There is a variety of vegan-friendly accommodation in Japan, including temple lodgings, guest houses, hiker’s guesthouses, ryokan, minshuku, and hotels.
Organized roughly from north to south.
It’s possible to inquire if regular ryokan will make vegan food, but you would have to make sure if they understand, and especially understand about fish stock. (However, there is always the possibility of misunderstandings/mistakes. Some people have reported other ryokans, not listed here, to have mistakenly included pork or shellfish, even though the requirements were explained to them, sometimes several times). Also, some ryokan staff will just say no, that they cannot accommodate you.
Shukubo (temple accommodation) may be a possibility in some temples/areas, but again, inquire about if the food contains fish stock. Some people have described the food as “basic” or “not very good,” so it probably depends on your personal preference whether you’ll enjoy it or not. Whether the food will come standard as vegan depends on the shukubo. For example, one shukubo at Haguro San in Dewa Sanzan (Shingon sect) served vegan food to those who had requested it in advance, but whole fish to others. Double check when making the booking. One reader has stayed in temples up and down the country and reports there was fish powder in the food that they normally serve about 50% percent of the time. One of the places she stayed at (a Shugendo temple, which is a syncretic religion) served whole grilled fish. She did say they were all able to serve her food without fish or fish powder since she requested when she booked.
In general, accommodations and hotel restaurants need a certain number of days of advance notice to prepare vegan food, so please check the individual websites carefully.
The following places have been reported to be able to make vegan meals or contain a vegan or vegan-friendly restaurant. Some of the information is a year or so old, so please confirm before heading to any of them.
Shiretoko Serai Guesthouse/restaurant (owner reported to understand veganism and speak excellent English)
Tokachidake Onsen, Daisetsuzan National Park, Kamifurano, Hokkaido
Shojikimura (has a restaurant on the first floor with a vegetarian menu available. Some foods on vegetarian menu can be made vegan by removing the egg and milk)
Hotel Mystays Premier Sapporo Park (has a restaurant in called it Farm to Table TERRA reported to have vegan options including tempura, burgers and soup as of Dec 2018)
宿坊 吉祥閣 (shukubo that serves vegan meals as standard)
Azumaya (English) (advertised a vegan course menu as of 2017)
Earth Hostel (Breakfast (served until 10am), lunch and dinner all available for purchase. (Vegetarian, vegan or gluten-free.) Examples of foods served are a big bowl of soup for dinner and pancake, fruits, etc.; for breakfast. Foods served might vary depending on the day. Need to let them know a day before. Open late-March to mid-November. English-speaking)
Sanga Nikko (Although they don’t prepare food for you, they have a fully equipped kitchen with a Vitamix. It’s located a few minutes on foot from the train station, bus terminal and a supermarket. Their Facebook page gives some information about vegetarian and vegan foods in the area, for example at nearby restaurants.)
Kusatsu Onsen, Gunma
Shima Onsen, Gunma
Takaragawa Onsen, Gunma
Takaragawa Onsen Osenkaku (Reported as of 2012 to be able to make vegan dinner and breakfast with advance notice. Serves Japanese-style, tofu-based food. Unknown if staff is fluent in English)
Hiker’s B&B (can accommodate vegan, vegetarian, gluten free when asked in advance).
Brown’s Field Jiji no Ie (Mainly vegan dinner and breakfast but best to check with them as they’re a macrobiotic place and fish and cheese could be used/an option. There is also an all-vegan cafe “Rice Terrace Cafe” at the main area (4 min. walk, Fri-Sun & holidays)
Mt. Mitake, Ome City, Tokyo
Hotel Chinzanso Tokyo (Shinjuku-ku, near JR Mejiro station) has announced that as of June, 2019, it is serving gluten-free vegan courses for lunch (4,800yen) and diner (6,900yen) in its French restaurant ‘The Bistro’. Press release (Japanese) and contact information (English)
Guesthouse Fete (has a vegan cafe and vegan parties most nights)
Bayern Restaurant, Sunshine City Prince Hotel has vegan options available in the “soy foods corner” of the dinner buffet
Trunk Hotel (has been reported at various times to have vegan breakfast and dinner options at the restaurant. Note the restaurant serves foie gras)
Cafe Tosca in the The Yokohama Bay Hotel Tokyu is a hotel restaurant with a separate page in the menu for vegan/vegetarian items. There is a vegan course menu and a vegetarian course menu. Some items are available a la carte, without ordering a course menu. The ‘smart veggie burger plate/Oriental vegetarian burger plate’ consists of minestrone, salad, soy meat cutlet burger, marinated vegetable salad, soy meat sauce pasta, carrot jelly, and coffee. The burger has egg and milk and the marinated vegetable salad has milk. The ‘smart vegan curry plate/Oriental vegan curry plate’ consists of minestrone, salad, mung dal curry, fried soy meat, pumpkin and bean creamy salad, chia seed yogurt, and coffee. All the individually available items on the same page (minestrone soup, vegetable power salad, fried soy meat with salad, pasta with soy meat sauce/grilled vegetables, and moong dal curry with turmeric rice and grilled vegetables) are vegan except the burger, which has egg and milk. Course meals use no garlic or ginger. Inform staff of any food allergies in advance. No reservations required but note that meals are served in two sittings on weekends, holidays, and busy weekdays: lunch 11:30am and 1:30pm, dinner 5:30pm and 7:30pm.
Intercontinental Yokohama Grand (offers an oriental vegan dinner in Italian (La Vela restaurant), French (Azur restaurant), Chinese (Karyu restaurant) inside the hotel. Note that there is a dress code of no sleeveless shirts for men, no shorts and no flip-flops. Reservations are required.
Goen-no-Mori (onsen ryokan providing only vegan food) They provide vegan breakfast and dinners upon request when booking. A vegan sweet was provided to each person upon check-in for no additional charge. Bento lunch boxes are also available when booked a day in advance.
It’s no problem to stay there and use the onsen if you have a small tattoo, but patrons with large tattoos unfortunately cannot use the onsen.
Also offers various workshops in Japanese (prebooking required).
Hakone Lake Hotel
Mount View Hakone (can provide vegan breakfast and dinner with advance notice)
Keizan (reported to be able to make vegan meals if the reservation is made by a Japanese speaker. Unknown if the staff speaks English)
Guest House Sakuya (Owners reported to be friendly and very knowledgable about veganism.)
It’s also reported that there are two onsens on the property, one men’s and one women’s, that are shared during the day. When staying at Guest House Sakuya, you can book one of them for the evening for 30 minutes to share with your party, whatever their gender.
Panorama Inn (reported to be able to make vegan and gluten-free meals with sufficient advance notice. Breakfast is a buffet that includes simple foods like salad, fruits, and rice.) The inn is child-friendly and the women’s side of the onsen includes a small bath for children.
Longing House has been making vegan food for 16 years. They specialize in using local vegetables. There have also been reports that even children who dislike vegetables will eat the vegetables here.
Nozawa Onsen, Nagano
Hatoguruma Kawabata Hotel
Hotel Haus St.Anton (reported in 2017 to sell vegan-friendly oyaki buns in flavors like apple, red bean, spicy and mushroom. Unclear if they provide any other vegan food)
Yudanaka Seifuso (ryokan) (fill out dietary requirement form at check-in, but also inform them of your dietary requirements ahead of time)
Ichikawa Ryokan- Reported by Happy Cow to be able to provide a macrobiotic menu with three days’ advance notice (vegan kaiseki dinner and Japanese breakfast, no lunch). The onsen is reported to have plant-based soap.
Manpukuan Eisyouji Ryokan (at Eishoji Temple), Magome- Reported by Happy Cow to be able to prepare vegan meals.
Imu Hotel- reported to be able to provide a vegan-friendly breakfast at the bar (Japanese-style) and have vegan ramen and fried rice as dinner options.
The JUNEI HOTEL 京都 御所西– As of July 2019, a Facebook post of theirs stated, in English, “THE JUNEI HOTEL Kyoto offers Vegan in-room dining made from organic vegetables and gluten free foods, which does not use egg, milk, wheat, dairy products, meat, fish- no gelatin and any animal-derived ingredients. Enjoy Kyoto Vegan Cuisines at THE JUNEI HOTEL!” They can also introduce various vegan restaurants near the hotel.
They can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. More information about the vegan food is available here (English).
Photos courtesy of The JUNEI HOTEL.
Kyoto Nanzenji Garden Ryokan Yachiyo/Hotel- They can accommodate vegans. Information about their Kyoto-style course meals is given here in English. The website has an options box where you select what you can’t eat and there is also a comments section where you can give additional information. It’s also been reported that they will confirm the vegan meal at check-in.
Maneki Machiya (English)
Vegan Minshuku Sanbiki Neko
Hotel Granvia Osaka (Sky Dining AB restaurant on 19th floor is reported to be able to do vegan course meals with advance notice)
Osaka Marriot Miyako Hotel in Abeno Harukas, Osaka’s/Japan’s tallest building (upscale ZK restaurant on the 57th floor reported to be able to do vegan course meals with advance notice)
Swissôtel Nankai Osaka (Tavola36 restaurant on the 36th floor reported in 2017 to be able to make vegan course meals with advance notice)
Koyasan (Mount Koya), Wakayama
On 9/20/2019, a Koyasan Shukubo (temple lodging) Association staff member said that the temples don’t use meat/eggs/dairy in the food, but some might use fish stock (dashi). They don’t know which ones do and which ones don’t and you have to ask the specific temple you want to go to when making a reservation.
We have heard reports that some of the shukubo at Mount Koya do use fish powder.
The following shukubo has been reported to provide vegan food:
Sojin (a shukubo that provides vegan breakfast and dinner)
Kumano Kudo, Wakayama
Ryokan Yunomineso (reported to prepare a 12-course meal with English explanation)
Iya Valley, Shikoku
Benesse House Hotel (the French restaurant (Terrace Restaurant Uminohoshi Etoile de la mer) and Japanese restaurant can adapt the course menus for any dietary restrictions, including vegan. Cost for course menu approx 8000 yen)
Nagomitsuki Ryokan (reported to be able to make vegan meals if the reservation is made by a Japanese speaker. Unknown if the staff speaks English)