Wednesday 27 September 2023

Tokyo's Best Vegan Restaurants in 2023

Currently Being Updated in April 2024

Japan is, more than anywhere else in Asia, somewhere that it's worth making the extra effort to visit wholly vegan restaurants, and even to plan a day sightseeing around meals. Staff at most 'ordinary' Japanese restaurants won't have any understanding of veganism, and most restaurant owners are reluctant to adapt dishes to suit vegans.

Furthermore, for many vegan restaurants in Japan, foreigners make up a significant proportion of customers, and given that few new vegan restaurants in Tokyo survive longer than two years, that extra time you spend may just make a difference to a restaurant staying in business or not. It's tragic how many former vegans start making "compromises" or become "flexible" in Japan, and between this blog and my travel guidebook I hope to make it that bit easier to stay vegan in the Land of the Rising Sun.

Tokyo Outings

In this post I follow these four itineraries from my guidebook. The areas described are not official city districts but simply definitions which are intended to be useful to foreign tourists, because dividing up the city this way allows travellers to see Tokyo's main attractions in about four days.

Harajuku, Shibuya, Omotesando, Yebisu & Roppongi

These itinerary covers Tokyo's youth fashion and shopping districts, the more upmarket Omotesando district (for older shoppers), the business and nightclub capital of Roppongi, Yoyogi Park (Tokyo's 'backyard'), and the Yebisu neighbourhood, which is famous for its namesake beer which used to be made there but is now popular as an interesting old neighbourhood which features some of the capital's best-value vegan restaurants. Eat well on this itinerary.

Omotesando (表参道)

Omotesando is a shopping fashion centre for Tokyoites -- and tourists -- in their thirties and forties. If you're too old for Harajuku, and too young -- or just too poor -- for Ginza, then you may find yourself at home in Omotesando. 

Brown Rice Cafe ($$, Macrobiotic, Organic, 🌱)

Wed-Mon: 11:30-18:00 (last order: 17:00).

One minute’s walk from Omotesando Station, Exit 1. Take the first left into a small alleyway, and it will be on your right.

150-0001 東京都渋谷区神宮前5-1-8 1F
5-1-8 jingumae, Shibuya-ku Tokyo 150-0001


Google Maps, website, HappyCow


Delicious, healthy, beautifully presented macrobiotic meals.
Moderately expensive, but excellent value given the food, interior and location.

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This trendy, healthy, macrobiotic café was one of the earliest vegan cafes in Tokyo, and it has stood the test of time to become famous among vegans and health-conscious Tokyoites. It’s now connected to Neals Yard, a large, UK-based supplier of healthy and organic foods, and goes by that name and also the Brown Rice Café.

Like most Japanese macrobiotic restaurants, it turns brown rice and seasonal vegetables into delicious, satisfying and (of course) beautifully presented meal sets, starting at around ¥2,000. This is a slight premium over similar restaurants around Tokyo and Japan, but perfectly reasonable for such quality food at a famous restaurant, in one of Japan’s most upmarket shopping districts. I wouldn’t make a special trip here as this type of food can be found all over Japan, but while in Omotesando or Shibuya it’s well worth a visit for what may be one of your best Japanese meals outside of Kyoto.

Compared with other good macrobiotic restaurants in Tokyo, Nezu No Ya (near Ueno) serves much simpler meals for about half the price, while Ain Soph Ginza (Tokyo’s most upmarket vegan restaurant) serves much more elaborate sets for around double the price. I consider all three to be of equal value, given their food, service, interior and location.

Compared with other good macrobiotic restaurants in Tokyo, Nezu No Ya (see below) serves much simpler meals for about half the price, while Ain Soph Ginza (Tokyo’s most upmarket vegan restaurant -- see below) serves much more elaborate sets for around double the price. I consider all three to be of equal value, given their food, service, interior and location.

Olu Olu Café ($$, Hawaiian, 🌱)

Closed temporarily (hopefully!). Please check Google Maps or call before visiting (the friendly owners speak fluent English). 

12 minutes’ walk from Sangejaya Station on the Tokyu Den-en-toshi Line, two stops southwest of Shibuya Station. It’s also on the Tokyu Setagaya Line.

154-0001 東京都世田谷区池尻1丁目11−1
1 Chome-11-1 Ikejiri, Setagaya, Tokyo 154-0001


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03-3795-6060 (staff speak English).

Great Hawaiian food at surprisingly low prices, served in a relaxed and welcoming store by vegan hosts.  
A little bit off the tourist route, but well worth the trip on the subway.

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This vegan restaurant has been one of my favourites for many years. The friendly couple who run it wanted to run a vegan restaurant for all the right reasons, and they felt that Hawaiian food and culture has a happy, welcoming vibe, which would make customers feel good about their food and about veganism. And their formula has clearly worked. If you would like a unique (for Asia), vegan meal without spending a fortune, then it’s well worth the short subway trip to get here. 

Shibuya (渋谷) 

Lotus Cafe ($$, Fusion, 🌱)

Tue-Sun: 11:00-22:00; closed Mon. 

Five minutes’ walk uphill from Shibuya Station, South Exit. It can be very difficult to find without Google Maps.

15-10 Uguisudanicho, Shibuya City, Tokyo 150-0032

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Good, big, Japanese meal for a reasonable price.  
Crowded, run-down interior.

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In the latest full update to my guidebook a few months ago, I had to report the tragic closure of Nagi Shokudo, one of Tokyo's last-remaining pioneer vegan restaurants (the last one left is the Loving Hut). 

Izakaya Masaka ($$, Japanese, Pub, 🌱)


Six minutes’ walk northwest from Shibuya Station, Exit A3b
Shibuya Parco Building, B1 Floor food court.
(It’s difficult to find even within the food court, so I suggest showing the Japanese name to someone and asking for help.)

150-0042 東京都渋谷区宇田川町15−1
15-1 Udagawacho, Shibuya City, Tokyo 150-0042

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Inexpensive; vegan version of an izakaya (traditional Japanese pub).
Limited tables and often long waits to enter.

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An izakaya is a traditional Japanese drinking establishment where people go to socialise with friends and colleagues, a bit like a British pub. And like at pubs, food at izakayas tends to be simple and greasy, and Masaka is no exception. It specialises in gyozas (dumplings, shown above) and karage (fried soy meat), both of which are popular among vegan restaurants in Japan. Masaka probably won’t be your favourite meal in Tokyo, but if you’d like to try the izakaya experience then this is certainly the place.
Masaka has only a few tables, is enormously popular, and doesn’t accept reservations, so I suggest queuing up well before the opening time, preferably not on a Friday or Saturday night. Tired of waiting your turn? There’s a branch of Falafel Brothers on the seventh floor, and it has a similar pub-like vibe, but you might have trouble getting a seat there as well. 

Falafel Brothers Shibuya Parco ($$, Falafel, 🌱, ファラフェルブラザーズ)

Mon-Thu: 11:30-21:00; Fri-Sun: 11:30-22:00.
Last order: 30 minutes before closing.

東京都渋谷区宇田川町15-1 7F
7F 15-1, Udagawa-cho,Shibuya,Tokyo



Great falafel and other vegan options.
The Roppongi store has a wider menu, although the main (falafel) offerings are the same at both.

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This famous vegan chain serves top notch falafel with a range of styles and toppings, including burgers. If you’ll only try Tokyo’s top falafel once, however, I recommend the Roppongi branch because it has a wider menu and more seating available, and because there are more alternatives around Shibuya, including Izakaya Masaka in the same building (see immediately above). 

Kuumba Du Falafel ($$, Middle Eastern, 🌱)

Wed-Sat: 11:30-14:30, 17:00-20:30; Sun: 11:30-18:00; closed Mon, Tue.

Fifteen minutes’ walk west (uphill) from Shibuya Station, Exit 3

150-0045 東京都渋谷区神泉町23
ME Building.1F 23-1 Shinsen-chou, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 151-0045

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Large, inexpensive meal sets with great falafel.   
Long walk uphill; little seating in or near the café; unfriendly staff.

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This inexpensive Middle Eastern café has been serving up the same delicious falafel plates for several years. It’s always had a bit of a strange vibe, it’s a long uphill walk from Shibuya Station, and it has limited seating, so customers often need to wait, or purchase takeaway meals without anywhere to eat them nearby. And its staff are unfriendly at best and often quite rude. But its delicious meals, which start at around ¥1,000, make up for all of that.

Ebisu (恵比寿)

Ebisu is best known for its namesake beer, which is why most people visit, especially for the beer museum which is housed in the former brewery. But its Ebisu Garden place is an interesting old district to explore even for people who don't drink like myself. The large pedestrian-only area often hosts festivals during weekends, and sometimes free film viewings on evenings during the warmer months. It's also home to some of Tokyo's healthiest and best-value mid-range vegan restaurants. 

Hemp Café Tokyo ($$$, Raw, Hemp, 🌱)

Tue-Sun: 11:30-15:00, 18:00-22:00; closed Mon.

Google Maps, website, HappyCow


150-0011 東京都渋谷区東3-17-14-8F
3-17-14-8F, Higashi, Shibuya-ku, Japan 150-0011

Healthy food, with the addition of Hemp.
Small, expensive portions (but reasonable value for money).

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This very popular café serves Western style food with a range of hemp ingredients added, including hemp seeds, hemp protein and hemp oil. The interior has a unique Hawaiian surf theme. They also have an online store. 

Ko-So Café ($$, Western, Fusion, 🌱)

Thu-Tue: 11:00-20:30; closed Wednesday.

Three minutes’ north of Ebisu Station, West Exit. Follow the road around to the right and under the overhead train tracks. Then take the second left, and Ko-So is on the ground floor of the third building on the right and is well-signposted in green (and in English).
(Ko-So is actually on the east side of the train tracks, but due to the layout of the roads it’s faster to get there from the West Exit).  

150-0011, 3-25-3 ライオンズプラザ恵比寿
3-25-3 Higashi | Lions Plaza Ebisu 1F, Shibuya 150-0011, Tokyo


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Excellent value; gluten free options.

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Ko-So probably serves Tokyo's best salads.

Ko-So Cafe is, on balance of cost, nutritional value, location and dining experience, one of Tokyo’s best vegan cafes. It offers simple, healthy cuisine, mostly Western comfort foods, with basic sets like pasta (with a choice of delicious sauces) starting from around ¥1,000. Gluten free options are available, including the pasta. It also serves a good range of desserts, with daily options from around ¥500. While food at the nearby Rainbow Raw Food / Hemp Café is probably healthier, Ko-So Café serves the best salad I’ve found in Tokyo.

Naka-Meguro (恵比寿)

Ballon Tokyo ($$, Falafel, Ice Cream, 🌱)

Mon-Fri: 11:30-17:30 (LO: 17:00); Sat, Sun: 10:00-17:30.
Please check their Instagram (see below) for updates and irregular closing times.

5 minutes’ walk from Nakameguro Station, which is one stop southwest of Ebisu Station on the Hibiya Line and two stops south of Shibuya Station on the Tōkyū Tōyoko Line which connects Tokyo and Yokohama.

153-0061 東京都目黒区中目黒3丁目2−19 ラミアール中目黒
153-0061 Tōkyō-to, Meguro City, Nakameguro, 3-chōme−2−19 Ramiaru, Nakameguro 153-0061

Instagram, Google Maps, website, HappyCow


Falafel and Ice Cream make an unusual but palatable combination, especially during summer.
It’s a convenient stop on the way to Yokohama, and close to the famous Meguro River cherry blossom promenade.

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This small vegan café specialises in falafel and soy soft serve ice cream, a formula so successful that its menu has barely changed since it was established five years ago. Most of its positive Happycow reviews were achieved by bribing people with free scoop of ice cream, and, while they appear to have discontinued this policy, the reviews they bought have earned them “Top rated restaurant in Tokyo” status, which I don’t think they deserve. 

Their falafel is good, and most people enjoy their meal, but, compared with Falafel Brothers (see nearby Ebisu or Shibuya stores above, or their Roppongi store below) the menu is more limited, the portions are smaller, and the prices are higher. Their soy ice creams are also somewhat small for ¥550, but delicious nonetheless, especially on a hot summer’s day. It’s worth a visit if in the area (probably for the blossoms in spring) but I wouldn’t recommend making a special trip to Naka-Meguro just for Ballon. 

Roppongi (六本木)

Mention Roppongi to anyone in Tokyo, and they’ll think booze & nightclubs. If you’re ‘going out’ in Tokyo, chances are it will be here in Roppongi. But many tourists also visit for the gaudy and old but ever-popular Tokyo Tower, and the city-in-a-district Roppongi Hills tower.

Falafel Brothers Roppongi (ファラフェルブラザーズ, $, Takeout Only, 🌱)

Mon-Thu: 08:30-21:30; Fri, Sat: 08:30-22:00; Sun: 9:30-20:30 (last order: 30 minutes before closing).

3 minutes’ walk southeast of Roppongi Station, Exit 3.

106-0032 東京都港区六本木5丁目1−11
1F, 5 Chome-1-11 Roppongi, Minato City, Tokyo 106-0032



Great falafel and other vegan options.

Google Maps, website, HappyCow, Facebook

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This is the original branch of Falafel Brothers (see other stores above). For many years they served top notch vegan falafel, mostly to foreigners out and about in Roppongi, from what was little more than a hole in the wall. But in October 2022 the store moved into a space next door and was re-named The Brothers Corner, although it’s currently still better known as Falafel Brothers. In this new store they have further expanded their menu to include vegan quiches, hot pressed sandwiches, and single slice pizza.

Akihabara (秋葉原), Ueno (上野) & Asakusa (浅草) 

This itinerary covers many of Tokyo's most popular tourist districts. In my guidebook I recommend visiting on a weekend, as Ueno and Akihabara are more interesting at these times. While it's likely to be slightly busier during weekends, Asakusa is always busy with tourists, so it doesn't really matter when you visit. 

Komaki Shokudou Kamakura Fushikian ($$, Japanese, こまきしょくどう 鎌倉不識庵, 🌱)

Mon: 9:00-19:30; Tue-Fri: 11:00-14:30, 17:00-19:30; Sat, Sun: 11:00-19:30.

Inside the Chabara Building (grocery store) underneath the Yamanote Line tracks just north of Akihabara Station.

Walk out the main exit of JR Akihabara Station into a large courtyard. On your right you should see the Yamanote Line tracks running north-south, and steps leading up to a raised walkway to the left. Walk north, just to the right of the raised (Yamanote Line) railway tracks, cross one road, and the Chabara store will be on your right underneath the train tracks.

101-0022 東京都千代田区神田練塀町8-2 CHABARA
Chiyoda-ku, Neribeicho, 8-2 Kanda 101-0022


Google Maps, HappyCow, Facebook, website (Japanese only)

Shojin-ryori (Buddhist temple cuisine) is healthy, and not easy to find in central Tokyo.  
Not as good as most shojin ryori served in temples; expensive; rules about minimum purchases.  

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Komaki Shokudou serves some delicious shojin cuisine, with basic plates starting from around ¥1,200 on weekdays during the lunch period (11:00-14:30), and increasing to about ¥2,000 on weekends. Many foreign customers expect shojin ryori to be high-end dining, as it usually is at Buddhist temples. But shojin ryori literally means ‘devotion cuisine’, the diet of Buddhists who must have been devoted to follow it before Emperor Meiji dissolved the requirement for Buddhist monks to be vegetarian in the 1860s. So shojin is defined by being free of animal products and the ‘five pungents’ (onion, garlic and other allium vegetables), not by its elegance or price tag. This is certainly at the cheaper end of the spectrum (especially compared with offerings in Kyoto, where most tourists experience shojin ryori) but it’s still the real deal – just a cheaper, mass-produced deal. ‘Fake shojin’ is served at restaurants which also serve animal products, but not here. 

Komaki Shokudou also serves some healthy desserts for a little under ¥1,000, but (needless to say) they can only be ordered with a main meal, not as a meal. 
Customers may, at times, be expected to order a drink. 

Don’t make a special trip to Akihabara for this place – it’s not great food or great value, but if you’re already here, you’re hungry, and don’t balk at the price, then it’s a decent lunch option, especially on weekdays. Fans of Indian cuisine (especially South Indian) should head north to Vege Herb Saga or the Veg Kitchen instead (see below). 

Taiwan Shokudo ($, Taiwanese, 🥛)

Temporarily closed; Please call first or check their Facebook page before visiting.

Previous hours: Mon-Sat: 11:00-22:30.  

Three minutes’ walk southwest (towards the river) of Ryōgoku Station on the JR Chūō-Sōbu Line (from Akihabara Station).
Eleven minutes’ walk northeast (and across the river) from Higashi-Nihombashi Station on the Asakusa Line (from Asakusa Station).
A pleasant half-hour walk south along (and across) the Sumida River.

130-0026 東京都墨田区両国1丁目14−6
1 Chome-14-6 Ryōgoku, Sumida City, Tokyo 130-0026


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Limited menu.

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This casual Taiwanese restaurant offers the most inexpensive meal in this day’s itinerary, with large meals at under ¥1,000. It serves typical Taiwanese favourites, and (as always) I recommend Ma po tofu, or any other dish which doesn’t use fake meat (see my article on fake meat in Taiwan).
Taiwan Shokudo recently moved into this new store about 1.5 kilometres east of Akihabara and a little further south of Asakusa, so I’ve moved the listing to Akihabara, partly because it’s slightly closer to there and partly because it’s a good alternative to Kamakura Fushikian (see above), while there are more options around Asakusa. It’s not so easy to reach from Ueno, which requires a subway transfer or a short walk to Okachimachi Station.  Taiwan Shokudo was previously located in a windowless second story room, and it doesn’t sound like the new branch is much different. But the staff are welcoming, the meals are hearty and generously sized, and it can’t be beaten on price.

Ueno (上野)

Ueno is one of Tokyo's oldest, poorest and most characteristic suburbs. It's famous for its cheap clothing stores which sell discounted old or seconds stock under the railway tracks. It's also home to a large Jain (Indian vegetarian) community, many of whom work in the diamond trade. Ueno Park is one of the best spots in Tokyo for cherry blossoms, and the adjacent Tokyo National Museum is one of the country's best art museums.  

Nezu no Ya ($$, Japanese, Macrobiotic, 🌱, 根津の谷)

11:30-16:30 (last order: 15:30)

Please check the calendar at the bottom of the website. Days that the restaurant is open are shown with a red square containing the Kanji (currently Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays).

Ten minutes’ walk north of Ueno Park (Bentendo Temple); fifteen minutes from Starbucks in the centre of the park.

Beside Nezu Station on the Chiyoda (subway) Line (from Tokyo Station). 

113-0031 東京都 文京区根津1丁目1-14
1-1-14 Nezu, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo


Google Maps, HappyCow, website

Tokyo’s best value macrobiotic restaurant.
Irregular (but reliably posted) opening hours.
The attached organic shop sells animal products.

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This vegan gem serves up delicious, healthy macrobiotic meals for a little under ¥1500, including a Japanese curry and a daily set (which I recommend). On the balance of price, location, décor (simple, but very pleasant) and food quality, this is one of the best value restaurants in Tokyo. The menu in the café is all vegan, but, unfortunately, the attached organic store sells animal products. 

Vege Herb Saga ($$, Indian, ヴェジハーブサーガ, 🥛)

11:15-14:30, 17:15-22:30

Hours can be irregular; it sometimes closes for long periods of time when the staff return to India. If closed, I recommend the nearby Veg Kitchen (see below).

Two minutes’ walk southeast of Okachimachi Station, South Exit 2 (for the JR Yamanote and Keihen/Tohoku lines) and one minute’s walk west of Naka-Okachimachi Station, Exit 2 (for the Hibiya subway line). 

110-0005 東京都台東区上野5丁目22-1 地下1 東鈴ビル
5-22-1, Ueno, Taito-ku, Tokyo


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Delicious, authentic Indian food, including South Indian cuisine.  

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The best dosa in Tokyo. A dosa is a thin crispy pancake made from fermented grains. I recommend the Masala dosa, which is filled with a spicy potato filling. But be sure to tell the waiter “No butter or ghee,” as Indian chefs often smear it over the dosa before adding the filling out of habit, although I’ve never had it happen at this restaurant, where staff are careful to ensure that the dietary requirements of vegans and Jains are met.

One of my favourite restaurants in Tokyo, this is a little piece of India. The owner, a devout Jain (the world’s oldest religion of non-violence, which arose around the same time in India as Buddhism, and out of the same Hindu roots) is a diamond trader, and he started this restaurant as a tiny, cramped, underground kitchen for himself, his family, and his visiting friends and business associates, who as Jains have a stricter set of dietary rules than vegans. (They eat dairy products, but not root vegetables, because their harvesting causes harm to insect life underground and the plants themselves.) 
The restaurant has since moved from its first premises into a larger underground basement, but it’s still far from elegant. But Saga’s loyal following (including myself) come for the delicious, authentic Indian food, including South Indian specialties such as Masala Dosas (shown in the photo above) and Idlis, which are difficult to find elsewhere in Tokyo or Japan. The owner regularly imports spices from India and roasts them in the store; this is (in my opinion) why his food tastes so much better than at any other Indian restaurants in Japan. Several years ago, it ranked in the top few Indian restaurants in Tokyo on a Japanese TV show, despite being vegetarian, and it has been famous among Japanese fans of Indian food ever since.  

One possible issue for some Western diners here is that many of the staff come straight from India and are thus not accustomed to Western, or especially Japanese, levels of personal distance. It’s also not uncommon for them to rearrange food on the customer’s plate in front of them to make it look perfect – a common practice in India but not in the West and certainly not in Japan, where diners usually don’t even touch their own food. But, cultural differences aside, the long-term chef at Saga is among the most kind and warm-hearted people I have ever met, and it’s disappointing to see cultural differences put people off such good food. 

If you would like a more conventional Western or Japanese dining experience, a Japanese-Indian fusion meal can be had at Gopinatha in Nakano.  

Veg Kitchen ($$, Indian, ベジキッチン, 🥛)

11:00-14:30, 17:00-22:00

A few minutes’ walk east of Naka-Okachimachi Station (for the Hibiya subway line) and Okachimachi Station (for the JR Yamanote and Keihen/Tohoku lines).

110-0016 東京都台東区台東3丁目44−8
3 Chome-44-8 Taito, Taitō, Tokyo 110-0016



Facebook (menu updated daily), Google Maps, HappyCow

The décor and dining experience are ‘better’ (or at least more predictable) than at Veggie Herb Saga.  
Open every day.
Food is not as authentic (or, in my opinion, as good) as at Veggie Herb Saga.
Unlike Veggie Herb Saga, the Veg Kitchen serves alcohol.

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Momo are a Tibetan specialty, but here they come with an Indian twist.

Up the road from Veggie Herb Saga is the Veg Kitchen, a rival vegetarian restaurant run by its former chef. It’s disappointing that he chose to open his restaurant in the same district and serve much the same food, when he could have found his own niche elsewhere in such a large city; however, both restaurants seem to be doing just fine. Compared with Veggie Herb Saga, the Veg Kitchen serves similar food for similar prices, although it also serves Indian Chinese food, which I can’t recommend to anyone who likes Indian or Chinese food.

Both restaurants have their own followers of Indians, Japanese and Westerners, but to me the Veg Kitchen feels less ‘special’ than the Jain-motivated Saga, being run with a profit motive (not that there is anything wrong with that) rather than to promote vegetarianism and support vegetarians in the area. It also serves alcohol and allows customers to smoke at their tables, which may be a drawcard for some travellers, but certainly isn’t for me. The Veg Kitchen’s food is certainly good, and probably among the best in Japan. But, in my experience, it just doesn’t quite have the edge that Veggie Herb Saga does.

Asakusa (浅草)

Asakusa offers a glimpse of what Tokyo (or at least its wealthier districts) looked like during the Edo Period (1603-1868), when Japan was ruled by the very strict Tokugawa Shogunate. Asakusa developed as an entertainment district which mostly served the wealthy owners of rice storehouses in neighbouring Kuramae district. While Asakusa certainly an enjoyable experience (at least to anyone not adverse to large crowds of tourists) and I recommend visiting for the new Vegan Store (see immediately below), in my Vegan Travel Guide to Japan I recommend visiting the nearby old town of Kawagoe for Edo history instead, because it has many authentic Edo-era buidings, whereas most of Asakusa was reconstructed after it was destroyed by bombing during World War II. Kawagoe also makes a great day trip when combined with the nearby (all vegetarian) Alishan Organic Cafe.

Vegan Cafe PQ's ($, Fusion, 🌱)

Wed-Fri: 11:00-18:00; Sat, Sun: 10:00-18:00; closed Mon, Tue.

10-15 minutes’ walk north of Asakusa Station (depending on which line) or Senso-ji Temple.


4 Chome-38-7 Asakusa, Taitō, Tokyo 111-0032

Google Maps, Instagram, HappyCow

07-3154-8285 (staff speak English)

Great cause supporting marginalised people.  

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This friendly vegan café was set up with the purpose of supporting all marginalised groups in Japan, especially the LGBTQ+ community, which faces more discrimination here than in other comparably developed countries. The staff’s eyes lit up when I said that I lived in Taiwan, which they quickly identified as one of the most progressive countries in Asia (that was before the recent passing of Asia’s first marriage equality bill in May 2019). Unlike most ‘gay bars’, which mostly serve as a social space, PQ’s has much more of an activist foundation, and anyone with a background in anarchism or other forms of grassroots activism will appreciate this place very much.

But you don’t need to have any political background to appreciate their honest good food. PQ’s offers a set menu of pasta, curry and bagels, with meals starting from ¥1,000. They also serve good drinks, making this a great place to hang out after visiting Asakusa.

Marugoto Vegan Dining Asakusa ($$, Western, Fusion, 🌱, ササヤカフェ)

Tue-Thu: 11:30-15:00; Fri-Sun: 11:30-17:00; closed Mon.
Please check their Facebook page
for irregular opening times. 

Four minutes’ walk north-east (along the river) from Asakusa Station, Exit 5.

111-0033 東京都台東区花川戸1丁目3−3
1 Chome-3-3 Hanakawado, Taito City, Tokyo 111-0033, Japan

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Comfort food beside Asakusa Station.
Small portions of expensive food.

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Falafel Burger (¥1,320)

This café, which was previously known as The Farm Café, appears to have successfully latched onto the lucrative foreign vegan tourist market. In other words, expect small, overpriced Western comfort foods which some travellers will love more than others. 

Sasaya Café ($$, Japanese, Indian, Fusion,  ササヤカフェ, 🌱)


Fifteen minutes’ walk from the Tokyo Skytree, Tokyo Skytree Station, Kinshicho Station, Honjo-Azumabashi Station and Oshiage Station.

130-0003, 1丁目-1-10 横川 墨田区 東京都
1-1-10 Yokokawa, Sumida, Tokyo


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Great Japanese/Indian/Western fusion food.
Close to Skytree and Asakusa.

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Tempeh curry set. 

Sasaya is one of Tokyo’s best cafes: It serves delicious, large meals, with hearty sets going for around ¥1,000-¥1,500. Like Gopinatha, it serves Indian-inspired dishes with a Japanese twist. I recommend Sasaya’s Tempeh cutlets and South Indian sambar (shown in the photo above); the two complement each other surprisingly well. Its interior is warm and spacious, and it overlooks a small park which follows a stream almost all the way to the Tokyo Skytree. If you don’t take my advice to go up Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building instead of the Skytree, then I recommend coming here while you wait for your turn to queue up, or (if you get the Fast Ticket) any time before or after your visit there.

But it’s worth considering coming here even if you don’t go to the Skytree, especially if you have PC work (or reading) to get done, as it’s only one stop on the Asakusa Line (¥180) and a pleasant ten-minute walk from Asakusa Station. Despite being so close to the Skytree, most of Sasaya’s clientele are local Japanese, many of whom come to bring their children to the park outside. The menu is vegan, but the attached shop sells honey.

Ginza & Chiyoda

Ginza is Tokyo's most famous upmarket shopping district,and is home to the original Ain Soph restaurant (which has since become a small empire, including several branches in Tokyo and one in Kyoto). Chiyoda includes Tokyo Station, the Imperial Palace East Gardens, and the famous but controversial Yasakuni Shrine, which is dedicated to Japan's war dead. This itinerary culminates nicely in a trip to the Japan's only Loving Hut (see below). 

Ginza (銀座)

Komeda Is ($$, Western, Coffee Shop, 🌱)


Three minutes’ walk southeast of Higashi-ginza Station on the Toei Asakusa and Hibiya (subway) Lines.  
Seven minutes’ walk southeast of Ginza Station on the Ginza and Marunouchi (subway) Lines.

104-0045 東京都中央区築地1丁目13-1
4 Chome-12-1 Ginza, Chuo City, Tokyo 104-0061

Google Maps, Instagram, HappyCow, website (Japanese only)


Fully vegan coffee shop.
Large, inexpensive meals in Ginza.

Update this restaurant.

There’s nothing special about a sandwich, salad and fries, but there is something special about a fully vegan coffee shop in Ginza that sells it for ¥1,300. 

Komeda Is is the first (and so far only) vegan branch of Komeda Coffee, an upmarket chain famous for its generously sized portions. Meals here aren’t particularly healthy (it’s mostly burgers, sandwiches, and fries, as shown above) but they are great value, especially for Ginza. 

Enter the restaurant (the staff may find you a seat), and then order using the multi-lingual tablets at each table. Take the receipt they bring you with the food to the counter to pay on your way out. 

As a coffee shop, it’s perfectly acceptable to read or work on computers for a while (power outlets are provided at most tables), but (as noted in its listing under places to get work done), signs ask customers not to stay too long when it’s busy. I suggest not staying longer than an hour after ordering a meal and a drink if most or all tables are taken. 

Ain Soph Ginza ($$, Japanese, 🌱)

Mon, Tue, Sun: 11:30-16:00; Wed-Sat: 11:30-20:00.
Reservations are strongly recommended.

Beside Higashi-Ginza Station, Exit A7 on the Hibiya (subway) Line and the Toei Asakusa (subway) Line.
Seven minutes’ walk from Ginza Station and the Ginza shopping district.

104-0061 東京都中央区銀座4丁目12-1
4 Chome-12-1 Ginza, Chuo City, Tokyo 104-0061

Google Maps, website, Facebook, HappyCow


One of Tokyo’s best Japanese meals.
Great price given the location.
Despite that, it’s still expensive. Welcome to Ginza.  

Update this restaurant.

At ¥3,400, Ain Soph isn’t the cheapest meal around, but it’s excellent value for such quality food in Tokyo’s most famous shopping district.

This branch of the large Ain Soph chain is a fittingly posh restaurant for Ginza, and the perfect place to finish off your shopping spree, with sets (which customers are obligated to order at mealtimes) starting from around ¥2,000. Their pancakes are especially popular. 

Sushi is only available by advanced reservation, but walk-in customers can order other items (including the set shown above). But at busy times it’s difficult to get a table a all without a reservation, so I recommend booking ahead if you know when you’ll be in Ginza. Between 2:30 and 17:00 the menu is limited to desserts and drinks, and it’s easier to get a table without a reservation. 

Food here is certainly good, but the value is better (and meals simpler) at Ain Soph’s ‘Journey’ branches, including the Shinjuku branch and Kyoto branch.

Chiyoda (千代田) 

Food Inside Tokyo Station

This article is covered in my Vegan Food inside Tokyo Station page. It has more photos but the same practical details. 

T’s Tantan ($, Japanese Noodles, T's たんたん 東京駅京葉ストリート店, 🌱)


Located along Keiyo Food (underground) “Street”, inside the Japan Rail ticket gates of Tokyo Station, but not inside the shinkansen ticket gates. If arriving by subway, it’s necessary to leave the subway system and enter the JR (Japan Railway) system by any one of its ticket gates (which is free with a Japan Rail Pass). If you arrive by shinkansen (the high-speed train) then leave the shinkansen gates but not the final JR gates.

From within the JR ticket gates, follow signs to the Keio Line, and then to the Keio (underground) “Street”. Walk down Keio Street almost to the end. Starbucks will be on your left. T’s Tantan is well signposted (in green) on your right, shortly after Starbucks, just before the end of the ‘street’. There is usually a long queue, but it moves fast. 

If you don’t have a rail pass or a JR ticket, you’ll need to either buy a platform ticket (¥140, valid for two hours and available from the counter) or use your Pasmo/Suica card at the automated ticket gates.

Google Maps, Facebook, HappyCow, website (some English)

directions (probably won’t work inside Tokyo Station without GPS)

Great Japanese food, inexpensive, with fast and efficient service. 
Tokyo’s most famous vegan restaurant, popular even among non-vegetarians.
Inexpensive take-outs available.
This is fast food, so it’s important to eat and move on reasonably quickly.

Update this restaurant.

T’s Tantan is undoubtedly Japan’s most popular and most famous vegan business, and it’s the only eatery at which virtually all vegan (and vegetarian) visitors to Japan dine at least once and usually several times. After the owner’s oldest child left home, she decided to open a restaurant (T’s Restaurant, which I recommend visiting on the way to Yokohama) to serve the kind of healthy food that she liked to eat herself and cook for her family. It was so successful (despite being in an underground basement well off the tourist trail) that when a special health-focussed food “alley” (the underground Keio Street) opened inside Tokyo Station she was invited to open a store. She came up with the idea of a fast, healthy, inexpensive but still very Japanese menu, and it was such a success that what started out as a retirement project has now become the career she never planned to have, having spent most of her adult life raising a family. She has since opened several other branches of T’s, although unfortunately the only two still operating is in Ueno Station a few kilometres to the north (recommended in that itinerary) and Ikebukuro Station (which isn’t popular with tourists or covered in this guidebook). She also designed the menu for Vegan Bistro Jangara in Harajuku, which is located on the floor above a branch of Kyushu Jangara, a ramen chain owned by her husband. T's also sells packaged ramen (available in the stores) and bento (take-out lunchboxes) at Haneda International Airport.

While the focus is its namesake tantan (a type of thin noodle, commonly confused by foreigners with ramen) the menu has expanded to include other Japanese dishes and also sandwiches, which are great for take-outs. There is a limited breakfast menu until 11:00. If you are passing through the station and don’t know where you’ll eat in your itinerary (which hopefully won’t happen with this guide) then eat well here and take out a sandwich or two. It’s especially important for this itinerary, because it involves a lot of walking, and there is nowhere good to eat around the Imperial Gardens. 

2Foods ($, Japanese, Western, Donuts, 🌱)


Yaesu Underground Shopping Street/Mall (also called Yaechika Shopping Mall/Street), B1

Follow signs to the Yaesu North Entrance (of Tokyo Station). 2foods is on the right just before the ticket gates (or the left if coming out from the ticket gates).

Google Maps, HappyCow, website

directions (probably won’t work inside Tokyo Station without GPS)

Surprisingly realistic versions of traditional Japanese and Western animal-based foods.  
They might be too realistic.
It can be difficult to find.

Update this restaurant.

2foods is a new vegan café chain which aims to revolutionise the plant-based food industry by using the latest technology to create “healthy junk food”, and if their egg and cheese alternatives are anything to go by, I think it’s safe to say they’re succeeding. As well as this store inside Tokyo Station (officially called 2foods Yaesu Underground Shopping Mall), it also has branches in Ginza, Roppongi and Shibuya (none of which I recommend in this guidebook due to better value nearby alternatives) and an online shop. 

2foods specialises in donuts but also serves burgers, curries and other fast food, as well as desserts. Portions are fairly small and quite expensive, but they’re reasonable value given the location and the research and development that has gone into them. I recommend trying the omu-rice (fried rice with omelette and ketchup, shown above), a surprisingly realistic vegan version of this traditional Japanese dish. They also do take-outs which are good for day trips.  

Shinjuku, Nakano & Koenji

Shinjuku is the home of the sarariiman (salaryman, or male office workers), although the Japanese business world is now slowly becoming more open to women. Nakano is home to Japan's largest mall selling manga (comic book) and other related paraphernalia, and also the city's best Japanese-Indian food and its only vegan pub. Koenji is the home of the underground music and cultural scene, and features a lot of used clothing stores. All have some good vegan restaurants.

Shinjuku (新宿)

Ain Soph Journey ($$, Western, Fusion, 🌱)

Mon-Fri: 11:30-15:00, 18:00-20:00; Sat, Sun & holidays: 11:30-16:00; 18:00-20:00.
Last order is always one hour before closing.

Beside Shinjuku-sanchome Station, Exit C5, one stop from Shinjuku Station on the JR Shinjuku Line or the Marunouchi (subway) Line.
If coming from elsewhere it’s also on the Fukutoshin (subway) Line.

160-0022 東京都新宿区新宿3丁目8 新宿Qビル1F
Shinjuku Sanchome, 8-9 Shinjuku Q Building, 1F


Google Maps, HappyCow, website, (mostly Japanese), Twitter

Excellent healthy food.
Reliable hours.  

Update this restaurant.

Ain Soph Journey serves typical healthy, Japanese-style macrobiotic foods – some of the best in Japan, and that’s saying something. That, of course, includes good burgers, salads, and wraps, but Journey is most famous for its pancakes, perhaps because they are so good (which they are) but probably more because they look so good in photographs. 

If you just need a meal in Shinjuku, you can’t go wrong here, and if you don’t plan to visit any other branches (such as its first, best and most expensive branch in Ginza, or its newer branch very similar to this in Kyoto) then it’s worth coming for a taste of Ain Soph hype. But I personally prefer the mission and purpose (of creating a peaceful world with easy, equal communication by everyone) behind SOJO (immediately below). 

SOJO Esperanto-Vegana Kafejo ($, Fusion, 🌱)

Wed-Fri 17:00-21:00; Sat-Sun: 15:00-21:00; closed Mon-Tue.

Five minutes’ walk north of Waseda Station, Exit 1 on the Tokyo Metro Tozai Line.
From Shinjuku, take the JR Yamanote (loop) Line or JR Shonan-Shinjuku Line or Saikyo Line north to Takadanobaba Station, and then change to the Tozai (subway) Line east towards NishFunabashi. Waseda Station is the first stop.

111 Wasedatsurumakicho, Shinjuku, Tokyo 162-0041
162-0041 東京都新宿区早稲田鶴巻町111

03-6302-1639 (owner speaks English and Japanese if you can’t speak the preferred Esperanto)

Google Maps, Facebook, HappyCow

Japan Today newspaper article.


Hearty, inexpensive meal sets.
A chance to learn about Esperanto from a friendly, multi-lingual owner.  
A short trip on the subway from Shinjuku’s attractions, but well worth the trip.

Update this restaurant.

SOJO is one of Tokyo’s most unique and best-value dining opportunities, so I highly recommend a visit to anyone who can make it to Waseda, which is twenty-five minutes by subway from Shinjuku Station, and home to Waseda University, one of Japan’s most prestigious academic institutions.
SOJO means Soy in Esperanto, the world’s most widely spoken constructed language. Esperanto was developed by a Polish Jew in the late nineteenth century, while he was still in high school. He was motivated by a dream of a world in which everyone could communicate with each other, and the peace and understanding which he believed this would foster. As a constructed language, Esperanto has none of the difficulties inherent in languages which evolved over time, such as irregular verbs and tenses, so to reach the same standard in German, English and Esperanto takes 2,000, 1,500 and 150 hours respectively. Most nouns come from Germanic languages (and many are recognisable from English), and the grammar is mostly from Slavic languages – chosen to be as simple to learn and use as possible. Studies have shown that teaching Esperanto to young children makes learning other languages easier for them in the future.

While many people believe that English has become the world’s universal language, and Google Translate now makes instant communication possible among almost everyone, the talented owner and chef of SOJO, who is quite a linguist himself, passionately believes that there is still a place for an international language which puts everyone on an equal footing, and while discussions about Esperanto are not compulsory, the restaurant’s décor and trilingual menu (Esperanto, Japanese and English) can’t help but inspire one to at least ponder the merits of everyone in the world speaking one universal language (as well as their own mother tongue). 

The menu includes a changing daily dish (for regular visitors from the university), and a few other hearty meals, including a chick-pea curry. The set meals are especially good value; a meal, drink and delicious banana-based ice cream come to around ¥1,200. 

Nakano (中野)

This small ward, officially called Nakano City in English, is famous for its manga centre (below) but is also worth visiting for a cluster of vegan and vegetarian restaurants, especially since it’s so easily accessible from Shinjuku.

Gopinatha ($, Vegetarian, Indian/Japanese Fusion, 🥛 , やさい食堂 ゴピナータ)

Wed-Fri: 12:10-14:30, 18:00-20:00; closed Sat-Tue.

Five minutes’ walk east of Nakano Station, a few small blocks north of the railway line. Take the North Exit, and then use Google Maps (directions link below) as it’s located in a small alleyway and somewhat difficult to find otherwise.

164-0001 東京都中野区中野5丁目17−10
Nakano 5-Chome, 17-10

Google Maps, Facebook, HappyCow, website


Excellent value meal sets, including both Indian and Japanese fusion food.
Difficult to find without Google Maps.

Update this restaurant.  

Gopinatha serves Japan’s best Japanese Indian fusion food. This is no easy feat, because Indian cuisine is based on aromatic spices, while the elegance of Japanese cooking lies in its simplicity, and how its delicate preparation brings out natural flavours. While fans of authentic Indian food may be more satisfied at Veggie Herb Saga (or the neighbouring Veg Kitchen) in Ueno, fans of Japanese and Indian food are likely to enjoy Gopinathas more, as the talented chef here somehow captures the essence of both cuisines. I especially like their Pakoras and the aromatic tomato sauce which comes with them. It’s also great value, with satisfying set meals starting at around ¥1,000.
Sasaya Café (in Asakusa, near the Tokyo Skytree) also serves great Indian Japanese fusion food. Overall Gopinatha’s menu is more Indian and Sasaya’s is more Japanese, but both are very good.

Gopinatha only allows take-out meals and ‘single diners’, so customers are not allowed to sit or talk with anyone else. While some cafes and restaurants are set up to encourage solo diners (including the famous Soup Stock Tokyo chain), this is the only eatery I know of with this rule in Japan. 

Korinbo ($, Taiwanese, 🥚, やさい食堂 ゴピナータ)

Mon-Fri: 11:30-14:30, 17:00-20:00; Sat: 11:30-14:00, 17:00-20:00; closed Sun.

Inside Nakano Broadway shopping mall (see above), five minutes’ walk from Nakano Station on the JR Chuo Line from Shinjuku Station or Tokyo Station.

Take the North Exit of Nakano Station and follow these directions to Nakano Broadway (above): Walk north through the courtyard (along a covered walkway) to the narrow, busy Nakano Sun Mall. Walk north through Nakano Sun Mall for 230 metres and you will reach the entrance to the Nakano Broadway mall. Then walk through the mall until the far (north) end, and take the stairs to the second floor (not the escalator, which goes straight to the third floor). Korinbo is there in the north-west corner, with a large sign above in Japanese and a small sign by the door which reads ‘Korinbo’ in English. It can be a little difficult to find; on the second floor show the Japanese name (above) to any staff and they will point you in the right direction.

164-0001 Tōkyō-to, Nakano City, Nakano, 5-chōme−52−15 中野ブロードウェイ 2F
Nakano Broadway, 2F, 5-52-15

directions (but GPS probably won’t work inside the mall)

Google Maps, HappyCow

Excellent value, authentic, friendly owner.
Oriental vegetarian (no onion or garlic).
The food is simple (but good).

Update this restaurant (or tell me if it was hard to find or suggest clearer directions).  

This Taiwanese restaurant has been run here by the same Taiwanese chef for over thirty years, making it possibly the oldest vegetarian restaurant in Tokyo. While the newer Taiwanese restaurants in Tokyo have long eclipsed Korinbo in creativity and flair, for honest-to-goodness (well, apart from the egg) traditional, inexpensive Taiwanese food, this place can’t be beaten. 

Like at all Taiwanese restaurants except Loving Huts, I recommend avoiding fake meat, as it is sometimes made with dairy and egg products, and even chefs at restaurants often don’t know this. But small granules of soy protein or wheat gluten (as shown above) are usually fine.

Koenji (高円寺)

Koenji is the centre of Japan’s alternative (underground) culture and is home to many live houses (pubs which host live bands) and used clothing and record stores, mostly on the south side of Koenji Station. Despite being so close to the hub of Shinjuku, Koenji escaped most of building boom during the 1980s bubble, so it preserves an older Tokyo vibe, with smaller houses and restaurants, in stark contrast to the usual skyscrapers which dominate Shinjuku (and almost everywhere else in Tokyo). This led to cheaper rents, which encouraged artists and musicians, who over the decades have given Koenji its unique character.

Meu Nota ($, Macrobiotic, Fusion, 🌱)

Wed-Sun: 12:00-17:00; closed Mon-Tue.
Please check this calendar on their website for monthly opening hours. They also sometimes post irregular closing times to their Facebook page.
Last order: half an hour before closing time.

Five minutes’ walk southwest of Kōenji Station, South Exit.

166-0003 東京都杉並区高円寺南3丁目45−11
Koenji South 3-Chome, 45-11

Google Maps, website, Facebook, HappyCow



Variety of delicious vegan fusion cuisine in a cosy atmosphere.   
Reservations required for dinner.

Update this restaurant.

Meu Nota has stood the test of time and become one of Tokyo’s more popular vegan restaurants. Its focus is on healthy grains, but it serves a much wider range of cuisines than most macrobiotic restaurants, including Middle Eastern and Indian options. Lunch sets are excellent value at around ¥1,000, and this is when I recommend visiting. Dinner courses must be reserved in advance (by phone or Facebook) and are either ¥2,500 or ¥3,000, but customers are also expected to order a drink (around ¥500). These prices are reasonable, and the food is good (but not exceptional), so it’s worth considering if you know you’ll be in the area and will be hungry at the time, but I wouldn’t go to Koenji just for dinner (or lunch) at Meu Nota.
The menu at Meu Nota is not unlike Nagi Shokudo in Shibuya (where most visitors to Koenji are also likely to spend some time) but its prices are lower and its interior is more pleasant, perhaps because rents are cheaper there. 



Prices include a drink and dessert if it would be normal to have one at such a meal.

$ = inexpensive (< ¥1,000)

$$ = midrange (¥1,000-¥2,000)

$$$ = expensive (>¥5,000)

Veg Status

For practical reasons I categorise restaurants by the ‘worst’ ingredients used.
🌱 = fully vegan restaurant. 
🥛 = uses dairy, but not egg or meat. 
🥚 = uses egg, and may use dairy, but does not use meat. 

General Advice for Being Vegan in Tokyo

Use HappyCow

HappyCow (Android App) is great for finding nearby restaurants. I recommend keeping it set to vegan, as these restaurants are generally the best (even for vegetarians or inspiring vegetarians). As a nation Japanese are probably the most honest in the world, and it's rare to find vegan restaurants serving animal products, but of course it's always a good idea to keep an idea out for animal ingredients, especially fish products, because occasionally foreign travellers misunderstand that a restaurant is vegan (especially tofu and/or vegetable-based restaurants) and then add them to HappyCow.

However, I suggest two cautions with HappyCow. Firstly, take reviews with a grain of salt. In Japan standards of food (and everything) are very high, and portions are very small. So almost every restaurant has had a few foreign diners turn up hungry having just arrived in Japan -- or having been travelling rural Japan where there are no vegan restaurants) and be so delighted with their meal that they consider it the best of their life, go back to their room and write it a glowing review. Likewise, many restaurants have had a foreign tourist horrified by the 'Japanese' (small) size of the meal and go and write a bitter review on how they spent ¥2,000 on what was like a snack.

HappyCow is much more useful in Tokyo than in Kyoto. Here's why: in Tokyo most restaurants serve either macrobiotic food, falafel, or Indian food, and while I have a few favourites (like Vege Herb Saga and the Loving Hut) there are few-standouts, while Tokyo's tourist attractions are very widely spread out, so I suggest planning your day around attractions and eating at whatever restaurants you can find nearby on HappyCow.

Kyoto, by comparison, has a huge range of vegan restaurants, from 'cheap & cheerful' tourist traps to high-end shojin ryori (vegan Buddhist) cuisine. Also, the city is much smaller, so with careful planning (which I do for my readers in my guidebook) it's possible to go visit your chosen tourist attractions (which are mostly on a few well-trodden temple hopping paths) and restaurants, wherever you decide to eat. It's therefore very important to choose your Kyoto restaurants carefully. While HappyCow is certainly invaluable, the downside is that most reviews are written by people who are not familiar with Japanese cuisine and only dine at a small number of restaurants, so comparing restaurants by their HappyCow reviews can be misleading.