Eating vegan in Japan was quite hard for us. We had just switched from vegetarian so it was early days getting used to what we could and couldn’t eat, plus they use meat and fish stock to flavour vegetable dishes, and sometimes even like to chuck a bit of meat in, even when it’s not on the menu (like bacon bits in the vegetarian tomato soup at the Hilton hotel!). Just double and triple check when you are ordering.
We definitely recommend writing down in Japanese that you do not eat meat, fish, milk, cheese, eggs etc and taking it with you to be sure the waiter understand what vegan means.
We have actually eaten a wider variety of Japanese food in the UK as we know what’s in the food. We were disappointed that we weren’t feasting out on vegan sushi 24/7, especially considering Japans vegetarian heritage.
I wasn’t in to taking food photos when we were in Japan so it’s pretty much just words this time!
The breakfast at our hotel restaurant Goshiki was amazing. A massive buffet from bread, cereals, fruit, salad, rice and sweet potato katsu. You could fill yourself up for the big day ahead.
We find on most ski holidays, we have to resort to beige food on the mountain for lunch i.e. chips, bread, crisps etc. and here was pretty much the same during the day.
In the evening, there are a lot of restaurants to choose from, predominantly at Grand Hirafu. If you stick to the asian style restaurants, you’ll definitely be able to get rice, noodles, veggies and tofu. There are quite a few fancy western style restaurants but they are heavy on meat and dairy.
Our best spots were:
- Kabuki, Grant Hirafu – Tappinyaki and Yakisoba that you cook on hot plates in front of you. Book a few days in advance.
- Karabina, Grand Hirafu – Cosy cabin with quite a few options including veggie sushi rolls. Book a few days in advance.
- Two Sticks, Niseko Village – Asian food
- Wild Bills, Grand Hirafu – Veggie burger
Hopefully there are some more options since our trip in 2015.
You can seek out vegetarian and vegan specific places but beware, Tokyo is massive, so they are not always around the corner, or easy to find!
- Nago Shokudo, Shibuya – A tiny family run vegan spot with set meals including curries, and falafel dishes.
- Kill Bill Restaurant – Just because it’s Kill Bill themed and plenty of options since it’s asian food.
- Park Hyatt – very fancy restaurant. Advise dietary requirements when you pre-book. We hadn’t, but they still managed to prepare a nice veg and tomato pasta.
We stumbled upon Cafe Matsuontoko to the side of Kyoto market. They do good burgers and even desserts!
A must when in Japan is the traditional zen buddhist meal of Shojin Ryori. We can’t remember the place we went, but there are plenty of places to choose from. When in Koyto…! Hopefully you can make out which parts of the meal you drink, or eat it.