It is actually harder than I thought to find food without meat and fish sauce at restaurants in Japan. In San Francisco, I know of two vegan Japanese restaurants. I expected to find one on every corner here, which was not the case. But with the help of Happy Cow, I did find some delicious places. In fact the food is amazing and even just along the streets and at the train stations, there is plenty to eat.
Here are some of my favorite restaurants. I am not giving directions on how to find them: I am linking the websites. Part of the adventure is walking in the neighborhoods searching for these places. I must say that my guides were very patient with me in my quest for vegan restaurants. We walked many kilometers, but in the end, they all were impressed with the food and my excitement:
For a special adventure night, I recommend Ninja Akasaka in downtown Tokyo. They do magic tricks and have a great vegan tasting menu. The servers are dressed as ninjas, and it is a deep cavernous experience. Here is what I ate:
- 1.Shuriken star-blades grissini
- 2.Vegetable Sushi
- 3.Fried season vegetables
- 4.Avocado carpaccio
- 5.Season vegetables potage
- 6.Tofu steak
- 7.Vegetable roll
- 8.Fruit sampler
Harukucchi in Fujisawa. This was a nice surprise. A tiny two-table restaurant with creative ideas and a sense of fusion among the world’s vegan cuisines. I don’t exactly know what we ordered, but it was all excellent. We just ordered the servers suggestions.
Ain Soph Journey at Shinjuku. Wow, the pancakes were fluffy and delicious with vegan whipped cream. They look and taste just like the pictures on the website.
Kamakura Fushikian at Ahikabara. This is an inexpensive Zen restaurant in a food court. Very tasty miso soup and a plate of traditional Japanese salads. Everything tasted great. So nice to have miso soup sans fish.
Ts TanTan. This is one of my favorites because of its convenient location at Tokyo station, on Keiyo street within the toll gates. The ramen here was hearty and full of black sesame flavors. Delicious and inexpensive fantastic ramen noodles.
Then in Nikko, Meiji-No-Yakata is a must. This is a beautiful stop just near the Tosho-Gu complex. They have a relatively inexpensive bento box menu (20,000 yen) in a traditional Japanese restaurant with glass windows facing the bonsai garden. This is serene and even my two carnivore student guides said it was among the best meals they have eaten.
Vegan inaris, and sushi rolls are available in the supermarkets and just about at every train station. Corn on the cob is easy to find in Ueno, however fruits are more scarce, and expensive. At Ginza there is a fruit shop, Sembikiya, that sells beautiful boxes of select fruits for more than $100! But there is the abundance of different types of mochi. The possibilities at every stop along the way are for exploring. I certainly didn’t lose any weight despite all the walking. Enjoy!