gonpachi is known as the Kill Bill restaurant because the movie “Kill Bill” was inspired by the restaurant in Nishi-Azabu. They have a branch in Shibuya, Ginza with a vegetarian menu (seems to require reservation). My host recommended me the vegan sushi, but I couldn’t find a chance to visit. Try it and let me know!

Outside Tokyo

Although I didn’t enjoy Tokyo itself that much as it was more overwhelming than Singapore, the day trips offered a much needed respite from the crowds and heat wave.

Kamakura

40 minutes by train from Shibuya station. A coastal town that was once an ancient capital of Japan, thus the many temples. Despite being famous for its Buddhist temples, Buddhist vegetarian food is uncommon here.

Engaku-ji temple’s teahouse.

Cafe Guri (non-veg)

  • Alliums: Present in the soup
  • Alcohol: None tasted, sells alcohol

This is a traditional lacquerware museum’s restaurant, 5 minutes walk away from Kamakura Station. Offers 2 vegan options – a vegan set and udon. Had the best traditional Japanese set meal of my trip here. Review.

I’d travel to Kamakura just to eat this again.

Engaku-ji Temple’s Teahouse (non-veg)

  • Alliums: None
  • Alcohol: None tasted, sells alcohol

This peaceful temple is about 5 minutes from Kita-Kamakura Station (that’s a different station from Kamakura station). The teahouse requires some effort to find. You need to follow the sign that points to the bell, pass by a car park and climb 140 steps up a hill. You’ll be rewarded with exquisite Japanese sweets and a beautiful mountain view. Review.

Dango with roasted malt tea and amazake.

 

Yokohama

Yokohama is a port city about 20 minutes by train from Shibuya station. It was one of the first cities that opened up for trade, thus have plenty of American and European influences.

Red Brick Warehouse. A repurposed historic building on a pier.

Shin-Yokohama Ramen Museum (non-veg)

  • Alliums: All veg*n ramen has alliums, but Ryu-Shanghai’s one can be done without
  • Alcohol: Not used in the ramen. All shops sell alcohol.

If you love learning about food and history, this place alone is worth a trip to Yokohama. Showcases ramen’s history and types, plus an area accurately replicating the streets of 60’s Tokyo. The traditional food court offers ramen from various regions of Japan. Vegan, Muslim and alliums information are on their website. Museum shop also sells packet instant vegan ramen. Review.

Never expected vegan tonkotsu (pork bone soup) ramen to exist!

 

Pie Holic (non-vegan)

  • Alliums: None in the apple pie, check before ordering the dinner pie
  • Alcohol: None tasted, sells alcohol

Located in the Marine & Walk building a bit further away from the Red Brick Warehouses. Had a vegan apple pie and apparently serves another savoury vegan one at dinner. American themed but communication was an issue. Seems like none of the servers could speak English and service wasn’t good by Japanese standards. Review.

Lovely pie – perfect portion for an afternoon snack.

Previous: Tokyo Part 1 . Next: Kyoto

Share this
SHARE

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *