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Rakudo-kan Vegetarian Restaurant

Healthy food sourced locally and a seaside view

Before I begin to tell you about this vegetarian restaurant, I want to give you a bit of background history to how I first became aware of this place. Two decades ago I came to Japan, arriving in Tokyo and then moving to Okayama Prefecture where I was to be based. The first few days in Tokyo I made a lot of new friends and one was to be assigned to Ushimado Town as the local English teacher. Without this vegetarian restaurant Jessica would not have been able to survive.

Rakudo-kan has been preparing vegetarian dishes for close to two decades. All the ingredients are sourced from the surrounding area of Ushimado town. The owner has been using her rice from her families’ rice fields as well as their vegetables. Rakudon-kan was first located next to Ushimado Junior High School, which was perfect for Jessica because she could walk a few meters to get her lunch. However,about 10 years ago an opportunity arose for a new location which looks over Ushimado beach and that is where you will be able to get your vegetarian fix next time you find yourself in Ushimado town.

The really weird thing for me in writing this article is how the owner, Ms. Atsuko Kasunoki, doesn’t seem to have aged a day whereas I certainly feel that the two decades I have spent in Okayama is showing. Perhaps it might be the fact that I am not a vegetarian. Coming from New Zealand where meat was part of my daily diet, yes, this is the excuse I will use for being a proud meat eater. I think it best for me to stop here before I dig myself into a hole.

When you arrive at the parking area you will immediately be drawn to the view of Ushimado beach and the bay looking out into the Seto Inland Sea. The entrance to this restaurant is a small wooden walkway which will lead you downstairs to the main restaurant. There are only a few tables maybe seating about 15 people at one time. To the side is a huge board where news and local events are advertised and on the opposite wall is a small gallery where local artists display and sell their crafts.

The set meal costs only 880 yen, and when it arrives at your table you might be confused to think some of the dishes are meat; rest assured it is tofu ham. The first time I ate there I was surprised how full I was and how every bite had such a rich flavor. If you think you can eat more after finishing this course, each day a fresh vegetable themed cake is available.

Over the years I have come back to Rakudo-kan and every time I have never been disappointed. I think I will let the pictures say the rest.

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Anonymous 10 years ago
It's amazing how "meaty" you can make tofu come out like these days. As a long-time vegetarian (actually, pescetarian since being in Japan), I'm not really sure why the meat flavor/texture is so important. But for new-to-vegetarianism types, maybe it's like a nicotine patch -- slow withdrawal. Either way, yuba and other tofu texturing can be mighty tasty, as a visit to any shojinryori restaurant in Japan will prove.

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