In the first place, what is "vegetarian"?
In Japan, vegetarians are a minority. But there are different types of vegetarians. Some only eat vegetables, others are fine with eating fish or eggs and diary products, but some don’t eat any animal products at all. Let’s check all the nuances of vegetarianism:
・Pescetarian: Refuses meat, but accepts seafood.
・Ovo-lacto vegetarian: Refuses meat and seafood, but eats dairy products and eggs.
・Lacto vegetarian: Refuses meat and seafood, but eats dairy products.
・Vegan: Doesn't eat meat, seafood, dairy products, eggs or any other product of animal origin.
・Raw vegan: Eats only raw vegetable products.
・Macrobiotic: Eating habits are based on the Eastern philosophy of positive and negative aspects, and including whole grains as staple food.
People practice a vegetarian diet for different reasons and backgrounds, from religious reasons, allergies, health reasons, etc. I always thought that being vegetarian is easy in Japan, where grains, vegetables and seaweed play an important role in daily nutrition, but I realized that eating out can be quite difficult. Therefore I will introduce recommended restaurants that support a vegetarian diet!
Good choice of restaurant for vegetarians, as well as vegans!
■Eat More Greens (Azabujuban) (HP is in renovation)
This shop, designed after a café & bakery of New York, with menu offering vegetable rice tacos and curry set, as well as vegan tarts and cakes. They also sell "Doughnut Plant's” vegan doughnuts.
Open from 11:00am to 11:00pm every day, except during New Year.
■Nataraj (Minami Aoyama)
Natural Indian cuisine with multiple restaurant locations (also in Ginza and Ogikubo, as well as Osaka). Their curry, made exclusively with perfect organic vegetables from their own plantation, is suitable for vegans. Their weekdays' lunch buffet is recommended!
Tel: 03-5474-0510 / Open from 11:00am to 3:00pm (lunch) and
from 5:30pm to 11:00pm (dinner) on weekdays, and from 11:30am to 11:00pm on weekends and holidays
Open all year long
■Kuumba du falafel (Shinsen)
A shop where you can savour Israeli cooking, in which the chickpea/bean croquette called falafel is the main ingredient. The hearty falafel sandwiches made with pita bread and the bean soup are both vegan friendly. It is a small, counter-only shop, but take-away is also possible.
Open from 11:30am to 2:30pm (lunch) and 5:30pm to 9:00pm (dinner) on weekdays, and from 11:30 am to 7:00pm on weekend and holidays
Closed on Mondays.
Apart from the menu of set meals that include brown rice and miso soup, it also has a French style course menu and organic wine. It is a restaurant with very good meals made with organic vegetables and fermented food. For those working overtime they also have a fixed "daily dish" that is served until 8:30pm.
Open from 11:00am to 3:30pm (lunch) and 6:00pm to 10:30pm (dinner) on weekdays, and from 10:00am to 3:30pm on weekends and holidays
Open all year round.
■ Chien-Fu (Roppongi)
Vegan Taiwanese cuisine. It might be surprising to hear, but Taiwan has the second largest vegetarian population, next to India. Vegan dishes are based on beans, jelly and gluten, while they reproduce the texture of meat and fish.
Open from 11:00am to 9:30pm
■ Extra edition: Sky High (Shibuya)
A juice bar that uses only naturally grown vegetables and fruits. Just by seeing the colorful juices and smoothies you feel healthier. Of course, they are also very effective for detox, immunity boosting and beautiful skin. The cold-pressed juices are recommended!
Aoyama TN Bdg
Open from 11:00am to 8:00pm
closed on Sundays
When you are with a vegetarian co-worker, or a vegetarian client from overseas, it is smart to be able to recommend a vegetarian restaurant.
Please use this as a reference!