Convenience Stores

There is quite a lot of vegan food available in Japanese convenience stores. In fact, probably more than in Western style convenience stores. However, you probably shouldn’t waste your time staring at the bento, fried food, oden, and bread/pastry sections.

There is also an offshoot of Lawson convenience stores called Natural Lawson. Although a few products from Natural Lawson can be found in regular Lawson stores, it’s worth it to go to Natural Lawson if there are any near you. Natural Lawson stores are currently located in the following areas: Chiba Prefecture, Saitama Prefecture, Kanagawa Prefecture, and Tokyo. They carry a wider selection of products for vegans than any other convenience store. Click here to see some of the  products you can find at Natural Lawson stores.

Below are some of the vegan foods we have found which you can use as a general guide. The products available at a particular store will vary according to location and season. If we are aware that a product at a certain store is not vegan, we have noted this. BUT we have not checked the labels of each product at each store (7-11, Lawson, Family Mart etc.), so unfortunately you will still need to check them.

Some foods contain flavouring and emulsifiers which may be animal-derived or sugar that may be bone-char processed. We have marked below wherever we have information on how these ingredients were made.

Each major chain of convenience stores also has a website where you can find information in Japanese about its products, including allergen information about the unpackaged food it sells (e.g. fried food). Some of the pictures below are from the convenience store websites.

Unfortunately, due to labeling laws in Japan, it’s possible for foods to contain small amounts of fish powder and other ingredients for flavoring without being written on the label if the amount is small enough. This can sometimes be marked as その他, “sono ta,” meaning “other.” Also, the convenience stores can change the ingredients of their own items like rice balls and steamed buns at any time without notice, and the new ingredients won’t necessarily be noted on the label if the amounts are small.

It seems that salt onigiri and ume (pickled plum) onigiri are the most likely to be vegan, whereas kombu (seaweed) is likely to contain fish powder to flavor the kombu. However, some ume onigiri do have katsuo (skipjack tuna fish stock) used to flavor the ume and it’s been reported that some salt onigiri also contain fish stock.

Some information courtesy of Vegana No Japão.

Rice Balls (Onigiri)

Current list of rice balls confirmed NOT to have animal ingredients:

7/11:
• Salt onigiri (銀しゃりむすび塩むすび)
Plain Rice Onigiri

Mini Stop:
• Ume/pickled plum (おにぎり (紀州梅))
• Kombu with shiso (おにぎり北海道産昆布 (しそ))

Family Mart:
• Ume/pickled plum (手巻 紀州南高梅)
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Lawson:
• Niigata Salted Koshihikari Rice Ball (新潟コシヒカリおにぎり 塩にぎり)
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• Ume/pickled plum (紀州南高梅)

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Current list of onigiri confirmed TO have animal ingredients:

7/11:
Their rice balls vary in ingredients by region. For the Aichi region:
• Pickled plum/ume (手巻 おにぎり熟成仕立て紀州南高梅たたき梅): contains katsuo dashi (skipjack tuna powdered stock). 

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• Kombu seaweed (手巻おにぎり二段階仕込み日高昆布): contains katsuo dashi (skipjack tuna powdered stock)

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Family Mart:
• Kombu seaweed (手巻 北海道産昆布): contains animal products

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Lawson:
• Kombu (日高昆布): Contains katsuo dashi (skipjack tuna powdered stock) and scallops.

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As for Circle K and Sunkus, it looks like they will end activities and become part of Family Mart.

Unconfirmed:

Daily Yamazaki:
Their past item, pickled plum/ ume (九州産たたき梅), was confirmed NOT to have animal ingredients. It appears to have been replaced with another, similar item called the pickled plum/ume (紀州南高梅) (photo below). We have not checked with the manufacturer if this one has off-label animal ingredients or not.

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Daily Yamazaki:
Their previous item, seaweed/ kombu (日高昆布), was confirmed TO have contained animal ingredients, so it was not vegan.  The label says “新発売/shinhatsubai,” meaning “now on sale,” but the item name is the same as before. It’s likely that this new version still has animal ingredients, but we have not contacted the manufacturer to confirm.

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Sushi

Inari Zushi

Inari zushi (rice in a tofu pocket) is often available in convenience stores. Unfortunately, people who contacted them to inquire found that all the major convenience stores use katsuo dashi (powdered skipjack fish dashi) to flavor the tofu wrap of their inari zushi. It’s not listed in the ingredients or is listed as an ingredient like その他 (“sono ta,” meaning “other”).

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Fermented soy bean (Natto) roll

Natto bacteria can be grown on different materials, including plant matter, fish, or gelatin. So, animal parts can be used in the production, even though this won’t be written on the label.

Takana Foods, one of the biggest suppliers of natto in Japan, has said that they do use fish in the production of their natto bacteria, as a matrix to grow the natto bacteria on. This fish will not be listed as an ingredient on the finished product.

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Noodles

You can buy ready to eat soba (buckwheat noodles – on the left hand side below) and udon (wheat noodles – on the right hand side below) in Japanese convenience stores. These noodles are usually vegan, just check for egg white (卵白).

The dipping sauce that comes with the noodles is made with fish sauce as standard. You can replace the sauce with soy sauce. Soy sauce may be available at the convenience store counter, but it can be useful to carry your own with you. You can buy very small bottles of soy sauce at supermarkets.

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Family Mart has pre-packaged noodle-shaped tofu with sesame sauce. The amino acids in the product are confirmed vegan, however, the manufacturer could not confirm if the sugar used in the product was bone char processed or not.

Be careful to get the product in the red-orange package with sesame tsuyu included, and not one in the red-purple package with mentsuyu included. The mentsuyu version contains fish in the sauce.

Tofu Somen Style with Sesame Tsuyu Sauce 豆腐そうめん風 胡麻つゆ付き. Ingredients: 【Noodle-shaped tofu】 Soybean (USA, Canada), starch components, salt/paste materials (processed starch, sodium alginate, polysaccharide thickener), coagulant (calcium chloride, magnesium chloride) (Contains soybeans as part of ingredients.【Attached Sauce Packet】  Sugar, soy sauce, salt, sesame seed paste, sesame oil, yeast extract / seasoning (amino acid etc), thickener (processed starch), coloring (caramel), flavouring. (Includes wheat, sesame and soybeans as part of ingredients.) Manufactured on equipment that also processes eggs.

Roasted sesame was used to create the sauce. The products are meant to be eaten cold, without cooking. Open the noodle container and throw out the water, then add the sauce to the noodles and eat. 

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Tofu Somen Style with Mentsuyu Sauce 豆腐そうめん風 麺つゆ付きcontains fish in the sauce, as is typical for mentsuyu not made in a vegan restaurant.

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Salads

Vegan salads are available at most convenience stores, however you should check the salad carefully before you buy it because there are often small pieces of meat or egg included in the salad. You also need to be careful with the dressing. It’s difficult to find vegan dressing in convenience store salads/sachets and restaurants in Japan, but supermarkets do have a good selection of possibly vegan choices. It can be a good idea to carry your own salad dressing with you. Choose something that does not need refrigeration, such as balsamic vinegar.

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Many convenience stores also sell bags of salad and whole tomatoes, if you would like to make the salad yourself.

Family Mart’s Japanese-style dressing/和風ドレッシング and Japanese-style low-salt dressing/減塩和風ドレッシング appear to possibly be vegan. They are available in single-size serving packets near the salads. The other single-serving dressing packets at Family Mart are not vegan.

• Family Mart Japanese-style Dressing/ファミリーマート 和風ドレッシング. Ingredients: Sugar, vegetable fats and oils, soy sauce, brewed vinegar, onion, amino acids etc., salt, roasted onion paste, dried red pepper/seasoning (amino acids etc.), polysaccharide thickener, spice extract, flavourings. (Product contains wheat and soy.)

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• Family Mart Japanese-style Low-salt Dressing/ファミリーマート 減塩和風ドレッシング. Ingredients: Vegetable fats and oils (contains soy), sugars (sugar, high-fructose corn syrup), brewed vinegar, soy sauce (contains wheat), processed soy sauce product (pure brew soy sauce), dried onion chips, rice fermented seasoning, processed olive product, salt, roasted onion, red bell pepper/seasoning, inorganic salt etc., thickener (xanthan), polyglutamic acid, iron gluconate. Product contains wheat and soy.

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None of the individual dressing packets near the salads at 7-11 or Natural Lawson are currently vegan.

Some stores also have a cup with things like carrot, cucumber and dip. The dip is not vegan at any of the convenience stores.

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Fried potato

This one is a ‘maybe’. According to the allergy information on the 7-11 website theirs look ok, but as always the oil and seasoning used may be an issue.

The 7-11 fried potatoes have an allergy warning for wheat and soy.

The Family Mart fried potatoes come with your choice of seasoning, 明太マヨソース/Alaska pollack mayonnaise sauce, トマトケチャップ,/tomato ketchup, サラダエレガンスシーズニング/salad elegance seasoning, and リアルソルトシーズニング/real salt seasoning. The Alaska pollack mayonnaise sauce is not vegan, and it’s likely the salad elegance seasoning is not either. The tomato ketchup and real salt seasoning may be vegan, but the ingredients are not listed on the website.

Note that Family Mart fried potatoes are fried in palm oil.

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Edamame

These salted young soy beans in the pod are available in most convenience stores, but the best bets are 7-11 and Family Mart.

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Food to make a meal!

If you are able to cook for yourself while you are in Japan it is handy to know that you can buy the ingredients to make a basic vegan meal – vegetables, tofu and cooked rice – at a convenience store! There are often bags of cut vegetables as well as whole vegetables like potatoes, carrots and eggplants. You can also find packaged cooked vegetables like sweet potato and pumpkin. Note the packaged pumpkin at 7-11 contains dashi and egg, so is not vegan.

Family Mart:

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NewDays:

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Fruit

Many convenience stores sell a good range of fruit, including bananas, frozen blueberries, frozen mango, kiwifruit and pineapple. Some is cut and packaged, some is dried, while some is whole.

Family Mart:

Frozen pineapple, frozen apple mango, frozen mixed berries (strawberries, blueberries and raspberries), frozen whole mandarin, frozen blueberries.

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7/11:

Frozen mixed fruits, pineapple stick, oranges, grapes, apple mango, strawberries, blueberries, grapefruit, and golden pineapple.

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Some convenience stores also carry prepeeled, sliced apples. One widely available product is called:

• Apple Sweets/アップルスイーツ. Ingredients: apples (grown in Japan), trehalose, antioxidant (Vitamin C), calcium carbonate.

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7/11:

• 7-11 Peeled apple/皮むきりんご Ingredients:  apple, maltose, salt/antioxidant (vitamin C)

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7-11 also carry a line of fruits bagged in water, including kiwi, pineapple, white peach and mikan. The white peach and mikan include flavourings.

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Newdays:

These tasty dried apples with sweetener are a light snack.

• Apple Chips from Aomori/青森のりんごちっぷす. Ingredients: Apples (grown in Aomori), vegetable oil, maltotriose syrup.

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Most convenience stores in Japan should have fresh bananas.

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Nuts

Most convenience stores have a good selection of nuts, for example peanuts, cashews, almonds, pistachios, walnuts and chestnuts. Check the package to make sure you are just buying nuts, as sometimes nuts are sold mixed with small dried fish and other non-vegan ingredients.

In Japan, “butter peanuts” can sometimes mean that butter made from cow’s milk was added as an ingredient, and sometimes just seems to be referring to a type of peanut, with vegetable oil used in place of dairy. Check the label carefully before buying.

Peanuts will generally be the cheapest type of nut available.

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Lawson:

Lawson sells soy-sauce flavored crackers mixed with peanuts.

• Cubic Rice Crackers and Peanut mix/粒もちピーナッツ uses amino acids from plants, according to Lawson. It uses sugar that has not been whitened using the bone char method.

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Chips

Family Mart:

• Lightly Salted Potato Chips with Two Kinds of Salt/ ファミリーマート ポテトチップス2種のうすしお味. Ingredients: Potatoes (non-genetically modified), vegetable oil, salt (60% rock salt from France, 40% Setouchi sea salt), dextrin, sugar, corn starch, seasoning (amino acids, etc.).

100% domestically grown potatoes used.

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• Family Mart Strong Laver & Salt Potato Chips/ファミリーマート ポテトチップス濃いめのり塩. Ingredients: Potatoes (not genetically modified), vegetable oil, salt, nori, sea lettuce, red pepper, seasoning (amino acids, etc.).

Both kinds of seaweed and the salt are domestically produced.

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Lawson:

These chips with Natural Lawson branding on the package are available in Lawson convenience stores. They don’t use sugar or salt and let you taste the natural sweetness of the vegetables.

Natural Lawson Calbee Vegips Sweet Potato Carrot Pumpkin/ベジップスさつまいもにんじんかぼちゃ. Ingredients: Sweet potatoes, carrot, pumpkin, vegetable oil.

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Natural Lawson Calbee Vegips Fried Yam, Lotus Root and Sweet Potato/ベジップス3種の根菜 長いも・れんこん・さつまいもIngredients: lotus root, yam, sweet potato, vegetable oil.

These chips don’t use sugar or salt and let you taste the natural flavors of the root vegetables.

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Lawson:

These excellent potato chips have Natural Lawson branding on the package.

• Potato Chips fried in Olive Oil/オリーブオイルで揚げたポテトチップス. Ingredients: Potato (not genetically modified), olive oil, salt (100% Italian sun-dried salt used).

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• 7-11 Salt potato chips (with salt from Ishigaki island)/7-11石垣の塩で味付け厚切りポテト  Ingredients: potatoes (not genetically modified), vegetable oil, salt (100% salt from Ishigaki island used), corn starch, yeast extract powder, kombu powder.

7-11’s customer service has stated that they don’t know if their fresh products like anman and rice balls have small amounts of animal products since they are made in different locations across the country (with the exception of the salt onigiri, which is animal-ingredient free). It isn’t clear if their packaged items like chips are the same.

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Lawson:

Sweet Potato Chips/種子島産安納芋チップス. Ingredients: Sweet potato (100% annou imo from Tanegashima), vegetable oil.

These sweet potato chips have Natural Lawson branding on the package. They use “annou imo,” a special type of potato with a high sugar content and orange-hued flesh,  which is grown on Tanegashima, an island located to the south of Kyushu.

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Popcorn

Family Mart:

• Crispy Fluffy Popcorn with Two Kinds of Salt/ふんわりポープコーン2種のあっさりしお味. Ingredients: Corn (non-genetically modified), vegetable oil, salt.

Two kinds of salt from Okinawa are used, Shimamasu and Setouchi sea salt. Not available in some parts of the Tokai region.

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Sweet Potato Sticks

Lawson:

These sweet potato sticks with Natural Lawson branding on the package are very filling.

• Organically cultivated dried potato stick/有機栽培の干し芋スティック. Ingredients: Organically cultivated sweet potato (satsumaimo).

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Cookies

Morinaga has a line of macrobiotic biscuits called Macrobiha. They come in three flavors- from left to right, Cocoa, Fruit & Granola, and Nuts & Salt. The Nuts & Salt flavor has only been spotted in Family Mart convenience stores, but the other two flavors are carried in many of the major convenience store chains as well as some drugstores and grocery stores. These biscuits use no animal ingredients or white sugar. They are made on equipment that processes dairy and eggs.

The website is here.

• Morinaga Macrobiha Cocoa/マクロビ派カカオ. Ingredients: Sugar (made from sugar beets), flour, oat flakes, edible rapeseed oil, cocoa powder, brown rice flakes, almonds, sunflower seeds, hazelnuts, pumpkin seeds, salt / vanilla flavour.

• Morinaga Macrobiha Fruit & Granola/フルーツグラノーラ. Ingredients: Oat flakes, edible rapeseed oil, sugar (made from sugar beets), wheat flour, whole grain wheat flour, dried cranberry with juice added (cranberry, concentrated apple juice, edible sunflower oil), brown rice flakes, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, almonds, salt/vanilla flavour.

• Morinaga Macrobiha Nuts & Salt/ナツと塩. Ingredients: Wheat flour, edible rapeseed oil, sugar (made from sugar beets), oat flakes, almonds, whole wheat flour, sunflower seeds, cashew nuts, macadamia nuts, salt, soy sauce (contains soy), miso.

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Lawson has some vegan cookies available, with branding on them from their more vegan-friendly line of convenience stores, Natural Lawson.

• Natural Lawson Pumpkin Macrobiotic Cookies/かぼちゃのマクロビオティッククッキー. Ingredients: wheat, beet sugar syrup, rapeseed oil, pumpkin powder, beet sugar, salt. All ingredients except the rapeseed oil are domestically produced.

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Bars

SOYJOY crispy, according to the manufacturer’s website, Otsuka Pharmaceuticals, are “nutritional foods made with whole soybean flour, fruits and nuts, containing no wheat. They offer a smart and delicious way to enjoy the nutritional goodness of soy, including vegetable protein, soy isoflavones, and dietary fiber.”

SOYJOY crispy contain sugar that is confirmed to have been whitened using the bone char processing method.

They come in five regular flavours, banana, mixed berry, peach, plain, and white macadamia (contains non-dairy white chocolate made of soy). There is also a seasonal, limited edition sakura/cherry blossom flavour (not pictured). 

Regular SOYJOY (not SOYJOY crispy) contain egg and butter. Be sure to check that the package says “crispy” in English, as otherwise the packaging is virtually identical.

More information can be found on the English-language Otsuka Pharmaceuticals website

• Otsuka Pharmaceuticals SOYJOY Crispy, Banana/大塚製薬 ソイジョイ クリスピー バナナ. Ingredients: Soy flour (non genetically modified), margarine, puffed soy (soy protein, tapioca starch), processed banana, banana puree, processed pineapple, non-digestible dextrin, sugar, agave syrup, salt/sorbitol, flavouring.

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• Otsuka Pharmaceuticals SOYJOY Crispy, Mixed Berry/大塚製薬 ソイジョイ クリスピー ミックスベリー. Soy flour (Japan-processed, non genetically modified), margarine, puffed soy (soy protein, tapioca starch), sugar, processed cranberry, processed raspberry, non-digestible dextrin, processed strawberry, salt/flavouring.

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• Otsuka Pharmaceuticals SOYJOY Crispy, Peach/大塚製薬 ソイジョイ クリスピー ピーチ. Ingredients: Soy flour (non genetically modified), margarine, puffed soy (soy protein, tapioca starch), processed peach, sugar, non-digestible dextrin, processed papaya, processed orange peel/flavouring, sorbitol.

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• Otsuka Pharmaceuticals SOYJOY Crispy, Plain/大塚製薬 ソイジョイ クリスピー プレーン. Soy flour (Japan-processed, non genetically modified), margarine, puffed soy (soy protein, tapioca starch), sugar, processed papaya, processed pineapple, non-digestible dextrin, salt/flavouring.

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• Otsuka Pharmaceuticals SOYJOY Crispy, White Macadamia/大塚製薬 ソイジョイ クリスピー ホワイトマカデミア. Ingredients: Soy flour (Japan-processed, non genetically modified), margarine, puffed soy (soy protein, tapioca starch), soymilk chocolate (sugar, cocoa butter, soy powder, other), sugar, non-digestible dextrin, macadamia nut, soy protein, salt/flavouring.

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Steamed bun filled with sweet bean paste (あんまん – Anman)

Near the convenience store counter you can find a warming oven containing anman and nikuman (steamed buns filled with meat).

Family mart’s 2 anman (simple and with sesame) don’t include any animal-derived ingredients. Lawson uses pork based shortening and lard in the batter, dehydrated eggs and also dairy in rice fermentation. 7/11 cannot confirm for sure if their products contain animal ingredients, as if it’s a small quantity it doesn’t appear on the ingredients or allergen list. It is possible 7-11 anman has some pork or other animal-derived ingredients.

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Red bean (Azuki) ice cream

Red bean ‘ice cream’ can easily be found in convenience stores, and many types do not contain dairy. The ingredients of the one below are: sugar, adzuki beans, starch syrup, cornstarch (non-genetically modified corn) and salt.

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Chocolates

Asahi’s Ippon Manzoku Bar Cereal Black 80% Less Sugar/一本満足バー シリアルブラック 糖質80%オフ. Ingredients: Maltitol, cocoa mass, corn flakes, vegetable oil, macadamia nuts, dextrin, wheat puffs (wheat, starch, other ingredients) raisins, cocoa powder, cocoa butter,  glucomannan/cellulose, emulsifier, flavouring, vitamin E, sweetener (sucralose), vitamin B6, vitamin B2, vitamin B1, vitamin B12 (Contains wheat, dairy and soybeans). 

This is a chocolate bar that has been fortified with some vitamins, including 1.1 mcg of B12. 

The company has stated that it contains no animal ingredients. However, it may have cross-contamination from milk being processed in the same factory or on the same line, so in this case, the warning on the package that makes it look as if dairy is an ingredient only means that particles may be present from cross-contamination. Be sure to get the one in the black packaging as the others have animal ingredients such as milk. It can be found in many convenience stores.

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The following Meiji chocolates do not contain any dairy as an ingredient. However, they may have cross-contamination from milk being processed in the same factory or on the same line, so in this case, the warning on the package that makes it look as if dairy is an ingredient only means that particles may be present from cross-contamination.

The company has also stated that they do use bone-char processed sugar in the making of these chocolates and they are not a product that is guaranteed to not use any animal products in the manufacturing process. It is not clear how the flavourings in the “Chocolate Effects” series are made.

Some of the following choices are available in convenience stores, and the rest in supermarkets or online.

Other chocolates in the same “The Chocolate” and “Chocolate Effects” series do contain dairy as an ingredient, not just as traces from manufacturing, including The Chocolate Framboise (Raspberry).

Meiji The Chocolate Comfort Bitter/Meiji ザ・チョコレート   力強い深みコンフォートビタ. Ingredients: Cocoa mass, sugar, cocoa butter/emulsifier. Marked “contains dairy and soy.” The dairy warning, in this case, refers to small particles that may be present due to this product being processed alongside products containing dairy.

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Meiji The Chocolate Elegant Bitter/Meiji ザ・チョコレート   華やかな果実味エレガントビタ. Ingredients: Cocoa mass, sugar, cocoa butter/emulsifier. Marked “contains dairy and soy.” The dairy warning, in this case, refers to small particles that may be present due to this product being processed alongside products containing dairy.

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Meiji The Chocolate Blossom Bitter/ Meiji ザ・チョコレート 凛と香り立つブロッサムビタ. Ingredients: Cocoa mass, sugar, cocoa butter/emulsifier. Marked “contains dairy and soy.” The dairy warning, in this case, refers to small particles that may be present due to this product being processed alongside products containing dairy.

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Meiji The Chocolate Fragrant Yuzu/Meiji  ザ・チョコレート 弾ける香りゆず. Ingredients: Cocoa mass, sugar, cocoa butter, yuzu powder, yuzu peel, vegetable oil/emulsifier. Marked “contains dairy and soy.” The dairy warning, in this case, refers to small particles that may be present due to this product being processed alongside products containing dairy.

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There is also a three-pack available in some stores that contains small portions of Comfort Bitter, Elegant Bitter, and Blossom Bitter. 

• Meiji The Chocolate 3 Cocoa Flavor Set/Meiji  ザ・チョコレート 3つのカカオ香味セット.

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• Meiji Chocolate Effects 72% Cacao Blocks/Meiji チョコレート効果カカオ72%.  Comes in two sizes, one large blocks and the other small. The ingredients for both sizes are the same. Ingredients: Cocoa mass, sugar, cocoa powder, cocoa butter/emulsifier, flavouring. Marked “contains dairy and soy.” The dairy warning, in this case, refers to small particles that may be present due to this product being processed alongside products containing dairy.

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• Meiji Chocolate Effects 86% Cacao Blocks/Meiji チョコレート効果カカオ86%. Comes in two sizes, one large blocks (not pictured here) and the other small. The ingredients for both sizes are the same. Ingredients: Cocoa mass, cocoa powder, sugar, cocoa butter/emulsifier, flavouring. Marked “contains dairy and soy.” The dairy warning, in this case, refers to small particles that may be present due to this product being processed alongside products containing dairy.

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Meiji Chocolate Effects 95% Cacao Blocks/Meiji チョコレート効果カカオ95%Ingredients: Cocoa mass, cacao powder, sugar, cocoa butter/emulsifier, flavouring. Marked “contains dairy and soy.” The dairy warning, in this case, refers to small particles that may be present due to this product being processed alongside products containing dairy.

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•  Meiji Chocolate Effects 72% Cacao Blocks with Roasted Crushed Almonds/ Meiji チョコレート効果72%素焼きクラッシュアーモンド

• Meiji Chocolate Effects 72% Cacao Blocks with Coarsely Ground Cacao/チョコレート効果72%素チョコレート効果72% 粗くだきカカオ豆 This product is not viewable on the website, although it may still be sold in some places. It may be in the process of being replaced with the following product:

Meiji Chocolate Effects 72% Cacao Blocks with Cacao Nibs/Meiji チョコレート効果 カカオ72% カカオニブ. Ingredients: Cocoa mass, sugar, cocoa powder, fried cacao nibs, vegetable oil, cocoa butter/emulsifier, flavouring. Marked “contains dairy and soy.” The dairy warning, in this case, refers to small particles that may be present due to this product being processed alongside products containing dairy.

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The ball type in the Chocolate Effects series contains shellac, produced from insects, so they are not vegan. It’s listed as 光沢剤 kōtaku-zai, (food) polisher/brightener.

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Fruit jelly

Most jelly in Japan is made with agar (seaweed) rather than gelatine, although you should still check the list of ingredients. Look for:

gelatine ゼラチン zerachin
agar agar 天草 / 寒天 てんぐさ / かんてん tengusa / kanten
gelling/setting agent ゲル化剤 gerukazai (can be either an animal-based or plant-based ingredient)

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Japanese style sweets

You can usually find traditional style Japanese sweets in convenience stores. For example, daifuku, anmitsu (on left side below – check for honey) and zenzai (on right side below):

anmitsu-maybe-honey-711  zenzai-711

Non-Dairy Milks and Coffees

Here are some of the products you might see in convenience stores. As with the other products in this list, some products may contain ingredients that are not confirmed vegan such as flavorings and emulsifiers. Check our Dairy Alternatives page for more detailed information.

Marusan Co-Trip Black Sesame and Sweet Potato Soymilk Beverage/Marusan ことりっぷ 豆乳飲料 黒ごまさつまIngredients: Soybean (Canada) (not genetically modified), saccharides (sugar, millet jelly, fructose), vegetable oil, salt, sesame paste, Anno roasted potato paste/flavouring, emulsifier, stabilizer (gellan). Contains soy and sesame.

This collaboration product with travel book co-Trip uses black sesame and “annou imo,” a special type of potato with a high sugar content and orange-hued flesh.

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• Marusan Co-Trip Brown Sugar Syrup Soymilk Beverage/Marusan ことりっぷ 豆乳飲料 黒蜜きなこIngredients: Soybean (Canadian) (not genetically modified), saccharides (glucose fructose syrup, fructose, sugar, brown sugar syrup), soy powder, salt, mirin, yeast extract powder/flavouring, stabilizer (thickening polysaccharide). Product contains soy.

This collaboration product with travel book co-Trip is made with Japanese brown sugar syrup called kuromitsu and kinako soy powder and is meant to taste like a traditional dessert.

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• Pokka Sapporo Euglena Brown Sugar Soymilk Beverage/黒糖豆乳飲料ユーグレナ. Ingredients: Soybean (non-genetically modified), brown sugar, vegetable oils and fats, salt, Euglena gracilis, lactic acid bacteria (sterilized), calcium lactate, pH adjuster, flavouring, emulsifier, stabilizers (thickening polysaccharides)

This brown sugar soymilk beverage contains vegetable lactic acid (from barley) and euglena. Note that euglena is considered to be neither a plant nor an animal, but a single-celled protist.

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• Glico Almond Effects Tasty Original Almond Milk/グリコ アーモンド効果TASTYオリジナルアーモンドミルク. Ingredients: Almond paste, sugar, gluctose fructose liquid sugar, dietary fiber (inulin), table salt, processed almond oil, thickener (processed starch), cellulose, calcium citrate, flavouring, pH adjuster, emulsifier, antioxidant (vitamin C), vitamin E.

Free of all 27 allergenic ingredients. Available at all Family Mart/Circle K/Sunkus convenience stores nationwide.

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• Glico Almond Effects Caffe Almond Latte/グリコ アーモンド効果TASTY. Ingredients: Sugar, almond paste, coffee extract, dietary fiber (inulin), gluctose fructose liquid sugar, table salt, processed almond oil, thickener (processed starch), cellulose, calcium citrate,  pH adjuster, flavouring, emulsifier, antioxidant (vitamin C), vitamin E.

Espresso coffee with almond milk. Free of all 27 allergenic ingredients. Available at all Family Mart/Circle K/Sunkus convenience stores nationwide.

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16 thoughts on “Convenience Stores

  1. buzzinjapan

    Thank you for this comprehensive list! A lot of stuff I wouldn’t haven even thought to check.

    I have not been able to find any packaged onigiri or sushi in supermarkets, convenience stores, or department stores that doesn’t list amino/アミノas an ingredient, though, which may or may not be vegan. I’ve found packaged daifuku to often suffer from the same problem, though I finally found some ichigo daifuku in Daimaru that was 100% vegan without a doubt.

    Reply
  2. Leïla

    This list is very useful, thanks !
    It may be useful to add the japanese writing of anman あんまん (according to wikipedia) to have a 2nd verification at the combini.

    Reply
  3. Korellia

    The new Soy Joy Crispy bars would be worth adding. The original ones contain egg, but the crispy kind is vegan!

    Reply
  4. Chan Huat Low

    Thank you so much for the list and updated information. It really helps for vegetarians. May you be well and happy always!

    Reply
  5. Pingback: How to Live as a Vegan in Japan – VeganMegane

  6. Pingback: Onigiri 115 yen? Ramen 800yen? – V1S1ON

  7. A.S

    Hi this is a great list! Thank you so much 🙂 How old is this information? It might be a nice idea to add a ‘last updated’ date 🙂 (I am sorry if I missed it)

    Reply
  8. Pingback: Vegan Guide to Tokyo - The Tasty K

  9. Pingback: 7 consejos para comer vegano en Japón | Turismo Responsable

  10. Pingback: Healthy Tokyo Guide (vegan eats, wellness, & fun) - This Somebody.

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