How can vegetarians get by in Japan?
I'm a vegetarian and sometimes I worry that when I go to live in Japan I will struggle to find vegetarian food easily. I also worry that the term "vegetarian" will be misunderstood. Any tips or advice from other vegetarians or vegans?
If you're going to live in Japan, your options are different to someone who is going there on holiday. I've known a few vegetarians living in various parts of Japan, and their reactions varied a lot. One subsists on self-cooked meals; another gave up being vegetarian entirely. My pescatarian friend has much fewer problems finding a place to eat.
As for eating out, the post linked by Martyn Bissett has some great suggestions. The Internet is a good place to look for recommendations - Japan Travel has quite a lot, too!
It is not difficult to find meals that use more vegetables and less meat in Japan, but full vegetarian meals might pose a bit of a challenge. I have come across a wide array of vegetarian salads, and there is always a vegetable or fruit option for sandwiches, but i dont think convenience stores are your answer. Even a yasai ramen isnt safe, for even without the pork char shiu, the broth is usually made from a combination of sardines, bonito, pork bones or chicken. I believe your best bet is the increasing number of Vegan or Organic cafes and restaurants, granted not all would have entirely meat free menus. Personally my option of a meat free meal would usually be a cold soba, minus the quail egg if they do offer, and a side of yasai tempura from the Fuji Soba franchise or similar establishments. Another option is to go to an indian restaurant, since they almost always have options to cater to vegetarian diets. Chuka restaurants are very likely a no-go for you. Hope this helps.
Hi Steph, here's a similar post with a few responses. Hope it helps.