It never ceases to amaze me how serene and peaceful Japanese streets are, and how it's often possible to be the only one on a suburban street, especially at dusk. As such, compared to Taiwan (where streets aren't always quite so charming) I feel less drive to get out into the countryside. But it's worth it: Like Taiwan, Japan has a stunning countryside, and there are many charming spots to visit within a few hours of Tokyo and Yokohama.

Travel as a vegan, however, can be very difficult; just yesterday for example, while on a school trip, we stopped at a large rest area on the motorway, and among the restaurant, foodcourt and omiyage (souvenir) shops, not a single item was vegan.Fortunately at the next stop there was a Family Mart store, where I managed to find a banana, some nuts and an onigiri. It's always a good idea to bring snack food with you. I order it online from Veganessentials, but there are plenty of others.

Travel in Japan can be very expensive, with a fairly short train ride costing more than a high speed train (shinkansen) from Taipei to Kaohsiung. If you are a foreign tourist and intend to do any intercity travel, get the Japan rail pass before you come to Japan. Or for cheap (but not so convenient) travel, the jyuu hachi kippu is a possibility. I'm yet to try it, but at some point I hope to use it to travel through the Japanese countryside with my bike, stopping in all the small towns (to eat the muesli bars I'll carry in my backpack, or find some vegan sushi if I'm especially lucky).

This page is to introduce vegan-friendly outings when I find them. Safe travels everyone!

Alishan Cafe
Alishan Cafe is a vegetarian cafe and organic store in Saitama, north of Tokyo, named after Alishan in Taiwan. It's a very nice afternoon's outing to go there for a meal or two, a walk along the river and to stock up on groceries.

Kamakura is like a little seaside Kyoto, not far from Tokyo, which boasts three vegan cafes/restaurants and another one in nearby Zushi.

Hakone is Tokyo's tourist Mecca. A bit packaged, and very crowded on weekends during the spring and autumn when the views of Mt Fuji are the best, Hakone is still a beautiful retreat from Tokyo, and the views are amazing. The main gig is to ride several different forms of public transport, including a rather tacky pirate ship across a beautiful lake, and a switchback train. This post reports on the sushi restaurant which, as far as I know, serves the only vegan meal in Hakone.

I was recently told of this macrobiotic guest house and cafe  by a reader of my blog, but am yet to try it myself. They haven't responded to either of our emails to reserve a room, but if anyone tries it and has more luck, please let me know. Thank you.

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