In the land of rice, you’d think eating vegan would be a no brainer, right? Wrong. I guess the fact that Japan is an island should have tipped me off. The reverence towards fish in Tokyo runs deep, with centuries of historical influence and reliance on these aquatic animals. Still, I stupidly boarded the airplane telling my brother that we would eat like kings and queens on this new land. We did, but only for one meal a day, and only after traveling 45 minutes to get there nearly starving. Okay I’m being dramatic, but it was a bit of a struggle for us. So I’m writing this in hopes that it will be less troublesome for you. Here are the vegan restaurants we would recommend for travelers in Tokyo. Remember Tokyo is huge so these are pretty spread apart. The neighborhoods are listed next to the restaurant names in order to help situate you.
1. 8ablish (Minato)
My brother died and went to heaven with this restaurant. We went there for breakfast, lunch and dinner and were equally impressed by all three. The owners of this restaurant are not vegan, but it’s because their motto is to have delicious food (that happens to be vegan) for EVERYONE. It really does hit the mark for meat eaters and vegheads alike. I can’t recommend one particular dish because I know they are all good! The waiters were all very kind and attentive. Make sure you go 30-60 minute before closing because they have a ‘last call’ around this time.
2. Kaemon Asakusa (Asakusa)
This is a vegan buffet, just a short walk from Senso-ji Temple and the nearby market area. Of all the places we ate, this was my favorite for it’s simple, healthy ingredients that packed a punch. You are also able to get an authentic Japanese dining experience by sitting seiza-style on a floor cushion, or if you prefer western comforts there is a modern dining section with chairs. The staff here was so kind that they even took a photo with us!
3. Chaya Macrobiotics in Isetan Mall (Shinjuku)
Shinjuku is a posh area, and the Isetan Mall is no exception to this. Chaya is nestled upstairs within the mall, and serves overpriced macrobiotic food of somewhat small portions (even for Japanese standards). One Google reviewer said it was the kind of place where rich women would go to gossip. Despite this, the food was rather good. They have a strange menu though, with only certain things being offered at limited times. Tyler wanted to have their acai bowl, but it was only available from 3-5pm — that is a TWO HOUR WINDOW. Can someone please explain that to me? Needless to say, he never got the acai bowl he so desired. I would recommend coming here for a late lunch, where they supposedly offer warm pasta dishes, burgers and, hopefully, acai bowls.
4. Ain Soph Ripple (Shinjuku)
Let me start by saying, this restaurant is terrible for lunch and dinner. We went here so many times simply because we were starving, it was super close to our apartment and it’s entirely vegan. Every time we had the renewed hope that if we ordered a different dish, things would change. This hope was repeatedly shot down. However, breakfast made me change my mind about this place. They serve vegan waffles and french toast which are completely delicious. The french toast was a bit on the soft side, but the taste was still on point. Come here to carb up for a big day of walking around the city!
5. T’s TanTan in the Tokyo Station on Keiyo Street (Chiyoda)
What’s a girl to do when she loves ramen but knows the broth isn’t vegan? She goes to T’s TanTan. This restaurant only offers plant-based ramen dishes and other vegan sides. I was incredibly impressed by everything we tried. It was one of those times were I was so full, but didn’t want to stop eating because the food gave me that much joy. There’s an important thing to note: If you couldn’t tell by the long/specific title, this place is hard to find. It is located within the bustling Tokyo Station, so you have to pay 140 yen to get in. If you enter through the South Marunouchi exit, you can walk straight back and to the right and you will see signs for the Keiyo Line and Keiyo Street – that’s where you want to go. We arrived here and found a line out the door, and for good reason. This place is AMAZING. Don’t delay- go today.
If you don’t feel the need for lots of options, you can always visit a ‘normal’ restaurant and order vegan. This website has a list of Japanese dishes that you should be able to order. Enjoy!