Kyoto is an exceptional city and prefecture in Japan for vegan and vegetarian dining, with many restaurants, cafes, and eateries catering to plant-based diners. Even vegans can experience Kyoto’s exquisite food culture, with vegan-friendly okonomiyaki, tofu delicacies, Kyo-yasai (select local vegetables grown in Kyoto), flavored with local seven-spice shichimi, sansho pepper, and incredible plant-based dashi broth.
This article introduces twenty-one spots for vegan food recommended by the author who currently lives in Kyoto. Most if not all of these restaurants have English menus and staff who understand English.All Vegan Restaurants
- AIN SOPH.journey Kyoto
- mumokuteki cafe
- Veg Out
- Vegan Ramen UZU Kyoto
- Itadakizen All Vegetarian with Vegan Options:
- Pelgag Spice Cafe and Bar
Restaurants with Some Vegan Options:
- Gion Tanto
- Mimikou (Gion Location Only)
- Kyoto Engine Ramen
- Ganso Tokyu Ramen Hiroshi
- Menkui Kinya
- Oku no Niwa
- musubi cafe – Arashiyama location
- Premarché Gelateria
- Falafel Garden
- Waco Crepes Kyoto
1. AIN SOPH.journey Kyoto
Ain soph. journey Kyoto is a popular vegan restaurant part of the Ain soph. chain. This restaurant is located right by the Shinkyogoku and Teramachi shopping streets, making it a convenient stop when visiting well-known Kyoto spots like Nishiki Market and Gion.
Ain soph. journey in Kyoto is filled with tasty plant-based choices like Japanese-style curry and burgers. This is also a great dessert place, as diners can enjoy decadent, fluffy matcha pancakes and seasonal parfaits. Everything on the menu is vegan, and gluten-free selections are available too.
This is a restaurant filled with delicious and healthy choices that everyone can enjoy. For more info, see the restaurant website below:
2. mumokuteki cafe
mumokuteki cafe is another popular vegan eater in Kyoto. Here you can enjoy delicious Japanese vegan dishes made with high-quality, often local ingredients. The dishes here are all set meals that come with a main dish such as fried soy chicken, seasonal vegetable sides, brown rice, and miso soup.
The Gozen Plate shown above includes fried soy okara and konnyaku, vegan hamburger steak and cutlets, seasonal side dishes, and miso soup.
mumokuteki cafe has a delicious dessert menu as well, including ice cream, seasonal parfaits, and cakes.
The restaurant is located on the second floor of the building. On the first floor visitors will find an assortment of accessories, plants, vegan and natural food products, and clothing for sale.
For more info, see the restaurant website below (Japanese only):
ToWzen is a well-known vegan restaurant specializing in vegan ramen featuring fresh ingredients and seasoning you will only find in Kyoto, like yuba, seven-spice shichimi, and sansho peppers. The ramen soup is creamy and rich, made with a soymilk base that blends deliciously with the noodles and toppings. If you’re looking to try a one-of-a-kind vegan ramen, put ToWzen on your list!
The restaurant also serves a variety of side dishes and desserts (all vegan) so be sure to come hungry! ToWzen is tucked away in a quiet residential area and the closest station is Matsugasaki on the Karasuma Line (Kyoto Municipal Subway).
Official website: https://www.mamezen.com/english/
4. Veg Out
If you are looking for a relaxing lunch with a view, try Veg Out, a hip vegan cafe next to the Nanajo-ohashi Bridge right alongside the Kamo River.
Veg Out serves a variety of nutritious lunch options that utilize fresh, seasonal ingredients; depending on the time of the year the cafe is also open for breakfast. The Veg Out plate above comes with a side of soup, salad, and a selection of delicious side dishes.
There is also dessert, an assortment of coffee, and refreshing drinks, so if you are looking for an afternoon pick-up Veg Out is a nice choice. The cafe is within walking distance of Kyoto Station and close to Sanjusan Gendo, so this is a convenient spot if you are doing sightseeing in the area.
For more info and operating hours look at the restaurant website here: https://tamisa-yoga.com/cafe/veg-out/index.html
CHOICE is a highly-regarded vegan and gluten-free eatery in Kyoto, located just past Keihan Sanjo Station, close to Kawaramachi and other popular spots. It is a great place for a casual lunch with friends, on a date, or for studying by yourself.
The menu is varied and a number of choices feature vegan cheese (FROMAGE) made by the restaurant, such as the taco salad (with rice) pictured above and pizza. There is even a vegan cheese plate, ideal as an appetizer. For dessert, CHOICE has a number of selections like ice cream and cake.
For more info please see the restaurant website: https://hs-choice.com/
6. Vegan Ramen UZU Kyoto
For a ramen experience look no further than Vegan Ramen UZU Kyoto. This restaurant features an all-vegan menu and has collaborated with teamLAB, the digital art company behind popular exhibits like Planets and Borderless in Tokyo, for a one-of-a-kind art-meets-gourmet ramen experience.
The restaurant specializes in a number of different ramen selections, such as tsukemen and matcha-infused ramen, as well as sushi and mochi ice cream for those extra hungry.
The food is delicious and the entire meal is an experience that will stimulate all the senses. For more information see the website below (Japanese only):
If you’re looking for a delicious vegan meal in between sightseeing, try Itadakizen, a restaurant offering all-vegan Japanese cuisine like ramen, located in a renovated machiya tea house. The entire menu here is vegan. Pictured above is soymilk ramen, topped with fresh vegetables and grilled tofu.
Diners can enjoy a variety of lunch and dinner options, as well as dessert.
Itadakizen is located in between Kitanotenmangu Shrine and Nijo Castle. It is best accessed by bus or tram. The closest tram stop to Kitano-Hakubaicho Station on the Keifuku Randen tram line.
For more information on business hours, see the restaurant’s Instagram below:
8. Pelgag Spice Cafe and Bar
If you’re looking for a unique meal stop by Pelgag Spice Cafe and Bar, a funky, small eatery right next to the Teramachi shopping street in Kawaramachi in Kyoto. Pelgag is entirely vegetarian (a few of the desserts use animal products) with most options being fully vegan.
When the author visited, the menu featured all middle-eastern inspired plant-based options with falafel, tempeh, and plenty of delicious vegetables. As the cafe is small it is recommended to visit by yourself or with a friend.
For more info see Pelgag’s website (Japanese only): https://pelgag.com/
For a stylish and slightly upscale dining experience, head to Hyssop in Kawaramachi, Kyoto. Hyssop is a restaurant inside the Good Nature Hotel, a LEED-certified, and environment-friendly lodging.
Hyssop’s menu features a handful of vegan-friendly, plant-based options, such as salads and falafel, and the staff is knowledgeable about veganism and vegetarianism. The food here is also beautifully presented.
10. Gion Tanto
Gion Tanto is an okonomiyaki and teppanyaki specialty restaurant carrying several vegan and vegetarian options, including vegan okonomiyaki! Tanto is located in the heart of Gion and has a casual, lively atmosphere, making it the ideal place to go with a group of friends for a drink and food at night.
The vegan menu is separate so be sure to ask the staff for it when you visit. You will find tofu and veggie okonomiyaki, okonomiyaki, and negiyaki with soy meat, yakisoba, and a variety of other delicious side dishes. The staff will provide you with vegan sauce and vegan mayonnaise, too!
The Shirakawa River is right next to the restaurant, and during the cherry blossom season, the riverbank is shrowded in sakura pink.
For more info see Tanto’s website (Japanese only): http://www.gion-tanto.com/
11. Mimikou (Gion location)
Mimikou is a small curry udon restaurant chain in Kyoto with a location just down the street from Yasaka Shrine. The restaurant here offers delicious vegetarian and vegan options as well–when you visit be sure to ask for the vegetarian menu.
The specialty here is Kyoto-style curry udon (pictured above), which comes with chewy and delicious udon noodles and an intense, aromatic curry soup. You can customize the meal with toppings, like vegetable tempura and juicy, deep-fried soy meat. An array of Kyoto condiments, like fresh shichimi seven spices, and sansho peppers, are on the table for you to try should you want to spice up the curry. You can also order vegan-friendly curry rice.
For more info see Mimikou’s website (Japanese only): https://mimikou.jp/honten/
12. Kyoto Engine Ramen
For well-balanced ramen in Kyoto try Kyoto Engine Ramen, a ramen shop that offers two 100% plant-based options. The restaurant is close to Shijo street, near the Fuji Daimaru, making it a convenient stop when sightseeing or shopping in Kyoto.
The Zesty ramen pictured above is slightly spicy, made with a daikon, soy, and miso soup. The other vegan option is milder without spice.
For more info see the restaurant’s Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kyotoengine/
13. Ganso Tokkyu Ramen Hiroshi
Ganso Tokkyu Ramen Hiroshi (Tokkyu Ramen) is a ramen shop with just one vegan/vegetarian-friendly selection. Located between Yasaka Shrine and Kiyomizudera Temple, it is the perfect spot to grab a casual, reasonably-priced (under 1,000 yen) bowl of ramen in-between sightseeing.
While there is just one choice for vegans, the ramen is incredibly delicious, with a flavorful broth with classic toppings like menma (bamboo shoots), bean sprouts, and green onion. The restaurant is a classic ramen shop with counter seating.
For more information see Happy Cow: https://www.happycow.net/reviews/higashiyama-yasui-kyoto-151919
14. Menkui Kinya
Menkui Kinya is a small, family-run udon restaurant offering a couple of vegan selections. The restaurant is tucked away on a side street in between Gojo and Shijo bridges, making it a convenient spot for those sightseeing or visiting the Gion area of Kyoto.
The tempura here is fried fresh and contains no egg, making all the vegetable tempura suitable for vegans. The vegan udon noodles are handmade and come in a delicious broth made with flavorful vegetables and seasonings.
Kinya is a small restaurant with mostly counter seating, so it is best to come alone or with a partner. For more information on the restaurant see the Instagram below: https://www.instagram.com/menkui_kinya/
Omen is a well-known udon restaurant in Kyoto, offering high-quality udon of all varieties. They offer one vegetarian option that is also completely vegan at their Pontocho location: the “Shojin omen” comes hot or chilled, and is accompanied with a konbu (seaweed) and shiitake mushroom broth.
The udon comes with a few side dishes featuring seasonal vegetables, and you can also order vegan-friendly, vegetable tempura to go with your meal. Omen has two locations in Kyoto: Shijo Ponotocho, and Ginkakuji.
*The Ginkakuji restaurant is reported to serve vegan udon but they may have limited options–please check with the restaurant staff directly when or before you visit.
Omen’s website (Japanese only): https://omen.co.jp/
Kyoto’s tofu is considered one of the tastiest in all of Japan, so you will find many restaurants in the old capital specializing in tofu cuisine. Tousuiro is a restaurant that serves this special Kyoto tofu cuisine and offers a completely-vegan kaiseki course.
The all-vegan course is called “Rokuhara” and features local and seasonal ingredients in a series of delicious dishes, along with all-you-can-eat tofu (pictured above). Please note the vegan course requires advanced notice. Be sure to contact the restaurant a few days before your visit and make a reservation.
The Rokuhara course is filled with traditional Japanese food like tempura, and wheat gluten dengaku (grilled and topped with miso sauce), giving diners an authentic Kyoto experience.
Tosuiro has two locations in central Kyoto: Gion and Kiyamachi. In the warmer months (May through September) the Kiyamachi location has outdoor seating by the Kamo River. With an upscale atmosphere, Tousiro is recommended for a special celebration with friends and family.
For more info see the restaurant website: http://tousuiro.com/en-home
17. Oku no Niwa
If you’re in Arashiyama looking for a relaxing Japanese dining experience, look no further than Yoshiya Oku no Niwa (Oku no Niwa). This fun Japanese restaurant caters to all types of diners and has delicious and satisfying vegan and vegetarian options. The atmosphere and price point here make this an ideal spot for a birthday, anniversary, or celebration.
Please note that advanced reservations are required for the vegan option (which can be made from the website below).
The vegan course (“Kamakura Gozen”) is a huge course featuring a bento box with an assortment of tofu, soy meat, and seasonal vegetable dishes, along with rice, tempura, and another main dish. Be sure to come hungry!
For more info and reservations see the website here: https://yosiya.jp/en/yosiya-okunoniwa-en/
18. musubi cafe – Arashiyama Location
musubi cafe is a cozy, cute eatery with healthy lunch and dessert options with a location in Kyoto’s Arashiyama area. This cafe location has several vegan options and is a great place to stop to refuel if you’re in the Arashiyama area for sightseeing.
The picture above features one of musubi cafe’s delicious dessert options: a hojicha (roasted green tea) cake made with Kyoto tofu. On the side is a bite-size portion of green tea ice cream and red bean paste to finish off the vegan dessert.
For more info on this cafe see the website (Japanese only): https://musubi-cafe.jp/arashiyama
19. Premarché Gelateria
Vegan ice cream and frozen desserts are hard to come by in Kyoto, but if you’re craving something sweet and cold, head to Premarché Gelateria where you can indulge in over fifteen vegan flavors of creamy, delicious gelato. The flavors here are made with high-quality, often organic ingredients, and the vegan options are all delicious. There are non-dairy options made with honey and dairy options, too.
The picture above features two unique vegan flavors using Japanese ingredients: The Ninja, black sesame (kuro goma)-based gelato, and Kyoto White Miso -Vegan Cheese, which has a surprising and delicious balance of sweet and savory flavors.
Premarché Gelateria in Kyoto is located in the Sanjo Kai Shoten shopping street and is close to Nijo Castle. In addition to the gelateria, there is a Premarché restaurant nearby that serves vegan pizza and other great options for those looking for a meal.
Premarché Gelateria also has a location in Tokyo near Nakameguro.
For more info see the official website：https://gelato.organic/
20. Falafel Garden
Falafel Garden is a local favorite in the vegan community in Kyoto and the greater Kansai area. The restaurant lives ups to its namesake, churning out delicious, fresh falafel, of course, but also makes a great hummus, baba ganoush, and offers other satisfying options at a reasonable price.
Not everything on the menu is plant-based but most choices are vegetarian or vegan. There is spacious seating on the second floor.
Falafel Garden is very close to Keihan Demachiyagani Station. For more info see the restaurant website: https://www.falafelgarden.com/
21. Waco Crepes Kyoto
Waco Crepes is a tiny sweets shop offering gluten-free and vegan crepes in all sorts of sweet and savory flavors. Gluten-free offerings are served regularly, but when the author visited crepes were only available on Saturdays and Sundays–please contact the store directly to confirm.
Waco Crepes is located a short walk south from Gion and Hanamikoji, making it a convenient stop in the afternoon when you want to get in your sweets fix. As noted above the shop is small but there is some seating inside, or you can get your crepe to go.
For more info on hours and when vegan crepes are available, see their Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/wacocrepes/