Due to the ever popular and traditional Japanese flavorings that commonly use fish stock, traveling to Tokyo as a vegetarian might seem impossible. However, you can actually enjoy some of the tastiest vegetarian Japanese and non-Japanese cuisine if you just know where to look!
Believe it or not, one of the popular concepts of vegetarianism, known as Macrobiotics, was founded by a Japanese man and spread to the Americas and beyond. Therefore, as origin to macrobiotic understandings, there are plenty of restaurants that serve brown rice and organic vegetables with the original Japanese macrobiotic flavorings that are celebrated around the world.
Not only that, but Tokyo, as one of the world's leading innovative cities, has been keeping up with the vegetarian trends that are currently booming in the States. From raw food to Ayurveda to macrobiotics to veganism, there are, without a doubt, vegetarian restaurants in Tokyo that you will fall in love with.
From Japanese foods to Western foods, here is an introduction to the must-go-to Tokyo vegan restaurants!
How can you travel to Japan without trying sushi!? Potager, located in Roppongi, offers a full sushi menu---the kicker is that instead of raw fish, they use fresh vegetables! Each piece is beautifully and artistically sculpted and served the traditional Japanese way. You'll have an opportunity to try a variety of Japanese vegetables that you might not find anywhere else!
If you spent your childhood enjoying packaged ramen noodles, it's time to try the real thing! Unfortunately, the "real thing" contains fish stock---unless you go to T's Tantan located in Tokyo Station, where are variety of ramen dishes are waiting for you!
While sushi and ramen are certainly popular outside of Japan, they are only a couple of the amazing dishes that Japan has to offer. One restaurant, located in Omotesando, has special daily macrobiotic meals that vary from tempura to curry. The dishes are made from the vegetables raised in their gardens. The flavors at this restaurant are truly delicious and if you want to try authentic Japanese foods from the earth then it's the place to go!
Hanada Rosso, located in Harajuku, is a favorite to the macrobiotic community for their ever-popular veggie burger patty! You can order it accompanied by brown rice for Japanese style, or you can have it put between two buns for western style! In any case, the patty is simply fantastic that you might have to go there at least twice within your trip to Tokyo! (The restaurant is tucked into a hard-to-miss-building, but trust the map and you'll hit a treasure spot!)
When it comes to dining out at night, the Japanese commonly eat in what is called an "izakaya", or "izakaya" style dining. This involves ordering rich-flavored main dishes that are meant to accompany alcoholic beverages, as opposed to having a basic meal that includes a main dish with rice and soup. If you want to give this Japanese style dining a try, Gaya, located in Aoyama, and Sumi Bio, located in Ebisu, are definitely the places to check out. The atmospheres are perfect for men and women in a casual yet stylish dining atmosphere. Although they are both well known for their vegetarian foods, they both offer dishes with natural cheeses, fish, egg, or pork, so they also are recommended dining spot to go to with non-vegetarian friends.
While Chaya, located in Shinjuku, certainly does have Japanese foods including brown rice, their concept is more of a French style dining with croquettes, grain patties and stews that can also be accompanied with fresh bread. Their cuisine can best be described as a stylish version of macrobiotics that includes a fusion of eastern and western ideas. For example, while they focus on organic vegetarian meals, they might use a wine base for their sauces to add a rich flavoring. The highlight of their foods would have to be their dessert selection that includes anything from tofu cheesecake to soy parfaits to strawberry shortcakes and puddings. Their vegan desserts can therefore be the most impressive in authenticity despite being free of animal products.
Located in Omotesando, Pure Café is a popular destination for both native Japanese and foreigners alike. Pure Café is a simple deli-style café that offers unique fusion foods from around the world. Try their sandwich set for lunch or their special deli plate at night. Their muffins and apple crumble are also recommended!
Are you a fan of afternoon high tea? One of the easily desired foods for vegans and vegetarians are pastries! Located in the quaint and stylish town of Jiyugaoka, Simple Modern Macrobiotic is the perfect little classy place to enjoy afternoon high tea after some shopping. They have a full tea set that includes sandwiches, scones, and pastries! Every month or two they change the tastes to the season or occasion. But be sure to call them at least two days in advance to order so they can have it made for you! Otherwise, they offer two simple dishes of vegan quiche or veggie grain burger patty that are both exquisite, and of course they have a fabulous selection of afternoon teacakes and tea. If you plan to order just dessert, the "heavenly chocolate" is as great as it's name sounds, and their soy-milk tea tastes as rich as it's traditional counterpart.
As you can see, there is absolutely no reason not to travel to Japan as a vegan when it comes to finding Japanese food without fish stock or tasty vegan dishes. Whether it's traditional Japanese food or style of dining, or whether you're missing food from abroad, Tokyo will have something for you to enjoy!