Shigetsu (Arashiyama, Kyoto) – ★★★★

Quick Check:

  • Quality: ★★★★ – Delicious!
  • Location: Within Tenryu-ji Temple, Arashiyama, Kyoto
  • Type: All Vegan; Japanese Buddhist Cuisine/Shojin Ryori
  • Hours: Mon-Sun, 11:00 am – 2:00pm
  • Price: $$$-$$$$, Somewhat Pricey to Expensive
  • Language Barrier: English menu available
  • Website: HappyCow Page, Restaurant Website

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About & Directions:

Shigetsu is a restaurant located within Tenryu-ji, a Buddhist Temple in Arashiyama, Kyoto.  The restaurant specializes in Japanese Zen Buddhist cuisine (Shojin Ryori), which is traditionally entirely vegan.  Although different temples do vary a bit from this rule, Shigetsu is quite strict.  Shojin Ryori is a must-try experience, and with such moderate prices and an incredibly beautiful setting, Shigetsu is a great choice (Another excellent option is Ajiro, which is also vegan and has a Michelin star).   It’s a good idea to make reservations, since it is popular.

Address, Access & Contact:

  • Special Note: Shigetsu is located WITHIN Tenryu-ji’s gardens.  You must pay a ¥500 entrance fee to go in. (It’s well worth it)
  • English: 68 Susukinobaba-cho, Saga-Tenryuji, Ukyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, 616-8385
  • Japanese: 〒616-8385 京都府京都市右京区嵯峨天龍寺芒ノ馬場町68
  • Train Access:
    • Via Keifuku Dentetsu Arashiyama Line: 5 minute walk from Arashiyama Station
    • Via JR Sanin Main Line:  15 minute walk from JR Arashiyama Station
  • Phone Number:  (075) 882-9725

Google Map:

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Restaurant Review:

I’m not even sure how to review this place.  I’m not a chef or a connoisseur by any means, and my typical rating system is merely based on whether or not I want to keep eating until I feel like I’ve ruptured something.    Eating at Shigetsu is an entirely different experience, requiring an appreciation of the presentation and the variety of textures & flavors created with simple ingredients.  I can appreciate a good ice cream sundae, but appreciating something this much more subtle was an unusual experience for me.

I know I took notes as I ate, then lost them somewhere, so I’ll just have to work from memory.  First off, I arrived early and spent my time wandering around Tenryuji’s incredible gardens.  Definitely give yourself extra time so that you can really appreciate the place – you’re going to pay the ¥500 entrance fee anyways, you might as well get your money’s worth!  Personally I’d recommend going before your meal, simply because I was stuffed afterwards I really wasn’t in a position to appreciate natural beauty (although wouldn’t a nap here be nice?)

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Once I entered, they asked if I had a reservation, and after a short wait led me into a large, traditional Japanese tatami-mat room with a long red carpet rolled out on each side.   The middle of the room was broken by sliding doors, which broke the large room into two smaller rooms.  It appeared that Japanese guests were served in one room, while foreigners were served in another, which was kind of weird (but maybe it was just a coincidence).  The dining style was communal, so I sat on the red carpet along with various other visitors, and ordered my meal.

I ordered the Yuki set (¥3,000, not including the ¥500 yen entrance fee to Tenryuji Gardens), mainly because I wanted to experience Zen cuisine but also wanted to keep to my budget.  I was concerned that, since the food was high-quality, ¥3,000 might only get me a very small meal.  In actuality, however,  it was MORE than enough food – in fact I’m not sure how anyone is able to eat the larger sets.  I have a pretty healthy appetite, but over the course of nearly 2 hours I just barely managed to finish my meal.  I was simultaneously concerned about overstaying my welcome and nervous that leaving food uneaten might be incredibly disrespectful.

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¥3,000 Lunch Set (not including 2 other sides)

The set was enormous: rice, soup, pickles, 5 other vegetables sides along with a sliced melon for dessert.  Each side dish consisted of different vegetable-based ingredients prepared in unique ways, from a starchy-tasting cold soup, to cold soft tofu in a light sauce, to what seemed like grilled eggplant slathered in a rich miso paste.  I couldn’t identify a lot of what I was eating, but since I knew it was all vegan the experience was pretty exciting (food mysteries are usually unpleasant when you’re vegan, so this was fun!).

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Beautiful array of mochi, plum, sweet potato, konyaku and other mysterious squishy things

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Pickles

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Cold soup

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Eggplant with Miso

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And one perfect slice of melon for dessert!

Everything was clearly prepared with care and an larger vision of how each would work in the set as a whole.  I’ll admit that I didn’t much care for the soup (it was definitely based in something starchy, and the texture was unusual for me), and I found that the miso on the eggplant was a bit too thick and somewhat overwhelming.  However, I would still go again – it’s important to get out of your comfort zone with food!

I found that sitting for so long on the floor was a bit uncomfortable, so if you have knee or back problems, please be aware that you will be eating from the floor and a lot of sitting and bending is involved.  I liked the communal setting, since it was fun to see how the people near me reacted to what they at, but I was also a little confused by what seemed to be segregation (but again, maybe I misinterpreted it or it was a coincidence).  Everyone was generally quiet and respectful, so in spite of sitting so near to other I was able to relax and appreciate the food.

Overall, I’d recommend that anyone wanting to try out Shojin Ryori consider Shigetsu – I haven’t tried Shojin Ryori at other temples in the area, so I can’t say it’s the best, but the location is beautiful and the food excellent.  ¥3,000 may seem steep at first glance, but for an enormous amount of food and a truly memorable cultural experience, it’s a great deal!

Mumokuteki Cafe & Foods (Kyoto) – ★★★★

Quick Check:

  • Quality: ★★★★ – Delicious
  • Location:  Gokomachi-dori, Nakagyo Ward, Kyoto City, Japan
  • Type: Omnivore, Vegan-friendly*; Japanese & Western
    • *Most dishes are vegan EXCEPT that some contain fish sauce!  Look for the fish icon next to fish sauce-containing dishes.
  • Hours: Mon-Sun, 11:30am – 10:00pm (Last Order 9pm)
  • Price: $$ – Moderate
  • Language Barrier: English menu available
  • Website: HappyCow Page, Restaurant Website
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Loco Moco Style Rice Bowl w/ Tofu Hamburger (¥950)

About & Location:

Mumokuteki is a omnivorous (but extremely vegan-friendly) restaurant located on Teramachi-dori in central Kyoto.  It’s a bit hard to find, as it’s located inside of a building behind a small shop (also called Mumokuteki), and up a flight of stairs.  Keep an eye out for a large menu posted just inside the entrance, near the shop.  It’s often very crowded, so go up the stairs and they may give you a number.  You then go back downstairs to a small waiting room to wait for your number to be called.  (I was really confused by this and kept walking around the waiting room trying to find the restaurant.  Pretty sure the other people waiting thought I was crazy!)  To avoid the wait, you can call and make reservations on weekdays (non-holidays).

Address, Access & Contact:

  • English: 〒604-8066 Human Forum Bld. 2F, 351 Iseyacho Rokkaku-kudaru, Gokomachi-dori, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto-city, Kyoto
  • Japanese: 〒604-8066
    京都府京都市中京区御幸町通六角下ル伊勢谷町351
    ヒューマンフォーラムビル2F(入り口は1階にございます)
  • Access:
    • 7 min walk from Hankyu Kawaramachi Station
    • 11 min walk from Heihan Sanjo-Keihan
    • 14 min walk from Underground Shiyakusho-Mae Station
  • Phone Number: 075-213-7733

Google Map:

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Walk up the stairs to get a number…

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… Then they’ll ask you to wait, either upstairs or in the downstairs waiting room.

Restaurant Review:

I didn’t come to Mumokuteki during my first trip to Kyoto because I was put off by the “omnivore” label – I generally prefer to eat at all-vegan restaurants, since it’s nice to not have to worry about anything you’re eating.  However, during my second visit I stayed at Khaosan Kyoto Theater, a hostel located very nearby on Gokomachi-dori.  When I recognized it as a restaurant I’d seen on Happy Cow, I decided to give it a shot.  I’m SO grateful I did!

Everything at Mumokuteki is vegan EXCEPT that some items contain fish.  In the past these items weren’t clearly labeled, which lead to some very unhappy vegetarians and some poor reviews on Happy Cow.  However, they’ve since made their menu much more clear, and now mark all fish-containing dishes on the menu (look for a little fish-shaped icon).  Since it’s not a strictly vegan restaurant, I’d also be cautious regarding honey.  I asked if any of the dishes contained honey and my waitress said no, but my Japanese is a bit rusty, so I’d recommend you also ask when you order.

I went for dinner during my first visit, and because I arrived at peak dinner time I had to take a number and wait for about 20 minutes.  However, once I got a seat I ordered the ヘルシー豆腐ハンバーグ丼ロコモコ風 (Healthy Tofu Hamburger Rice Bowl, Loco Moco Style) for ¥950.  Loco Moco is a modern Hawaiian dish that usually consists of hamburger, fried egg and gravy over rice.  I thought Mumokuteki did a really great veganization of it, using a rich white sauce in the place of fried eggs.  It also came with a  side of fried lotus root, which I thought was  a really unique touch!  Overall, every part of the dish was delicious.

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Healthy Tofu Hamburger Rice Bowl, Loco Moco Style

Even though I was really full after eating, I had to make room after seeing their selection of desserts!  I ended up ordering the ティラミスパフェ (Tiramisu Parfait) for ¥620, a soft-serve parfait garnished with chunks for Tiramisu cake and frozen berries.  After eating so well, I did have a little trouble finishing it, but it was really incredible!  If I’d planned better, I probably would have saved this for a teatime visit though, so I could really appreciate it on a less-bursting stomach!

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Tiramisu Parfait (¥620)

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A few days later, I came back for lunch with some friends I made at my hostel.  This time, I tried the 味噌カツプレート(Deep-Fried Cutlet Miso Style) ¥1,150, which consisted of deep fried tofu slathered in a miso-based sauce, with a side of rice, soup, pickles, lotus root chips, and more!  After doing some research, I found that Miso Katsu is a specialty from Nagoya Prefecture.  Usually I like to eat local dishes in their native home, but really, what other chance was I going to have to try this vegan-style?  So I gave it a shot!  I have to admit I didn’t like it quite as much as the Loco Moco Rice Bowl – the cutlets were so stiff and crunchy that it was a bit much for my tender palate.  The miso sauce was great though, and the variety and attention to detail in the side-dishes really made the meal!

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Pickles!

The restaurant itself is large, well-lit, and very tastefully decorated.  White cafe tables stand near the windows in front, while large wooden tables take up the rest of the restaurant.  Both times I went it was packed, although the lunch crowd seemed less overwhelming and there was a much shorter wait.  Service was relatively quick given how busy they were, and the waiters seemed happy to answer questions.

Overall, Mumokuteki was definitely worth visiting!  The quality was consistently good, the variety and originality of the dishes was intriguing, and the overall atmosphere relaxing in spite of the number of customers.  My only complaint is the long wait times, but I guess that’s the price you have to pay when you go to a hip restaurant.  I’d definitely recommend eating here if you’re nearby, but I would also recommend making a reservation if you’re planning on stopping by during the week (they only accept weekday, non-holiday reservations)!  And definitely get dessert!

Vegan Kamikochi 上高地

Kamikochi is an incredible, stupidly picturesque area of the Northern Japanese Alps in Nagano Prefecture.  It’s accessible by bus from Takayama (Gifu Prefecture),  so while staying in Takayama I squeezed in a day trip here.  You do have to transfer buses in Hirayu Onsen, which is a little annoying, but if you plan your day well you can take advantage of the onsen there during the wait!  So all-in-all it’s a pretty enjoyable day trip.

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Worth the bus ride

The thing-to-do in Kamikochi is hike, and it’s easy to burn a lot of calories there.  I wasn’t sure what the food scene would be like, so I ended up packing a really unnecessarily large amount of food.  As it turned out, there were actually numerous shops with vegan options!

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The first place I stopped at was アルピコショップ (Arupico Shop) which is right next to the Kamikochi Bus Terminal.  Arupico Shop which carries various snacks as well as various types of Oyaki & Mochi.  Oyaki is basically just a delicious soba bun filled with whatever, and luckily for vegans that “whatever” often is vegetables.  Mochi are rice cakes, and every region and shop has it’s own kind.

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Vegetable Oyaki is almost always vegan.  However, because there’s always the chance of sneaky fish-or-shrimp ingredients, I always make sure to ask before buying.  I actually didn’t end up buying oyaki from this shop, because I’d brought a lot of food, but I did buy some frozen oyaki from a shop further down the road (towards the hiking trails). Still, it’s much better to eat the fresh, so if you have a chance ask at this shop to make sure they’re vegan and get some!  They have つばあん(Tsubuan, sweet bean),  かぼちゃ(kabocha, pumpkin), なす (nasu, eggplant), ピリ辛野菜(Piri Kara Yasai, Spicy Vegetables), and 野沢菜(Nozawana, mustard leaf).  All of these are likely vegan.

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うまかっぺもち Umakappe Mochi

They also had various types of grilled mochi (rice cake).  I opted for the Umakappe Mochi (a type of Age Mochi, fried mochi), after asking to make sure it didn’t have any fish sauce in the sauce.  It was grilled in soy sauce with a few pieces of nori seaweed on top.   It was sooooooo gooood, and a perfect high-energy snack for a hike!

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Beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeer!

And, since I had to wait for my return bus for a while, I picked up some local beer.  One of the things I really miss about Japan is being able to just sip a beer in public without looking like a raging alcoholic.  So refreshing!

If you end up traveling to Kamikochi, I’d recommend bringing a small meal and some protein source to sustain you, since finding a full vegan-friendly meal at any of the area’s restaurants is unlikely.  But there are plenty of options of high-energy, vegan-friendly and downright delicious snacks available, so you certainly won’t go hungry during your visit!

 

 

 

 

Takayama – Vegan Local Specialties

Takayama is a small city located in the middle of the Japanese Alps, in the northern portion of Gifu Prefecture.  The region’s geography and climate has fostered a unique food culture. Although you’ll see quite a lot of beef on the menus (one of Takayama’s specialities is Hida Beef, or Hida-gyuu), theres no need to come bearing a sack of instant meals.  With an emphasis on mountain vegetables and a liberal use of miso (fermented soy bean paste), there’s plenty of local food that vegans can enjoy, if you know what to look for!

I.  Hoba Miso (朴葉味噌) & Miso

When I visited Takayama I was hell-bent on trying one particular local dish – Hoba Miso ( 朴葉味噌).  Hoba Miso consists of spring onions, mushrooms, other vegetables, and often slices of Hida Beef cooked in miso over a magnolia leaf.  Obviously you’ll want to look for one without the be

I didn’t go about my search in a particularly organized fashion – I pretty much just walked up and down the streets hoping to find a place that had it on the menu.  Luckily they were plentiful, and I ended up heading into one restaurant with it on the menu.  I wish I remembered the name of it – it was so cozy and the staff were so kind.  They were happy to make Hoba Miso without the meat, and I asked to make sure they didn’t add any fish sauce, just in case. It was so good!  Just mushroom, green onions, veggies and miso grilled on a magnolia leaf, with a bowl of fresh rice & a glass of sake.  Simple, perfect.

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Hoba Miso

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There is, of course, always a small risk that the miso used might contain some flavorings/additives that aren’t vegan, so if you’re nervous and would prefer something where you can read the ingredients, you can also buy do-it-yourself kits and souvenir shops throughout Takayama!  I’ve long since resigned myself to the ever-present and ambiguous “アミノ酸等” that seems to be nestled at the end of every ingredients list, but if you keep looking you may be able to find some with more clear ingredients.

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Hoba Miso Kits

Miso is very important in Hida-Takayama cooking, and not just for making Hoba Miso.  The harsh winters and scarcity of seafood made miso a critical component of the region’s cooking, and thus Takayama has become known for it’s miso. You can find miso manufacturer’s in the Old Town, and various types and flavors of miso in it’s souvenir shops.  Since miso is such a versatile ingredient, it makes  great souvenir!

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II. Mitarashi Dango (みたらしだんご)

Takayama is also well known for it’s Mitarashi Dango, and you can find stalls selling the treats throughout town (especially in the old town district).  If you’ve been in Japan for a while you’re no doubt familiar with Mitarashi Dango.  However, the kind I ate in Takayama were markedly different from the sticky, smooth, and often overwhelming sweet treats I was used to guiltily buying from convenience stores.  The sauce on the Takayama version seemed to be much less liberally slathered in sauce,  and the sauce itself seems to have a higher ratio of soy sauce to sugar.  In addition, they were grilled much more thoroughly, giving them a more interesting texture than their smooth combini-counterparts.  The result was more savory than sweet, but still quite delicious.

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Stall selling Mitarashi Dango (¥70) and Gohei Mochi (¥200)

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Mitarashi Dango

III. Vegetables:  Sansai Ryouri & Tsukemono 

The Hida-Takayama region is also famous for it’s veggies – fresh, cooked, or pickled, vegetables have a huge influence on the local cuisine. In fact, there’s an entire school of cooking (called Sansai Ryouri) based on the use of wild mountain vegetables, ferns, and herbs.  As with many vegetable dishes in Japan, though, the prevalent presence of vegetables is rarely indicative of a vegetarian dish – often fish sauce or other seafood is used at some point in the cooking process.  However, if you don’t mind trying your luck, it seems that Suzuya is well-known for it’s vegetables dishes.

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If you aren’t feeling confident in your ability to negotiate ingredients with chef’s, though, that doesn’t mean you have to absent yourself from enjoying Takayama’s vegetable delights.  You can still have a wonderful and  interactive experience exploring the offerings at Takayama’s morning markets.   There are two morning markets: one along the Miyagawa River, and another in front of Takayama Jinja. They’re fairly small, but each has plenty of vendors selling fresh vegetables, fruits and pickles from the Hida Takayama region.  They often offer a huge variety of free samples, making it all the more easy to decide what to buy!  However, a word of warning:  Read the backs of the packages before buying.  Some tsukemono (pickles) do contain small amounts of animal products/flavorings, so it’s always better to check!

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Tsukemono Vendor at the Takayama Jinja Market

IV.  Hida Soba & Yomogi Udon

The Hida region’s climate is ideal for growing buckwheat, so it should come as no surprise that soba is one of Takayama’s specialities.  Honestly, I’ve never been a huge soba person, so I’ll admit that I passed up trying this while I was there.

However, I’m a huge udon fan, and will never pass up a chance to try a new and exciting type of udon.  So when I learned that Takayama’s shops sold udon filled with mashed yomogi (mugwort, a wild mountain herb), I had to try it.  I ended up bringing it home and made a delicious soup with it, and although I didn’t think the mugwort had a very strong flavor, it was quite pleasant.  If you like yomogi, you can also try various other yomogi-flavored foods while in Takayama:  yomogi mochi, yomogi-flavored peanuts, and even yomogi shochu!  I wish I’d had a chance to try more!

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V. Sake (Nihonshu, 日本酒)

And last but not least, SAKE!  Takayama is also famous for it’s sake, and you can find numerous old sake breweries throughout the Old Town district, marked by large cedar balls at their entrances.  You can sample sake at the breweries or at restaurants throughout Takayama.  While there’s no guarantee that sake is refined using animal products, I find that this is very rarely the case (at least according to Barnivore’s sake listings).  Unfortunately there isn’t a lot of information regarding smaller breweries, but if you Japanese ability is strong enough, visiting the breweries themselves would offer a great opportunity to ask!

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Storefront Display in Old Town

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Glass of Nihonshu (sake)

 

Okahsan (Takayama, Gifu) – ★★★

Quick Check:

  • Quality: ★★★ – Good
  • Location: Uramachi, Takayama, Japan
  • Type: All Vegan Restaurant / Grocery; Macrobiotic, Japanese, Kyushu-style Cooking
  • Hours: Sat-Wed, 10:00-18:00. Thursday is Cooking Class. Closed Fridays.
    • Lunch is served 11:00-13:00, and for only 10 people.  Better to make reservations.
    • Dinner is reservation only, and must include a minimum of 2 guests.
  • Price: $$-$$$ – Moderate to A Litte Expensive
  • Language Barrier:  Some English signage/info on menu.  Chef doesn’t speak English.
  • Website: HappyCow PageRestaurant Page
  • Lunch Menu: Click Here

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About & Location:

Okahsan (or Okaasan) is a Macrobiotic Cafe and grocery located near the old town district of Takayama, Gifu-ken.  They utilize fresh organic vegetables, grains imported from the Kyushu islands, and natural condiments/sauces.  All breads and desserts are made by a German macrobiotic pastry chef who lives in Nagano.  The restaurant places an emphasis on healthy, balanced cooking.  Once a week, they even have cooking classes!

Address, Access & Contact:

  • English: 46 Uramachi Takayama, Gifu 5060013 Japan
  • Japanese: 岐阜県高山市有楽町46
  • Access: From JR Takayama station, walk East for about 6 minutes along Ekimae Chuo Dori (駅前中央通り) towards the Old Town Row Houses (古い町並み). It will be on your right.  Look for an orange sign-board and brown banner that say おかあさん.
  • Nearby Landmark: Yamazakura Jinja, Takayama Old Town
  • Phone Number: 0577-35-1057 (Japanese only)
  • Email: shizen@okahsan.com (English Ok!)

Google Map:

 

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Restaurant Review:

I only stayed in Takayama for 2 days, with the intention of spending 1 of the days exploring Kamikochi, so I really only had 1 night to try Okahsan. Unfortunately, I got in too late to try the lunch set, and realized that my only chance to eat here would be if I could get in for dinner.  Their website specifies that they only accept dinner reservations of 2 or more guests, and as I was a single traveler, I realized that I might not be able to get in.  But I got lucky!  Just as I walked up, two other foreign travelers were also making dinner reservations.  Since they met their minimum number of dinner guests, they were happy to add me too.  So, if you’re a single traveler and you want to eat dinner here, don’t give up!  You’ll be able to get a reservation so long as others have made reservations as well.

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If you want to make dinner reservations, come in before they close (at 6:00pm) and make a reservation.  They’ll expect you to make a 50% downpayment, which was ¥1620 including tax.  The total cost for dinner is ¥3000, or ¥3240 with tax.  It includes a deluxe set meal that changes each day, but includes a variety of soups, grains, veggies, a drink and a dessert.

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All of the food was delicious, but the highlight of the meal by far was the deep fried tofu. It was rich and delicious, with a cool lightly melon-flavored sauce on top.  The contrast was just incredible – I’ve never tasted anything quite like it before.

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Fried Tofu with Melon Sauce

The dessert was apple sauce. Originally I was somewhat disappointed – I’m really cake-and-ice-cream kinda girl, and I don’t consider applesauce a dessert worthy of the name. However, this was a cut-above any applesauce I’ve ever tried before – more like a sweet apple pudding, smooth and rich.  Still not what I would have ordered myself, but sometimes set-meals are a great way to get out of your comfort zone!

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Dessert (applesauce)

The set was beautiful, the food plentiful and quite tasty.  Was it wort ¥3240?  Honestly, not really.  For that price you can treat yourself to some pretty fancy Shojin Ryori in Kyoto.  I was a little sore at paying so much for dinner when I could have just gotten Lunch Set C (the deluxe set) for ¥2000, which appears to be almost identical. However, I’m not going to knock off points for that – I merely recommend that if you have the availability, come in for lunch instead.  The lunch menu simply offers more variety and a better value.  They offer Vegan Ramen (¥800) in various different flavors, including miso, soy sauce, salt, and sesame miso.  They also offer various seasonal specials, such as the Curry Rice and Ramen Salad offered below.

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There’s also several lunch sets at different price-points.  Lunch Set A, the Basic Plate (¥1,000),  includes brown rice, miso soup,  煮物(stewed vegetables), 和え物(chopped veggies with dressing) or 揚げ物(deep-fried food), and 漬け物(pickled vegetables).

Lunch Set B – Okaasan Set (¥1500) has everything from Set A, plus a seasonal salad, 炒め物(stir-fried food), and a drink.

Lunch Set C, the Deluxe Macro Meal (¥2000) is even bigger that Set B. It has everything from Set B, but includes both 和え物(chopped veggies with dressing) AND 揚げ物(deep-fried food), and dessert.  Essentially it would look like what I got for dinner, but a lot less expensive!  Seems like a great deal to me!

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Los Angeles in Kanazawa – ★★★★

Quick Check:

  • Quality: ★★★★ – Excellent
  • Location: Near Kanazawa Castle Park, Kanazawa, Ishikawa-ken, Japan
  • Type: All Vegan; Japanese, American, burgers, noodles, bakery
  • Hours: Mon-Sun, 10:00 – 17:00
  • Price: $$ – Moderate
  • Language Barrier:  Menu includes English translations, staff speak some English
  • Website: HappyCow PageRestaurant Page
  • Menu: Click Here

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About & Location:

Los Angeles in Kanazawa is a Los Angeles-inspired all-vegan cafe located in the heart of Kanazawa, just outside Kanazawa Castle’s Otemon Gate.    In spite of it’s moniker, it’s menu offers a pleasant variety of both Japanese- and American-style food.   The owner’s twin brother owns another vegan restaurant in Los Angeles, called Shojin.

Address, Access & Contact:

  • English: 2-25 Otemachi, Kanazawa, Ishikawa Prefecture, Japan 920-0912
  • Japanese: 920-0912 石川県金沢市大手町2-25
  • Access:
    • Bus: From JR Kanzawa Station, go to East Exit Platform 3.  Take the bus to the Owaricho Bus Stop (尾張町).  Take a right turn at Owarchi Intersection (尾張町交差点). Walk straight on towards Kanazawa Castle (金沢城), for about 5 minutes.  It will be on your right just before you reach the Kanazawa Castle Park.
    • Walking: If you’re coming from Kanazawa Castle’s Otemon Gate, walk along the moat/canal until you reach the Otehori Intersection (大手堀交差点).  Cross the street, and it’s on your left. It’s a 5-10 minute walk.
  • Phone Number: 07-6225-7573
  • Email: info.lakanazawa@gmail.com

Google Map:

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Restaurant Review:

When I visited Kanazawa, I intended to visit all of its vegan restaurants (Including Los Angeles in Kanazawa, Noppokun, and Takano).  I was staying at Guest House Shiro (go stay there!  It’s old and beautiful!), and was surprised when I looked at my map to find that Los Angeles in Kanazawa was only a few blocks away.  And… well, after trying their food on my first day, I just never made it around to those other restaurants.  Whoops.  I ended up eating there every day during my 3 day stay in Kanazawa, and I have no regrets.

Ok, I’m going to admit I’m very bad blogger.  I took this trip last summer, took a bunch of notes on everything I ate and… I have no idea where they are.  Sooooo instead of fudging the details, I’m going to have to let the photos speak for me!  Everything I ate there was delicious and totally worth the price.

The first day, I continued to pursue my lifelong goal of eating every-veggie-burger-ever and ordered the Ginger Steak Hamburger Plate (¥1,380).  The set includes a soy hamburger, a salad, and 1 drink from their drink set list.  In spite of the small appearance of the patty, this was an absolutely delicious take on a veggie burger.  At ¥1,380 it was a bit pricy, but given the free drink and large size of the salad, overall I’d say the price was fairly reasonable.

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Ginger Steak Hamburger Set (¥1,380)

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For my drink, I ordered the Soymilk and Cinnamon Amakoji. Amakoji is the base used to make Amazake, a sweet nonalcoholic drink that tastes similar to sweet sake.  It’s made from fermented brown rice fermented.  This wasn’t included on the Drink Set list, but they included it in the cost of the set anyways! So sweet!  They also have a good selection of teas and coffee from the US (including San Francisco-based Intelligentsia Coffee), so if you’re missing home, that’s a great option too!

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Soy & Cinnamon Genmai Amakoji (¥450)

The next time I went in, I got the Summer Veggie Hot Noodle Plate (¥1,380).  This also included a side-salad and drink.  I didn’t find it super-spicy, but if you’re sensitive to spice I wouldn’t recommend it.  It had a mild miso base, rice noodles, and was topped with strips of daikon radish and red pepper.

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Summer Veggie Hot Noodles Plate (¥1,380)

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Look at those veggies!  (Also I’m sorry this picture kinda sucks)

On my way out of town I stopped in for one last yummy meal, and got the Summer Vegi Cold Noodle Plate (¥1,380): a heap of thin rice noodles delicately covered with thinly sliced vegetables and vegan “ham”.  It came with a side of soup, veggies, and a heap of karashi (spicy Japanese mustard).  I think this was my favorite meal from there – the perfect antidote to the oppressive summer heat.

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Summer Vegi Cold Noodle Plate (¥1,380)

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Close up of the Summer Vegi Noodle Plate

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If you’ve read my blog you know I’m a total sugar-addict I definitely choose restaurants based on how plentiful their dessert menu is.  Los Angeles in Kanazawa has a pretty good dessert menu, but unfortunately when I visited a lot of their cakes weren’t available.  So, I opted for the muffins, which were amazing!  The flavors changed every day: Chai banana, banana, green tea, chocolate chip, chocolate berry, and more!  Every day I bought two more (it was kind of embarrassing since obviously the staff could tell how many I was eating haha).  Each one was moist, delicious, and perfectly flavored.  I realize ¥300 for a muffin might seem like a lot to a traveling American, but it’s actually not that bad for Japan.

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Muffins (¥300)

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Chai Banana Muffin

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Berry Chocolate Muffin

On my last day, as I was leaving, the store owner gave me a box of cookies for free! I originally wasn’t going to buy them because they were so small and it didn’t seem like a good value, but I’m glad I got them.  They were SO delicious – a perfect sweet, rich, crumbly texture like a Russian Tea Cake.  If you have a little extra money to spare, I’d definitely recommend trying them.

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Vegan Cookies (¥400)

Los Angeles in Kanazawa tries to capture the feel of a Los Angeles Cafe. I haven’t been there in a long time, so I can’t say how accurately it does so, but it definitely has a very vibrant atmosphere.    The walls are covered in art, and bookshelves are interspersed between tables.  The storefront even has a basket filled with local vegetables for sale.  There was a real sense that this wasn’t intended to just be a place to eat food, but a place to gather and enjoy life.  It was a great place to just sip tea and relax after rushing around sight-seeing all day.  The staff are super-friendly and helpful, and happy to chat with you about Kanazawa. Overall, I loved this place!  I hope I get to visit again soon!

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Other Restaurants in Kanazawa:

Vegan-friendly Tokyo Grocery Stores

Okay, the name is a bit misleading. Obviously most Japanese grocery stores are vegan friendly simply because they’re loaded with fruits, veggies, and tofu products. However, today I want to introduce Tokyo grocery stores that might have typically hard-to-find vegan products, especially processed foods that you wouldn’t be able to find at a typical supermarket.  This is by no means and exhaustive list – they’re just places I’ve personally visited or heard of.

1. Natural House (Aoyama,Tokyo + other locations)

Quick Check:

  • Location(s): Aoyama, Shimokitazawa, Meguro, Ogikubo, Nihonbashi, Ikebukuro, Yurakucho (all in Tokyo)
  • Hours: Varies by location.  Aoyama Hours: 10:00-22:00
  • Website: Supermarket Website, HappyCow Page

Address, Train Access & Phone Number (Aoyama Location):

  • English Address: 3-6-18 Kita Aoyama Minato-ku, Tokyo, Japan
  • Japanese Address: 東京都港区北青山3-6-18
  • Nearest Train Station: Omote-sando Station (Tokyo Metro)
  • Phone Number: 03-3498-2277

Google Map:

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Natural House is an organic-foods grocery chain, and has locations in various parts of  Tokyo, including Shimokitazawa, Aoyama, Meguro, Ogikubo, Nihonbashi, and many other areas (a full list can be found in Japanese on their website here).  However, the store that I visit most frequently is the Aoyama location, which is located near the intersection Aoyama Dori and Omotesando Dori.  It’s just a 5-10 minute walk from both Pure Cafe and Brown Rice Cafe.

Natural House specializes in organic goods, and has  a moderate selection of organically-produced produce.  What will likely be of more interest to visitors, however, is their selection of to-go lunch bowls and sandwiches, many of which are vegan.  All of the prepared foods that are vegetarian are labelled with green “for vegetarian” stickers, and allergen labels will warn for contents such as milk or eggs (I would recommend asking about honey).

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They also have a juice bar in the front, for those who are looking for a filling on-the-go snack.  This juice bar also sells vegan ice cream!

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For those who are hear longer-term, there is also a large selection of vegan and vegetarian products that often would not otherwise be vegan, such as Japanese curry roux, instant ramen, vegan bread, soy margarine, soy mayonnaise, tempei, vegan gyoza, vegan mock-meats, and much more.  Many of these products are Japanese, but they also have some imported goods as well.  All vegetarian products are marked as such (on the tags below them with the price), and milk and eggs are marked as allergens.  Check the ingredients labels for honey (はちみつ or ハチミツ).

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Vegan Curry Roux

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Breads (many are vegan)

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Tempei and Soy Meat

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Soy Margarine

As you would expect, things here are generally pricier than at your typical grocery.  However, most of these items are difficult (if impossible) to find at any normal grocery store, so it’s definitely worth a visit and, in my opinion, worth the cost!

2. National Azabu (Hiroo, Tokyo + Den-en-Chofu, Tokyo)

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Quick Check:

  • Location(s): Hiro-o, Tokyo & Den-en-chofu, Tokyo
  • Hiro-o Hours: 8:30 – 21:00
  • Den-en-Chofu Hours: 9:00 – 21:30
  • Website: Supermarket Website

Address, Train Access & Phone Number (Hiro-o Location):

  • English Address: 4-5-2 Minami Azabu,Minato-Ku,TOKYO 106-0047
  • Japanese Address: 〒106-0047 東京都港区南麻布4-5-2
  • Nearest Train Station: Hiro-o Station (Tokyo Metro) (for the Hiro-o location)
  • Phone Number: 03-3442-3181

Google Map:

While hardly a vegan store, National Azabu is an import store that has a large number of products that would make any vegan giddy:  Amy’s Vegan Pizzas, soy mayonnaise, Shreese, lentils, imported dark chocolate, rice milk, even vegan tortillas.  It’s just a short walk away from Island Veggie, and well worth a look around if you’re missing something from home.  It’s expensive, but worth checking out if you really feel you’re missing something.

They also have another store near Den-en-Chofu Station, called National Den-En.

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Soy Ice Cream (maybe vegan?)

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Amy’s Products (including vegan pizza and veggie burgers)

Soy Mayonnaise

Soy Mayonnaise

Soy & Rice MIlk

Soy & Rice MIlk

Breaded Veggie Patties

Breaded Veggie Patties

Alvarado St. Bakery Breads

Alvarado St. Bakery Breads (These are from my home town! It was so nice to see them!)

Shreese Vegan Cheese Products

Shreese Vegan Cheese Products

3. Natural Mart (Hiro-o, Tokyo)

Quick Check:

Address, Train Access & Phone Number:

  • English Address: Hiroo Flower Home 102, 5-19-5 Hiroo, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, Japan 150-0012
  • Japanese Address: 東京都渋谷区広尾5-19-5 広尾フラワーホーム102
  • Nearest Train Station: Hiro-o Station (Tokyo Metro) (for the Hiro-o location)
  • Phone Number: 03-6408-2528

Google Map:

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Natural Mart is a tiny organic food store located in Hiro-o, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo.  They sell various imported and domestic cereals & grains, soy milk, rice milk, snacks, pet food, produce, skincare products, home products (like detergent), pet food, and way more.  This store leans much more to the natural end: there aren’t a lot of processed foods, but there’s a lot of great staples for anyone who loves to cook from home.

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4. Lima Health Shop 

Quick Check:

Address, Train Access & Phone Number:

  • English Address: Tokyo Shibuya-ku, Yoyogi 2-23-1, Tokyo, Japan 151-0053
  • Japanese Address: 〒151-0053 東京都渋谷区代々木2-23-1
  • Nearest Train Station:  Shinjuku Station, Miniami-Shinjuku Station, JR Yoyogi Station
  • Phone Number: 03-6304-2005 

Google Map:

Lima Health Shop is a small healthy food store operated in the same building as Lima Cafe in Shinjuku, Tokyo.  Unlike Lima cafe, Lima Health Shop doesn’t exclusively sell vegan products.  However, they do have an impressive selection of of vegan-friendly foods, including small pots of flavored vegan cream cheese (perfect for bagels!), lots of imported and domestic vegan snacks, and a huge freezer filled with vegan ice cream!  They also have a small selection of vegan bento (lunch) boxes at the front, and several of these are vegan as well.

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Aisles of yum at Lima Health Shop

Happy Dates vegan energy bars

Happy Dates vegan energy bars

More Vegan Ice Cream than any mere mortal can handle

More Vegan Ice Cream than any mere mortal can handle

Vegan Ice Cream flavor chart

Vegan Ice Cream flavor chart

Bento (Lunch) Boxes at the front, many of which are vegan

Bento (Lunch) Boxes at the front, many of which are vegan – look for the Itadakizen lunch boxes!

I’m sure there are many other health shops and import stores in Tokyo with impressive vegan-friendly selections – these are just the one’s I’ve personally visited! If there’s any places I haven’t mentioned that you like, please tell me about them in the comments section!

Loving Hut (Jimbocho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo) – ★★★

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Quick Check:

  • Quality:  ★★★ – Good
  • Type: All Vegan – Chinese, Taiwanese, Japanese, International; Dine-in and Take-out
  • Location: Between Jimbocho Station & JR Suidobashi Station
  • Hours:
    • Lunch: Mon-Fri, 11:30-17:00
    • Buffet: Fri, 17:30-21:00 (Last Order 20:30), ¥2000; Sat: 11:30-15:30 (Last Order 15:00), ¥1500
    • Closed: Sunday, Holidays. Sometimes closed on Fridays, Saturdays for event catering.
  • Price: $ – Cheap (about ¥1000 for an entree)
  • Language Barrier: English-language menu, some English-speaking staff
  • Website: HappyCow PageRestaurant Website

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Location & Map:

Address, Train Access & Contact:

  • English Address: Okada Bldg 2F, 1-54, Kandajinbocho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, 101-0051
  • Japanese Address: 〒101-0051 東京都千代田区神田神保町1-54岡田ビル2F
  • Train Access: 5 minute walk from Jimbocho Station, Exit 5; 10 minute walk from JR Suidobashi Station
  • Phone Number: 03-5577-6880

Google Map:

Restaurant Review:

Loving Hut is an international chain of vegan restaurants run by Chiang Hai, a Vietnamese spiritual leader.  It’s the largest chain of vegan restaurants in the worlds, and while the ever-present videos of the Supreme Master and her followers can be a little distracting and off-putting to new visitors, the food at Loving Huts seems to be pretty consistently delicious and inventive.  The Tokyo location is no exception:  they offer a small but delicious selection of Taiwanese/Chinese, Japanese and international dishes for very reasonable prices, as well as a more expensive weekly buffet.  They also have lunch boxes and steam buns for take-out, which is great for tourists on-the-go.

Several years ago, I visited their old location and tried the Vegan Kabayaki, a sort of mock grilled unagi eel-over-rice dish.  While it’s probably the only place you’ll find a vegan version of something so unique, I didn’t find it that appealing.  That said, I’ve never had actual eel, but I can imagine I would like it much either, so I won’t use that as a point against them.  That’s what I get from trying something new!

The second time I went, I ordered the Dim Sum Lunch Set for ¥1000 (pretty cheap by Tokyo’s vegan cafe standards).  The Dim Sum Set includes the Taiwanese Delicatessen Plate, and your choice of one of 4 steam-bun dumpling sets. Lunch Sets are only served during the lunch hour, from 11:30 -14:00.

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Dim Sum Lunch Set B (¥1,000)

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Delicatessen Plate 

The delicatessen plate included Radish Rice Cake, a mock omelette square, a faux meat skewer, summer rolls, a spicy “shrimp” salad, and a noodle salad.  Each items was beautifully prepared. and tasted delicious.  While there are other vegan Taiwanese places in Tokyo, the deli plate is a wonderful chance to sample a number of different Taiwanese dishes.

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Delicatessen Plate

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Pickles

I ordered Dim Sum Set B, which included 1 Vegetable Bun, 1 Black Vinegar Veg Pork Bun, and 2 pieces of Shumai dumplings. The Deli Plate was really good, but the steam buns and shumai were the highlight of the meal – they were fluffy, chewy, and incredibly flavorful.  The Black Vinegar Veg Pork Bun was my personal favorite – I could have eaten them for lunch every day. It also came with Douhua, a delicious tofu pudding.  In addition, I ordered Taiwanese Tea – I’m not sure exactly what type of tea it was, but it was delicious.

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Mantou Dumplings Set B – Black Vinegar & Veg-Pork Dumpling, Vegetable Dumpling, Steamed Chinese Dumpling

Vegetable Bun

Vegetable Bun

Black Vinegar Pork Bun

Black Vinegar Pork Bun

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Mango Douhua (Taiwanese Tofu Pudding)

The decor was kind of boring and unstylish, and like all Loving Huts they had songs from the Supreme Master and her followers playing (I think there was  TV playing them, but I can’t remember).  I personally find this distracting and a little strange, since I’m not a follower.  But hey, it’s their restaurant and they serve some damn good food, so I can’t complain too much.  The staff were incredibly friendly (as always), and my waitress spoke English!  I of course can’t guarantee that  all servers do, but if you’re nervous about ordering in Japanese they may be able to help.

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Overall, I definitely recommend visiting this Loving Hut location.  It has some delicious food for really reasonable prices, and with it’s central location and take-out dishes, it’s ideal for visiting tourists.

The Great Tokyo Vegan Donut Quest

When my friends came to visit me in Tokyo last July, we set out on an epic quest, a quest for an treasure so rare and delightful that at first we doubted it’s very existence:  the vegan Tokyo donut.  Sadly, as our primary destination was the fabled La Terre, our adventure was  wrought with sorrow…

1. La Terre’s Donuts – NOT quite Vegan!

We’d heard that La Terre, located right across from T’s Tantan in Tokyo Station, had a pretty big assortment of vegan donuts.  So, we hightailed it from Shinjuku Station, desperate for a bit of these amazing donuts.

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Not everything was milk free, but surprisingly, 6 of their donuts listed only soy and wheat as allergens!  We were ecstatic, and picked out our favorites. However, at the last second I started to wonder… what about honey?

Unfortunately, after asking the incredibly friendly and helpful staff about the ingredients, they confirmed that ALL of the donuts – including the rumored vegan donuts – contained honey.😦  So, unfortunately, unless you’re a honey-eating-vegan, these donuts aren’t for you.  It’s such a shame, they were SO close, and they looked so delicious!

My friends had to head back home, so unfortunately, they were unable to complete the mission.  However, I was not to be deterred…

La Terre's Mashed Soybeans Donut - Contains honey!

La Terre’s Mashed Soybeans Donut – Contains honey!

La Terre's Soymilk Cream Donuts - contain honey!

La Terre’s Soymilk Cream Donuts – contain honey!

2. Doughnut Plant NYC “Bakery Donut” (¥260 Each) – sometimes VEGAN!

There’s been a lot of confusion surrounding Doughnut Plant NYC’s vegan-ness, so I’d like to set the record straight.  Doughnut Plant NYC has branches in the US as well as in Japan, and they use different recipes. Doughnut Plant NYC (US) has no vegan options.  Doughnut Plant NYC (Japan) used to have many vegan options, which were sold at Eat More Greens in Azabu-Juban and at Doughnut Plant NYC’s various Tokyo locations.  However, in the last few years they’ve cut back on these options.  The donuts served at Eat More Greens are no longer vegan.  However, if you go to one of Doughnut Plant NYC’s shops, you may be able to find a vegan donut.  They seem to only carry 1 or 2 soymilk-based donuts at a time, but when I visited in July they were available!

They revolve their flavors seasonally, so check their menu before you go to see what you can eat.  Underneath each menu item, they list the allergens. For example, the Banana Pecan donut that listed currently has an allergy disclaimer that says: “※特定原材料:小麦 、大豆、バナナ”.  No milk!  Keep an eye out for 乳 (milk) and 卵 (egg) in the allergen section. If neither is listed, it’s probably vegan!

When I visited their Shinjuku Location (just inside the Kabukicho Exit of Shinjuku Station, up a short flight of stairs), they had a vegan Pistachio Donut.  I asked when I ordered if it contained honey, and the lovely sales person checked the ingredients for me – no honey!  I was ecstatic after my failure at La Terre, and happily devoured it.

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I’ve had vegan cake donuts at Whole Foods and Pepple’s Donuts in San Francisco, but this was my first time in years I’d gotten to try bakery-style fluffy donuts (the only other place I’ve seen them is Voodoo Donuts in Portland).  Sadly, it wasn’t jaw-droppingly incredible – I would have preferred more glaze – but it was still pretty good and satisfied my donut craving.

Doughnut Plant NYC - Pistachio Donut

Doughnut Plant NYC – Pistachio Donut

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3. Mana Burger’s “Mana Malasada” ( ¥330 each) – VEGAN!

Mana Burger is a Hawaiian fast food restaurant located in Tama-Plaza, Kanagawa. It’s not technically in Tokyo, but it’s close enough to make the list (just 24 minutes from Shibuya Station).  When I visited here I wasn’t expecting to find donuts, but when I saw them on the menu I knew I had to have one!  I’d never had a Malasada before, so I was really excited to try it.  And I can now safely say that the Malasada is quite possibly my favorite cinnamon-rolled member of the international donut family.  It was increeeedible!  Definitely not to be missed!

Mana Malasada -  ¥330

Mana Malasada – ¥330

4. Pure Cafe’s “Homemade Cream Donuts” (¥420 each) – VEGAN!

Sadly, there is one Tokyo donut that I desperately wanted but failed to obtain – Pure Cafe’s absurdly deliciously-looking cream-filled donuts.  They seem to release them only in the morning and only on certain days of the week (last I saw it was Wednesdays), and since I had to work Wednesday morning, I never made it there in time for one.  Seriously, though, look at these things (photos from the Pure Cafe Facebook).  How could they NOT be amazing?

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Photo from Pure Cafe’s Facebook Page

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Photo from Pure Cafe’s Facebook Page

So, in conclusion, while my quest to eat A vegan donut in Tokyo was achieved, I didn’t get to eat allthedonuts, which as you might expect is a pretty bitter disappointment.  I hope you readers succeed where I failed!  Good luck!

Note: Found another tasty vegan donut in Tokyo?  Let me know!

DevaDeva Cafe (Kichijoji, Musashino City, Tokyo, Japan) – ★★★

Quick Check:

  • Quality:  ★★★ – Good
  • Type: All Lacto-Vegetarian (vegan-friendly); Burgers, Pizza
  • Location: near Kichijoji Station, Musashino City, Western Tokyo, Japan
  • Hours: Fri-Wed 11:00-21:00 (Last Order 20:00), Closed Thursday
  • Price: $$ – Average (about ¥1300 for an entree)
  • Language Barrier: English-language menu
  • Website: HappyCow PageRestaurant Website

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About, Access & Location:

DevaDeva Cafe is a lactovegetarian, vegan-friendly restaurant in Kichijoji, Tokyo.  They serve veggie burgers, pizzas, deli sets, smoothies, and a variety of desserts (many of which are vegan).

Address, Access & Phone:

  • English Address: 2-14-7 2F, Kichijoji-Honcho, Musashino-Shi, Tokyo, Japan, 180-0004
  • Japanese Address: 〒180-0004 東京都武蔵野市 吉祥寺本町2-14-7 吉祥ビル2F
  • Closet Train Station: Kichijoji Station (Keio Inokashira Line, Chuo-Sobu Line, some Chuo Line Rapid trains)
  • Phone Number: 0422-21-6220

Google Map:

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Restaurant Review:

DevaDeva Cafe is a lactovegetarian cafe located in Tokyo’s hip Kichijoji District, just 11 minutes outside of Shinjuku on the Chuo Line.  They’re best known for their Yogi Burgers, which come with various patty + topping combinations: the Niva “burger” patty in original(plain), cheddar, avocado, chili con “carne”, and more, or the “Chick” patty either plain or with cheese.  However, they also have a wide array of pizzas, daily deli sets, smoothies, and more.  Although the menu online is in Japanese, in-store it’s in both English and Japanese, so it should be ok even if you can’t read Japanese very well.  Also, although some items contain milk, the items that do are clearly labeled, so vegans can breathe easy!

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I ended up ordering the Niva Avocado Yogi Burger, which was a bit steep at ¥1300 (veggie burgers seem to be consistently expensive in Tokyo, although I’m not entirely sure why).  It came with a  Niva patty (a grain patty) served on a bed of iceberg lettuce, sprouts & tomato, slathered in mysterious but tasty “yogi sauce,” and topped with a few slices of avocado.  There was also a mini-bowl of vegan tartar sauce on the side, and a small side of steak fries.  It was pretty good – I especially loved the two sauces it came with -but somehow it wasn’t quite so memorable that I needed to make a trip out to Kichioji again for it.

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Yogi Burger (Niva Avocado Version) – ¥1300

I was really tired after a long day climbing Mt. Takao, and ordered a cup of coffee – only to find that “Grain Coffee” is caffeine-free.  Why anyone would want to immerse themselves in the unpleasant flavor of coffee without the benefit of caffeine is truly a mystery to me.  I treat coffee like bitter medicine, so the fact that people drink it for fun is a bit baffling to me.  But then I’ve alway been on Team Tea.

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Grain Coffee

On a brighter note, they did have a pretty wide selection of desserts, many of which were vegan.  I was full by the time I left so I didn’t splurge on the ridiculously-good-looking layer cake (it was unmarked so I’m not sure if it was vegan), but I certainly wanted to.

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Overall, I’d recommend Devadeva Cafe if you’re really in the mood for a veggie burger or are in the area.  However, i don’t think it’s a must-eat-at restaurant, especially since Kichioji is fairly out of the way. If you’re just visiting, it would probably be better to stick to more centrally-located restaurants.