Below is information about the availability of possibly vegan food/drinks at some the more common fast food and chain restaurants in Japan. This information is based on a review of the allergen information provided on the restaurant’s website. In Japan, restaurants are required to give information about the presence of the following allergens in their food products:
• eggs, milk, wheat, buckwheat, peanut, shrimp and crab.
It is recommended that they also give information about the following allergens:
• soy, beef, chicken, pork, abalone, squid, salmon roe, salmon, mackerel, orange, kiwifruit, peach, apple, pineapple, yam/sweet potato, walnuts, gelatine and banana.
This information can be useful for vegans. Of course it is not definitive, as other animal products may still be in the food – e.g. fish dashi. Fish dashi, skipjack tuna dashi in particular, is very commonly used in Japan in sauces, soups, and savory dishes. Other types of fish such as tuna or anchovies, seafood such as scallops, and also duck or honey can also be present in the food and not mentioned on allergen charts. So, allergen charts are merely a good starting point, allowing you to narrow your search and ask a few good questions.
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.
You may be lucky enough to see allergen information on a restaurant menu, like the one below, but usually it can only be found on restaurant websites.
Note restaurants often change their menus, so it is a good idea to check their websites before you visit. Of course it is always a good idea to check with staff that the dish you want to order is vegan (if possible).
Wherever possible, we have noted below where foods were cooked together with animal products or may have cross-contamination from being processed together with food containing animal products, but food may also have cross-contamination from wheat, soy, or other ingredients. Please check allergen charts before eating if you have food allergies or intolerances.
Baskin Robbins/Thirty-One Ice
The information about Thirty-One is based off a review of their allergen chart on their website as of 3/15/2019.
The items that appear to possibly be vegan are:
• Orange sorbet/オレンジソルベ (contains orange)
• Sugar cone/シュガーコーン (contains wheat and soy)
The waffle cone/ワッフルコーン has milk and egg.
The only items that appear to be vegan at Burger King in Japan are:
• French fries/フレンチフライ
• Hash browns/ハッシュブラウン (cooked in oil with items containing egg, milk, chicken, or gelatin, or the same utensils may have been used to cook those items)
• BBQ sauce/ バーベキューソース
For some reason, ketchup is not listed on the allergen chart. The “coffee fresh” creamer contains milk.
Chabuton is a chain of ramen restaurants. They have a ‘vege-ramen’ which contains no animal ingredients (see the Vegout Tokyo blog). There is vegan gyoza too. On the ticket machine, push the button marked 新野菜系らあ面, “shin yasai kei ramen,” for vegan ramen and ベジ餃子, “vegi gyoza” for vegan gyoza. The button for vegan gyoza is a shared button for chicken gyoza, so be sure to say “vegi gyoza” when you hand the ticket to the waitstaff.
You can find your closest restaurant by checking the Chabuton website.
Coco Ichibanya curry house had a vegetarian menu at some branches, then trialed the vegetarian menu from Dec. 2018-Feb. 2019 at all of their branches. From March 2019, individual shops decided if they wanted to continue to carry that menu or not. It actually doesn’t contain any animal products, so it is vegan, except that, like other items containing white sugar in Japan, the white sugar may be bone-char processed. The fried vegetables are fried in the same oil as meat and other animal ingredients. Be sure to order only the items listed below as the other vegetable curries have non-vegan ingredients in them. The list of shops that carry the vegetarian menu is here (Japanese, with brief location descriptions in English). Vegan items are:
• Vegetarian curry with vegetables
• Vegetarian curry with vegetables and eggplant
• Vegetarian curry with tomato and asparagus
• Vegetarian curry with eggplant, spinach, and ripe tomato
• Vegetarian curry with spinach
• Vegetarian curry with mushroom and okra and yam
• Vegetarian curry with eggplant and tomato and asparagus
• Vegetarian curry with mushroom
• Vegetarian curry
• Mini vegetarian curry
• Boxed retort pouch vegetable curry to take home (it may be possible to have this heated and served to you in the shop, if it doesn’t have the vegetarian menu)
• Boxed retort pouch vegetarian curry to take home (not available at all branches) (it may be possible to have this heated and served to you in the shop, if it doesn’t have the vegetarian menu)
Do not order vegetable curries off the regular, non-vegetarian menu as they all already have meat-based roux. Pictures of the vegetarian menu are shown below.
Both the boxed retort pouch vegetable curry/野菜カレー and the boxed retort pouch vegetarian curry/ベジタリアンカレー are marked as having no animal ingredients. We included photos of both below. They should be near the register, but not all the shops have the boxed vegetarian curry. Click here for the ingredient lists of the boxed retort pouch curries.
The curries contain wheat and are processed on the same factory line as items containing dairy. Domestically produced rice is served with the curries. It’s possible to adjust the spiciness level of the curry and the amount of rice you receive with your order- details are in the menu book.
The vegan menu items look very similar and have similar names to menu items containing meat, so some people have reported the staff making mistakes in their order. Be sure to say “vegetarian” when you order and check your item when you receive it. The curry should not have small pieces in it- if it does you’ve received a meat item by mistake. It also might be a good idea to get the waitstaff to repeat “vegetarian” back to you to make sure they’ve got the order right.
The allergy information sheet (bilingual) is here.
The “allergen-free curry” on the regular menu has honey. The add-on sauce to make the curry sweeter is not vegan either as it also contains honey.
If the branch you go to does not have the vegetarian menu, it may be possible to ask the staff to heat and serve you one of the two retort pouch curries without animal ingredients.
From reviewing their allergen chart it appears the following items may be vegan:
All items except for grapefruit dressing, habanero sauce and barbecue sauce, including salt and ketchup, share cooking utensils/dishwashers/washing areas with items containing shrimp, egg, dairy, beef, fish, chicken, pork, and gelatin.
• Avocado (meant as a topping for the burgers, but no vegan burger available)
• Green enzyme salad/緑の酵素サラダ
• Grapefruit dressing/グレープフルーツドレッシング. Ingredients: Edible vegetable fats and oils, brewed vinegar, sugars (high-fructose corn syrup, sugar), table salt, concentrated grapefruit juice, concentrated lemon juice, spices/flavour enhancer (amino acids), thickener (xanthan gum), flavourings, spice extract. (Contains soybean and apple.)
• Wafuu (Japanese-style) barbecue sauce
• Hash brown potato (available at stores with a morning menu)
• French fry potato, plain (salted) only/フレンチフライ, available in S (small), M (medium), L (large) or 箱ポテ！(box- similar to extra large) sizes
• Kakigori (shaved ice) – strawberry, Blue Hawaii, lemon (from event menu, at limited stores)
• Tapioca mango drink (from event menu, at limited stores) – in addition to regular vegan drinks like hot coffee
• Habanero sauce
The Caesar dressing contains milk and egg.
Possibly vegan menu items are as follows:
• Fried potato (cooked in the same oil as products containing milk, egg, shrimp, beef, chicken, and pork. Shares manufacturing facility with items containing gelatin)
• Kale green smoothie
• Grape purple smoothie (shares manufacturing facilities with items containing milk)
• Strawberry pink smoothie
• Mango yellow smoothie (not mango smoothie)
• Mustard (shares manufacturing facilities with items containing egg, milk, meat, fish and seafood)
• Tomato ketchup (shares manufacturing facilities with items containing egg, milk, meat, fish and seafood)
The strawberry smoothie and mango smoothie contain milk. The onion rings contain milk and are also cooked in oil used to cook products containing dairy, egg, shrimp, beef, chicken, and pork. The soups all contain milk. All baked goods contain milk and eggs. Fresh lemonade, lemon & cranberry soda, and homemade ginger ale all contain honey. The “coffee cream” contains milk.
You can visit the Freshness Burger website to see the allergen information (available in English and Japanese).
Unfortunately, their allergen chart only shows the top 7 allergens so it’s very difficult to work out which menu items could potentially be vegan from it. According to an email from their customer service, they can only offer the following item as vegan:
• Vegetable salad (no dressing)
They stated that all their desserts have gelatin and their pastas are flavored with animal stock, and the flavor in the food comes from animal products and if it’s removed, the food won’t have flavor any more.
Kentucky (KFC) (known as Kentucky Fried Chicken outside Japan)
From reviewing their allergen chart it appears the following items may be vegan:
All products mentioned sometimes mixed with products containing egg, dairy, pork, beef, chicken, gelatin, fish and seafood in the cooking process at the store (except for low-allergen banana cake and low-allergen corn salad).
• Coloneling Potato, manufactured in same factory as products containing dairy
• Corn salad
• Hashed potato (only sold at certain stores) manufactured in same factory as products containing dairy
• Fried potato (only sold at certain stores), manufactured in same factory as products containing dairy
• Pickles friet (only sold at certain stores)
• Baguette (only sold at certain stores), manufactured in same factory as products containing dairy and eggs
They have a colored vegetable soup (sold seasonally, only in certain stores), but it appears only to be sold as part of a chicken combination plate and not by itself.
They have a low-allergen banana cake that is only sold in certain stores. It looks like it may be vegan from the ingredient list, but appears only to be sold as part of a low-allergen chicken plate (along with a low-allergen mini corn salad that is made without contact with animal products – not the same item as the regular corn salad) and not by itself.
You can visit the Lotteria website to see the allergen information.
With all the following items there is the possibility of contamination in the cooking process by shrimp, crab, egg, dairy beef, fish, chicken, pork, or gelatin in/on the store’s frying oil, iron cooking plate, etc., except for the hashed potato, which may be contaminated with dairy in the manufacturing process at the factory.
• Hashed potato
• French fry
• Bucket potato
They have a kid’s jelly that looks like it may be vegan – orange, grape, peach, pineapple, apple flavors – but it’s sold as a set with non-vegan hamburgers and not on its own (there is also the possibility of contamination with dairy and gelatin in the manufacturing process at the factory).
If you are in Tokyo you are lucky because you can visit this all-vegan chain restaurant. These restaurants are in many locations around the world, but there seems to be just one in Japan.
The Loving Hut Japan website is in Japanese and there is some English too.
Potentially vegan menu items are:
• Supersweet corn
• Side salad WITHOUT roasted sesame dressing (the dressing contains egg)
There are no vegan burgers or desserts and the fried potato contains beef according to the McDonald’s allergen chart.
You can see the ingredients of the menu items on the McDonald’s website (Japanese).
They have one option that doesn’t contain milk, dairy, egg, honey, or gelatin. It’s called the Fuka Fuka Yaki Doughnut, a set of two doughnuts that are free of the top 7 allergens. You can order it at the counter and the staff will get it out of the freezer and either warm it up for you on request or give it to you frozen so you can take it home and eat it later (depending on the branch). They are good toasted.
• Fuka Fuka Yaki Doughnut/Soft Baked Doughnut/ふかふか焼きドーナッツ：Ingredients: Rice flour (domestic), coconut milk, sugar, apple, rapeseed oil, lemon juice, pumpkin powder, salt, thickener (processed starch), sodium bicarbonate, vanilla flavor.
Potentially vegan menu items are:
• French fried potato/フレンチフライポテト
• Onion rings/オニオンフライ
• Ketchup packet/パックケチャップ
• Ketchup packet, low salt/パックケチャップ 減塩
• Salad WITHOUT dressing/こだわり野菜のサラダ (dressing has pork and chicken)
• Genmai mochi oshiruko with tsubuan/玄米餅のおしるこ(粒あん）
French fried potatoes are processed on the same factory line as items containing milk and cooked in oil with items containing meat, seafood and fish. Onion rings are processed on the same factory line as items containing milk and egg and cooked in oil with items containing meat, seafood and fish. The genmai mochi oshiruko with tsubuan is processed on the same factory line as items containing milk, egg, and gelatin.
All of their other foods contain animal products. The salad dressing has chicken and pork. The soy patty burgers have egg in the patty and the Aurora, Teriyaki and Meat sauces are not vegan nor vegetarian. The corn soup has milk, egg, and chicken. The mustard sauce has egg, the chili dip sauce has beef, chicken, and pork, and the barbecue sauce has chicken and gelatin.
You can see the allergy chart here (Japanese).
According to the Pizza La allergen chart the following items don’t contain meat, fish, dairy, egg etc (see allergen chart for all ingredients checked):
• Four season salad (with either Italian tomato dressing or vinaigrette dressing)
• Pizza La french fries and roasted potatoes (with fancy tomato sauce and/or mustard sauce)
In addition you could consider ordering a pizza with just vegetables and no cheese. You would just need to check whether the pizza base and sauce contain any animal products (they don’t seem to be separately listed on the allergen chart).
From reviewing their allergen chart it appears the following menu items may be vegan:
• Spaghetti with garlic, oil and peppers (spaghetti Aglio Olio e Peperoncino)
• Celery pickles
• Grilled potato
• Child’s potato
• Sicilian lemon sorbet
• Mixed salad
• Wakame (may contain fish even though it’s not marked on the allergen chart)
• Grilled potato
• Warm vegetables
• Fruit cocktail
• Miso soup (may contain fish even though it’s not marked on the allergen chart)
There may also be other menu items that could be modified to be vegan (e.g. salad without added animal products). For more information see the Saizeriya website.
Salvatore Cuomo Pizza
The marinara pizza appears to be vegan (see English delivery menu with allergen information on their website).
Also reported to have a lunch buffet with marinara pizza, salads with avocado and tofu, separate vinegar dressing, and coffee and juice. No vegan desserts available at lunch buffet.
Soup Stock Tokyo
You can see full lists of their soup ingredients on their website (in Japanese but an electronic translator can help here). Their soups change regularly, but there is usually at least one vegan option available each day. They have a book of all the ingredients in each menu item available behind the counter, written in English and Japanese-staff will show it to you if you request to see the ingredients. Current vegan menu items are:
• Italian tomato minestrone (hot)
• Green vegetables & rock salt soup (hot)
• Tomato and summer vegetable gazpacho (cold, limited to summer months)
• Sambar bean and vegetable spicy curry
The soup can be eaten with plain rice (the bread contains milk and egg).
The cashew nut hoda Sri Lankan coconut curry looks like it might be vegan from the allergen marks posted on the menu outside the restaurant and by the register, but it contains dried bonito extract.
Frozen Italian tomato minestrone and green vegetables with rock salt soups may be available for take-home purchase as well.
In Japan, Subway is not as vegan friendly as in other countries because the sandwich bread and flat bread contains dairy products. The menu items that appear from the allergen chart to be vegan are:
• Salads: avocado veggie and veggie delight salads
• Dressings: oil and vinegar, balsamic. Salt and pepper are also available, as well as sliced hot peppers.
• Oven potatoes: original and herb salt only. The red BBQ and triple cheese flavours contain milk, chicken, pork, and fish. All the oven potatoes are processed on the same factory lines as foods containing dairy and egg. The ketchup, mustard, and chili sauce appear to be vegan from the allergen chart. The ketchup is processed on the same factory line as sheep, fish, and shellfish.
• Drinks (in addition to the usual vegan options like black coffee): soy latte (iced or hot), iced soy mango latte, mango orange smoothie, orange juice, and mango & orange juice
The food at Sukiya that may be vegan according to the allergen chart (there may be some cross-contamination) is:
• Natto (be careful with the sauce, if any. For example, it appears mackerel is used in the sauce provided in Okinawa)
• Green onions
• Salad (no dressing)
• Grated yam with wasabi
• Pickled ginger
Please note the nori sheets contain shrimp. The allergen chart says that the pickles and kimchi don’t contain shrimp, but they may still contain fish.
T’s Tan Tan
This chain is an all-vegan establishment and is a wonderful place where you can drop in and have a quick bowl of ramen. They also sell various products at the different branches, such as take-out soymeat “beef” bowl bento boxes/ソイミートの牛丼弁当 and cutlet sandwiches, as well as their own brand of vegan instant cup noodles in two flavours and soy meat for home cooking.
JR Tokyo train station (behind the ticket gates)
JR Ueno train station, Tokyo (behind the ticket gates)
Narita Airport (NRT), Terminal 2
JR Sendai train station (Miyagi Prefecture)
They also have a fully-vegan restaurant in Jiyugaoka with fewer ramen options and more other choices- try the chocolate cake there. This branch also makes cakes to order for weddings and other special occasions.
The tempura batter at Tenya does not contain egg or milk, but may contain traces of these ingredients (as well as other animal products such as shrimp or squid) because of cross-contamination.
The dishes at Tenya that appear from a review of their allergen chart to be vegan are:
• Vegetable tendon (without the sauce as it contains fish)
• Assorted vegetable tempura
• Individual pieces of vegetable tempura – pumpkin, young corn, okra, lotus root, sweet potato, maitake mushroom, and matsutake mushroom (matsutake mushroom seasonally available and only sold at certain branches)
• Cold tofu (ask for no fish flakes)
• Boiled spinach (ask for no fish flakes)
• Flower pickles
The allergen chart says:
• The cold soba sets contains mackerel and the hot soba set contains mackerel and egg.
• The cold udon set contains mackerel and the hot udon set contains mackerel and egg (the child’s udon – hot and cold – also contains mackerel and egg).
The mackerel may just be in the dipping sauce, but if you are going to order the soba or udon it may be a good idea to check the ingredients with the staff.
The miso soup probably contains fish dashi (although the allergen chart does not say this).