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Vegetarian Options in Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto [merged threads]

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Old Aug 6, 06, 9:05 pm
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Vegetarian Options in Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto [merged threads]

Any suggestions for a vegetarian in these cities?

The last time I was in Japan I got by on a combination of hotel food, Buddhist temple food and junk food, plus the occasional western style restaurant. Many restaurants and food courts had plastic models of their offerings (hard for me to tell the ingredients) or menus in, of all things, Japanese.

I now have a card with "I eat no meat, fish ..." in Japanese, but I'm a bit hesitant to wander around showing the card to a bunch of restaurants.
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Old Aug 7, 06, 1:50 am
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http://www.bento.com/kansai/kf-veg.html
http://www.bento.com/r-veg.html
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Old Aug 7, 06, 4:35 am
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Tokyo

I was taken here: http://metropolis.co.jp/tokyo/550/restaurants.asp (DEAD LINK)
Try this link - http://www.bento.com/rev/2092.html
by a Japanese friend a couple of years ago and enjoyed my meal very much. You may need to avoid a couple of condiments (such as bonito shavings - delicate and translucent, seems to flutter by itself), but on the whole you shouldn't have any problems eating a completely vegetarian/vegan meal here.
I remember following the rail tracks for a while before arriving at Sora no Niwa, try and find it on a map before you go. Wasn't particularly expensive either.

Some more suggestions here: http://club.nokia.co.jp/i/tfp/e/dbinx/ic-veg.html (DEAD LINK)

My (Japanese) husband has told me that the European Vegans and Vegetarians he knows often went to Yakiniku places. Although these restaurants/izakayas specialise in meat dishes (bits of chicken, etc.. are skewered on sticks and BBQd) they also cook vegetables and tofu in the same way. His friends usually felt more confident with yakiniku food than braving somewhere else where the food might be laced with Dashi.

Last edited by LapLap; Jul 18, 14 at 8:56 pm
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Old Aug 7, 06, 4:56 am
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In Kyoto I would check places near the Karasuma-Imadegawa crossing ( next to Doshisha University ). Of course there are two other major Unis in Kyoto but they are a bit more away from the central districts.

The curry rice joints can basically put in anything you want as long as they have it in store.
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Old Aug 7, 06, 5:13 am
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Please note - tofu restaurants can really be tough if you don't speak japanese. it is sometimes very hard to explain "vegetarian". i'd stick to italian/indian joints where you get vegetarian for sure.
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Old Aug 7, 06, 5:39 am
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Originally Posted by MilesAndMore
Please note - tofu restaurants can really be tough if you don't speak japanese. it is sometimes very hard to explain "vegetarian". i'd stick to italian/indian joints where you get vegetarian for sure.
Perhaps if you don't get a chance to do any research first this might be the 'safest' approach. However, as the OP is aware of the difficulties and is making enquiries and investigating his options first, your suggestion to give up altogether on eating Japanese food is pretty depressing.

richarddd - I promise you'll be fine with the suggestion I gave you (but do take along your "I eat no meat, fish ..." card along with you.)
The tofu dish made at your table has absolutely no fish in it, you season it with soy sauce, sesame seeds, spring onion and ginger - just ask them to take away the the little pot of bonito shavings if they bring some.
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Old Aug 7, 06, 11:12 am
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Originally Posted by mosburger
The curry rice joints can basically put in anything you want as long as they have it in store.
But the curry is almost always made with pork stock (and if it isn't it should be!).

Being a pure vegetarian in Japan is quite a challenge. Then again, if you want to take it to the next level, you could try copying a former acquaintance of mine -- she was a pure vegetarian and she hated both rice and miso. Still don't know what on earth inspired her to come to Japan for 6 months, and she seemed to hate every minute of it... but then again, so would I if I had to subsist on her diet of guriin sarada and izakaya pizza for half a year.

And now that I'm done scaring you, I'll recommend conveyor belt sushi places which actually have a pretty good selection of non-fish items (veggies, pickles, tofu, egg, etc) and suggest you save up for a splurge here on your last night:

Daigo (醍醐 ). Atago 2-4-2 (nearest station Onarimon), tel. 3431-0811. The name means "essence of milk", a reference to the Buddha's highest teachings, and this restaurant aims for the highest standards of ''shōjin-ryori'' (精進料理 ), the purely vegetarian version of Japan's refined ''kaiseki'' cuisine. Located within the grounds of the Seishōji temple, all meals here are elaborate, ten-course affairs served in private rooms with a view of the lovely temple garden. With dinner courses priced at Y14,000 or Y18,000 per person (plus drinks, tax and service), the experience doesn't come cheap, but it just might be worth it for an unforgettable occasion -- and this is still only a third of what Ginza's ''kaiseki'' joints charge. Reservations obligatory. (from Wikitravel)
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Old Aug 7, 06, 5:10 pm
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You could try a macrobiotic restaurant.....
They have them out here in country , and I'm sure the trend came from the Big Smoke......I've heard that Isetan has one.
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Old Aug 7, 06, 5:21 pm
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The lunchtime buffet in the basement of Crayon House in Omotesando used to be quite good (haven't been in a few years). Not everything is vegetarian but the signs are all clearly marked with pictures of pig, cow, vegetables, fish etc. so it's pretty clear. And for some reason their brown rice just tastes really good.
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Old Aug 7, 06, 5:46 pm
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Originally Posted by richarddd
Any suggestions for a vegetarian in these cities?

The last time I was in Japan I got by on a combination of hotel food, Buddhist temple food and junk food, plus the occasional western style restaurant. Many restaurants and food courts had plastic models of their offerings (hard for me to tell the ingredients) or menus in, of all things, Japanese.

I now have a card with "I eat no meat, fish ..." in Japanese, but I'm a bit hesitant to wander around showing the card to a bunch of restaurants.
Are you a lacto-ovo vegetarian, vegan, or something else? Suggestions might depend on which of those you are.
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Old Aug 7, 06, 7:24 pm
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Originally Posted by scruffy
Are you a lacto-ovo vegetarian, vegan, or something else? Suggestions might depend on which of those you are.
Lacto-ovo.

As a data point, our last vacation was in Germany, where I mainly got by on Italian food.
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Old Aug 8, 06, 6:29 pm
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Originally Posted by richarddd
Lacto-ovo.

As a data point, our last vacation was in Germany, where I mainly got by on Italian food.
If you like Italian food, you can use the same strategy in Japan, which has scads of Italian restaurants.

For gorging on pizza, there are many Shakey's with pizza buffet. I read that Shakey's is compelling its remaining USA locations to convert from buffets to off-the-menu-only. Hopefully that edict does not apply to Japan.

A few years ago, I ate a lot of individual pizzas at First Kitchen, a big fast food chain. They were only a buck or so at the time; I think it was an introductory special, though. First Kitchen also has fries with some interesting seasonings.

The cheese subs at Japanese Subways are similar to USA Subways, but with small differences in the veggies and bread.

Eating in regular restaurants can be tough. Stuff you don't want to eat is hidden away in things that look OK. Even tamago sushi can have stock with fish flakes.
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Old Aug 9, 06, 4:14 am
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Originally Posted by scruffy
For gorging on pizza, there are many Shakey's with pizza buffet. I read that Shakey's is compelling its remaining USA locations to convert from buffets to off-the-menu-only. Hopefully that edict does not apply to Japan.
Even in Japan the number of Shakey's offering buffets seems to be going down; most outlets in Tokyo only seem to offer all-you-can-eat during lunch. It's definitely an experience though, as you'll get the chance to sample things like corn pizza and canned fruit salad pizza (yes, with cheese!).
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Old Sep 17, 06, 3:52 am
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Found this website which looks quite useful:

http://www.vegietokyo.com/info4vegie...ant/index.html

There is a list here: http://www.vegietokyo.com/info4vegie.../article2.html with some suggestions which might prove helpful - however, convincing a restaurant in Japan to make vegetarian futomaki, chirashi sushi or gyoza could provide quite a challenge! The list is a guide, and is by no means comprehensive, focusing on Japanese food available in the USA.

Another dish you can sometimes find is: Kijoyu Udon - Thick wheat Udon noodles seasoned with soya sauce instead of the usual fish based stock.

Last edited by LapLap; Sep 12, 07 at 5:34 am
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Old Sep 17, 06, 7:44 pm
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That looks very useful. Thanks!
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