Being vegan/vegetarian while traveling in Japan can be quite hard, especially when it comes to eating out. Most of modern Japanese cuisine consists of more meat and animal products as most veggies are imported and therefore a bit expensive. But fear not – here are some of the best places to eat with affordable AND delicious vegan cuisine in Kyoto.
Nestled right near Nijo Castle, Cafe Phalam is a cute, with a homey, warm vibe. While they do serve food with meat, there are ample vegan-friendly options. I highly recommend their veggie burger and vegetable platter. Not only is the portion worth the price (around 1000 yen), all ingredients are organically grown and wholegrain, perfect for those who want to eat healthy. All desserts are vegan, including their parfait, ice cream, and even cheesecake. The cafe also sells organic food to takeaway, like peanut butter, muesli, tea, and coffee, but they are quite pricey. If you happen to visit Nijo Castle, Cafe Phalam is the perfect place to stop by and have a bite.
Veg Out is probably every vegan Instagrammer’s paradise. With everything around 1000 yen, their delicious Paninis and acai bowls complement their homemade smoothies and make a hearty breakfast. For lunch and dinner, their rice dishes and their soy carbonara are great recommendations for the quality and size of portion served. Pair it with one of their homemade soft drinks or a glass of Veg Out’s organic wine and you’ll get a satisfying meal that enhances your Instagram feed.
Gomacro Salon is exclusively vegan with a seasonal menu so you don’t miss out on the authentic Japanese dining experience. Their mains are standard price and tend to be western dishes such as spaghetti. but most of their sauces are made from either soy or sesame, lending it a more Japanese taste. Their sesame latte is a must-try, as well as their sesame creme brulee – yes, it’s really made from sesame. As with all fashionable cafes in Japan, Gomacro also sells different goods on the side, like a variety of natural skincare products guaranteed to be high quality because, well, Japanese skincare.
One of Japan’s most famous dishes worldwide has to be ramen. However, Ramen doesn’t usually come in a vegan-friendly variety. Luckily, Towzen is committed to the completely vegan DIY SOY MILK RAMEN! That’s right, instead of traditional dashi, or pork broth the soup is made of soy milk and you can pick and choose what ingredients you want in your ramen. I know it might sound dubious but Towzen is crazy popular for pioneering the most delicious vegan ramen you can eat. The lines are long but the prices are reasonable and the dish #worthit. As a vegan visiting Kyoto, Towzen should be at the top of your list of food places.
Mimikou’s curry udon is hugely popular for its deliciousness – but did you know they also have vegan curry udon? As the staple of the store, Mimikou’s been known for their curry udon since 1969, hence their vegan curry is sure to not disappoint. In addition to curry udon, they also have soba and other rice bowls with most of their main dishes hovering around the price range of 1000 yen. Definitely swing by for the rare chance of a vegan-friendly traditional Japanese dining experience!
Cafe Frosch specializes in baking wholemeal, vegan-friendly bread. Although not a completely vegan restaurant, their vegan and vegetarian-friendly options are affordable, delicious, and come in large portions. There’s the Vegan Burger Bread Plate for 980 yen and their 500 yen onigiri (rice ball) set. I highly recommend getting one of their bread platters. Frosch’s bread is made from Koji, a kind of yeast used in traditional Japanese dishes such as soy sauce, sake, etc. It has a light, springy texture and is absolutely delicious with their soups and sandwiches.
This is a completely vegan-dedicated cafe with a wide variety of mouth-watering and insta-aesthetic food. Although a little pricier than the rest on this list, their array of vegan ‘meat’ patty burgers are delicious, as is their curry rice. I highly recommend either their signature Ripple Cheeseburger (1500 yen) or their Mushroom Hayashi Rice (1000 yen). For dessert, definitely try their Heavenly Pancakes. Ain.Soph’s vegan soufflé pancakes are actually soft and springy and come with nuts and seasonal fruits with a side of delicious soy ice cream. Their parfait is also a great pick with soy ice cream and seasonal produce picks.