Itadakizen (Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan) – ★★★★

Quick Check:

  • Quality:  ★★★★ – Delicious!
  • Type: All Vegan, Japanese
  • Location: Maruyamakoen, Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan
  • Price: $$-$$$ – Moderate to Expensive (Lunch Sets ~¥1400, Dinner sets up to ¥4000)
  • Hours:
    • Tue-Fri : 11:30 am – 3:00 pm, 5-9 pm (Last Order 8:30)
    • Sat: 11:30 am – 9 pm (Last Order 8:30)
    • Sun: 11:30 am – 6 pm (Last Order 5:30)
    • Regular Holidays: Mondays (call ahead for national holidays)
  • Website: Restaurant WebsiteHappyCow Page
  • Language Barrier: English menu

About & Location:

Itadakizen is a vegan Japanese restaurant with locations in Tokyo, Sapporo (Japan), Toyama (Japan), Oban (England), and London.  In spite of it’s many locations, it has a very small-restaurant feel – you would never guess they were an international restaurant.  The Sapporo restaurant is located near the Maruyamakoen Subway Station, in Sapporo, Hokkaido.  Maruyamakoen Station can be reached by taking the Tozai line towards Miyanosawa Station.  It’s about 5-15 minutes from Sapporo station. From Sapporo Station (Subway), you will need to take the Namboku Line to Odori station, then switch onto the Tozai Line.

Address, Train Access & Contact:

  • English Address: 23 Chome-2-1 Minami 2 Jonishi, Chuo-ku, Sapporo-shi, Hokkaido, Japan
  • Japanese Address:  〒064−0802 札幌市中央区南2条西23丁目2−1
  • Train Access: Near Maruyama-Koen Station
  • Phone Number: 011-676-8436

Google Map:

Walking Directions:

Once you arrive at Maruyamakoen station, take Exit 6.  Exit 6 will take you into the basement floor of a shopping center.  Take the elevators to the first floor.  There, you will see a Daiei grocery store on your right and a Starbucks on your left.  Exit through the glass doors between these two shops.  Then, turn LEFT.

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Walk down this street for 4-5 blocks (some of the blocks aren’t through streets).  You will pass a block with a Sunkus and a store called LAND USA.  Keep walking. After about 10 minutes of walking, you will reach this intersection.  On your right, there will be a small parking area.   Take a right here.

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Itadakizen will be on you right, about halfway down the street!

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Itadakizen surrounded in February Snow

Food Review:

The food at Itadakizen was very good, as was the presentation.  I had the choice between several lunch sets (which were in the 1000-1500) category, or a gorgeous-looking vegetable sushi set (which was 4000).  As the sushi was a bit out of my price range, I opted for the Kanseihan Tanno Set (for ¥1380).  The set came with black rice porridge, mixed grain rice, a tofu dish, marinated peanuts, marinated seaweed, and a tray of small vegetables side-dishes.

The rice porridge, which I was a bit skeptical of, ended up being delicious.  It had a thick consistency and a very nutty flavor, and its warmth helped to heat me up after my long trek in the snow.

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The other dishes were each exceptional.  Unfortunately, because of the low lighting, it was difficult to get good close-up photos of each of the small dishes (they all turned out really dark or blurry).  But it was exceptional. I imagine the dishes vary by season, but mine came with a spicy shredded daikon salad (top right), marinated peanuts (top center), some marinated root vegetables (top left), marinated burdock root & other veggies (bottom right, a small seaweed salad, and another small greens dish (I can’t actually remember what it was exactly, perhaps spinach?).  My favorite part was the marinated peanuts (top center), which I didn’t expect to be so good.  They were incredibly soft and clearly had been soaked for a long time, so that they tasted rich but not quite like peanuts at all anymore.  I was really surprised!  I’ve never eaten anything that tasted quite like it.

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I was also served a side-dish of tofu balls in a sweet glaze, which weren’t chock-full of flavor but tasted great when eaten along with some of the other dishes.

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For dessert, I got a sort of tofu-y cake with some sort of fluffy topping.  I actually wasn’t that much of a fan of this, but then, I like desserts that promise to harm your body irreversibly.  The cake bit was presumably made of silken tofu, but had a light sweet flavor.  It was still good and had a very interesting flavor, so I would still recommend ordering it.  But it probably won’t sate your need for sweets if you lust for sugar like  I do.

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Atmosphere and Location:

I really enjoyed Itadakizen because it felt much more Japanese then some of the other vegan cafes I’ve visited.  The food itself, of course, was Japanese, but also the arrangement of dishes, the types of dishes used, and the quiet atmosphere contributed to a sort of zen-esque feeling of simplicity and peace (surely this is intentional, give their name).  The restaurant itself was a bit snug and, at night, dimly lit.  This wasn’t very conducive to good photos but it was very warm and comfortable feeling – it almost felt like the room was lit by candlelight.

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The service was exceptional.  I arrived about 20 minutes before closing (after getting thoroughly lost trying to find it), only to find that last order was 30 minutes before closing.  However, they didn’t even mention it to me.  I apologized for arriving so late and they still served me happily. I was the only one in the restaurant at that time, and they served me very quickly.  They even let me order off of the lunch menu, in spite of the fact that it was after 6.  The waitress asked me where I was from, and when she realized I spoke a little Japanese asked me simple Japanese questions (which was wonderful practice).  Overall I thought the service was wonderful and the atmosphere very cozy.

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