If you’re a foodie like me, you know that the best way to immerse yourself in a new culture is by exploring local cuisine. But as a vegan traveling Japan, that can admittedly be pretty difficult.
If you’ve read my survival guide on vegan sweets in Japan, you already know that traditional Japanese sweets (wagashi) are vegan 99% of the time. But what if treats made of rice flour and bean paste aren’t your thing?
Either way, these 6 must-visit vegan dessert spots in Tokyo are sure to satisfy your sweet tooth. Let’s dive right in.
Recommended: 7 Hidden Vegan Restaurants in Tokyo
Vegan desserts galore. If you’re out for an indulgent vegan treat, Wired Bonbon inside Shinjuku station is sure to satisfy your cravings.
While not entirely vegan, the menu boasts a wide selection of plant-based cakes, tiramisu, and whipped cream-laden crêpes. The highlight? Ultra photogenic parfaits that cater to both your sweet tooth and your Instagram feed.
We opted for the rich matcha and adzuki parfait, which consisted of layers upon layers of creamy vegan goodness. Wired Bonbon’s plant-based crème brûlée didn’t disappoint either— it literally tasted like the real, egg-and-cream-laden thing.
Where: Shinjuku station (inside Lumine 1 shopping mall)
Universal Bakes Nicome
We stumbled across Universal Bakes Nicome by accident and we’re sure happy that we did.
This little vegan bakery in Tokyo’s trendy Shimo-kitazawa district is the perfect spot to load up on flaky pain au chocolat, giant fluffy muffins, and delicious donuts . The moment you walk inside, you’re greeted by the bready-goodness aroma of the freshly baked treats on offer.
Universal Bakes has lots of creatively flavored pastries (chocolate framboise bread or matcha hazelnut scones, anyone?), so picking your poison is difficult. We went for the matcha muffin with a sweet adzuki bean paste center. Safe to say, it totally hit the spot.
The location of the bakery is great as well. Based on the first floor of the modern Reload mall (which is gorgeous on a sunny day), you can combine your visit with a stroll through the streets of Shimo-kitazawa. Or just head downstairs for more vegan treats. See below…
Where: Shimo-kitazawa (upstairs floor of Reload mall)
Ming-Teng Hao Hao
Conveniently located directly under Universal Bakes, Ming Teng Hao Hao is a great place to load up on some healthy(ish) vegan treats before you pick up a pastry from upstairs.
Ming Teng Hao Hao has an all-vegan menu with plenty of sweet and savory options. Although the fragrant mapo tofu rice and the vegan dumplings looked enticing, we went straight for the shop’s specialty: Taiwan-style soy pudding. Think of it as a silken tofu-based dessert bowl with plenty of delicious toppings.
Both the fresh fruit-topped soy pudding with rich vegan whipped cream and the sweet adzuki bean version with sago, chewy shiratama dango, peanuts, and roasted soybean flour didn’t disappoint. Expecting a bowl drenched in syrup, we were pleasantly surprised by the fact that both dishes weren’t overly sweet. The bowls were of a decent size as well, so they’re great as a light lunch standalone. Bonus points for checking the high-protein box!
Where: Shimo-kitazawa (bottom floor of Reload mall)
Totti Candy Factory
Ever find yourself wishing you were a child again? Totti Candy Factory on Tokyo’s iconic Takeshita-dori can make that dream come true (if just for a little bit).
Totti Candy Factory is famous for its giant rainbow cotton candy which happens to be a true eye-catcher. For 1000 yen you’ll get a 45 cm tall serving of cotton candy where each color has a unique flavor. But don’t worry, smaller (and cheaper) options are available too.
It’s worth noting that the tiny shop is super popular and can get pretty busy, so paying Totti’s a visit earlier in the morning or late at night is a good idea to avoid very long queues. Also don’t forget to bring some wet wipes or tissues—this stuff is sticky!
Where: Takeshita-dori, Harajuku
Founded way back in the 16th century, Toraya is one of Japan’s legacy wagashi shops. Its traditional confectionery is considered some of the best that the country has to offer.
While Toraya has around 80 shops nationwide, its three-story flagship store in Tokyo’s Akasaka district is a must-visit. The main wagashi shop is located on the second floor of the huge building, but the real highlight awaits on the third floor. There, you can watch skilled confectionery makers craft fine wagashi right in front of your eyes. The best part? You can indulge in those freshly made sweets just moments after in Toraya’s very own cafe.
The menu is extensive and also offers a savory non-vegan set lunch, but most of the treats on offer are completely plant-based (given that traditional wagashi is usually vegan anyways, as I explore here). Alongside a warming bowl of matcha, this is the spot to experience some of the best wagashi Japan has to offer.
Asakusa & Nakamise Shopping Street
For centuries, Asakusa was Tokyo’s leading entertainment district. When it was still located outside of the city in the Edo Period (1603-1867), Asakusa was home to numerous kabuki theaters and a popular red light district. Today, Asakusa is most famous for the historical Sensoji Temple—Tokyo’s most popular temple. If you’re a first-time visitor to Japan, Asakusa will likely be one of your first stops for precisely that reason.
Aside from sightseeing, Asakusa is also worth the visit for its food. Stroll along the touristy Nakamise shopping street (which leads up to Sensoji Temple) to shop for sweet gifts to bring back home. But, in my opinion, exploring Asakusa’s smaller side alleys which are home to a plethora of street food vendors is the best way to go.
To try the best vegan desserts and sweets, keep an eye out for ichigo daifuku (mochi filled with sweet red bean paste and a fresh strawberry). Another personal favorite is mitarashi dango, chewy rice balls coated in a sticky sweet soy sauce glaze—admittedly an acquired taste, but great if you’re into sweet and salty things.
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Enjoyed this article? Know of any other vegan dessert spots in Tokyo that should make the list? Drop me a comment below or reach out on social media—I’d love to hear from you!
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