Being a vegetarian in Japan is challenging but not impossible. Worried you won’t be able to chow down on some veggie ramen or katsu? Fear no more! Check out my post Veggie in… JAPAN for general tips on ordering yourself some truly tasty AND Japanese food.
And now for my top Tokyo veggie recommendations. Din dins in Tokyo was so good that I completely forgot to take any photos. The restaurants below are tasty, reasonably priced, and have English menus.
Nagi Shokudo – Vegan Café
This was my favourite restaurant in Tokyo. The setting is very cosy, packed with mismatched furniture, lamps, and shelves of graphic novels and ‘zines to browse. The dinner time dishes are wholesome, creative and tasty with many different parts and flavours. There is also a chalkboard menu of specials which we sampled – very yummy and filling. Fresh veg, curries, soy bean meat, pickles etc. etc. etc. I’m also told it is excellent for lunch. English menu available.
Directions and opening hours here.
T’s Tan Tan – Vegetarian/Vegan Ramen
I spent most of my time in Japan grieving the unavailability of veggie ramen. And then, finally, one well worded google search lead me to T’s Tan Tan. They have several different varieties of flavoursome vegetarian ramen as well as vegetarian Japanese (katsu) curry and lightly battered soy meat (oishii!). You can even get a big bowl of ramen with a little bowl of katsu and rice or soy bean meat on the side, heaven! Although it’s tricky to find it’s definitely worth the effort. It’s cheap and cheerful too!
Useful info here with one correction, there is now an English Menu.
Eat More Greens – Vegetable Café and Bakery
This place is super trendy and really busy in the evenings. I recommend treating yourself to something from the tapas menu to start, followed by a rice-based ‘main plate’ brimming with fresh, seasonal vegetables, finishing off with a tasty dessert from the in-house bakery.
Restaurant website (English) including menu here.
Ippudo – Ramen Restaurant
Ippudo is so good you can now find branches in New York, London, and Sydney. If you need to treat your travel buddy to some excellent, authentic ramen this is the best place to go. Although there is no vegetarian ramen dish in the Tokyo branch (unlike the Kyoto branch) you can order a plate of noodles garnished with stir fried vegetables which are very tasty. Just sprinkle on some of the sesame seeds and soy sauce you find at your bench and you’re good to go.
Restaurant page (Japanese) with map here.
@Home – Maid Café
Maybe not the most traditional fare but certainly very Japanese and very Kawaii :3 Maid cafés are a Japanese phenomenon, especially around the otaku haven of Akihabara. Customers (male, female, young, and old alike) are welcomed by the ‘maids’ who sing songs, play games, and draw cute animals on your omelettes, desserts, and coffees. You can certainly expect to see a few doting otaku ‘ogling’ the maids wistfully but politely, but they’re certainly not the only target audience. The café is lots fun and not at all smutty. This short film gives a witty insight to maid culture. See the pictures at the top and bottom of this post for a glimpse at just how kawaii our food was.
Restaurant website here.
‘Tokyo’s Top Vegetarian Restaurants’ by Time Out was mega handy during our stay in Tokyo.
No matter how much you love Kill Bill, do not go to Gonpachi. It is (slow/dirty/crowded) hell.
Lastly, for the non-veggies and pescatarians among us, if you want something truly Japanese, you can always have this: