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Handy Japanese Language Guide for Vegan Travelers to Japan

We’ve created a handy Japanese language guide for vegan travelers in Japan or going to Japan. Including phonetics and Japanese script. A printable PDF is also included. See below for phrases that will come in handy when eating out, as well as help you reduce the waste you create.

While Japanese culture on the surface may look like it is based on orderly perfection, it also embraces the Wabi-Sabi philosophy. This concept is all about the art of finding beauty in imperfection. 

When it comes to Japan’s cuisine, while it is based on rice, noodles, seaweed, seasonal vegetables it also relies heavily on seafood. Nevertheless, Japanese cooking involves all sorts of delicious vegan items. These conflicting qualities give Japanese food the distinction of being among the most plant-based of all cuisines, yet simultaneously one of the least vegan-friendly. In fact, it’s so difficult to reliably order a vegan meal at a typical Japanese restaurant that you probably shouldn’t even attempt without our handy guide. Most all dishes have a seasoning powder called dashi, which is usually made primarily of fish flakes and shows up everywhere in Japanese cooking. It’s added to soups, sushi rice, dipping sauces, dressings, and many other savory dishes. 

Japanese menus are not very transparent and it’s not always apparent what is inside each dish. It is helpful to have a list of phrases you can refer to when speaking with the server so you can politely find out if a dish is vegan or not.

We love this handy Japanese language guide for vegan travelers over many other language PDFs out there for the following reasons:

  • It’s been edited by native Japanese speakers, not Google!
  • It includes some general phrases. This is important because if you are making requests in Japanese, it is really important to properly greet the person before making your requests.
  • Phrases are included that are a little bit more involved than just saying you are vegan. You can explain what that really means and even thank the chef for accommodating you. These are all things that will endear the people to you and your requests. Politeness, and humility (more than you might use at home) is a highly valued trait so showing this to the people that you want to get something from will be so helpful.
  • Our language guide also shares some commonly desired phrases to try to reduce the amount of waste you might inadvertently be given in Japan . Say no to that straw and that plastic bag!
  • We have the written Japanese, but also the phonetics as well.  If you are not being understood, then just show them the text!
  • We also have a few phrases in case of an emergency which will hopefully get people’s attention straight away. We hope you won’t need them!

Feel free to just print out the webpage but we invite you to print out the PDF of this Japanese guide for vegan travelers, keep it in your purse and pull it out as and when you need it. If you can’t be understood with phonetics in Japanese, then you can just point to the desired phrase in the script section!

Japanese vegan soup in a bowl

Japan Vegan Language Guide

To download the PDF version of these phrases, fill out the form above

EnglishPhoneticJapanese Script

GENERAL
HelloKon’nichiwaこんにちは
How are you?Ogenkidesuka?お元気ですか?
GoodbyeSayōnaraさようなら
Thank youArigatōありがとう

VEGAN
That was delicious!Oishikattadesu!おいしかったです!
I eat veganWatashi wa bīgandesu私はビーガンです。
I am a vegan. I do not eat meat, fish, shellfish, poultry, eggs, milk, or milk products (butter, yogurt cheese)Watashi wa bīgandesu. Niku,-gyo, kōkaku-rui, toriniku, tamago, gyūnyū, nyūseihin (batā, yōguruto, chīzu) o kuchi ni shimasen私はビーガンです。肉、魚、甲殻類、鳥肉、卵、牛乳、乳製品(バター、ヨーグルト、チーズ)を口にしません。
Does this food contain meat, fish, shellfish, poultry, eggs, milk, or milk products?Kono tabemono ni wa, niku,-gyo, kai, toriniku, tamago, gyūnyū matawa nyūseihin ga fukuma rete imasu ka?この食べ物には、肉、魚、貝、鶏肉、卵、牛乳または乳製品が含まれていますか?
I can’t eat meatWatashi wa niku ga tabe raremasen私は肉が食べられません。
Please no broth made from meat or fish.Niku ya sakana o tsukatta sūpu wa yamete kudasai肉や魚を使ったスープはやめてください。
fishSakana
meatNiku
porkButaniku豚肉
chickenToriniku鳥肉
beefGyūniku牛肉
eggTamago
seafoodGyokairui魚介類
cow’s milkGyūnyū牛乳
cheeseChīzuチーズ
yogurtYōgurutoヨーグルト
Fish flakes – bonitoSakana-bushi katsuobushi魚節・鰹節
DashiDashi出汁
TofuTōfu豆腐
Soya milkTōnyū豆乳
VegetablesYasai野菜
Shrimp pasteEbi no pēsuto海老のペースト
Oyster sauceOisutāsōsuオイスターソース
No fish sauceNanpurā nashiナンプラーなし
VeganBīganビーガン
I don’t want ___Ga taberaremasenが食べられません
Without _______Nashiなし
With ___________To
Please tell me if I order something that is not veganWatashi ga bīgande wanai tabemono o chūmon shite itara oshietekudasai私がビーガンではない食べ物を注文していたら教えてください。
Can you suggest anything from your menu that is vegan or you can make it vegan?Menyū no naka de, bīgan no mono ya, shefu no kata ga bīgan ni henkō dekiru mono o menyū o oshiete moraemasu ka?メニューの中で、ビーガンのものや、シェフの方がビーガンに変更できるものをメニューを教えてもらえますか?
I eat veganWatashi wa bīganfūdo o tabemasu私はビーガンフードを食べます。
Can you check with the chef that this is vegan?Kore ga bīgandearu koto o shefu no kata ni kakunin shite moraemasu ka?これがビーガンであることをシェフの方に確認してもらえますか?
Can you make this dish vegan?Kore o bīgan ni henkō shite moraemasu ka?これをビーガンに変更してもらえますか?
Please fry in oil -not butterBatāde wanaku abura de chōri shite moraemasu ka?バターではなく油で調理してもらえますか?
Thank you for accommodating me at your restaurant. I really appreciate you and the kitchen staff looking after me.Anata no resutoran de watashi o ukeirete kurete arigatōgozaimasu. Anata to chūbō sutaffu ni osewa ni natta koto, hontōni kansha shite imasu.あなたのレストランで私を受け入れてくれてありがとうございます。あなたと厨房スタッフにお世話になったこと、本当に感謝しています。
Does this have any leather, silk, wool, or anything else from an animal?Kore ni wa, kawa, shiruku, ūru nado no dōbutsu yurai no mono ga tsukawa rete imasu ka?これには、革、シルク、ウールなどの動物由来のものが使われていますか?

ZERO WASTE
No plastic bag, please.Binīru-bukuro wa irimasen.ビニール袋はいりません。
No straw, please.Sutorō wa irimasenストローはいりません。
I really don’t want a strawHontōni sutorō ga iranai ndesu本当にストローがいらないんです。

EMERGENCIES
Please call an ambulanceKyūkyūsha o yonde kudasai!救急車を呼んでください!
I need someone that speaks English now. It’s an emergencyDare ka eigo o hanasu hito wa imasu ka? Kinkyū jitaidesu!誰か英語を話す人はいますか?緊急事態です!
Please send an ambulance with a doctor on board if possibleDekireba ishi no notta kyūkyūsha o onegaishimasuできれば医師の乗った救急車をお願いします

And don’t forget to check out our other language guide for vegan travelers for Vietnamese, Kinyarwandan, French, Italian, and Thai!

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