Japan: Planning a trip

25th May 2012

I spent A LOT of time planning my trip to Japan this year. Baba decided she wanted to do a tour down south of Tokyo but I also wanted to visit the vegan places I could find in the areas we were stopping at. Just booking the hotels I had to take a day off work in the end, and getting my vegan hit list has been spread out over many evenings and weekends when I had a spare moment.

You may have heard Sash ‘joke’ (this ain’t no joke soldier!) that I run these vegan missions like military operations. The last time I went to Japan I had only just turned vegan, and did not visit any vegan restaurant or cafes, I am not even sure that I believed they existed there. Ahh the days before ‘choose a location and then find every single vegan point of interest within a 2 mile radius regime’, what a carefree and innocent little vegan I must have been.

Now of course I am completely obsessed, but hey one vegans quirky personality trait is another vegans fast track to vegans eats.

Locations where decided first: Osaka, Arashiyama, Hiroshima, Hakata, Kyoto all destinations along the route of the Shinkansen or Bullet Train. Then I started the lengthy process of deciding on which vegan restaurants to go taking into consideration distance and the fact I had a 3 year old and a 69 year old with me (Sash of course I make walk for miles, cue military cadence :)).

The Internet really is a vegans best friend, and I found lots of blogs with mini Japan travel guides as well as veggie restaurant guides, here is what I used:

The Happy Cow
Veg Guide
Wandering Vegans
Vegan Diet Guy
Never Ending Voyage

And Melisser (aka The Urban Housewife) has literally just dug her guide out of the archives: Parts 1, 2, 3, and 4.

I investigated a couple of chains just in case I did get stuck because Oaska (which in the end we ditched for an extra day in Kyoto) and Hakata (which we ditched for an extra day in Hiroshima) don’t have vegan restaurants. I saw the Mos Burger chain mentioned on a couple of blogs recommending the vegetable burger. However when I emailed they stated the kipiri burger, a vegetable filling in a rice bun was not suitable as it contains animal extracts and their sides fries, onion rings etc are cooked in the same oil as their meat products.

There was a similar problem with Freshness Burger who although have several ‘vegetarian’ options, all their buns contain milk.

I also saw several mentions for soya milk version of doughnuts. Doughnut Plant which can be found in train stations sell a version without eggs or milk, sadly  Fujino Tofu in Kyoto which specialise in making new products with tofu do have egg in their doughnuts.

There are also two chains of health/organic shops: Natural House and Anew. I could not find any of the latter but managed to visit a Natural House in Kyoto.

We travelled for five days and the remainder of our time was spent in Japan staying with family who live just outside of Tokyo.

If you are just interested in one particular area of Japan here are the places I visited, I will add links to the blogs as they are posted:


Arashiyama (Kyoto)


Tokyo – Shinjuku

Tokyo – Kichijoji

Tokyo – Harajuku

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