Woman eating Ramen with text: Vegan Delights in Tokyo: Exploring the best plant-based restaurants in the bustling Metropolis

Vegan Delights in Tokyo: Exploring the Best Plant-Based Restaurants in the Bustling Metropolis

Welcome to Tokyo, the vibrant capital city of Japan! Renowned for its iconic skyline, cutting-edge technology, and rich cultural heritage, Tokyo is a dream destination for travelers from all walks of life. While Japanese cuisine is celebrated worldwide for its delicate flavors and artistic presentation, it is often perceived as challenging for vegans due to its heavy reliance on seafood, meat, and dairy products. However, fear not, as Tokyo has emerged as a vegan paradise with the highest concentration of vegan restaurants in Japan.

Unlike other countries, where veganism has been gaining popularity rapidly, Japan has traditionally been a meat and seafood-centric nation. With its strong cultural emphasis on fresh fish, dashi (fish broth), and meat-based dishes, finding vegan-friendly options in local eateries can be a bit of a challenge. However, Tokyo’s cosmopolitan nature has played a significant role in diversifying the city’s culinary landscape, providing a wide array of vegan-friendly choices to cater to the needs of international travelers and the growing vegan community.

With a remarkable rise in awareness about plant-based diets and the increasing demand for vegan options, Tokyo has witnessed a surge in vegan restaurants over the past decade. From cozy cafes to upscale dining establishments, there is something to satisfy every vegan palate in this bustling metropolis. Whether you’re craving traditional Japanese dishes with a vegan twist or yearning for international flavors from around the globe, Tokyo has it all.

A shrine in Tokyo in the sunshine

Beyond the thriving vegan scene, Tokyo itself is a mesmerizing city that never sleeps. Its bustling streets are filled with neon lights, towering skyscrapers, and a vibrant blend of ancient traditions and modern innovations. The city’s fast-paced energy and unparalleled dynamism create an atmosphere that is both exhilarating and captivating for travelers seeking unforgettable experiences.

a wall of Japanese Paper fish

In the upcoming sections of this guide, we will delve into the culinary delights that Tokyo has to offer, exploring a diverse selection of vegan restaurants and eateries that are sure to leave you satiated and delighted. Whether you’re a local resident or a curious visitor, this guide will serve as your compass to navigate Tokyo’s vegan landscape and discover the hidden gems that await you.

So buckle up, embark on this gastronomic adventure, and get ready to indulge in Tokyo’s finest vegan cuisine amidst the bustling streets and bustling atmosphere of this extraordinary city. Let’s dive in and explore the delectable world of vegan dining in Tokyo!

Navigating the Dining Scene in Tokyo: Tips for a Smooth Experience

When dining in Japanese restaurants in Tokyo, it’s important to keep a few things in mind to ensure a smooth and enjoyable experience. Firstly, many Japanese restaurants tend to be small in size, so be prepared for a cozy and intimate setting. Secondly, it’s not uncommon to encounter long wait times, especially at popular establishments. Reservations may not always be possible, so it’s advisable to arrive early or be prepared to wait patiently for a table. Additionally, it’s worth noting that some restaurants have specific rules, such as requiring each person to order food and a drink. This can be frustrating if you arrive to find a large queue. To avoid any surprises, it’s helpful to read reviews on platforms like Happy Cow, which provide insights into the restaurant’s atmosphere, rules, and overall dining experience. Checking the restaurant’s website and Instagram account can also provide valuable information about their policies. Being aware of these rules and guidelines beforehand will help you navigate the dining scene with ease and ensure a pleasant dining experience.

3 people next to sake drums in Tokyo Shrine

Sakura Tei: Unleash Your Inner Chef with DIY Vegan Okonomiyaki in Shibuya

Nestled in a charming alleyway within the vibrant Shibuya City area, Sakura Tei invites you to embark on a unique culinary adventure showcasing Tokyo-style okonomiyaki. For those unfamiliar with this beloved Japanese dish, let’s dive into the world of okonomiyaki and the delightful vegan options offered at Sakura Tei.

Okonomiyaki is a savory pancake-like creation that originated in the Kansai region of Japan. The name itself translates to “grilled as you like it,” reflecting the dish’s customizable nature. Typically made with a batter of flour, water, and shredded cabbage, okonomiyaki is cooked on a hot grill or teppan and topped with various ingredients such as meat, seafood, and vegetables. The crowning glory is the drizzle of a special sauce, mayonnaise, and sprinkling of seaweed flakes.

Two people making Okonomiaki

At Sakura Tei, vegan diners can rejoice, as this Tokyo-style okonomiyaki restaurant offers a dedicated vegan option that allows you to become the chef of your own culinary masterpiece. As you take your seat, you’ll be provided with a bowl containing cabbage, pickled ginger, tofu, and a mixture of flour and water to bind the ingredients together.

Embrace your inner chef as you mix the ingredients into a cohesive batter, ensuring that each bite is filled with the perfect balance of flavors and textures. Once the mixture is ready, it’s time to fire up the grill, which is conveniently located in the middle of your table. Place your vegan okonomiyaki creation onto the hot plate, allowing it to cook for approximately 5 minutes on each side until it achieves a golden brown color.

While traditional okonomiyaki is often accompanied by a combination of savory sauces, including mayonnaise, Sakura Tei’s vegan version provides a delectable vegan okonomiyaki sauce to elevate your creation. Sprinkle some seaweed flakes on top for an extra burst of umami flavor, and your vegan okonomiyaki masterpiece is complete.

vegan okonmiayaki

As you savor the delicious flavors of your own creation, don’t forget to pair your vegan okonomiyaki experience with a refreshing beer, a popular beverage choice that complements the savory pancake perfectly.

Beyond the mouthwatering dishes, Sakura Tei adds an extra layer of charm to your dining experience with its colorful pop art décor. This informal venue exudes a welcoming and laid-back atmosphere, allowing you to immerse yourself in the playful ambiance while you indulge in the art of cooking your own okonomiyaki.

Located in a picturesque alleyway in the Shibuya City area, Sakura Tei promises a memorable dining experience that combines the joy of DIY cooking with the flavors of vegan Tokyo-style okonomiyaki. Unleash your creativity and satisfy your taste buds at this delightful vegan-friendly establishment.

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Vegan Bistro Jangara: A Plant-Based Haven by Kyushu Jangara in Harajuku

Nestled on the second floor in the vibrant neighborhood of Harajuku, Vegan Bistro Jangara offers a delectable alSal-vegan menu that is sure to tantalize your taste buds. Established in March 2021 by the renowned ramen chain Kyushu Jangara, this bistro is a haven for vegan food enthusiasts seeking a diverse range of culinary delights.

As you step into Vegan Bistro Jangara, you’ll be greeted by a menu brimming with enticing options. From comforting curries and mouth watering ramen to flavorful tacos, grilled soy meats, and satisfying burgers, there is something to please every palate. The restaurant curates different menus for lunch and dinner, ensuring that you can enjoy a unique dining experience during each visit and the bistro takes pride in offering Oriental vegan options that are free from alliums, catering to various dietary preferences and restrictions.

Interior of a vegan Japanese restaurant

During our visit, we had the pleasure of savoring some of their standout dishes. One of the highlights was the Vegan Karabon, a plant-based rendition of Kyushu Jangara’s famous Karabon ramen. Known as the masterpiece of the original establishment, Karabon is a rich and spicy tonkotsu (pork bone) ramen. Vegan Bistro Jangara successfully replicates this culinary delight, allowing vegan diners to experience the same robust flavors in a compassionate way.

Another noteworthy dish we indulged in was the Vegan Kobonshan. This rendition captures the essence of “Kobonshan,” a tonkotsu ramen topped with fried garlic oil. Vegan Bistro Jangara skillfully recreates the flavors of this classic dish using vegan ingredients. They also offer the Singapore Laksa, a gluten-free option without the five pungent roots, showcasing the bistro’s commitment to catering to diverse dietary needs.

For those seeking a lighter option, Vegan Bistro Jangara even offers a no-oil ramen, ensuring a satisfying and healthy choice for discerning diners.

Situated on the second floor, this bistro provides a cozy and inviting atmosphere, allowing you to enjoy your culinary journey in a relaxed setting. The attentive staff and welcoming ambiance add to the overall dining experience, making it a destination worth visiting for vegan food enthusiasts.

Whether you’re a dedicated vegan or simply looking to explore plant-based options, Vegan Bistro Jangara in Harajuku offers a delightful array of dishes that showcase the culinary creativity and dedication of Kyushu Jangara. Indulge in their mouth watering offerings and discover the flavors that make this vegan bistro a standout gem in Tokyo.

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Brown Rice: A Macrobiotic Haven in Shibuya-ku

Nestled in the vibrant Shibuya-ku district of Tokyo, Brown Rice is a delightful vegan restaurant that specializes in macrobiotic cuisine. Step into this charming establishment, and you’ll discover a haven for health-conscious diners seeking nourishing and flavorful plant-based meals.

Macrobiotic cuisine, at its core, emphasizes a balanced and holistic approach to eating. It focuses on whole foods, primarily grains, vegetables, legumes, and seasonal ingredients. The philosophy behind macrobiotics is to achieve harmony and balance within the body, while promoting overall well-being. At Brown Rice, you’ll experience the essence of macrobiotic dining in each thoughtfully crafted dish.

As you make your way to Brown Rice, you’ll notice its location within the Neal’s Yard Remedies shop and salon group. This affiliation adds a touch of elegance and sophistication to the dining experience, making it an ideal spot for those seeking a more upscale atmosphere.

Brown Rice is a popular destination, particularly during lunchtime, where it attracts a diverse clientele, including the “ladies who lunch.” The restaurant offers a small selection of set meals that are expertly prepared and beautifully presented. Each dish is crafted with utmost care, ensuring a satisfying and visually appealing dining experience.

Conveniently located in the Harajuku area, Brown Rice is easily accessible from various transportation hubs. Whether you’re coming from the Harajuku JR station or the Omotesando subway exit onto Jingu-dori, you’ll find the restaurant just a short distance away. If you’re arriving via the Ginza line, exiting at Omote-Sando station and following the provided directions will lead you to this culinary gem.

Brown Rice has been serving its patrons for over two decades, a testament to its commitment to providing quality vegan cuisine. During our visit, we had the pleasure of enjoying the Japanese Curry, one of their lunch sets, and a tantalizing lemon tart. Each dish showcased the restaurant’s dedication to flavor, presentation, and the artistry of macrobiotic cooking.

Whether you’re a devoted follower of macrobiotic principles or simply seeking a wholesome and memorable dining experience, Brown Rice offers a serene ambiance and an array of delectable dishes that are sure to satisfy both your taste buds and your desire for nourishment.

2foods: Your Destination for Casual and Comforting Vegan Fare

2foods is a popular vegan restaurant chain with several branches across the city. During our culinary exploration, we had the pleasure of visiting their Roppongi location, which had a casual and inviting atmosphere.

2foods prides itself on serving “healthy junk food,” offering a menu that combines indulgence with a focus on wholesome ingredients. Their approach caters to those seeking comfort food with a vegan twist, making it an ideal destination for those craving familiar flavors in a plant-based form.

While 2foods specializes in delectable vegan dishes, they also offer a range of prepared food items that you can take home and enjoy at your convenience. Notably, they feature the Ever Egg, a vegan alternative to traditional eggs, which adds a unique touch to your culinary creations. Additionally, their selection of vegan sauces provides the opportunity to recreate dishes like Omelet Rice in the comfort of your own kitchen.

You’ll find an array of tempting treats that are sure to satisfy your cravings. Indulge in their selection of boba tea-style drinks, offering a variety of flavors to quench your thirst and delight your taste buds. Their donuts, available in enticing flavors such as Matcha and Sakura, provide a delightful accompaniment to your meal or a sweet treat to enjoy on their own.

It’s worth noting that the branch we visited in Roppongi had no indoor seating. However, this creates an opportunity to enjoy your meal on the go or find a nearby spot to sit and savor your delicious finds.

2foods stands out as an interesting player in the ever-growing vegan food scene in Japan. With their commitment to offering comfort food favorites in a vegan format, they provide a unique dining experience that appeals to both vegans and non-vegans alike.

SUSHI Gonpachi Nishi-Azabu: A Vegan-friendly Sushi Spot with a Unique Vibe

Tucked away above the renowned Gonpachi Nishi-Azabu, famously known as the “Kill Bill restaurant” due to Quentin Tarantino’s inspiration for a fight scene, is SUSHI Gonpachi Nishi-Azabu. This sushi restaurant offers a vegan menu, providing a rare opportunity to enjoy sushi in Japan while adhering to a plant-based diet.

It’s important to note that while SUSHI Gonpachi Nishi-Azabu offers vegan options, the sushi might not meet the same high standards and creativity as traditional sushi found at home. Yes, at home. However, the restaurant presents some decent sushi sets that can be a satisfying choice when dining with omnivorous friends. It’s a place where everyone can find something enjoyable, and you can appreciate the ambiance and company without compromising your dietary preferences.

The restaurant itself boasts an appealing atmosphere, complete with a Japanese garden courtyard where tables are arranged for a serene and charming dining experience. This unique setting adds a touch of tranquility to your meal, creating a memorable backdrop for your sushi adventure.

While the vegan sushi options at SUSHI Gonpachi Nishi-Azabu might not deliver the same level of innovation and taste as traditional sushi, it’s worth mentioning this restaurant as it fills a void for vegan sushi enthusiasts in Japan. Finding vegan-friendly sushi can be a challenge, making this establishment a notable inclusion in our exploration of vegan dining in Tokyo.

KOMEDA Is: A Vegan Oasis in Higashi Ginza

Nestled in the lively neighborhood of Higashi Ginza, KOMEDA Is stands as a remarkable vegan restaurant that belongs to the renowned Komeda chain of coffee shops. This particular branch embraces a 100% vegan concept, offering a diverse menu that caters to a wide range of culinary preferences especially children.

As you step into KOMEDA Is, you’ll immediately notice the spacious and airy ambiance that sets the stage for a comfortable and enjoyable dining experience. The restaurant’s eco-chic design creates a welcoming atmosphere, appealing to families and individuals alike.

Conveniently ordering your meal is made possible through the use of iPads, which allow you to explore the extensive menu and select your desired dishes with ease. The menu showcases an array of options, from satisfying soy meat burgers in various enticing variations to mouthwatering breakfast dishes that will kickstart your day on a delightful note.

One highlight at KOMEDA Is is the delightful Furutsu, a Japanese term for fruit sandwiches. These delectable treats consist of fresh and juicy fruits  and a lot of cream sandwiched between fluffy vegan bread, creating a harmonious blend of textures and flavors. 

To further delight your taste buds, KOMEDA Is also offers a delightful vegan soft serve option. Indulge in the smooth and creamy goodness of their plant-based soft serve, available in various flavors. It’s the perfect treat to cool down during warm Tokyo days or simply to satisfy your cravings for a delectable dessert.

In addition to their delightful food offerings, KOMEDA Is takes pride in their selection of expertly crafted coffee drinks. Pair your meal with a steaming cup of their signature coffee to elevate your dining experience. The menu also features a variety of desserts, including cakes and pastries, allowing you to round off your meal with a sweet note.

KOMEDA Is proudly holds certification as a vegan establishment by the Japan Vegan Society. This means that every dish on their menu adheres to strict vegan standards, providing you with the peace of mind to dine here confidently.

Located just a two-minute walk from Higashi-Ginza station, KOMEDA Is offers a perfect oasis for vegan food enthusiasts and coffee lovers alike. Whether you’re in the mood for a satisfying meal, a cozy coffee break, or a delightful dessert, KOMEDA Is will exceed your expectations.

Tecorgentil: A Vegan Bakery Delight in Tokyo

Nestled in the heart of Tokyo, Tecorgentil is a newly established 100% vegan bakery that promises a delightful experience for pastry enthusiasts. With its focus on crafting delectable vegan treats, this bakery has quickly gained a reputation as one of the best in town.

As you approach Tecorgentil, you’ll notice its cozy atmosphere and charming exterior. While there is no indoor seating available, there is a single table outside where you can enjoy your freshly baked delights while soaking in the surroundings.

Step inside Tecorgentil, and you’ll be greeted by an enticing display of seriously mouth watering pastries. From the moment you take your first bite, you’ll be captivated by the exceptional quality of their bread. Each slice boasts a perfect balance of texture and flavor, leaving you craving for more.

One of the highlights of Tecorgentil’s offerings is their amazing donuts. Whether you prefer filled or plain, their donuts are sure to satisfy your sweet tooth. Sink your teeth into a variety of flavors, ranging from classic favorites to unique creations. For those seeking a savory twist, Tecorgentil offers filled donuts with delightful curry fillings, providing a tantalizing blend of flavors.

Their croissants are a true delight, both filled and plain. Indulge in the flakiness of the pastry, which rivals even the most traditional non-vegan versions. 

Tecorgentil’s tarts are also worth mentioning, with their super flaky pastry encasing delicious fillings – we had strawberries. 

While every treat at Tecorgentil is a masterpiece, one standout creation is their French toast creme brulee-style. This unique twist on a classic favorite takes the indulgence to a whole new level. With its perfect balance of softness and caramelized sweetness, this item is a definite must-try.

Whether you’re a vegan or simply looking to explore the world of plant-based pastries, Tecorgentil offers a delightful selection that will leave you amazed. Take a moment to indulge in their exceptional baked goods and savor the flavors that make this vegan bakery a true gem in Tokyo.

Izakaya Masaka: Tokyo’s Thriving Vegan Haven in the Heart of Shibuya

If you’re looking to experience the lively and convivial atmosphere of an izakaya while enjoying a fully vegan menu, then Izakaya Masaka is a must-visit spot in Tokyo. But first, let’s unravel the essence of an izakaya.

In Japanese culture, an izakaya is a casual dining establishment where friends, coworkers, and families gather to unwind and enjoy good food and drinks in a relaxed setting. It’s a place where conversations flow, laughter fills the air, and memories are made. Traditionally, izakayas offer a wide variety of small plates and shareable dishes, complemented by an extensive selection of alcoholic beverages, such as sake, beer, and highballs.

What makes Izakaya Masaka so exciting is that it’s a 100% vegan izakaya, offering a unique and welcoming space for vegans and plant-based enthusiasts. Nestled in the basement of Shibuya PARCO, this vibrant eatery has been serving delightful vegan fare since its establishment in 2019.

Be prepared for a bustling scene when you arrive at Izakaya Masaka, as it tends to draw in a crowd of eager diners. The popularity of this vegan izakaya means that you may need to exercise some patience, as reservations are not accepted. During peak hours, expect to join a waitlist and anticipate a wait of around 30 minutes. But fear not, the experience that awaits you is well worth it.

While the lunchtime set menus are known to be a fantastic deal, our visit to Izakaya Masaka took place in the evening, where we indulged in a wide array of culinary delights. The whisky highball drinks and craft beers provided the perfect accompaniment to our meal, setting the mood for a memorable evening with old friends.

As for the menu itself, two standout dishes at Izakaya Masaka are their flavorful kara-age (Japanese-style fried “chicken”) and gyoza (dumplings). These beloved izakaya classics have been skillfully reimagined with vegan ingredients, resulting in mouthwatering plant-based renditions that will impress even the most discerning taste buds.

Other notable highlights from our dining experience included the refreshing Chinese cold tofu and an enticing selection of kara-age varieties, showcasing the culinary creativity of Izakaya Masaka’s talented chefs.

Located at 15-1 Udagawacho, Shibuya PARCO (in the basement level), Izakaya Masaka seamlessly blends the traditional izakaya ambiance with a wholly vegan menu, making it a standout destination for plant-based food lovers in Tokyo.

Please note that Izakaya Masaka operates from Monday to Sunday, with two daily time slots: 12:00pm to 3:00pm and 5:00pm to 10:00pm. Although reservations are not accepted, you can secure a spot by adding your name to the waiting list in front of the restaurant and patiently await your turn to experience this culinary gem.

Our dining experience at Izakaya Masaka was undoubtedly one of our favorite meals during our time in Japan. The combination of delectable vegan dishes, the lively atmosphere, and the company of friends made for an unforgettable evening.

Honorable Mention: Starbucks – A Faithful Standby

When it comes to finding a quick and reliable vegan-friendly option in Tokyo, you might be surprised to discover that Starbucks can be your savior. With numerous outlets scattered throughout the city, Starbucks has become a popular go-to spot for locals and travelers alike. In fact, Starbucks in Japan puts its North American counterparts to shame with its impressive dedication to accommodating vegan customers.

One notable feature that sets Starbucks in Japan apart is their attention to detail when it comes to vegan milk options. When you place your order, the cashier provides you with a paper indicating the type of vegan milk you have chosen. This extra step serves as a double-check to ensure that your drink is prepared with the correct milk, giving you peace of mind and assurance.

But Starbucks in Tokyo goes beyond just beverages. They have made significant strides in expanding their vegan food offerings since June 2022, providing a variety of solid options to satiate your hunger. Let’s take a closer look at some of the mouthwatering vegan delights available at Starbucks in Tokyo:

1. Spinach, Corn, and Soy Patty English Muffin: This delightful creation features spiced patties infused with a creamy blend of spinach and corn, complemented by the subtle tang of maple mustard. All of this deliciousness is served within a wholesome whole grain English muffin, making it a satisfying meal option.

2. Sugar Doughnuts: For those with a sweet tooth, Starbucks offers a plant-based twist on their classic glazed doughnuts. These delectable treats are a vegan’s dream, providing a delightful burst of flavor and a touch of indulgence to your coffee break.

3. Tomato and Soyball Brick-Oven Filone Sandwich: If you’re in the mood for a heartier option, this baguette-style bun filled with soy meatballs is sure to impress. The soy meatballs closely mimic the texture and flavor of traditional meatballs, while the sandwich is elevated with a savory tomato sauce and topped with shredded vegan cheese, creating a satisfying and flavorful meal experience.

4. Caramel Date and Oat Cake: Ending your Starbucks journey on a sweet note, this caramel date and oat cake resembles a luscious cheesecake. Made with plant-based ingredients, it offers a delightful combination of rich flavors and a smooth, creamy texture that will leave you craving more.

While Starbucks may not be exclusively vegan-focused, their commitment to providing diverse and delicious options for plant-based eaters in Tokyo is commendable. So, if you find yourself in need of a quick vegan fix or a cozy spot to unwind with a cup of joe, don’t overlook Starbucks in Tokyo—they might just surprise you with their vegan-friendly offerings.

To sum up

As we conclude our culinary exploration of vegan restaurants in Tokyo, it’s evident that this vibrant city offers a remarkable array of options for vegan food enthusiasts. From dedicated vegan establishments to traditional restaurants with vegan-friendly menus, Tokyo has something to satisfy every palate. While Japanese cuisine may not be inherently vegan-friendly, the growing awareness and demand for plant-based options have led to a flourishing vegan food scene. Whether you’re craving sushi, ramen, izakaya-style dishes, or delectable desserts, Tokyo has it all. Embrace the adventure, immerse yourself in the bustling streets, and indulge in the flavors of this metropolis as you embark on your own vegan food journey through the heart of Japan. Tokyo truly proves that vegan dining can be both exciting and delicious, leaving a lasting impression on your taste buds and ensuring that your culinary experiences in this captivating city will be truly unforgettable.

Japanese strawberry sweet

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