Meat Substitutes

Alishan soy meat can be found in health food stores or ordered online from their website, Tengu Natural Foods. This photo was taken at Bio C’ Bon grocery store in Yokohama.

• Alishan Organic Textured Soy Protein granules/アリサン 有機ジャックの豆ミート. Ingredients: Organic soybeans.

Made in Switzerland.

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Marukome currently makes thirteen types of soy minced meat, some dry, one refrigerated, and some that come ready-to-use in a retort pouch, seasoned and unseasoned, in various shapes from crumbles to blocks. They can be viewed here: The name of the product series is Soy Meat, 大豆のお肉/daizu no o-niku. The product page also shows other, unrelated non-vegan items. The taco rice/タコライス and gapao rice/ガパオライス are not vegan. One of the types is pictured below:

• Marukome Soybean Laboratories Soy Minced Meat/マルコメ 大豆ラボ 大豆のお肉大豆ミンチタイプ. Ingredients: Processed soy products, rice miso, yeast extract powder / glucono delta-lactone. (Product contains soybeans.)

Package says: low in fat, high in protein, cholesterol-free, no animal ingredients used.

marukome daizu no oniku mince

There are specialty gluten ‘meat’ products available in some stores and online.

• San Iku Gluten Meat. Ingredients: Wheat protein, soy sauce (contains soy), coarse salt, kombu extract, soy oil, sugar, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, yeast extract.

san iku gluten meat

Otsuka’s Zero Meat products are not vegan as they contain powdered egg white. The “cheese” version of the burgers does use plant-based cheese instead of dairy, but still has powdered egg white/粉末卵白, funmatsu ranpaku. Photos from Zero Meat’s website.

• Otsuka Zero Meat Demiglace Hamburger/ゼロミート デミグラスタイプ・ハンバーグ

• Otsuka Zero Meat Demiglace Cheeseburger/ゼロミート チーズイン・デミグラスタイプ・ハンバーグ


Otsuka Zero Meat Sausages also contain egg white.

zero meat sausages


Premade seitan is not well known and can be difficult to find in Japan.  It’s been reported to be sold in jars at National Azabu (Tokyo) and Nissen supermarkets. However, you can usually find bags of gluten in the cake baking section of the supermarket. This product is the same as vital wheat gluten flour, so it’s possible to make seitan yourself at home using it. Check our wheat gluten section to see some of the brands available.


Tempeh can be found at some stores like the supermarket chain Kodawariya.


Natural House – This is a chain of small supermarkets that also has an online store. It sells quite a few vegan products like seitan and mock meat.

The Nature Shop Karuna – The store is located in Nagoya and has a large range of food products, including ice cream, pudding, soda, scones, rusk, many types of dried soy meat, vegan “chicken” chunks from the Vegetarian Butcher in small quantities, “vegan loaf” soy meat, instant noodles, and cup ramen (plus a few personal care and cleaning products). Vegan products are marked with a “V.”

San-iku Vegetus – They have various food products like soy/gluten meat, vegetarian curries, cookies, as well as a few personal care products.

Someat (English website) – 100% plant-based “grilled meat” and “fried chicken.” 

Tokyo Vegan/Vegetarian Friends Club Facebook group’s guide to ordering plant-based meat from abroad from (US) or (EU), including Gardein, Tofurky, Beyond Meat and many other brands.  (English) According’s customer service, they recommend DHL priority shipping for cold items, which should generally arrive in 3-4 days. They try to ship only on Monday or Tuesday so the items can arrive in the same week and not sit over weekends. They can provide shipping estimates when emailed a shipping address and list of desired purchase items. They do also ship to Japan via priority mail, but it can take up to 7-14 days, which might not be good for cold food items if they are warm in transit.

Value Vegan– frozen “chicken” tenders, nuggets, “meatballs,” “chicken” drumsticks

Vegetarian Butcher – Only their “chicken” chunks are vegan.