5 Travel Tips for Eating the Best Vegan Food in Tokyo

5 Travel Tips for Finding and Eating the Best Vegan Food in Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo is the capital of Japan and the world’s most populous metropolis. Known for its bustling city streets, tech-savvy inventions, and unique cuisine, Tokyo is on many traveller’s bucket lists. However, navigating a notoriously-seafood-loving city might seem daunting for an animal-loving holiday-goer.

While Tokyo itself is the location of the Machida Squirrel Garden, which homes 200 squirrels in an outdoor enclosure, visitors wary of the ethics of interactive animal experiences may want to venture further afield. Nara, the former capital of Japan, is a six-hour drive from Tokyo, and entices visitors in with the Nara Park – home to hundreds of free-roaming deer. According to Shinto, a Japanese religion dating from the early 1700s, deer are messengers of the gods, and so Nara’s nearly 1200 deer are considered a national treasure. Tokyo is also home to many culture-rich temples including the Yushima Tenjin temple in Bunkyō, where visitors can find the nadeushi – “stroking cow” – bronze statue, which supposedly confers healing on those who touch it.

With your activities sorted, you’re probably wondering what local cuisine you can indulge in to fuel you after a busy day of sight-seeing. You might think you’ve got Japanese cuisine sussed: raw fish sushi, questionable meat, and live lobster dishes. But did you know that plant-based cooking has a long tradition in Japan? Before the late 19th century when red meat was introduced by the West, and the mid 20th century when dairy was introduced, the Japanese ate lots of plant-based dishes.

At most stores, restaurants, and Japanese pubs (izakaya) tofu dishes, salads, roasted corn, and pickled vegetables are widely available. Okonomiyaki is a classic savoury pancake, and, translating as “food as you like it” is easily veganizable. However, a top tip for anyone looking to avoid animal products is to be wary of dishes that appear to be vegan-friendly but might be made with a dashi (出汁, だし) – fish stock – base.

So, now you’re well-equipped for adventuring around Tokyo, we’ve compiled some of the cities best places to find vegan food sure to impress travelers of all dietary preferences.

1. T’s Tantan

5 Travel Tips for Finding and Eating the Best Vegan Food in Tokyo, Japan

Located at Tokyo Station, T’s Tantan is a fully vegan eatery that promises that everyone – “vegetarian[s], people with allergies and dietary restrictions, people who love meat, people who can eat whatever” – will “eat happily.”

The eatery recently celebrated its ninth birthday and reflected on how times are changing, with more and more consumers looking for healthy, sustainable food choices – that also tastes delicious.

Providing visitors with this, the restaurant’s lunchtime menu includes massaman curry, fried soy meat, and crème brûlée. For dinner, visitors can also enjoy a range of soups, salads, creamy Tantan-men noodles, soy and vegetable dumplings, spring rolls, and rich and spicy curries.

You can find out more here.

2. Hemp Cafe Tokyo

5 Travel Tips for Finding and Eating the Best Vegan Food in Tokyo, Japan

Located in central Tokyo, this vegan restaurant uses organic hemp products like hemp seed, hemp protein, and hemp oil as ingredients in its unique dishes – making it an ideal dining option for those looking to fully relax on their travels.

According to its website, the cafe was created by Keiichi Kato, an owner-chef of Rainbow Rawfood, one of Tokyo’s most famous raw eateries.

Hemp Cafe Tokyo offers everything from hemp-based snacks such as Garlic Hemp Edamame and Hemp Vegan Cheese to mains including sushi and tacos. Hemp-based ice creams and alcoholic drinks – including cocktails and hemp beer – are also served.

You can find out more here.

3. Veganic To Go

5 Travel Tips for Finding and Eating the Best Vegan Food in Tokyo, Japan

Vegan, organic, and macrobiotic, this Minato-ku based eatery creates its dishes on the basis that “you are what you eat.” The eatery is 100% plant-based, GMO-free, antibiotic free, low refined sugar and fats, and gluten-free-friendly.

Among its healthy-but-flavorsome offerings are pizza topped with vegan cheese and veggies, fried soy meat, and the Veganic Tartar Fish Moster Burger. This features a homemade bun, tartar sauce, and a soy-based fishless fishy cutlet. Vegan soft-serve ice cream, fruit tarts, and seasonal Christmas stollen are also up for grabs.

You can find out more here.

4. 8ablish

5 Travel Tips for Finding and Eating the Best Vegan Food in Tokyo, Japan

Anyone passing near the Minami-Aoyama area of Tokyo will be interested in 8ablish, a fully vegan eatery which serves dishes free from refined white sugar and chemical seasoning. Founded in 2000, 8ablish hopes to “bring richness and creation to each and everyday life and society as a whole through food and design.” 

Among the many creative dishes available are a tofu, tempeh, and vegetable souvlaki, avocado and soy meat ragout enchiladas, and a tomato and basil pie. The varied range of desserts includes lemon tiramisu, seasonal parfait, and a caramelized nuts tart with dairy-free ice cream and caramel sauce.

You can find out more here.

5. AIN SOPH. Ripple

5 Travel Tips for Finding and Eating the Best Vegan Food in Tokyo, Japan

Located in Kabukicho, Tokyo’s entertainment and red light district, AIN SOPH. Ripple serves exclusively vegan food, but is sure to appeal to any visitor and leave them positive about a plant-based future. The eatery’s motto is, “Just as ripples spread when a single pebble is dropped into water, the actions of individuals can have far-reaching effects.”

The eatery offers several burgers including the Ripple cheeseburger topped with guacamole and the crispy soy chicken burger topped with tartar sauce. Burritos are also a specialty here, as are comfort food sides including cheesy friends and macaroni and cheese are also available, and a range of sweets which includes fresh toast, waffles, and ice cream.

You can find out more here.

Image credit: T’s Tantan | Hemp Cafe Tokyo | Veganic To Go | 8ablish | AIN SOPH. Ripple


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