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A blog about travelling

Visiting Tokyo if you are a vegetarian

Being vegetarian in Japan in generel is not easy, as many dishes contain fish broth or traces of fish in various shapes. I dont think there are any signs or words that would be especially helpful, as you would have to say them in a certain context when asking for something, or you might just be misunderstood. Telling a restaurant owner youre vegetarian doesnt mean they would understand that you also dont consume stuff with traces of fish in it.

Best thing is to write down on a paper written in Japanese what you cannot eat. But i wouldnt count on cheap places to be able to follow your request. From what i see, 8 out of 10 dishes here have something to do with fish, meat, or something with fish in it. The rest if tofu, pickled vegetables, seaweed dishes, and so on. There is YASAI RAMEN (vegetable ramen), but that doesnt mean there isnt animal products in the soup.

But take a look at the link i posted and see if any of those restaurants are near where you are going. Many japanese local restaurants sell one type of food, so if a specialty of a place is tuna fish, or fried pork, then it wouldnt make much sense to go in there anyway.

Maybe you can find some Izakaya that has a big variety if dishes, and then try to see what they can offer. Izakayas usually have a lot of different things on the menus.

Here are a couple of Taiwanese restaurants for vegans in Tokyo. You can try them if you have hard time with finding Japanese.

If not, you can also try The Pink Cow. They have various vegan foods and they have events in the evenings all the time. The owner and staff are foreigners, so shouldn’t be a problem if you don’t speak Japanese. Sometimes it’s possible to get things off the menu but without the meat/fish/egg etc…while the Japanese is a bit rusty after years of not living here, used to point on things on the menu and ask something along the lines of:

niku (meat) to sakana (fish) irinaide kudasai=
meat and fish without please


At times dishes would still have the miniature fishes or fish flakes sprinkled on it, so would need to send it back, but it was part of the trial and error 🙂


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