I’m just going to put it out there…vegan restaurants in Tokyo are trending!
People will argue that it is virtually impossible to find vegan options in your everyday restaurant, which is true. Veganism itself is not common in Japan at all.
But while it’s still difficult to find vegan options in general, if you look, there are some wonderful vegan gems around Tokyo, and they are starting to pop up at an increasing rate.
Being a vegetarian myself, as the vegan market in Japan grows, so do my options for places to eat so I am wholeheartedly embracing this trend.
In this post, I thought I’d share some of my long-time favorite vegan restaurants in Tokyo.
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Originally a natural foods store established in 1978, Nezunoya restaurant opened their doors approximately 10 years later by renovating the old storage room behind the shop. The idea for the restaurant began with the owner’s interest in genmai (玄米/brown rice), which has a higher nutrient content than the regular white rice. Her hope was to provide healthy meal options for children.
Their specialty is the Nezunoya Teishoku (根津の谷定食/Nezunoya Set Meal), a traditional Japanese meal that includes genmai rice, miso soup, main dish, side dishes, fruit, and tea. The type of dishes they serve changes daily but whatever the meal, the seasonal vegetables and variety of flavors are sure to make you a regular here. You can find the Nezunoya Teishoku menu on their website at 11am every day.
Another perk is that the ingredients from their menu can be found in the adjoining natural foods store. I can never stop myself from stepping in there and grabbing seasonal fruits or favorite genmai. (Tip: go in after you eat, going before when you’re hungry is dangerous!)
Falafel Brothers (Roppongi / Shibuya / Ebisu)
Who doesn’t love fresh falafels?
Falafel Brothers is an Israeli vegan falafel sandwich shop in Roppongi that serves sandwiches, salad bowls and rice plates. It’s my go-to lunch anytime I’m there. They have a great vegan dessert menu and also something very tempting on the side of the counter, like dates and ginormous cookies, which are very hard to resist as well.
I usually get take-out but I can tell you that they have a really great DJ in the back somewhere because their selection of music is on point.
They also have other shops in Ebisu and Shibuya Parco, which is a bit more spacious and also has a dinner menu.
Great Lakes (Takadanobaba)
Okay, I am a little biased on this one because I grew up in Michigan. But you won’t regret going, I promise!
Great Lakes was a vegan-friendly burger shop that turned their menu 100% vegan in 2020, following the COVID pandemic. They have three different types of burgers (of course, named after the Great Lakes!) and a great vegan vanilla milkshake to go with it. Did I also mention they have tater tots? It really doesn’t get any better than this.
Cafe Bask (Ogikubo)
Just a 10-minute brisk walk from Ogikubo Station, Cafe Bask is a small organic vegan cafe with a great outdoor terrace space, which allows people to eat with their pets. Also they have this vintage silver bus out on the terrace, which is an amazing backdrop for a photoshoot, if anyone is interested.
I usually go for their Gohan Plate, which is a set meal of rice, salad, main dish, side dish, all on one plate. The set meal comes with a daily soup and you can choose either brown rice or polished rice. Some of my favorite mains have been the fried kurumafu (wheat gluten rings) and kabocha (pumpkin) croquette, and I am obsessed with their tangy Italian salad dressing. I would truly come here to eat every day if I could.
Parlor 8ablish (Omotesando)
Parlor 8ablish rebranded in 2020, but they have been around since the early 2000s. I’ve always liked their concept that they serve vegan meals so that more people can gather together to dine, whether their food restrictions be from allergies, religion, or ethical reasons.
They also have pasta dishes on their menu that can be made gluten-free, and their vegan dessert menu is like none other. There are so many to choose from and whilst their parfaits and cakes are amazing, my go-to dessert is their vegan vanilla ice cream with bergamot oil. Simple yet delicious.
Afuri (various places around Tokyo)
There’s nothing like eating ramen on a chilly day, or even better, a 3am post-nomikai (drinking party) ramen (note: only if you’re young). But the thing about ramen is that the broth always uses fish, chicken or pork.
Well one of my favorite ramen shops, Afuri, serves the Rainbow Vegan Ramen! Made from 100% vegetable-based broth, this colorful ramen bowl is popular even amongst non-vegans. The broth is made of dried tomato, onions, carrots, celery, mushrooms and other vegan goodness, which makes for the delicious soup. I think they’ve done the impossible and made ramen healthy, you have to try it!
What are some of your favorite vegan restaurants in Tokyo?
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Kaori is a Japanese salary woman by day, a passionate jump roper by night. She is originally from Okinawa but grew up in Michigan, Sapporo and Hiroshima.
A vegetarian who is currently based in Tokyo, she loves to spend time outdoors under the sun and take photos of everyday life in this big city.