Wednesday, 25 March 2020

Vegetarian Indian Restaurants in Tokyo (Updated 2020)

Updated March 2020

Summary of Veg Indian Restaurants in Tokyo

All links stay in pages except those in boxes below. 
For the best Indian meal in Tokyo, including mouth-watering South Indian dishes such as dosas and idli, head to Vege Herb Saga. While the restaurant has expanded in recent years and hired a few more staff members, food is still cooked individually from fresh ingredients, so you may have a wait for your food (but it will be worth it). For an alternative South Indian option, with a slightly nicer venue and not quite as good food, which serves alcohol and allows smoking at the tables, head to the Veg Kitchen around the corner. For a small, pleasant restaurant serving fairly authentic Indian food with an interesting Japanese twist, head to Gopinathas. For prasadam (blessed Hare Krishna food) head to Govindas Edogawa, where they have become increasingly willing to cater to vegans. They have the only evening vegetarian buffet in the weekend in Tokyo. And for insipid, overpriced "Indian" food in a setting as pleasant as an underground basement can possibly be, which is good for introducing "Indian" food to someone who has never eaten spicy food before (and doesn't want to try it) head to one of the many Nataraj chain stores.

Why Indian in Japan?

Japanese food is deservedly famous for its beautiful presentation; it's said that this practice stems from tougher times in the past, when little food was available, so presenting it so elegantly was the best people could do. Over time this came to be believed to make the food taste better -- something I've come to understand. I do appreciate a good bowl of ramen or plate of sushi, or a shojin ryori feast, but for me no arrangement of rice and vegetables, however freshly cooked or perfectly presented, can beat the fire and spice of an authentic Indian meal. This post is to introduce my favourite vegetarian Indian restaurants in Tokyo and to help vegetarian and vegan travellers to find food in Tokyo and elsewhere in Japan.


Vege Herb Saga ($$, ヴェジハーブサーガ, 🥛)

Go here because:  
You want the best Indian food in Tokyo.  
You want South Indian food

11:15-15:00, 17:15-23:00; last order half an hour before closing time.
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 地下1 東鈴ビル
5-22-1, Ueno, Taito-ku, Tokyo
03-5818-4154
It’s like being in India.
It’s like being in India.
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).

Vege Herb Saga is my favourite restaurant in Tokyo, and I think I share this with most resident vegetarian Indians and in the city, as well as a surprising number of non-vegetarians and non-Indians. It's the 'real deal' for Jain and other vegetarian Indian food.

A Mysore Masala Dosa, my favourite dish, has a spicy potato filling and a chilli paste smeared over the inside of the dosa. 

Vege Herb Saga is a little piece of India, right here in Tokyo, down to the beaming chef in a white jacket and the steaming hot delicious South Indian foods, such as dosa and idli. The owner, Raja, regularly imports fresh spices from India (I've seen them be roasted on the same grill that will cook your Masala Dosa) and the effect on the flavour is certainly noticeable compared with all other Indian restaurants I've visited outside India. Resident Indians tell me that this extra effort - and expense - with the spices makes Veggie Herb Saga's food even better than what they can cook at home. Vege Herb Saga is the place to come for the best Indian food in Tokyo.

I recently met the owner, Raja, who explained that there are several hundred Jains (including himself) living in the surrounding community, mostly in the diamond trade. Jainism is the world's oldest religion of non-violence, from which the concept of Ahimsa (non-violence) comes. While many Jains do comsume dairy products (a tradition which goes back to an era in India when cows were treated at least as well as humans, millenia before factory farms) they don't eat root vegetables, as their harvesting kills insects and other creatures, and the plants themselves, so Jains prefer to eat foods which can be harvested without uprooting the plant. Jains, therefore, have even more difficulty finding food than vegans, so Raja opened Vege Herb Saga because he and his visiting business associates needed somewhere to eat.

During its first few years Veggie Herb Saga was housed in a rather unappealing basement, and customers would be expected to share tables with strangers (where I had many of the most interesting conversations I've had anywhere, with poeple who had sought out vegetarian Indian food); however, has since moved into a larger, more pleasant restaurant, which appears to be a converted Karaoke bar, and on one of my visits the owner whipped out the Karaoke equipment and began singing.
 
On a television show several years ago Vege Herb Saga won fifth place among all Indian restaurants in Tokyo, despite being its menu being all vegetarian. As a result it developed it attracted many Japanese who like Indian cuisine, many of whom would otherwise be unlikely to eat vegetarian food.

Jain Principles: No Smoking or Alcohol
While Jains don't eat root vegetables, it does serve them to non-Jains (including in the masala dosa shown in the photo above); this is normal for Jain restaurants, which are used to catering to non-Jain vegetarians. It also caters to vegans very well, with vegan items clearly labelled on the menu.  Fortunately, an increasing number of Jains (especially younger ones) are turning vegan, especially in the UK, as they learn about the realities of modern-day farming of cows. 

True to Jain principles, the restaurant does not serve alcohol or allow smoking, which are strictly forbidden in Jainism, Buddhism and most of the world's spiritual traditions. Like the Tokyo Loving Hut, this demonstrates a strong commitment to ethical and spiritual principles, because the standard restaurant business model in Japan is to 'give away' food and make a profit on drinks. Please bear this in mind if the restaurant appears expensive, although prices are only marginally higher than at other non-vegetarian Indian restaurants, and are excellent value given the quality of the spices and other ingredients, and the preparation which goes into each dish from a qualified and talented chef.

Menu & Prices
The menu is perhaps the largest of any Indian restaurant in Tokyo. It includes all popular North and South Indian favourites, and a few completely new dishes invented by the chef.  A drink, starter and main meal should come to ¥2000-¥3000. Vegan items are clearly labelled, but it's best to remind the waiter that you are vegan so can't eat any milk, butter, cream, ghee etc.


You're in India Now
I have a lot of respect for Jainism and am greateful to Raja (the owner) for running what is my favourite restaurant in Tokyo. Furthermore, the long-time staff member (who has been preparing my favourite meals for almost a decade) is one of the most warm and kind-hearted people I have ever met. I must warn, however, that this restaurant is run by Indian staff who come to work here straight from India, so they are not all familiar with the levels of formality and personal distance expected in Western and especially in Japanese culture. There are other small cultural differences which make some Western tourists feel uncomfortable; for example, staff have been known to rearrange food on the customer's plate as they give it to them to make it look perfect - a practice perfectly acceptable in India (where most people eat with their hands) but an absolute taboo in Japan, where most diners don't even touch their own food. As most of Vege Herb Saga's clientele are also Indian, this is not a problem for them, but some Western diners do take offence. While I have never had any of these experiences for many years (and the current staff have been there for years) if this sounds like it would put you off your meal then I recommend Gopinatha (see below).

Veg Kitchen ($$, 🥛)

Go here because:
You want to drink or smoke with your meal.
Veggie Herb Saga is closed between lunch and dinner.
You don't want to dine in a basement.

11:00-15:00, 17:00-23:00
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
03-5817-8165
The décor and dining experience are ‘better’ (or at least more predictable) than at Veggie Herb Saga.
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, and sometimes allows diners to smoke at their tables.

This South Indian restaurant is run by a former chef from Veggie Herb Saga. When I heard he was leaving to run his own restaurant I hoped it would be an upmarket dining establishment, in a different locality, so that the two restaurants could fill different niches and complement each other.  But, unfortunately, he opened a few minutes walk away, and he serves similar food at similar prices to Vege Herb Saga, thus competing for the same Jain and other Indian vegetarian clientele.


2nd-floor dining

Prices at the Veg Kitchen are similar to Veggie Herb Saga, and staff are very friendly and welcoming at both. At first the Veg Kitchen stayed open between lunch and dinner, so I recommended it for then, but it now opens at almost identical hours to Vege Herb Saga. The Veg Kitchen is located in a two-story (above-ground) restaurant, so before Vege Herb Saga moved into its new premises I used to recommend the Veg Kitchen to people who wanted a nicer dining experience than Vege Herb Saga could offer. But now that neither of these differences apply, and since the food is better at Vege Herb Saga and prices are similar (see below) I can only recommend the Veg Kitchen for when Vege Herb Saga is closed unexpectedly, or for diners who want to drink or smoke with their meal (see below).

Menu and Food Quality

Like Vege Herb Saga, the Veg Kitchen also does great dosas, but in my opinion and experience they are not quite as good as at Vege Herb Saga.  

Food at the Veg Kitchen is at least as good as most other Indian restaurants in Japan, and serving South Indian they are among the most vegan-friendly too. But, in my opinion and experience, Veggie Herb Saga is a cut above for freshness and quality of food, and I believe that this is probably because Saga imports and roasts its own spices. The Veg Kitchen and Vege Herb Saga both serve similar North Indian and South Indian cuisine. While Vege Herb Saga offers more unique dishes which its chefs have developed in store, the Veg Kitchen serves Indian Chinese food. Personally, even though I like Indian and Chinese food, I'm not a fan of Indian Chinese food, because I find it too greasy and salty, but for many Western visitors it's a novel new cuisine style, and many Indians like it, especially people from large cities in India or other places where there is a significant Chinese or Tibetan population. 


This Indian-Chinese dish was too oily and salty for my taste.

Smoking and Drinking
Unlike the Veggie Herb Saga, where Jain principles strictly forbid drugs, the Veg Kitchen serves alcohol and allows customers to smoke at their tables. This may be a good or bad thing depending on the customer, but I much prefer the atmosphere (literally and figuratively) at Veggie Herb Saga. 


 The Veg Cafe serve alcohol, which may appeal to some, however they also allow smoking during dinner, which can be quite unpleasant (if you don't smoke). They also provide Hookah's which further add to the smoke in the air.


Vegan Items are Not Labelled
The friendly owner of the Veg Kitchen is very happy to accommodate vegans; however, it’s necessary to ask, and the first time he introduced the menu for me he missed some items which were clearly not vegan. He also said that nan were vegan, which is possible but very unlikely, because the menu traditionally calls for milk (and without it it’s not really nan), and it needs to be prepared the night before and fermented, so it can'b be made on the spot. Vegan items are labelled on the menu at Veggie Herb Saga and I’ve never been served anything with dairy products.


The Veg Kitchen are quite accommodating to vegans, but at Veggie Herb Saga vegan items are labelled on the menu.

Veg Kitchen or  Vege Herb Saga?

They're up the road from each other, and you'll probably only go to one, so... which one? Simply put, the Veg Kitchen would be a godsend anywhere in Japan except up the road from Vege Herb Saga. For me, the flavour of Vege Herb Saga dishes has the edge for the freshness of its spices, and I appreciate the Jain environment without the drinking or smoking. But it's clear that both serve excellent food and have a loyal following of Indian, Western and Japanese followers. They each offer a different South Indian dining experience, and I hope business continues to go well for both.


Vege Herb Saga and Veg Kitchen Map




Gopinatha ($$, 🥛)

Go here because:
You want to try Indian food with an interesting, Japanese twist.


Wed-Fri 12:00-14:30, 18:00-20:00; Sat-Sun: 12:00-14:30, 17:30-20:00; closed Mon-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
Excellent value meal sets, including both Indian and Japanese fusion food.
Difficult to find without Google Maps.


Gopinatha's food is perhaps somewhat 'Japanisiced' Indian cusine, in contrast to Vege Herb Saga and the Veg Kitchen, which serve Indian food just as it's served in India itself. Japanese cuisine is famed for its simplicity and how it brings out the natural flavours of ingredients, while Indian food is famed for the fragrances and flavours of its spices. While at Nataraj (see below) the Indian spices are simily diluted, turning what could have been a delicious curry into an insipid soup, the talented chef at Gopinatha somehow manages to fuse to very different cuisines into unique, fresh and flavoursome meals, and she serves them up at surprisingly low prices. I especially like her pakoras (shown in the photo below).   

While she does use dairy products (like all the Indian vegetarian restaurants in Tokyo) she is happy to make a set vegan. 


Pakoras and Curry at Gopinathas. The tomato sauce on the Pakoras is amazing.

The owner of Gopinatha is clearly passionate about vegetarianism, and recently enjoyed vegetarian food in Taiwan.  I highly recommend a visit to anyone who would like to try her unique fusion of cuisines, or to Japanese or other people who are not comfortable with the level of spiciness of traditional Indian food. 


Govindas Edogawa-ku ($, 🥛)

Go here because: You follow ISKCON and want Prasadam (blessed food) or a large, buffet meal.

Mon-Fri: 11:00-15:00, 17:00-21:00, Sat-Sun: 10:30-14:30
Dinner Buffet (recommended): 17:30-21:30 (around ¥2,000)
Five minutes’ walk from Funabori Station on the Shinjuku (subway) Line.
(Half an hour and ¥320 from Tokyo Station.)
134-8622 東京都江戸川区船堀2丁目23−4
2 Chome-23-4 Funabori, Edogawa City, Tokyo 134-8622
Great weekend Indian buffet!
Some staff don’t understand veganism, and there’s sometimes few vegan options available.


Menu & Prices
Govindas have a weekend buffet (¥1,800) which is excellent value, at least for people with large apetites.  They also offer a la carte menu at all times (including weekends), with set meals (see dosa above) starting from around ¥1,000, which makes it one of the most inexpensive meals in Tokyo.


The weekend buffet is an excellent deal at 1800 Yen, especially when staff are willing to make vegan curries.

ISKCON food is made without onion, garlic or Hing / asafoetda (a popular Indian spice) - a similar diet to the Buddhist Shojin Ryori, and Chinese Buddhist food, and similar to but less restrictive than Jain food (see above). As such it is less flavoursome than other Indian food, but this is believed to be healthier.

The a la carte menu includes the largest dosas I have ever seen.

ISKCON, Cows and Veganism
Govinda's Edogawa-ku is a vegetarian Indian restaurant associated with Tokyo's ISKCON temple, to which it is attached. ISKCON is the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, commonly known as "Hare Krishnas" (from their chant) in the West. ISKCON followers believe that the cow is sacred (as do Hindus) and the consumption of dairy products is an integral part of ISKCON life. Temples often have their own farms, at which the cows are treated with the same regard humans are, and are even cremated when they die - which is of course always at the end of their natural life. Unfortunately, humane as this may be (animal rights aside), it is very inefficient, and most of these farms can no longer provide enough dairy products to sustain the society's temples, let alone their busy vegetarian restaurants. So most ISKCON restaurants use dairy products from conventionally-farmed cows, which in Japan almost certainly means factory farmed cows.

During discussions with ISKCON followers, including in New Zealand and in India, I've often met strong opposition to veganism, and while their restaurants tend to cater to vegans (perhaps due to their food's popularity among vegans) I've never found them to be very supportive of the vegan philosophy. There are, however, a small but increasing number of (usually younger) devotees
(members of the organisation) who are turning vegan.

On my most recent visit two of the four main dishes were vegan, but I needed to ask the helpful waiter, as vegan items are never labelled. Moments later, the same waiter appeared with the standard basket of nan and dosas, and after I (again) explained about the milk, he confirmed it had milk (seemingly unaware still that I wouldn't want to eat it, despite having just asked about dairy in the curries) and later re-appeared with rotis, which, as he helpfully explained didn't contain any milk. They were, however, smeared with butter or ghee. He gave up after that. Vegans certainly need to be careful to ensure that their meal doesn't contain dairy products. 


Govindas is Located inside the ISKCON temple, a few minutes' walk from Funabori Station.

Should you Visit? 
If you are an ISKCON follower, or if you would like to visit the temple to learn about ISKCON, and/or sample their food, then this is the obvious place to come. Govinda's is also a greatoption if you would like a hearty meal from an all-you-can-eat buffet. However, for non-ISKCON followers, a more flavoursome (and more expensive) meal could be had without the half-hour commute to Funabori from Veggie Herb Saga or the Veg Kitchen (see above).

Nataraj ($$, ナタラジ, 🥛)

Go here because: you want a cheap buffet meal. Or don't go.


This restaurant has five branches across Tokyo, including Shibuya and Ginza. If you want to go I suggest using the Happycow app to find the closest branch to you.
Website

A good vegan naan imitation and a typical, watery, overpriced "Chana Masala".

Nataraj are Tokyo's oldest Indian vegetarian restaurant, and are somewhat of an institution among vegetarians in Japan. I think, however, that they're cashing in on their reputation, and are now very overpriced. The only reason I recommend going is for the inexpensive lunch buffet, but is only offered on and off at some branches (see below). 

Indian Food Without the Flavour
Nataraj restaurants are like the antithesis of Vege Herb Saga, and in that sense they complement each other nicely. To any connoisseur of Indian food, Nataraj has a chain-restaurant feel, and its meals taste very insipid, as if the chef forgot the spice and then watered down the curry to save money. At Veggie Herb Saga all dishes are flavoursome and spicy (but, of course, it's possible to ask for less spice), while at Nataraj food is almost flavourless by default, and chilli powder and garam masala (two essential spices which are used in virtually every Indian dish) are optional, paid extras.

Menu and Prices
Besides tasting like it's watered down, in my opinion Nataraj's a-la-carte food tastes bland, as if it's mass-produced with low-quality spices. Portion sizes are very small (see photo above, in which the chick peas in the channa masala could be counted) and a barely satisfying meal for two (including a drink each, poppadoms, a shared entree, two curries and two naans) comes to about ¥7,000. This might be worth spending on a feast of authentic Indian curries and sides cooked to perfection from fresh ingredients at Veggie Herb Saga, but this is just too overpriced for what it is.

Lunch Buffet
From time to time the Nataraj restaurants offer a lunch buffet for around ¥1,000. It typically consists of four curries, a basic salad, tumeric rice and pakoras. This is the least expensive meal in Tokyo, and while a better (albeit smaller) meal can be had at Govinda's (see above) the Nataraj chains are much easier to get to, with several branches in Tokyo, including ones near tourist hotspots like Harajuku and Ginza. If you're wanting a large, inexpensive meal, then the Nataraj buffet might be just what you're looking for, but I suggest thinking of the "curries" as soups instead of Indian curries. 

Should You Go?
The only reason I ever go to Nataraj is for a quick, inexpensive buffet meal. I never go to their a-la-carte service because I consider the curries to be much too bland, and the prices ridiculously high relative to the quality of the food. And I refuse to pay extra for chilli powder in an Indian curry. Nataraj can be good for introducing "Indian" food to those who have not eaten it before (as is the case  for many Japanese, who are not accustomed to spicy food). However, I would strongly recommend Gopinathas (see above) for this purpose, because the talented chef there adds a Japanese twist with herbs and spices, while the food at Nataraj just tastes like the chef left out everything intended to give the dish flavour.

On the upside, I do appreciate that Nataraj make a vegan version of naan (see photo above), which is very rare (as far as I know Indian Restaurant Shama in Osaka are the only other place in Japan to offer one). It's available at the buffet and is one reason I go. 

Finally, most are underground or on a high floor, all Nataraj restaurants have a pleasant interior, and your order will be delivered very quickly (and the buffet is of course even more efficient).

Non-Vegetarian Indian Restaurants in Japan?

In much of Japan, a chana masala from the local Indian restaurant is the best vegan option.
 
Most Indian restaurants in Japan serve North Indian food, and many have a chef who speaks some English and can prepare a vegan dish; however there are several risks involved. Many may use a pre-made non-vegetarian curry sauce for all their curries, adding chicken to a chicken curry or chick peas to a chana masala . I generally ask to speak to a chef and try to get a feeling of how honest he (it's always he) is being, and then proceed with an order if I trust he's making enough effort to ensure that my meal will be. My worst experience was at a restaurant in Nagasaki (which, not surprisingly, seems to have closed down) where the English-speaking waitress clearly understood my order, but still the roti came out smeared with ghee, the salad had a mayonnaise dressing and the curry had curd in it. They just couldn't be bothered, so I paid for the samosas (which were frozen on the inside and burned to a crisp on the outside) and the one roti I'd eaten, and left. This experience is, unfortunately, very common at non-vegetarian restaurants.

The 'Nan Test'
The best way to test if a restaurant will cater to vegans is to ask about breads. Nan bread always contains milk (and usually egg, except at most Indian vegetarian restaurants) and it must be prepared the night before and fermented overnight. If they staff quickly point out that nan bread aren't vegan, I trust them. If they don't think of it, it's a bad sign as they haven't really understood. If they promise to make a vegan one (as many do) I walk out, as it means they either have no idea or (in most cases) are just lying, telling me what they think I want to hear in order to get my meal order through as fast as possible. This of course does not apply to vegetarian restaurants like Nataraj which prepare vegan nan daily, including Nataraj (see above) and Indian Restaurant Shama in Osaka.


Tips for Eating at Non-Vegetarian Indian Restaurants in Japan

1. Small restaurants run by one or two Indians (including the chef) are a much safer bet than large chain restaurants (such as those found in shopping malls) where staff tend to come and go, food is prepared in advance (usually with meat-based stocks) and chefs are told to follow strict recipes. 

2. Try to identify restaurants which are run by (in order of preference, on average) Jains, Buddhists and Hindus. This seems discriminatory, but Buddhists and Hindus are familiar with the concept of vegetarianism, and they grow up being taught that it is a virtuous way to live, so most hold it in high regard. Muslims, by comparison, are taught that killing animals for food is morally permissible, as long as the animals are killed in an especially cruel manner (Halal slaughter). Of course, there are plenty of Muslims who offer an honest vegan meal, and people of all religions who would prefer to lie than go to the effort to make a vegan meal or lose custom. But, speaking on averages, the difference on consciousness of vegetarianism is significant, at least from my experience. Hindu and restaurants can usually be identified by gods on the walls, and they never serve beef; Buddhist ones also don't usually serve beef and they often have Buddha images around. Muslim establishments never serve pork, usually serve beef, and are more likely to specify that they use halal meat than others. 

3. Never order a set meal, as these curries are usually pre-made, and are likely to have animal-based stocks to appeal to local tastes.

4. Order a dry curry, such as chana masala (chickpea curry) or (sometimes) an aloo gobi (potatoes and cauliflower), even if they're not on the menu. This means they're more likely to make it up on the spot (which a skilled Indian chef can do in minutes) and is thus a safer bet for a vegan meal. These two dishes traditionally don't use dairy products.

Common Traps 
1. In Japan many restaurants (especially chain restaurants in shopping malls) add an egg to the pakora batter, to make it more like Japanese tempura.Likewise samosa pastry occasionally contains milk and/or egg, so it's good to ask whether or not they make it themselves. Many wait staff will have no idea, however, and may be reluctant to find out.

2. Rotis are often smeared with ghee (clarified butter).

3. Many staff don't think of mayonnaise (used for salad dressings) as containing milk or egg.


Heading to Taiwan? Check out my page on Indian Vegetarian Restaurants in Taipei.


30 comments:

  1. Jesse, thank you for this helpful blog. I'm traveling to Japan this weekend for several days and was worried about ordering vegan food since I don't speak the language. I have written down the addresses to the restaurants you've recommended and can't wait to try them. Thanks!

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  2. I lived in Japan from 1995 till 2007,at that time I wasn't vegan,now we want to visit Japan in december and I think it will be an whole new experience,I sure all these tips and hints will help me a lot.Thank you for the blog

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  3. Whether your a vegetarian.....or a meat eater.....if you want to try truly authentic Indian food....very close to what you get in India.....then go to Vege Herb Saga. I have tried many restaurants in Tokyo.....and Vege Herb Saga - hands down has the best food. They do not have a fancy location....but it comes down to best food. The staff is very welcoming and the chef is open to making changes. I eat Jain food and the majority of Tokyo Indian restaurants give you one of two choices for Jain.....most of their food is half-cooked with onions. Vege Herb Saga cooks everything fresh. They have a huge menu......and something for everyone. - Hari

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  4. Thank you,very informative.I am intending to travel to Japan next month and was looking for Indian eateries.Didn't know there were so many options:)

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  5. I'm curious based on your list whether there are any good recommendations for Nishi-Kasai, since that supposedly has an Indian hub there. I actually see more small restaurants in Minamisunamachi and Toyocho, but not sure if they're any good. They're never on anyone's lists...

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  6. how common is English in Tokyo? I'm thinking of going there but heard people that they hardly speak English and travelling is hard.

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  7. I wouldn't let that put you off. Its true that, on average, Japanese speak less English than other Asian nations, but its not a big problem, especially in Tokyo, as signs are bilingual and more people speak English than in the countrywide. If you really want to come somewhere people speak good English I recommend Taiwan, but seriously its easy and safe to travel Japan, and I recommend it.

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