View Full Version : Veganism in Japan

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Jul 9th, 2004, 06:15 AM
Hello everyone!
I am going to be moving to Japan in the near future, and I come to visit here quite often. It is just about impossible for me to eat vegan here unless I just buy raw fruits and veggies, cause as far as I know, veganism is not popular here. Probably the biggest group of vegans in Japan would be is some unknown, hard-to-find club who order all their food off the internet. I most likely won't have any luck, but if there is anyone out there who lives in Tokyo(or Shibuya, Chiba, Harajuku, anywhere close) or knows the area at all and can tell me where to find a restaurant or store with vegan food available, I would be soooooo grateful. I know of a few health food stores, but the city is just way too big to go to one store all the time that's an hour away. Thank you so much for listening.
Best Regards and love,

Jul 23rd, 2004, 08:42 PM
I'm not understanding why you're having trouble..

Are you saying that they don't have nonanimal products in the supermarket there?

Jul 24th, 2004, 03:04 AM
She might be refering to convenience foods and such which aren't necessarily available in all American supermarkets.... or can be hard to find. It really depends on the neighbourhood. That's one possibility anyway.

Jul 24th, 2004, 05:55 AM
I want to live in Japan soon as well.

Here is a very good site that should help. It has many listings of restaurants and healthfood stores thatare veg only, and/or veg/vegan friendly:


Hope this helps ^-^

Jul 26th, 2004, 01:14 PM
You can download my report about being vegan in Japan here:

I hope that will be of some help to you.

Please all vegans fill out my questionnaire about veganism.
You can download this questionnaire as a .doc format (Microsoft word) here:

Please send your answers to the following address: veganism_report@yahoo.com



Aug 17th, 2004, 09:23 AM
A wee Vegan guide to Japan is here. (http://www.geocities.com/outoftowntoby/index.html) :)

Aug 26th, 2004, 08:10 AM
Hello.I wonder this reply is too late for you.anyway,welcome to Japan.I`m Japanese vegan living in Setagaya(It`s not far from Shibuya and shinjyuku).Yes,actually it`s not easy to be vegetarian in japan.but I try to do it.shall we make a club for vegan? fortunately,there are some good cafes and restaurants in Tokyo.I want to make vegan friends and talk about it sometimes.if you give me an e-mail,I`ll tell you the information about vegetarian as much as I know.so,please let me know what do you want to know.I hope you live in japan with happy. good luck! etiroulf@yahoo.co.jp

Dec 18th, 2004, 10:15 PM
This is so suprising to me because here in the US Asian resturaunts are the place to go to find vegan/vegetarian foods. Lots of veggies, rice and noodle dishes. Also, it was my understanding that cow's milk is not prevelant in Asia and that soymilk is used instead. I know fish is very popular there.

I guess this concerns me most, because lots of doctors seem to defend vegetarian/veganism by looking at the health history of Asia. For example, osteoporosis is apparently not prevelant in Asia, yet cow's milk consumption is so low. I have heard this used as historical proof that we don't need calcium from cow's milk to build bone mass and that it actually could deplete bone mass.

things like cancer rates, heart disease, high blood pressure, etc are always stated as being lower in Asia because asians eat a primarily plant based diet. Allthough not all vegetarian, meat consumption is secondary to vegetables, as a "garnish" by american standards.

Is this not true?

or are you talking about packaged foods? i have seen quite lot of my asian noodle bowls are made with stock from fish, beef or chicken. But i can find it with vegetable stock too.

Dec 20th, 2004, 04:25 AM
One day I decided to lunch out in the Japanese district here in Los Angeles. I could not find a single thing to eat! They use plenty of vegetables, all right, but they are always soaked in beef stock, mixed with pork or some other funky meat stuff. It didn't matter how much explaining I did, nobody knew what vegan meant, and when I finally thought I might have found something it had fish stock!!! :eek:

Dec 20th, 2004, 07:27 AM
I agree, and have found myself totally unable to eat at any Japanese restaurant because of the ubiquitous meat and fish stock. Incidentally, wildflower, Asians in general are supposed to be lactose intolerant, so who knows what will happen in the near future now that Australia is exporting breeding cows to Japan and/or China (I forget which) to build up their dairy industries?

Dec 20th, 2004, 09:44 AM
I eat vegetable sushi and inari rolls and to my knowledge they are vegan.

Dec 21st, 2004, 07:23 AM
Seems that Chinese livestock buyers are becoming more demanding and more market savvy, as they continue to purchase record volumes of Australian dairy cattle. Meat and Livestock Australia says dairy cattle exports will top $100 million this year, mainly due to the Chinese market. (I wasn't sure at first if the cows were being exported to China or Japan, obviously it is to China)

Apr 10th, 2005, 12:26 AM
The Vegan Japan website is just ...... HERE. (http://www.veganjapan.org/index.htm) :)

Apr 10th, 2005, 06:49 AM
Useful website gertvegan, thanks. :)

Apr 11th, 2005, 02:33 PM
I was googling for the word 'vegetus' and hit this link (http://www.vegetus.jp/index.html) which was surprisingly in Japanese. Couldn't understand a thing! sooo asked Google to translate and the results were amusing - I love automated translaters :)

To translate, if you have the google toolbar, right-click (PC's) and scroll down to 'Googlebar items', and select 'Translate into English' (if that is you language preferrence).

Otherwise google "http://www.vegetus.jp" and there will be a light coloured [Translate] link - surf from there - see if you find the enormous tomato :D

Apr 29th, 2005, 05:15 AM
uhhh japanese food is more vegan that any other kind ? :p

May 3rd, 2005, 04:53 AM
Sushi rolls are my favourite, and here in Vancouver I've never run into a problem when I ask for, say, the vegetable roll with no mayo. When I make it myself, I use vegenaise, but really you can hardly tell the difference (there or not).

Maybe if you find Buddhist restaurants? There are several here that are completely vegan or almost all vegan.

Jul 12th, 2005, 10:48 PM
Can anyone give me some advice? I am heading to Japan for 2 weeks (hooray...very excited!) in September and have just been reading about ryokans (traditional inns) where they said they serve breakfast. Options include vegetarian (with fish) or vegetarian (no fish but fish broth)! I can't even pick out broth! Everyone is telling me I'm going to find it really difficult to be vegan there. Is it true? Does anybody know? :confused:

Jul 12th, 2005, 11:17 PM
Do you have to eat breakfast there?

What about going out, and buy some food on a grocery or something like that?

But if you cant do that, and you don’t want to or can stand on the barricades, what if you take a little white lie and say you are allergic to fish? It might even be true, if you haven’t eaten fish in a log time your body might react on the unknown “food”

What I normally do is that I say that I am a vegan, and haven’t eaten fish in many years, so I don’t want to because of ethic reasons, and it is a slight possibility that to get even a small amount of fish in my food can make me sick. I haven’t meet any that want to take the chance of giving me something fishy when they are worried about that I can have an allergic shock ;)

I am just thinking loud, I have no experience of trawling to Japan, and I don’t know if anything of this can fit your situation and personality :)

Jul 13th, 2005, 01:34 AM
I think it will be difficult, but I don't know, because I never been there. But if there is a grocery, then you can get some fruit and vegetables... I think they eat there other things then fish right? :)

Maybe this will help:


In the Netherlands there are some japanese restaurants where you can select the food and they will bake it in a pan for you. You must ask then that they clean it first for you...maybe these restaurants are also in Japan.

Jul 13th, 2005, 02:35 AM
You can always buy some oatmeal to keep in your room and just bring some down and ask for a bowl of hot water.

This is what my hubby does as he is on the road all of the time. ;)

Jul 13th, 2005, 11:07 AM
Thanks for the advice guys.... happy cow looks very useful. I will print it out and take it with me! :)

Jul 13th, 2005, 12:24 PM
hey karma,
i lived in japan for about 2.5 years..its true that they put fish broth into alot of things esp miso soup which you will probably get for breakfast aswell. they usually serve assorted pickled vegetables though which are divine and totally vegan, along with plain steamed rice and usually a sheet of seaweed.
theres loads of tofu products as well which are vegan, including excellent soya milk which is called tongyu in japanese (pron; torn-you)
you could always buy fruit for breakfast too!

btw make sure you try am amazing japanese sweet called ichigo daifuku which is a ball of pounded rice filled with sweet bean paste and a strawberry (vegan of course)..its a desert but i admit to eating them for breakfast on more than one occasion!! :D

have a great time in japan,
gambatte ne!

Jul 14th, 2005, 12:20 AM
The Japan Vegetarian Society (http://www.jpvs.org/ep/)

Jul 14th, 2005, 05:02 AM
most macrobiotic (http://www.macrobiotics.co.uk/history.htm) food is vegan. Since modern macrobiotics began in Japan, you might find macrobiotic cafes there?