Japan sadly won’t make the list of most vegan-friendly travel destinations. If you’ve ever wandered the aisles of a Japanese supermarket trying to find meals without dashi (soup stocks that are an integral part of Japanese cuisine and usually contain animal products), you know where I’m coming from…
Still, Japan’s capital city has plenty of amazing vegan spots—you just have to know where to look. Here’s a guide to the 7 best hidden vegan restaurants in Tokyo that are off the beaten path.
Recommended: Vegan Survival Guide: Vegan Sweets in Japan
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Vegan Ramen Uzu
If you’re visiting Tokyo for the first time, chances are you’re planning a visit to teamLab Planets in Toyosu anyway. Why not combine the trip with some of Tokyo’s best vegan ramen?
Earning its spot in the 2023 Guide Michelin, Vegan Ramen Uzu combines art with food. The restaurant itself is an experience—expect to slurp your noodles in a tiny mirrored box surrounded by trippy digital art. If it’s sunny, you can also eat your ramen outside. Either way, the umami-packed broth is to die for.
Vegan Ramen Uzu is just outside of teamLab Planets, so you don’t need a ticket for the exhibition to enjoy some ramen.
Life Creation Space OVE
We found OVE by sheer coincidence, but what a lucky one it was.
Actually a bike store, OVE transforms into a peaceful restaurant at lunch time. Don’t be put off by the weird combination of bike shop and eatery— OVE serves up mouth-watering plant-based lunch sets. The best part? The sets are super healthy, affordable, focus heavily seasonal ingredients, and are just all-round delicious.
Add OVE’s beautifully light-filled ambiance and this is the perfect lunch spot if you’re in the mood for some zen amid Japan’s bustling capital.
Just off to the side of Ginza’s hustle and bustle, Ain Soph’s main store is nestled away in one of those cute thin houses that Tokyo does best. Don’t be fooled by the restaurant’s entrance, which gives way to a small hole-in-the-wall patisserie—while the 1st floor is dedicated to selling sweets and baked goods, the three floors above are all restaurant space.
Ain Soph only serves vegan fare and is best known for its signature fluffy pancakes (which happen to be very instagrammable). We went for the lunch bento box instead, which was just as good.
While not exactly cheap (one bento costs 3470 yen), you could tell that the quality of the ingredients was outstanding. If you’re in the mood for something a little bit more fancy, Ain Soph also offers an extensive dinner menu.
Besides the Ginza main store, Ain Soph has three other locations in Shinjuku, Ikebukoro, and Kyoto.
T’s TanTan Ecute Ueno
If you find yourself in Ueno, be sure to visit T’s TanTan’s branch located inside of the JR Ueno station. After a short wait outside, you’ll be ushered in to the packed restaurant filled with the hearty aroma of sesame ramen broth.
T’s specializes in 100% vegan fare, ranging from pan-fried gyoza and soy meat balls to salads and curry. Their signature dish is vegan tantan ramen.
I went for the lighter yuzu ramen, which was packed with colorful veggies and even sported some legumes to my surprise. While a bit on the oily side, the citrus-flavored and umami-packed broth really hit the spot. The ramen noodles also had the perfect level of chewiness.
Be sure to also check out T’s other location at Jiyugaoka Station.
Where: Ueno Station
Japan’s izakayas are a standalone culinary category—similar to tapas bars, diners order a variety of smaller dishes that are shared at the table. And lots of drinks, of course. But most izakaya classics (think gyoza, yakitori, and karaage) aren’t particularly vegan-friendly.
Luckily, Isakaya Masaka offers up 100% plant-based izakaya grub. Best known for its karaage (fried “chicken”), Izakaya Masaka is a great place to drag your non-vegan friends. When we visited, most diners seemed to be locals who likely weren’t vegan at all.
Besides the signature karaage, we ordered gyoza, spicy chilled tofu, fermented brown rice, and fried broccoli among other things. While the gyoza were a bit disappointing (pretty bland compared to the original version), everything else was pretty tasty.
While not 100% vegan, Wired Bonbon serves up indulgent vegan desserts that will definitely satisfy your sweet tooth. While the menu boasts roasted green tea tiramisu, various cakes, and whipped cream-laden crêpes, their photogenic parfaits were our personal highlight.
We went for the matcha and adzuki parfait—which featured layers upon layers of vegan goodness— and the crème brûlée. The latter literally tasted exactly like the real, heavy cream and egg yolk-based thing.
Kaiten (conveyor belt) sushi is an experience you definitely shouldn’t miss out on in Tokyo. If you don’t want to settle with cucumber rolls as your only vegan option, Katsu Midori is your best bet.
Deemed one of Tokyo’s best kaiten sushi spots, Katsu Midori is extremely popular. But don’t be put off by the long queue out front— it usually moves pretty fast. And the short wait is worth it!
Katsu Midori offers more vegan dishes than most conveyor belt-style sushi places. Vegan options include various veggie-loaded gunkan (go for the natto ones if you can stomach it!), maki and temaki rolls, nigiri, and side dishes. My personal favorite were the shiso and plum maki rolls, which were simply delicious.
When you visit these hidden vegan restaurants in Tokyo, drop a comment down below if you enjoyed them as much as I did! And let me know if I missed any on the list.
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