Vegetarian in Tokyo: Eating Out

If you are a vegetarian and are planning to visit Tokyo, you might be worried about what to eat while there. Former KCP student Veena Aragam (Fall 2010-Winter 2011), offers sage advice on the subject. Thanks, Veena!

Are you a vegetarian who wants to travel to, or study abroad in Tokyo, don’t fret!  Japanese cuisine, as usually seen by foreigners, seems to be a lot of fish and meat, which in my experience, is sadly true most of the time.  But there are many restaurants for vegetarians in Japan, although they may not be Japanese cuisine.

Of course, you can always go to the grocery store and cook your own food at home every night, but where’s the fun?  Everyone wants to wander around in Tokyo!  Here are some vegetarian-friendly options for eating out with your friends in Japan.  (Trust me, the meat eaters will like these places, too!)

Curry shop near KCP campus. | KCP Flickr

Indian restaurants are all over Tokyo, and they’re usually the best vegetarian  choice.  Most of the time, Indian cuisine will have a vegetarian option.  I highly recommend the small corner curry shop near KCP across the street from the Shinjuku-Gyoenmae station.  It was my personal favorite. I went there just about every day after class, and I still lost weight! How about that?  It is cheap compared to curry restaurants in America and has very large portions for the price.

Many Western-type restaurants offer a vegetarian option–something along the line of pasta and pizza.  Cafes are wonderful places to go to get some sweets and snacks (and caffeine for studying) as well. Japanese cafes have delicious food that you can enjoy while studying for your tests, which I did, almost every night. Hey now, KCP tests are hard!

Doutor gourmet coffee shop near KCP campus. | KCP Flickr

If want to try ramen, there is only one place I know of with a vegetarian option.  In Ikebukuro, there is a wonderful Chinese restaurant that specializes in ramen.  They serve a tomato-egg ramen (a tomato-based soup with noodles and eggs on top).  Their desserts are good, too! I recommend the Annin-Tofu.

I personally didn’t have any Japanese food in Japan, except for desserts, because I had terrible luck trying to find vegetarian food at Japanese restaurants.  I have heard, however, that some sushi restaurants do serve cucumber sushi.  I have also heard of some Japanese curry places selling eggplant-based and vegetable-based curries.  If you venture out for this delicious nihon ryouri, I wish you the best of luck! (And let me know how it is, yeah?)

 Veena Aragam at far left. | KCP Flickr

On a serious note, please do not dismiss the idea of studying here because of your dietary needs.  It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience that anyone can have, and you should not miss out.  If I survived, you can, too!