Best Places to Eat Japanese-Style Vegan in Kyoto
Traveling as a vegan in Japan, put simply, is difficult. The restaurants aren’t always sign posted and the ones that are usually have a Western take on dinning. The ingredients in dishes aren’t always obvious. And many of the top 100 vegan restaurants listed online are mostly popular for their proximity to tourist destinations, or that make Western-styled foods such as tacos or burgers. This article highlights the three best places to eat in Kyoto that have a more authentic Japanese twist to them.
The food and atmosphere of Hale will have you really recognize you’re not in Kansas anymore. Stepping-in from the incredibly popular Nishiki Market, a long thin alleyway separates the well-researched from the crowds. In stark contrast to the streets, this restaurant keeps a slow and relaxed pace. With sounds of birds on a coastline playing through speakers, and few customers occupying the space, there is no other choice but to relax.
Hale serves wonderfully handcrafted meals with seasonal ingredients. Their meals are embedded with traditional Japanese cooking tastes and technique. A dish that has many locals returning, is the delicious Yuba (paper-thin tofu skin) and mushroom stew seasoned with yuzu citrus, served with rice and homemade pickled vegetables.
Location: 198 Higashiuoyacho, Nakagyo Ward, Kyoto, 604-8055
2. Itadakizen (いただきZen)
This restaurant is in a slower area of the city, giving visitors the opportunity to explore a different side of Kyoto. Inside is a beautifully decorated space that embodies Japanese interior design, with dark wood, raised floors and low light.
Itadakizen masters a wide selection of meals, mainly inspired from traditional Japanese and Korean foods. Most known for their ramen, though the vegetable sushi and Korean pancake are also recommended favourites. Don’t forget to finish up the meal with a sweet matcha pudding to satisfy the sweet tooth.
Also note that this restaurant has multiple locations around the world, so when visiting, make sure it is the Kyoto address. This restaurant does on the occasion book out, so call ahead to reserve your place when dining in groups.
Location: 〒602-8344 Kyoto, Kamigyo Ward, Nibancho, 仁和寺街道七本松西入 199-1
3. Gomacro Salon
Everything sesame seed, and there is no exaggeration on everything. The menu is versed in staple Japanese dishes, such as a curry, a lunch set (always the favourite) and salad options. Yet, what sets this restaurant apart is the attention to detail. The dressings, the tofu, the biscuit base on cheesecakes, there are so many tastes and textures that showcase that sesame is amazing. Cooking, at it’s finest.
Thinking of Japanese cuisine, many will think of matcha and red bean paste. Though sesame seeds are just as popular a flavour for Japanese people, if not more, as sesame’s able to compliment both sweet and savoury meals. That fact alone makes Gomacro Salon a greatly unique establishment for vegan food right in the heart of Kyoto.
Location: 〒604-8207 Kyoto, Nakagyo Ward, Shinmeicho, 67-3