Japan isn’t the most friendly when it comes to accommodating vegan and vegetarian dietary needs, but several plant-based options with truly delicious menus can be found in Tokyo, Kyoto, and nearly all prefectures in the country.
This post covers five of these chain establishments that have vegan and non-vegan options, and a few vegan restaurants with a few locations.
1. All-Japan: MOS Burger’s Green Burger is Plant-based and Delicious!
MOS Burger is a hamburger chain with hundreds of branches throughout Japan known for using high-quality ingredients and carrying slightly healthy fast food options. The Plant-Based Green Burger (complete with a green bun infused with spinach puree) is available at all Mos locations in Japan, and is what you’ll want to order if you are looking for something vegan-friendly.
Wrapped in its vividly green, fluffy bun, Green Burger has a savory and hearty plant-based patty made from ground-up veggies and grains. The toppings and flavoring may vary depending on the season. The burger is on the smaller side, so be sure to order French fries or onion rings on the side.
The French fries and onion rings at Mos contain no animal fats or ingredients and are vegan-friendly, but due to the kitchen environment these are made in, there is a small chance of cross-contamination. Please note that are soy-based patty burgers on the menu that are vegetarian (not vegan). If you are vegan for food sensitivity or have severe allergies, do not try any food from Mos without confirming directly first.
You can enjoy MOS Burger for less than 1,000 yen (around $9~$10 USD) for a meal including the green burger, a side of fries, and a soft drink.
More on Mos Burger’s vegan-friendly option:
MOS Burger Restaurant Locator in Japanese: https://www.mos.jp/shop-service/
2. All-Japan: CoCo Ichibanya’s Veggie Curry is Vegan-Friendly!
CoCo Ichibanya, or CoCo Ichi, is another godsend when it comes to finding vegan food in Japan on the fly. A vegan curry at CoCo Ichi will cost around 1,000 to 1,500 yen, depending on the toppings and size you order.
CoCo Ichi is famous for its curry and extensive topping choices, and now serves vegan-friendly vegetarian curry as well as soy meat menchi katsu cutlets, which are also entirely plant-based at all its restaurants.
There will be a separate vegetarian (vegan) menu at CoCo Ichi when you visit, which includes the basic veggie (vegetarian) curry, along with recommended topping combinations, like mixed veggies (carrots, green beans, onions, and potatoes), spinach, eggplant, and the soy meat menchi katsu. Pictured above is a favorite of many: curry with mixed veggie topping and a menchi katsu (with 200g-serving of rice).
You can also customize the spiciness, sweetness, and amount of rice for your curry. As this is a restaurant serving both vegan and meat, please note that there is a chance of cross-contamination in the kitchen. If you have food allergies or concerns please do not visit before confirming with the restaurants beforehand.
CoCo Ichi Restaurant Locator (mostly Japanese): https://tenpo.ichibanya.co.jp/map/?q=loc
Click here for more info on CoCo Ichi’s vegan-friendly vegetarian curry.
3. All Japan: Royal Host’s Vegan Vegetable Curry
Royal Host is a popular restaurant with a huge menu with hundreds of options, making it a great option for large groups and families. Offered at most if not all of their 200-something locations is the vegetable curry with multigrain rice: entirely plant-based and the perfect choice for vegetarian and vegan diners.
The curry sauce comes in a separate dish, so you can feel fancy while pouring the curry over the rice and grilled vegetables. The curry is flavorful and the vegetables are fresh and delicious. Please note that there may be side options (plain white rice, etc.) that you can order as well, however, you should confirm if the ingredients are suitable or not for your diet beforehand.
Royal Host Restaurant Locator (Japanese): https://locations.royalhost.jp/search
Click here for details on Royal Host’s vegan-friendly vegetable curry with multigrain rice.
4. Tokyo and Narita Airport: T’s Tantan for Vegan Ramen and Tan tan Noodles
T’s Tantan is small all-vegan noodle chain with multiple locations throughout Tokyo, inside of major JR train stations: Tokyo, Ueno, and Ikebukuro. There are also a couple of restaurants conveniently located inside of Narita Airport.
Known for their amazing tan tan noodles, T’s promises a simple but filling meal. The menu has three or more varieties of flavorful, savory, and slightly-spicy tan tan noodles, and some seasonal dishes, too.
The tan tan noodles come in white, gold, or black sesame varieties and are a must-try for your first visit (or any visit, really). If you’re feeling especially hungry, be sure to order the delicious and juicy gyoza on the side, because they are just as tasty as the ramen.
A meal at T’s will run around 1,200 yen for a bowl of ramen, plus extra for sides.
T’s Tantan official website (Japanese, menu PDFs in English): http://ts-restaurant.jp/tantan/
5. Multiple Locations in Tokyo: The Most Flavorful Vegan Ramen at Kyushu Jangara
Kyushu Jangara is another small restaurant chain, specializing in ramen in Tokyo with some vegan options. The ramen here is simple but delicious––expect to pay less than 1,500 yen.
There may only be one or a couple of options that are plant-based, but the vegan ramen here is so hearty and satisfying that it’s definitely worth the trip: we guarantee you will be visiting again and again for more. It is recommended to double-check the restaurant’s website to check menus, but as of 2021, all locations–Harajuku, Akihabara, Akasaka, Ikebukuro, and Ginza–conveniently carry a vegan option!
The ramen selection may change seasonally or by location, but it’s always made to perfection. For anyone craving a satisfying, flavorful ramen experience, give Kyushu Jangara a try!
Kyushu Jangara official website: http://kyushujangara.co.jp/
6. Tokyo and Kyoto: AIN SOPH for Huge Vegan Burgers and Matcha Pancakes
Ain Soph (AIN SOPH) is a very small chain of vegan restaurants in Tokyo, with a location in Kyoto. Each restaurant has a slightly different theme and menu, each offering high-quality, healthy vegan food.
The Kyoto branch (AIN SOPH.journey Kyoto) and the location in Ikebukuro (AIN SOPH.soar) stand out, particularly with their amazingly hearty menus, which include savory, thick vegan burgers, curries, and decadent desserts. Both are perfect for a celebratory meal with friends or a quick bite alone.
You’ll want to try a hamburger and a side of fries, and maybe a parfait, too. If you are in Kyoto, save room for the matcha pancakes! The pancakes are fluffy and light, covered in delicious matcha sauce, with a side of ice cream and a scoop of red bean paste to top it all off.
Many options are gluten-free and made with organic ingredients, and if you have allergies or a food sensitivity just let the staff know. A meal at Ain Soph will run around 2,500 to 3,000 yen per person.
Ain Soph official website：https://www.ain-soph.jp/