Hello again pretty people, this post has been a long time coming, and comes with my second YouTube video! Uni has taken over my life more than ever recently (4 more months and I'm graduated!) and this post was supposed to be posted in September but took a bit of a backseat when I started my studies, but here I am, with everything I ate for two weeks in Tokyo. There's also a video at the end to this post so you can watch and listen to me talk about all the food instead of just reading it if you wish to!

Now Japan is known for not exactly being vegan friendly, and is even less so for someone with a soya intolerance, so I knew food was always going to be somewhat of an issue, so I was prepared. First of all, I had allowances for some soya, luckily I'm not deadly allergic and can handle small amounts of it, so it wasn't a massive issue, but having a bowl of edamame, or a soya steak was definitely out of the question. Secondly is Happy Cow - which I imagine I've talked about before- it is the best app for vegans and  vegetarians on the move and I planned out all of my food before I went anywhere for the day on here, just to double check where I'd be able to eat. It saved my bacon (or more accurately from eating bacon) a lot, so anywhere you're going, get it! I've added a little banner below so you can try it out if you want, I'm not sponsored by them either, I just think it's a very good app.

HappyCow Find Veg Restaurants & Health Food stores nearby:

So finding food was not super easy, but also not impossible either, and as Japan is well known for having an amazing food culture I definitely wanted to try a bit of everything, and I think I did pretty well there. I made one or two mistakes and ate a lot of convenience store food but I enjoyed it!

Convenience store food - コンビニ 料理

First of all, let's talk about convenience store food, because this stuff sustained me, and there are quite a few vegan options for convince store food. I'm sure there's a lot more than I talk about but my Japanese is somewhat limited and I only bought stuff that had very few ingredients so I could read them all. Here's a list of my faves

1. Pickled plum onigiri - I ate one of these at least every day, great food to keep you going, seaweed wrapped rice triangle with a pickled plum in the middle. Also Japanese pickled things (tsukemono) are amazing, no one pickles quite like the Japanese.
2. Anman - Sweet bean buns, hot, and tasty. These are bready buns with adzuki bean paste in the centre of them. I tried to get one every day but most of the time 7/11 was sold out of hot ones. Not all of the convince stores do vegan ones as some use pork lard in them so check!
3. Mixed veggie sushi - Also a very good choice, a mix of things like cucumbers, pickles, peppers, a lot of convenience stores do little selection packs of these.
4. Rice with Beans - These come in small bitesize packets and you can get savoury ones with edamame, or sweet ones with adzuki beans, always good on the go.
4. Tsukemono - As I mentioned above, Japanese pickles are very good, and you can buy packs of pickled cucumber, aubergine, and more at the convenience store.
5. Edamame - Not an option for me but you can just buy packs of it at the convenience stores.

So convenience stores are great, but they're difficult for people who can't read or speak japanese because some things have hidden ingredients. And the stuff I talked about is great, but some convenience stores may put sneaky non vegan ingredients in them (such as bonito flakes in innocent seaweed onigiri) so it's not always 100% safe if you don't know the language. So check online for specific lists for specific convenience stores, people have made them. One thing I will say about convenience store food is that its A LOT of plastic, though japan does have an incredibly good recycling culture I still wish there was less of it.

And now, onto the rest of the food, this is in order of where I ate, when, so I'll take you through my trip with food.

 Coco Ichi Akihabara | CoCo壱番屋 秋葉原店
On the first full day in Japan we went to Akihabara and on happy cow I saw they had a curry place, I love japanese curry so jumped at it. But this was my first mistake. Coco Ichi restaurants do have vegan curries but only at the restaurants with specified vegetarian menus have vegan curry, otherwise all of their curry sauces have shrimp in them. So only a small mistake here but one you don't have to make! We did find a coco curry place later with a veggie menu (in Shimo Kanazawa) but this wasn't one.
Kin No Kura Shinjuku | 金の蔵
 That evening we ended up going for drinks with the friends we'd be hanging out with in Akihabara, and opted for Kin No Kura which is a massive chain of Izakaya (like the Japanese version of pubs) in Shinjuku, there are lots of these in Shinjuku so I couldn't tell you exactly which one we went to but it was a lot of fun, and everything on the menu was ¥290 (around £2.50) so it was very good value for money.

The menu in most Izakaya consists of alcohol -with some very strange combos- and small plates of food designed for you to drink with. In most izakaya I stuck with chips or salads because most of the food is sticks of meat and stuff like that. Oh and I tried most of the drinks of the menu, don't get a green tea highball, they're gross, but do get plum wine because it is amazing; though only if you like sweet alcohol. Drinks are different to british style too, they mainly have a few light beers, highballs (whisky and mixer) as well as some Japanese wines and sakes. In this place you order on tablets and people bring you your order, than at the end you settle your bill and can split it between how many there are in your group.

After Kin No Kura we went to a Karaoke Izakaya which was empty because we were the only idiots out in a typhoon, and carried on drinking before taking the train home.

 Day 2
 Mother's Organic Market, Fjikaoka | マザーズオーガニックマーケット 
Aoba-ku Fujigaoka 2-5YokohamaJapan  | 〒227-0043 神奈川県横浜市青葉区藤が丘2-5
I'd really injured my foot before arriving in Japan, so the next day when everyone went to spend the day in Disneyland I decided to explore more locally. We were staying in a place called Aobadai but there was nothing notably vegan there, but the next train station over in Fujigaoka there were two vegan places, the first being Mother's organic market. 

Mother's organic  is a pretty classic organic store with everything from a fish stall to eco friendly soaps and washing powders, and it's pretty big for Japanese store standards too. I was right at home, plus it is situated right next to the station so is very easy to find. The only problem was being able to read ingredients, as not everything her was vegan, had I been less shy and more competent in Japanese I probably would've asked the staff for help but as usual I settled on products with limited ingredients I could read. I picked up some mixed veggies and sweet potato tempura and went on to my next spot, feeling like this trip was a success.

2 Bananeira Fujigaoka |
Aoba-ku Kakinokidai 3-20YokohamaJapan227-0048 | 横浜市青葉区柿の木台3-20
 My next stop was a small vegan cafe called 2 Bananeira, this was a super cute little cafe, with me as its only customer at that time. Their menu has small bits in english so as long as you're not too fussy it's pretty easy to navigate and order without Japanese, The staff didn't speak english but were super lovely. I would say it was low to mid range prices. I paid around £13 for a main and a drink, ordering the Indan Curry and an orange juice. The curry was interesting? It wasn't bad but it wasn't to my taste either and tasted like no Indian curry I'd ever tasted but also didn't taste like a Japanese curry either, it was kind of a fusion using Japanese vegetables and in the same sort of "style" as Japanese curry.
I'd definitely recommend this place if you're around the area as they have a pretty big menu and they're not bad value for vegan food plus they use local and organic ingredients where possible as a  LOHAS (Lifestyle of Health and Sustainability) restaurant.

While I was waiting for my food I tried to read one of the many vegan magazines they had but that proved slightly difficult with my low grasp of the Japanese language, but definitely a nice touch, and after I wandered around the park that's next to the restaurant. The area this is in is super lovely, quite quiet and the sort of place you can just wander around and take pictures, with a few parks and little shops to spend your time in. If you're staying locally they also offer takeout options, gotta love vegan delivery.
Day 3
 Day 3 was filled with a trip to Asakusa, to Senso-ji shrine, we rented Yucatan and wandered around the temple, pretty magical. Along the streets leading to the temples there are plenty of classic Japanese street food places which do things like rice crackers (pictured below) and dango (like squishy rice cakes), both of which are vegan. A lot of these vendors also speak English so looking for some vegan street food isn't too difficult.
 Toryanse Ramen | 大江戸浅草らーめん
1 Chome-20-9 Asakusa, TaitoTokyoJapan111-0032 | 
After spending the afternoon shuffling around in our Yukawa we decided ramen was a good idea, and I felt I needed to find some kind of vegan ramen whilst I was in Tokyo, so we ended up in Toryanse. Toryanse has menus in Japanese, English, and French and two vegan ramen, both in a salt broth. I really enjoyed my food here but I do have to say that it was a very plain ramen, just a  plain salt broth with a few vegetables and noodles, it wasn't spectacular but it was decent. Everyone here enjoyed their food but said the same, it also wasn't exepctionally filling and I asked for some rice to eat the end of my broth with but they didn't have any which was a shame.

So I'd say try this place if you're near and you're hungry/fancy some basic ramen but I wouldn't go out of your way to try it. 
 Then that night we ended up at another Izakaya, the one directly above the Kin No Kura we were in on the first night, but this time we went for one that did Nomihoudai (飲み放題) which is all you can drink style. We also got food with this, and my lovely friend (who is Japanese) managed to get them to bring everything ou that was vegan, though sadly they didn't have any vegan deserts. Sadly I also can't remember what this place is called but there are plenty of Izakaya that do nomihoudai, but make sure you're getting your money's worth, the drinks in these places are pretty weak and if you're only going for one or two then they're not really worth it as a lot of places have pretty cheap drinks.

This place was only ¥2500 for two hours including the food (around £20) and we basically had a small room for just the six of us so that was ideal.

After this the plan was to stay in a capsule hotel but our friend lost her purse and so we went looking for that, and by the time we'd given up it was too late and all the capsule hotels were full so we just waited the next hour or so for the 4:30am first train back. Bit of a mess but also an experience!
Day 4
Ain Soph Soarアインソフソア
Toshima-ku, Higasi Ikebukuro 3-5-7TokyoJapan | 〒170-0013 Tokyo, Toshima, Higashiikebukuro, 3丁目5−7 ユニオンビルディング
Thanks to the events of the night before we didn't feel like doing much on the next day, but it was our friend Anna's last day in Japan and she wanted to go to Ikebukero and explore/play arcade games and so we went and met her. Anna and my other friend ended up in a Denny's which doesn't really have anything vegan and so I looked for my own place to eat and boy am I glad that I did.

Ain soph is a French-Japanese vegan fusion restaurant chain with three branchs (Ikebukero, Shibuya, and Ginza) and the food is amazing! They have an english menu and the waitress who served me also understood English reasonably well so it's easy enough to order. Not only that but they have an allergen list on their menu so this was also incredibly useful. The food is not cheap but not ridiculously expensive either, I got a main and a dessert for around £30 but for me it was well worth it. I understand that people on a budget may not want to spend that much on one meal but if you want to splash out one on meal this is the place to get it.

I ordered the aubergine pasta for my main and my gosh was it good, I am a big pasta fan and this did not disappoint in the slightest, and then I said fuck it to my soya allowance and ordered a banana pancake with whipped cream and ice cream for desert and that was amazing. They have a really big menu so there will be something for everyone, and it's all vegan, plus the space is really calm and beautiful with big raised sofas along one wall with blankets and a homely style dining area.

They're a top recommended place on Happy Cow in Tokyo for a reason. Seriously this place does good food, even if you're not a vegan.
Day 5
 Our fifth day in Tokyo was taken up with quite a few things, mainly a barbecue in the park organised by some friends of our friends in Tokyo. It was really sweet of these guys to organise this barbecue and get all the food together and it was such a nice day to do it. I can't remember exactly where in Tokyo it was (somewhere West I think, around 40 minutes from Shibuya by train) but we went to the supermarket, bought a load of food and then headed to the park. There the barbecue tables, chairs and tents were ready waiting for us and all we had to do was light then and cook! This is a super nice thing to do with a bunch of people and I definitely recommend it if you're in Tokyo in warm weather, as this was organised for us I don't know exactly how it was done but there are plenty of places you can do this in Tokyo, whether you're bringing your own grill or getting one set up (these are called barbecue gardens).

I fried veggies, we had potatoes bakes on the coals and even babequed onigiri (had no idea that was a thing) and then ended the barbecue in a traditional Japanese way with Yakisoba. Delicious. Plus with plenty of Whiskey and Plum wine on hand it was nice getting day drunk in the sun.
 Alfred Tea Room | 
1F, 3 Chome-38−1 ShinjukuTokyoJapan160-0022 |

After the barbecue we went to the VR Zone in Shinjuku (highly recommend, it's amazing) but afterwards I was feeling peckish so we headed over to the station to Alfred tea. I was surprised when I found out this place was in Shinjuku station, with soy and almond milk bubble tea and labelled vegan cake! I was very happy to find it, and it turns out it's a chain from the US, so it makes sense. I had the strawberry almond milk tea and was pleasantly surprised because I normally do not like milk tea, and the thiny vegan cake. Yes the cake is really small but it's also really damn good, it's a creamy sponge cake and though I would've loved if it was bigger it fit in with the tea room vibe, there's fancy cake everywhere in Tokyo so I'm really glad I got to try some. 

As well as a store in LA, there's also one in Aoyama in Tokyo, so you have options. If you love tea and instagram aesthetics go here, it's very cute inside. But with being in Shinjuku station it is always really busy and often hard to find a seat, as a warning. I am slightly embarrassed though  because until today when I was looking up the location of this place I have been calling it Albert tea, sorry Alfred

Day 6
Longing House Jingumae |ロンギングハウス
4-22-9 Jingumae, ShibuyakuTokyoJapan150-0001 | 〒150-0001 渋谷区神宮前4-22-9
 Day six was Harajuku time, the time I'd been looking forward to since I was very young, I spent most of the day on my own looking at thrift stores (boy Harajuku is expensive though) and generally wandering. There's quite a few vegan places in Harajuku but I ended up at Longing house as it was what was closest to me when i found wifi, and it was pretty good. Another French Fusion vegan place, with locally grown ingredients, and a few different set menus. The atmosphere in here was lovely, I ended up sat on this really high bench near the corner which was perfect because I could sit and people watch to my hearts content. I don't know if the staff did speak english because I was getting by quite well this day with my Japanese but they were lovely.

I ended up getting the Pasta Lunch menu which was a soup and a  pasta dish for around £13, it was really good food with a lot of interesting vegetables so no complaints here.
〒150-0001 Tōkyō-to, Shibuya-ku, Jingūmae, 4 Chome−22
 Next door to Longing house is nanadecor which is a vegan cafe and eco clothing store. I didn't go in here because you had to take your shoes off and I was tired and wearing massive docs, plus the women in there who ran it looked like they were having their lunch break. It's a very cute little store though so if you're at Longing house it's worth popping next door to this little place. They also have an online store with pieces that are made of organic cotton.
On their website I also saw other branches of their stores but it was in Japanese so I didn't quite understand what these were.

That evening our friends that took us for the barbecue met up with us again and took us for Shabu Shabu. Now this is kind of like the Japanese version of hotpot, you get a broth that's heated on the table for you and you dip your own food into  it, the only problem is that it's very meat based and the only vegan broth they had was soy sauce based, so I had water. I did only pay half the price because I was only eating the vegetalles and it was all you can eat for 2 hours but it still wasn't overly exciting. The waiter gave me some konbu (seaweed) to flavour the broth with and I added garlic and chill oil but it did still feel like I was paying a lot of money just to boil some vegetables. It was an experience but if you're a vegan I suggest trying to find a hotpot place that is vegetable based or has more vegan options. I mainly ended up just eating pickles, rice and vegetables because I am in love with Japanese pickles, so it wasn't all bad. 

I also have no idea what this place was called, but it was very close to Shinjuku station. I had a quick look on happy cow and it seems there's a  shabu shabu place offering vegan options called Yasaiyamei (やさい家めい) in Roppongi so that may be worth checking out.
Day 7
Coco Ichi Simo-Kitazawa | カレーハウスCoCo壱番屋 下北沢駅南口店
 Day seven involved more thrift shopping, but this time in Shimo-kitazawa which is arguably better than Harajuku for some classic thrifting (though is still pretty expensive). I really enjoyed Shimo-kitazawa because it had quite a different vibe to the rest of Tokyo I'd been on, lots of smaller streets with not many cars and lots of thrift shops, plus a few temples.

And even more excitingly this time we found a Coco Ichi that had a vegetarian menu! I mean we were going to get temple food that the temple here but it was a long way away and we were very hungry and happened upon this miracle. The places with a vegetarian menu also have a lot more options than the regular Coco Ichi's in terms of menu choices including spinach curry, and aubergine to add on top. Their aubergine was delicious and I loved the curry. Not only that but here they sold packets of the veggie curry sauce so you can make it yourself at home! Winning.

One thing I love about Coco Ichi is the customisation, you can make pretty much any curry you want. Mix up ingredients, chose how spicy you want it, even chose how many grams of rice you want. And it's good value for money, my curry was about £6. I definitely reccomend trying Japanese curry at least once, it's not like any other curry and it's amazing (though I'm biased as it is one of my favourite foods in the world).
Day 10
Ramen Museum Shin- Yokohama新横浜ラーメン博物館
2 Chome-14-21 Shinyokohama, Kōhoku-ku, Yokohama, Kanagawa Prefecture 222-0033 | 〒222-0033 横浜市港北区新横浜2-14-21 新横浜駅

 After a few more chilled days, thrifting in our local area, and days spent eating at from the convenience store my friend decided that she really wanted to visit Yokohama, mainly for the ramen museum, but also to go see china town and visit the next prefecture over.

Yokohama is a separate prefecture to Tokyo but is basically attached to it, and Aobadai where we were staying was actually closer to central Yokohama than Central Tokyo so it wasn't much of a journey in. And our first stop was the Ramen Museum.

Firstly, before I explain anything about it, just go, it's amazing. It's designed as a "living museum" and an interactive museum. When you go it it looks like your average museum, there's a gift shop, the walls are covered in Ramen magazines and there's a bit about the history of Ramen in Japan. But then you step downstairs into the magic that is like a set out of a movie, it's the 1950s, and there's ramen shops everywhere. That's right, it's a museum you eat your way around.

Now there's only two vegan ramens here, and I had the Komurasaki. I wanted to try both but even a small town of the Komurasaki was enough to thoroughly fill me up which was kind of sad but it gives me a goal for next time.

You order your food on the vending machine outside of the restaurant of choice, give the ticket to the person working there and wait for your delicious ramen, there's also a sticker to collect from each restaurant.

Entry to the Ramen museum is a few hundred yen and then the small ramen are only 700 yen so it's very good value for money, and if you are living locally you can get a season ticket and come in for ramen whenever you want to. There were quite a few businessmen on their lunch break here.

Honestly I could talk about the Ramen museum all day, i could make a whole post on it but I will move along now. Though, before you leave definitely pick up the veggie guide to Yokohama they have near the entrance because it is very useful and contains restaurants not on Happy Cow.
 Banwarou | 萬和樓
〒231-0023 Kanagawa Prefecture, Yokohama, Naka Ward, 山下町139
After the Ramen museum we spent the afternoon wandering around China town, which I highly recommend, it's like stepping into another country for a while. There's a lot of places to eat here and I originally wanted to go to a place called Pachi Jo's which was a garlic based restaurant that's vegan friendly but it was sadly closed for some reason (possibly renovations or the owner was on holiday can't remember which) so we had a look at the veggie guide we got from the museum and decided on Banwarou which is a Taiwanese restaurant very close to Emperor Guan's Shrine.

This place was amazing, the man that run it was grumpy as heck whilst being really cheerful at the same time. I tried to read the Japanese menu but failed miserable to explained to him that I was a vegan and he then started showing me all of the stuff on the picture menu that was vegan and amazing too, he made both me and my friend's day and even told me I couldn't have the soy sauce because it was vegan. Not all of the stuff here is veggie but they have a big selection of stuff and the guy knows his stuff, he doesn't speak English but I'm sure he'd still try his best with customers that can't communicate with him in Japanese.

For starters I had the dumplings with a vinegar style dip and these were good! My main was a bit disappointing though, it was just a little plain for my tastes as all it consisted of was noodles, veggies and a peanut sauce. He did point to some other stuff on the menu that looked more exciting and I wish I'd had that but it was definitely still decent food and worth it for the lovely owner.
Day 11
Ekibenya | 駅弁
Marunouchi 1-chome valve, Chiyoda-kuTokyoJapan100-0005 | 
 Finally we're at the last unique place I ate, this wasn't our last day but the other days left I ate at Coco Ichi and convenience stores so this was my last new and exciting meal, an EkiBen. I'd heard about these long before I went to Japan, I remember in Japanese class once learning about different region's signature station bento boxes so when I realised that Tokyo station had vegan ones I had to go and find them, but it was a mission.

This day my friend had decided to take me to Character street, part of the shopping centre in Tokyo station and filled with stalls from all sorts of franchises from Studio Ghibli, Rilakkuma, Miffy and Pingu. It was my kinda place. And as we were already in the station I though let's look for an Eki Bento place (lit. station lunch box), how hard can it be? It was hard.

See the thing about Tokyo Station is that it's massive, not only does it have masses of underground lines coming in but it's also home to the bullet train and there are floors and floors of it, we had to go in through the gates to find the place and we were just about to give up when I saw the sign for it. Finally, sweet release! It was fully labelled, with pictures so I was sure it was the right one and that was magical. But then we had to pay to get out of the barriers, and I had really had enough of crowds and crowds of people so we found a place just outside to sit and eat.

And I was.... disappointed. It was really sad, the box just wasn't to my taste! Aspects of it were really nice, like the gyoza (which was sadly soy protein) but the pickled vegetables were really weird, I've never tasted anything like them and I just wasn't a fan. I'm still glad I tried an Ekiben and will try and find a different one if I ever have a long train journey in Japan but this just wasn't for me. I've see other people review it who really enjoyed it so it may just be me!

Overall I'd say if you're in the station and you see it, buy it, but it is hard to find so unless you really want an Ekiben give it a miss. There does seem to be a different one available on board the Shinkansen so give that a go if you're travelling on it!
And that rounds up my vegan food adventure in Japan, I'm definitely looking to go back as I had an amazing time, picked up quite a bit of Japanese (being forced to read labels kind of helps with that) and ate a lot of good food. But there's so much more still to do! What did you think? Do you like this kind of post? It was a lot of work but I'm glad I put it together, and hopefully it will be helpful to someone out there. Don't know when I'll be back with a new post but one day!