Vegan Dining in Tokyo

ByMichael Stigall
Jun 27, 2023

Vegan Dining in Tokyo

Choices for dining out in Tokyo are nearly limitless. You can eat your way around the world and dine on almost anything humans consider edible (even the most questionable) here in Japan’s capital. One type of cuisine that has seen a recent boom is vegetarian and vegan food. Although many establishments offer meatless options, they may still include things made from egg and milk in the ingredients, which may not agree with some diets. However, finding vegan food is just a matter of getting informed; you can even find options in any convenience store if you know what to look for.

An App for That

First off, there are some options to help guide your choices. Chances are you’re already used to tapping through your smartphone to figure out dining options in your home country. Many apps you’re already using will likely have Tokyo area restaurants listed. Specialized apps like Happy Cow have you covered. My primary weapon when showing my vegan friends around town is simply Google Maps. You can find many places that don’t advertise much in Japanese through crowdsourcing, let alone in English. If you’re using an iPhone, Apple Maps sources its locations and reviews from Japanese restaurant listing apps like Tabelog and Hot Pepper, in addition to others.

Remember the Basics

Historical gastronomists know Japan’s diet was mainly macrobiotic and vegetable-based before modern conveniences like refrigeration, mass fish farms, and open sea trade. Even meat from fish, boar, and other game was considered a treat for the average Japanese due to both being restricted religiously (Buddhists) and simply being poor. The diet mainly consisted of rice, seaweed, radishes, squash, and other savory greens. Before refrigeration, salting and pickling were the main methods used to keep food fresh.

Fast forward to the modern era, and many of these same foods are still eaten as a part of Japanese cuisine. Tsukemono, various pickled vegetables eaten with a bowl of rice, can be eaten on the go as onigiri, commonly found in a triangular form wrapped in seaweed. Meats like tuna and salmon are usually found in the middle but pickled plum (umeboshi) and fermented soybean (natto). Another staple of the Japanese diet: soy. Believe it or not, Starbucks had a soy latte option in Tokyo before you could find it in many places in the States! Soy milk (tonyu), ice cream, and donuts are common foods in most stores.

Dining Out

Thanks to increasing inbound tourists to Japan with varied dietary needs and the Japanese themselves wanting new dining choices, there are many places to pig out sans pork, beef…or any other meat. I’ve tried to compile a list of different places around town and even different cuisines to showcase our great options.

T’s Restaurant/T’s Tantan

This place is pretty established. The main shop in Jiyugaoka is well known for its spin on tan-tan men, curry, and gyoza dumplings, swapping out soy and veggies for the usual meat that goes into their preparation. The location includes a store where you can pick up some of their dishes in a heat-and-eat version to go. T’s Tantan locations also serve a small subset of their menu, focusing on their tasty spin on noodle soups. You can find them in both Tokyo and Ueno JR stations.

Address: 2-9-6 Jiyugaoka, Meguro, Tokyo 152-0035
Access: Jiyugaoka Station, Tokyu Toyoko, Oimachi Lines [TY07] [OM10]
Hours: Everyday 11 am ~10 pm
Phone: 03-3717-0831

Vegan Cafe

This appropriately named cafe in the Hiroō district does exactly what it says on the tin: serve some of the best vegan spins on Japanese and other world cuisines. I was headed to the McDonald’s nearby when I spotted their signboard advertising curry and decided to give it a try. I was not disappointed! There’s a loco-moco dish and a vegan take on sushi that will also create confusion between tongue and brain.

Address: 4-5-65 Minamiazabu, Minato-ku, Tōkyō-to 106-0047
Access: Hiroō Station, Tokyo Metro Hibiya line [H03]
Hours: Everyday 11:30 am ~9 pm
Phone: 03-6450-3020

Ain Soph Journey

A great vegetarian option near Shinjuku station. This place serves some great sandwich wraps and other vegan fares, but the pancakes are divine. They are actually called Heavenly Pancakes. It’s hard to believe there is no dairy involved. The prices are reasonable, and the atmosphere is very relaxed.

Address: 3-8-9 Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 160-0022
Access: Shinjuku 3-Chome Station, Tokyo Metro Fukutoshin, Marunouchi Lines, Toei Shinjuku Line. [F13][M09][S02]
Website: ENGLISH | AIN SOPH. Vegan Restaurant (
Phone: 03-5925-8908

Izakaya Masaka

One particularly frustrating experience for a vegan in Japan is visiting the izakaya. It often feels like everything is meat. Not so are Izakaya Masaka. Everything is vegan, including their fantastic “karaage,” made with soy meat. It is an excellent option for someone wanting to experience the joys of the izakaya without the meat. It is located in the Shibuya Park as part of their Chao Kitchen. Try everything. 

Address: Shibuya Parco B1, 15-1 Udagawacho, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo-to 150-0042
Access: Shibuya Station [Z01]
Phone: 03-5422-3020

Great Lakes

For a little change, you could also get a vegan burger at this American-style shop in Takadanobaba. The patties are plant-based but are savory and delicious. They have various options on the menu, and they even have shakes. What is not to like?

Address: Nishi-Waseda 3-27-4 Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo-to 169-0051
Access: Takadanobaba Station [JY15]
Phone: 03-6278-9286

Trashpossum666, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

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