Vegan-Friendly Day in Tokyo - What and Where to Eat
Bottom-right picture from Ramen For All - Eat Local And Ethical At Noodle Stand Tokyo, Harajuku (courtesy of Noodle Stand Tokyo)
Finding vegetarian and vegan food in Japan is challenging in comparison to other countries, but Tokyo can be considered an exception. With a growing number of vegetarian and vegan restaurants and cafes, the capital city has some of the most flavorful vegan food you can savor anywhere in the world. From vegan ramen to matcha parfaits and plant-based tempura, there are many dishes to enjoy a satisfying meal and snack.
Read to learn a plan for a full day of eating plant-based and vegan for breakfast, lunch, snacks, dinner, and desserts. This one-day plan is filled with delicious food, satisfying for even those who are not vegetarian or vegan.
Breakfast in Ueno - Savor Ochazuke, a Traditional Japanese Meal
The JR Ueno Station location of Ts TanTan is part of a completely-vegan restaurant chain in Tokyo and also Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture. In the mornings between 7:00 and 10:00, this branch serves a breakfast-limited menu, including ochazuke, a traditional Japanese dish where the broth is poured over rice and other condiments.
Pictured above is the Rice in Dashi (500 yen) option, which comes with pickled plum and yuba (tofu skin). The breakfast set comes with coffee or black tea. Typical ochazuke contains bonito broth and other fish products, but this one is completely plant-based. In addition to the pickled plum and yuba, the dish contains seaweed, tofu, and vegetables.
To enjoy the ochazuke, pour the broth in the provided tea kettle over the rice. You can pour in the entire broth or a portion, depending on how much of a soup you want. The dish is full of flavor and different textures, and it is great to warm up after a cold morning. A small side of spinach and carrots with sesame came on the side.
After enjoying a filling breakfast, take the time to explore the Ueno area. Ueno Park contains eleven museums that can provide entertainment to all visitors. Visit the Tokyo National Museum to learn about Japanese history and art, and head to the Shitamachi Museum to see reenacted old downtown areas of Ueno.
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Lunch in Asakusa - Admire, then Indulge in Picture-Perfect Dishes
Picture from THE FARM CAFE, Asakusa - Delicious And Healthy Vegan Dishes For All
For lunch, visit THE FARM CAFE, a charming, cozy vegan cafe with a view of Tokyo SkyTree. The menu here focuses on both nutrition and flavor, resulting in colorful dishes full of vegetables and depth. Choose from Japanese and Western-inspired dishes, like fried soy meat, sandwiches, and tempura. Multiple drink options, including matcha lattes, are also available. All the dishes are made individually and with care by the restaurant owner.
The plates, dishes, and even chopsticks are stylish, adding the finishing touch to the adorable, well-presented food.
Pictured above is the soy meat karaage bowl (regular size). Crispy and juicy soy meat is topped lightly with plant-based mayonnaise, surrounded by greens and vegetables. The rice is mixed in with different grains for added nutrition and flavor. This satisfying dish comes in a regular and large size.
Please note this is a small restaurant and it does get crowded at times. Try to come with a small group if possible, and plan to spend extra time here in case you have to wait for a seat or food.
THE FARM CAFE, Asakusa - Delicious And Healthy Vegan Dishes For All
Snack by Sensoji - Munch on Freshly-Made Mochi
Sensoji Temple and a traditional shopping district are nearby THE FARM CAFE. Street vendors selling food are all around these famous landmarks. If you are still feeling a little hungry, stop by a food stand on Nakamise Dori, the street that leads up to Sensoji Temple from Kaminarimon.
Many items here contain meat and other animal-based ingredients. However, a couple of snacks and desserts are vegan-friendly. In particular, try kibi dango (mochi covered in millet powder) from Asakusa Kibi Dango Azuma. It is freshly-made and is a delicious way to sample more Japanese cuisine.
Those craving something savory can find senbei (rice crackers) cooked right in front of you depending on the season.
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Dinner in Harajuku - Try One-of-a-Kind Coconut Ramen
Picture from Ramen For All - Eat Local And Ethical At Noodle Stand Tokyo, Harajuku
After spending time in Asakusa, head towards Harajuku for a late afternoon of fun and dishes. The Harajuku area is filled with fun shopping, as well as vegan-friendly restaurants, cafes, and sweets. For a classic dinner, indulge in the ramen from Noodle Stand Tokyo. Tucked away just past Takeshita Street, this restaurant offers unique, coconut-based vegan ramen on its menu.
Order from the vending machine first and then hand your ticket to an employee or cook by the counter. Both vegan and non-vegan versions are available of the coconut ramen, so be sure to specify the type you want (the rest of the menu contains meat and animal-based ingredients).
After you order, sit down at the counter or table and watch as your meal is made in front of you.
Picture from Ramen For All - Eat Local And Ethical At Noodle Stand Tokyo, Harajuku (courtesy of Noodle Stand Tokyo)
The coconut ramen is a hearty choice with creaminess and savoriness. The noodles are slightly thick, pairing well with the heavy broth texture. Soy meat is on top, adding extra protein and a layer of savory flavor. After enjoying the light coconut flavor and warm flavors, add in the lime to refresh the flavor of the broth.
You can also order a smoothie, beer, or tea to enjoy with your ramen. Noodle Stand Tokyo is the ideal place for a satisfying evening meal after a day of travel.
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Dessert in Shinjuku - Satisfy Cravings with a Decadent Parfait
Ice cream after enjoying a drink in Shinjuku or views at the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building is a great way to end the day. wired bonbon is a restaurant with an all-vegan sweets and dessert menu. It is open until 22:30 and is close to Shinjuku Station, making it convenient for a late-night snack for those with a sweet tooth.
Picture from Decadent Vegan Parfaits In Tokyo - Indulge In Sweets At Wired Bonbon (courtesy of wired bonbon)
All types of desserts, from ice cream to cake and crepes are on the menu. For those looking for something celebratory, be sure to try a parfait, piled high with soy ice cream, layered with different fillings and topped with plant-based whipped cream. Pictured above is the matcha azuki parfait, containing slightly-bitter matcha syrups, sweet red bean, and crunchy brown rice flakes. All the contrasting elements make an extraordinary dessert.
wired bonbon is one of the few restaurants in Tokyo with vegan parfaits, making it a must-visit. A snack here at the end of the day will put the finishing touches on a day of great eats and travel.
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Vegan Eating in Tokyo
There are many other restaurants, cafes, and even bars in Tokyo serving vegetarian and vegan items, from vegan curry to traditional Buddhist cuisine, and hamburgers. As awareness and demand for vegetarianism grow in Japan, so are options at restaurants.
It's still difficult to eat vegetarian in Japan, but Tokyo makes it easy to experience Japan's renowned food culture for all.
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