Dairy Alternatives

In Japan you can find many plant-based dairy alternatives, including soymilk, plant-based margarine, soy yoghurt, soy cream and almond milk. Below are some examples of the products available.

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. 

PLANT-BASED MILKS

In Tokyo, the grocery store National Azabu in Hiroo has probably the largest selection of mostly imported, plant-based milks in the country. Their rotating selection often includes those that are nearly impossible to find elsewhere except in natural food stores such as hemp and hazelnut milk. Prices may be higher than at other stores. (The whipped cream in the second row down on the right is likely not vegan.)

20180529_182146_resized

SOYMILK


Soymilk (豆乳 – tōnyū) is easy to find in Japan. It is available in most supermarkets and convenience stores, and many flavoured varieties are available too.

Where vegans have to be careful is in relation to additives like:
• emulsifier (乳化剤 – nyūkazai)
• calcium lactate (乳酸カルシウム or 乳酸Ca – nyūsan karushiumu)
• flavouring (香料 – kōryō)
• stabilizing agent (安定剤 – antei-zai)

To the left you can see emulsifier, calcium lactate and flavouring in the list of ingredients of one of the most common brands of soymilk in Japan (in this case coffee flavoured). These additives are in many brands of soymilk, so it is best to contact the manufacturer to check whether they are plant or animal-derived.

If you want to be 100% certain the soymilk is vegan, you should look for ‘non-adjusted’ soymilk (無調整豆乳- mu chōsei tōnyū). This type only contains soybeans and can even be used to make tofu! If you find the consistency is a little too thick, just add some water. Please note that this type of soymilk is not calcium fortified. Below are some brands of non-adjusted soymilk we have found.

NON-ADJUSTED SOYMILK

Kikkoman Delicious Unadjusted Soymilk/キッコーマン おいしい無調整豆乳. Ingredients: Soybeans (Canada) (not genetically modified).

Zero cholesterol, contains soy isoflavones and lecithin. 2017 Monde Selection Gold Award winner. Photo from Kikkoman’s website.

kikkoman unadjusted soymilk

Marusan Organic Unadjusted Soymilk/Marusan 有機豆乳無調整. Ingredients: 100% organic soybeans (non-genetically modified). Photo from website.

Has a soybean solid content of 9%. Uses soybeans from China and America.

marusan

Marusan Soy Premium Unadjusted Soymilk/ソイプレミアム ひとつ上の豆乳 成分無調整. Ingredients: Soybean (domestic) (not genetically modified).

Soybean solid quantity of 11%. 2018 Monde Selection Gold Award winner.

soy premium (1)

Marusan currently sells more than twenty types of soymilk, including non-adjusted, organic, coffee, and fruit flavors, but some use non-vegan ingredients like honey. Check the ingredients on their website here (Japanese).

Otsuka Amazing Soy Premium Yukipirika/大塚 スゴイダイズ プレミアム ゆきぴりか. Ingredients: Soybean powder, not genetically modified.

Unadjusted soymilk with a refreshing taste. High isoflavone soybean “Yukipirika” is used to create a drink with 100 mg of isoflavones in 200 ml of product. Like non-premium unadjusted Amazing Soy, this product doesn’t have an aftertaste.

20190107_215820 - copy (5)

Otsuka Amazing Soy, Unadjusted/大塚 スゴイダイズ 無調整タイプ. Ingredients: 100% soybean powder from Hokkaido, not genetically modified.

Whole Hokkaido soybeans are selected for taste and used without removing the okara lees, only the soybean skin. 10% or more soybean solid content. A new manufacturing method removes the aftertaste so it can be used for drinking or cooking.

20190121_165108    20190121_165114

Sujhata Meiraku Drinkable Soybeans, Soymilk with Soy Pulp/スジャータ めいらく 豆腐+おから のむ大豆. Ingredients: Soybean flour (USA or Canada) (not genetically modified).

Dietary fiber, soy isoflavone, soy protein, lecithin are all included. The thin skin of the soybean has been removed.

The website states: Contains soybean (soymilk). If you are allergic, please refrain from ingestion. Even for those who do not develop allergic symptoms with other soybean foods, there are rare cases of allergy onset. When drinking for the first time we recommend that you try a small amount.

20181128_195945 - Copy    20181128_195957.jpg

Sujahta Meiraku Organic Soymilk, also for Tofu-making/スジャータ めいらく 豆腐もできます有機豆乳. Ingredients: 100% organic soybeans from Canada or America (non-genetically modified). Contains soybean-derived GABA.

Instructions for making this soymilk into tofu at home can be found here (Japanese).

The website states: Contains soybean (soymilk). If you are allergic, please refrain from ingestion. Even for those who do not develop allergic symptoms with other soybean foods, there are rare cases of allergy onset. When drinking for the first time we recommend that you try a small amount.

20181128_195945 - Copy (2).jpg    20181128_195953 - Copy

Below are some examples of ‘adjusted’ soymilk (調整豆乳 – chōsei tōnyū). As we said above, if you want to make sure the soymilk is vegan, you should contact the manufacturer to check whether any of the ingredients are derived from animals.

ADJUSTED SOYMILK

This is a coffee with soymilk in it. It’s been seen at some branches of Seijo Ishii supermarket and Natural Lawson convenience stores.

• Alameda Cold-Brew Coffee Company, Soy Milk Latte Cold Brew Coffee. Ingredients: Coffee, soymilk, sugar (Contains soybeans)

20190107_215843 - copy (2)

Kikkoman Coffee Flavoured Soymilk/キッコーマン 麦芽コーヒー. Ingredients: Soybeans (from Canada) (non-genetically modified), sugar, malt extract, rice oil, coffee extract, chicory extract, dextrin, sun-dried salt, caramel colour, flavouring, calcium lactate, emulsifier, thickener (carrageenan – from red seaweed).

The company has confirmed the sugar they use is bone-char processed.

20181126_102036

There are many interesting flavours of Kikkoman soymilk available in Japan. In the Q & A section of their website the company previously confirmed that their soymilk does not contain any milk products and that the emulsifier is plant-based. However, when asked, their customer service said the sugar that they use for their drinks is bone char processed. Confirmed non-vegan Kikkoman soymilk flavors are:
•  Black Sesame/黒ごま: has honey

kikkoman black sesame
•  Cocoa/ココア: has lanolin (source of Vitamin D)

kikkoman cocoa
•  Matcha/抹茶: has shellfish calcium

kikkoman matcha

The Fruits Mix/フルーツミックス, Extremely Concentrated Soymilk (特濃調製豆乳 1L/200ml), and Reduced Calorie Prepared Soymilk (カロリーオフ調製豆乳 1L/200ml) all contain Vitamin D. Since the Vitamin D in the cocoa-flavored soymilk is from lanolin, the Vitamin D in these other three flavors may be obtained from lanolin as well.

Kikkoman Fruits Mix/フルーツミックス

20190120_212201 - copy

Kikkoman Extremely Concentrated Soymilk /特濃調製豆乳

20190120_212218    20190120_212228

Kikkoman Reduced Calorie Prepared Soymilk (カロリーオフ調製豆乳). Photo from Kikkoman’s website.

kikkoman reduced calorie soymilk

Kikkoman Soy Presso Coffee Flavoured Soymilk・キッコーマンソイブレンドテイスト ソイプレッソ  Ingredients: Soybeans (from Canada) (non-genetically modified), sugar, coffee, rice oil, sun-dried salt, flavouring, calcium lactate, emulsifier, thickener (carrageenan – from red seaweed). (Product contains soy.)

Kikkoman has confirmed that the sugar they use in their soymilks is bone-char processed. Photo from Kikkoman’s website.

kikkoman soy presso

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.

20190123_194830 - Copy (2)    20190123_194820 - Copy

• 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 (high-fructose corn 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.

20190123_194830 - Copy    20190123_194820 - Copy (2).jpg

• Marusan Co-Trip Chestnut and Wasanbon Soymilk Beverage/Marusan ことりっぷ 豆乳飲料 栗と和三盆. Ingredients: Soybean (Canadian) (not genetically modified), saccharides [high-fructose corn syrup, fructose, sugar (wasanbon sugar, brown sugar, brown sugar), fructose], salt, mirin, chestnut powder/flavouring, stabilizer (gellan).

This collaboration product with travel book co-Trip uses chestnuts and traditional wasanbon sugar from Tokushima Prefecture.

kuri to wasanbon

• Marusan Malt Soymilk Beverage/麦芽豆乳飲料  Ingredients: Sugars (high-fructose corn syrup, starch syrup), soybeans (not genetically modified), vegetable oil, malt extract, coffee extract powder, salt/calcium lactate.

It has coffee extract powder added so it tastes like soy coffee.

20180906_175448    20180906_175452.jpg

• 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 oil, salt, Euglena gracilis, lactic acid bacteria (sterilized), calcium lactate, pH adjuster, flavouring, emulsifier, stabilizer (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.

20181221_120943  20181221_120950

• Pokka Sapporo Soyafarm Roasted Soybean Flour Soymilk Beverage/ソヤファーム おいしさスッキリ きな粉豆乳飲料. Ingredients: Soybean (American) (not genetically modified), sugar (brown sugar, brown sugar), soybean flour, salt, agar, calcium lactate, cellulose, flavouring, stabilizer (thickening polysaccharide), pH adjusting agent.

This zero-cholesterol beverage uses traditional ingredients kinako powder (roasted soybean flour) and kokuto.

kinako

Sujahta makes small, 330 ml containers of flavoured soymilks. The product page for all their soymilks and soy beverages is here.

Their flavoured soymilks can be found in supermarkets. Some flavours occasionally turn up in convenience stores or vending machines. Current flavors are amazake (contains less than 0.1% alcohol), kinako roasted soybean flour, green mix, banana and houjicha roasted green tea.

Sujahta Meiraku Houjicha Roasted Green Tea Soymilk Drink with Organic Soybeans/スジャータ めいらく有機大豆使用 ほうじ茶 豆乳飲料. Ingredients: Organic soybean (not genetically modified), sugar (high-fructose corn syrup, sugar), dietary fiber, organic houjicha powder, sea salt/caramel pigment, stabilizer (thickening polysaccharide), flavouring.

20181128_161236    20181127_164455 - Copy

Sujahta Meiraku Organic Adjusted Soymilk/スジャータ めいらく 有機大豆使用 おいしい調製豆乳.  Ingredients: Organic soybeans (Canada or USA) (not genetically modified), vegetable oil, sugar, salt, calcium carbonate, emulsifier, flavouring, calcium phosphate, stabilizer (thickening polysaccharide).

Uses 100% organic soybeans. Contains calcium equivalent to milk (220 mg per 200 ml). Contains soybean-derived GABA. Photo from website.

The website states: Contains soybean (soymilk). If you are allergic, please refrain from ingestion. Even for those who do not develop allergic symptoms with other soybean foods, there are rare cases of allergy onset. When drinking for the first time we recommend that you try a small amount.

sujhata adjusted soy milk

ALMOND MILK

There is also almond milk in Japan, however it is a bit harder to find than soymilk. As with the soymilk, it is unclear whether all the ingredients are plant-based.

Almond Breeze Almond Milk, Almond & Coconut/アーモンド・ブリーズ アーモンド&ココナッツ. Ingredients: Sugar, almond paste, edible coconut oil, salt/calcium lactate, cellulose, potassium citrate, emulsifier, stabilizer (thickening polysaccharide), vitamin E, pH adjuster, flavourings.

20190107_215820 - copy (3) - copy - copy

Almond Breeze Almond Milk, Chocolate Taste/アーモンド・ブリーズ チョコレートテイスト. Ingredients: Sugar, almond paste, cocoa powder, salt/calcium phosphate, potassium citrate, stabilizer (polysaccharide thickener), emulsifier, vitamin E, flavourings.

20190107_215820 - copy (3)

Almond Breeze Almond Milk, Original/アーモンド・ブリーズ オリジナル. Ingredients (original variety): Sugar, almond paste, vegetable oil, salt/calcium phosphate, potassium citrate, stabilizer (thickening polysaccharide), emulsifier, vitamin E, flavouring.

20190107_215823 - copy (5)

Glico Almond Effects – Coffee Flavour/Glicoアーモンド効果 香ばしコーヒ. Ingredients: Almond paste, sugar, dietary fiber (inulin), instant coffee, salt, processed almond oil, cellulose, calcium citrate, flavouring, pH adjuster, emulsifier, thickener (xanthan gum), vitamin E, sweetener (acesulfame K, sucralose). Contains none of the 27 allergens.

20181126_150252  20181126_150307 - Copy.jpg

Glico Almond Effects Fragrant Chocolate/グリコ アーモンド効果 薫るカカオ. Ingredients: Sugar, almond paste, dietary fiber (inulin), cocoa powder, salt, processed almond oil/ thickener (processed starch), cellulose, calcium citrate, emulsifier, flavouring, pH adjuster, hesperidin, vitamin E, sweetener (sucralose, acesulfame potassium).

20181126_102036 - copy

Glico Almond Effects – No Sugar/Glicoアーモンド効果砂糖不使用. Ingredients: Almond paste, dietary fiber (inulin), table salt, processed almond oil/cellulose, calcium citrate, pH adjuster, emulsifier, flavouring, thickener (xanthan gum), vitamin E, sweetener (sucralose). Free of all 27 allergenic ingredients.

20190120_212348  20190120_212348 - copy (2)

There is also a newer version of the same product that lacks the sucralose.

Glico Almond Effects – No Sugar/Glicoアーモンド効果砂糖不使用. Ingredients: Almond paste, dietary fiber (inulin), table salt, processed almond oil/pH adjuster, cellulose, calcium citrate, emulsifier, flavouring, thickener (xanthan gum), vitamin E.

Free of all 27 allergenic ingredients.

52605760_10156601490088515_2946332738828894208_n    52935802_10156601490028515_120734103375970304_n - Copy.jpg

• Glico Almond Effects Tasty Caffe Almond Latte/グリコ アーモンド効果TASTY. Ingredients: Sugar, almond paste, coffee extract, dietary fiber (inulin), high-fructose corn syrup, table salt, processed almond oil, thickener (modified 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.

20181221_120752 - copy  20181221_120800 - copy

• 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, high-fructose corn syrup, dietary fiber (inulin), table salt, processed almond oil, thickener (modified 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.

20181221_120752 - copy - copy    20181221_120800

The three Glico almond milks below are not vegan as they all contain honey:

Glico Almond Effects/Glico アーモンド効果. Ingredients: Almond paste, sugar, dietary fiber (inulin), dextrin, high-fructose corn syrup, honey, salt, vegetable oil, processed almond oil, cellulose, calcium citrate, pH adjuster, flavouring, emulsifier, thickener (xanthan gum), vitamin E, sweeteners (thaumatin, sucralose).

20190120_212346 - copy    20190120_212346 - copy (2)

Glico Almond Effects Original/Glico アーモンド効果 オリジナル. Ingredients: Almond paste, sugar, dietary fiber (inulin), dextrin, high-fructose corn syrup, honey, vegetable oil, salt, processed almond oil/pH adjuster, flavouring, cellulose, calcium citrate, emulsifier, thickener (xanthan gum), vitamin E.

20190225_215056    20190225_215104

• Glico Almond Effects Three-Nut/Glico アーモンド効果3の種ナツ.

20181126_102036 - Copy - Copy - Copy.jpg

Meiji Berry Almond Cashew Macadamia Nuts milk/Meiji3時のミルナッツ わたしのヘルシーなおやつ  ベリーMeiji Honey Almond Cashew Macadamia Nuts milk/Meiji3時のミルナッツ わたしのヘルシーなおやつハニー and Meiji Cacao Almond Cashew Macadamia Nuts milk/Meiji3時のミルナッツ わたしのヘルシーなおやつ  カカオ are NOT vegan. They all contain dairy as an ingredient (乳製品)and the honey version also contains real honey (はちみつ). (Cacao flavor not pictured.)

20190120_212322 - copy  20190120_212329

Topvalu Almond Milk (Aeon house brand) is confirmed NOT to be vegan . It’s been reported variously that customer service said it contains a pork-based emulsifier, and, by Vegana no Japão here (Portuguese), that customer service said it has pork not in the emulsifier, but in some other part of the ingredients. It’s sold in two varieties, sweetened and unsweetened. The sweetened variety also contains honey (はちみつ). Some information courtesy of Vegana no Japão.

• Topvalu Almond Milk Unsweetened/トップバリュ 砂糖不使用 アーモンドミルク Almond Milk is not vegan as it contains pork-based emulsifier or other pork-based ingredients. Photo from Aeon’s website.

topvalu almond milk unsweetened

• Topvalu Almond Milk/トップバリュ アーモンドミルク is not vegan as it contains honey and pork-based ingredients. Photo from Aeon’s website.

topvalu almond milk sweetened

OAT MILK/OAT BEVERAGES

Oat milk is not common in Japan and probably can’t be found outside of specialty stores or health food shops. One exception is a vegan oat smoothie at Ikea.

Ikea is selling vegan oat smoothies in-store for 259 jpy until March 26th, 2019 or until supplies last. Per VegNews, the smoothies “come with a message urging customers to choose oats over dairy.”

• Ikea Munsbit Apple, Pear and Ginger Oat Smoothie 

• Ikea Munsbit Blackcurrant, Blueberry and Acerola Oat Smoothie

COCONUT MILK

Elby Coconut Habits/エルビー ココナッツ習慣. Ingredients: Coconut milk, sugar, dietary fiber, soy protein, coconut oil, yeast extract powder/emulsifier, flavouring, sweetener (stevia), ferric pyrophosphate. (Includes soybeans.) 乳成分不使用/milk components not used is written on the package.

When asked if their flavouring and emulsifier were animal or vegetable derived and if their sugar was bone-char processed, they responded that they don’t use any animal products in the raw materials of this product.

20190107_215823 - copy (4)

MARGARINE AND BUTTER

Vegan margarine is not the easiest thing to find in Japan, but there are a few options. We’ve listed them below. As always, dairy products and gelatine are the problem. Here is an example of regular margarine containing gelatine (the third ingredient):

IMG_0056IMG_0057 highlighted

The Kyoto 100% vegan and gluten-free cheese restaurant CHOICE has handmade, small batch fermented vegan butter spread for sale online and in their restaurant. The required frozen shipping is not cheap, but the quality of their products is exceptional. They sometimes sell their products at vegan food festivals. Photo courtesy of CHOICE.

CHOICE’s Fromage Fermented Vegan Butter Spread/発酵ヴィーガンバター スプレッド. Ingredients: Cashew nuts, coconut milk, coconut oil, soymilk (not genetically modified), rapeseed oil (not genetically modified), sunflower lecithin, agave syrup, natural salt, nutritional yeast, lactic acid bacteria (derived from soybeans). (Product contains soybeans.)

choice fermented vegan butter spread

Marin Foods My Tasty Vegan Soft. Ingredients: Digestion resistant dextrin, vegetable oil, refined processed oil, salt, emulsifier, spices, coloring (carotin).

From their website: “It is a healthy vegan spread that does not use animal origin ingredients nor use 27 allergenic ingredients. (The same line manufactures products that include milk and soy, but we practice a thorough cleaning before making this vegan soft.) It has reduced cholesterol, and 60% less calories compared to soft-type margarine products based on the standard tables of food composition in Japan. Dietary fibers that are difficult to take with the ordinary diet are included in this vegan soft.” This product can frequently be found at AEON supermarkets. Photo from Marin Foods’ website.

marin foods my tasty vegan soft

Meiji makes a margarine that appears possibly to be vegan, although the package does not specify what type of refined processed fats and oils are used.

Meiji Cake Margarine/明治ケーキマーガリン. Ingredients: Edible vegetable oils and fats, edible refined processed fats and oils / emulsifiers (derived from soybeans), flavouring, colorants (β-carotene).

20181219_183341 - copy

Below is an example of a vegan margarine found in a specialty store (note, however, it contains palm oil).

Soken Fermented Soymilk Margarine/発酵豆乳入りマーガリン. Ingredients: Edible vegetable oil (safflower oil), refined edible oil (palm oil), fermented soymilk (fermented with plant lactic acid bacteria), salt, lecithin (from non-genetically modified soybeans), carotenoid dye (from carrot).

IMG_2174

VEGAN CHEESE

The Kyoto 100% vegan and gluten-free cheese restaurant CHOICE has handmade, small batch vegan cheeses for sale online and in their restaurant, with the exception of seasonal flavors like cherry blossom. Seasonal flavors can be obtained by signing up for their email magazine. The required frozen shipping is not cheap, but the quality of their products is exceptional. Staff learned cheesemaking from Miyoko Schinner of Miyoko’s Kitchen, the American vegan cheese company. They sometimes sell their products at vegan food festivals. We recommend the koto. Photos courtesy of CHOICE.

CHOICE’s Fromage, Smoky/CHOICE’s Fromage スモーキー. Ingredients (raw materials): Cashew nuts, nutritional yeast, rapeseed oil, white miso, agar agar, natural salt, sunflower lecithin, tapioca powder, xanthan gum, smoke solution, lactic acid bacteria (derived from grain), turmeric. (Name of additive used and its purpose): Agar agar(coagulant), tapioca flour (coagulant), nutritional yeast (seasoning), sunflower lecithin (emulsifier), xanthan gum (thickener), turmeric (coloring matter).

Recommended to pair with whiskey, wine, Japanese sake or shochu, as well as with grilled vegetables, or for use as a salad toppings. Also recommended on top of rice with a few drops of soy sauce.

choice's fromage, smoky    Choice's Fromage, Smoky 2.jpg    choice's fromage, smoky 3

CHOICE’s Fromage, Italiana/CHOICE’s Fromage, イタリアーナ. Ingredients (raw materials): Cashew nuts, dried tomato, nutritional yeast, basil, natural salt, garlic powder, lactic acid bacteria (derived from grain). (Name of additive used and its purpose): Nutritional yeast (seasoning).

Recommended as a spread, for use with pasta, mixed with dressing or sauce, used in lasagna or gratin or in a sandwich.

choice's fromage, italiana    choice's italiana 2    choice's italiana 3

CHOICE’s Fromage, Koto/CHOICE’s Fromage, 古都. Ingredients (raw materials): Cashew nuts, coconut oil, nutritional yeast, Japanese peppercorns, natural salt, powdered Japanese pepper, lactic acid bacteria (derived from grain). (Name of additive used and its purpose): Nutritional yeast (seasoning).

Recommended not only to put on bread and crackers, but also to eat with fresh vegetables. Goes very well with sake or sparkling wine.

choice koto cheese  choice koto 2.jpg    choice koto 3.jpg

CHOICE’s Fromage, Rum Raisin/CHOICE’s Fromage, ラムレーズン. Ingredients: Cashew nuts, raisins, soymilk, agave syrup, rum, natural salt, lactic acid bacteria (derived from soybeans).

Made with organic raisins soaked in rum. Recommended to eat with bagels, scones, pancakes, or between cookies or crackers, with coffee, tea or wine. Can also be used in homemade sweets.

choice's fromage, rum raisin    choice rum raisin 2    choice rum raisin 3

While not exactly cheese, this smoked tofu would go well with crackers etc. It was in a small shop in Kanazawa and may be available elsewhere in Japan.

• Field of Cheese – Smoked Tofu (Salt Flavoured)/くんせいとうふ 畑のチーズ. Ingredients: Domestic soybeans, natural bittern (nigari), deep water sea salt. Note the other flavours may not be vegan. The “ishiri” flavour is made with squid per their website.

Field Cheese   Field cheese - backField cheese

• Marin Foods My Melting Vegan Shred– 99% reduced cholesterol. Ingredients: vegetable oil, processed almond, salt, fermented seasoning liquid, yeast extract powder, modified starch, pH conditioner, cellulose, seasoning (organic acid etc.), spices, coloring (carotin).

This plant-based shred “cheese” has 99% less cholesterol than gouda. It doesn’t use animal ingredients or any of the 27 “allergenic ingredients.” Intended for melting- the website suggests using it on pizza toast or gratin. Allergens listed as none: dairy is used in the same factory, but they practice thorough cleaning before making this product.  Photo from Marin Foods’ website.

marin foods my melting vegan shred

A company called Sagamiya is currently selling various soy cheeses in regular supermarkets across Japan. They can also be bought in their online shop. Note that their Nomu Tofu drink is not vegan as it contains honey. Although they sell a product called Beyond Tofu, the company has no relation to the American company Beyond Meat. Beyond Tofu products can frequently be found at AEON supermarkets.

Sagamiya Natural Mozzarella-like Burrata Tofu/相模屋 モッツァレラのようなナチュラルとうふ ブラータ仕立て  is supposed to be a tofu that’s like a burrata or mozzarella-style cheese, but the texture is not close to cheese at all. Still, it only retails for about 200 yen, so perhaps it’s worth a try. Ingredients: Tofu cream, maltose, table salt, agar agar, modified starch, coagulant (crude seawater magnesium chloride (natural bittern(nigari))), polysaccharide thickener.

20181025_195914 - copy    20181025_195925 - copy

• Sagamiya Natural Mascarpone-like Tofu/相模屋 マスカルポーネのようなナチュラルとうふ is not extremely close in taste to actual cheese but it has a nice texture and pleasant flavor with no soybeany taste. Seems to retail for about 200 yen as well. Marked “vegan,” “100% dairy-free,” “gluten-free,” and “lactose-free” in English on the package.

20181122_204851

Sagamiya Beyond Tofu is a plant-based “cheese” in block form/ブロックタイプ, cube form/キューブタイプ, and as a “pizza” called Beyond Pizza that consists of shreds on a piece of agedofu (fried tofu) that you heat up at home.

Sagamiya Beyond Tofu block/Beyond Tofuブロックタイプ. Ingredients: Fermented soymilk food product (soymilk (contains soybeans), starch, yeast extract), vegetable oil, starch, starch syrup powder, table salt/thickener (modified starch), coagulant (magnesium chloride (natural bittern(nigari))), pH adjuster, carotenoid pigment. Product contains soybeans.

20181122_204855

Sagamiya Beyond Tofu Cubes/Beyond TofuキューブタイプIngredients: Fermented soymilk food product (soymilk (contains soybeans), starch, yeast extract), vegetable oil, starch, starch syrup powder, table salt, thickener (modified starch), coagulant (magnesium chloride (natural bittern(nigari))), pH adjuster, carotenoid pigment. Product contains soybeans.

20181117_180157

Sagamiya Beyond Pizza. Ingredients: Fried tofu (soybeans (not genetically modified)), fermented soymilk food product (soymilk, starch, yeast extract), vegetable oil, starch, starch syrup powder, table salt, thickener (modified starch), coagulant, pH adjuster, carotenoid pigment.

20181209_174106

Sheese, the vegan cheese, is available for purchase in Japan online from Green’s Vegetarian and can also be found at vegan food festivals. Photo taken at National Azabu grocery store in Hiroo, Tokyo.

20190208_140548

Terra Foods Just Like Cheese(Maru de Cheese)/Terra Foods まるでチーズ. Ingredients: soymilk (from non-GMO soybeans), vegetable oil, starch, dextrin, salt, yeast extract, pH adjuster.

This tasty product is similar in taste and appearance to a white hard cheese. Can be melted or eaten as-is and used in salads, pastas, on nachos, and so on. It can be found in smaller health food shops or ordered online at the above link. Photo on left from Terra Foods’ website. Photo on right courtesy of Vege Project Japan.

Certified vegan by Vege Project Japan.

maru de cheese    51299051_307672389883673_4442423637919662080_n

Japan also has a unique creation called tofu misozuke. It originated in Fukuoka Prefecture and is basically tofu that has been aged and cured in miso for at least 2 months, and up to 2 years. It can be made with a few variations to produce different ‘cheeses’. It can be hard to find in Japan, but you can make it yourself if you find a recipe online.

It’s also possible to  place bulk orders from overseas websites to get many popular brands delivered to Japan, including Miyoko’s Creamery, Field Roast, Follow Your Heart, and others. Tokyo Vegan/Vegetarian Friends Club Facebook group has a guide to ordering here on their blog (English).

SOY YOGHURT

Soy yoghurt is available in Japan, but look out for gelatine.

Marusan Soymilk Yoghurt/Marusan 豆乳グルト. Ingredients: soymilk (Canadian soybeans, non genetically-modified).

The company did provide some of this yoghurt on request for animal testing, but it seems the product was not developed using animal testing.

20190120_212420.jpg    20190120_212428

Pokka Sapporo Soyafarm Soymilk Yoghurt/Pokka Sapporo 豆乳で作ったヨーグルト in plain, aloe and blueberry flavors is not vegan as it contains gelatine (ゼラチン). Aloe and blueberry photos from Pokka Sapporo’s website.

    Picture1   Pokka Sapporo Blueberry 

COCONUT YOGHURT

Coconut yoghurt seems to be making small steps into the Japanese market, although distribution remains limited. Currently available varieties are:

Fruta Fruta Coconuts Guruto/Fruta Fruta ココナッツグルト. Ingredients: Coconut milk, agar agar, psyllium seed coat powder. Available exclusively at Aeon and Aeon Style stores in Honshu and Shikoku. Photo from Fruta Fruta’s website.

fruta fruta coconuts guruto

Happy Coco Coconut Yoghi (Natural/Vanilla/Mango/)/ハッピーココグルト ~プレーン~ ~バニラ~ ~マンゴ~
Available at Bio C’Bon grocery stores. Marked gluten-free and vegan in English on the packages.

Natural/プレーン. Ingredients: Coconut milk, tapioca starch, vegan yogurt cultures.

Vanilla/バニラ. Ingredients: Coconut milk, tapioca starch, agave syrup, lemon juice, vanilla beans, flavouring, vegan yogurt cultures.

Mango/マンゴ. Ingredients: Coconut milk, tapioca starch, mango, agave syrup, lemon juice, flavouring, vegan yogurt cultures.

20181215_180111

If you want to try to make your own yoghurt, unfortunately, vegan yoghurt starters don’t appear to be available from regular grocery stores, but you can definitely get them on iHerb. This one was found at a Bio C’ Bon grocery store and it’s also available on the Ohta website.

Ohta Soymilk Starter Soy Yoguru/太田 豆乳専用種菌 ソイヨーグル

This starter for soymilk yoghurt uses plant material to grow yoghurt starter bacteria and lactic acid bacteria. Milk is not used.

20190114_195711

SOY CREAM

Below is some soy whip cream that is available in Japan.

Sujahta Non-Dairy Soy Whipped Cream/スジャータ 乳製品を使っていない豆乳入りホイップ. Ingredients: Vegetable oil, organic soymilk, sweeteners (oligosaccharides, maltose, sugar), emulsifier (derived from soy), stabilizers (modified starch, carrageenan), metaphosphoric acid Na, flavouring. Note the maltose is from corn/potato/sweet potato and the modified starch is from cassava. It is not known whether the flavouring is vegan.

Whip cream

Advertisements

11 thoughts on “Dairy Alternatives

  1. Alyssa

    I’ve been told by a Japanese vegan that nyukazai is ok for vegan. I can’t remember how to explain it but it’s similar to “lactic acid” wich is bacteria and not dairy related. Any more information? I’m quite scared now.

    Reply
    1. isitveganjapan Post author

      Don’t be scared! There is a lot of great vegan food in Japan 🙂 About nyukazai, the English translation is ’emulsifier’, which as you may know is just something that helps two liquids mix (e.g. oil and water). Emulsifiers can be from an animal (e.g. egg) or a plant (e.g. soy lecithin). There is quite a good explanation of emulsifiers here: http://www.foodadditivesworld.com/emulsifiers.html It seems that unfortunately we won’t know whether the emulsifier used is vegan unless we contact the manufacturer.

      Reply
  2. buzzinjapan

    I had no idea there was cream and yogurt available! I’ve only had the Kibun Tōnyū by Kikkoman, of which the banana flavour is my favourite. Here is a link to the full range of flavours, which even includes things like pudding and chestnut!

    http://www.k-tounyu.jp/03_lineup/

    Reply
  3. Alice

    I believe that almond breeze is vegan in Japan, their FAQ states the following:
    Q: アーモンド・ブリーズは植物性ですか。
    A: はい。動物性や動物由来の原材料は使用していません。

    Reply
  4. NewHere

    Where can I buy the Marusan Soy Milk Yogurt? I looked for it in many different supermarkets and I couldn’t find it! Thanks for your help 🙂

    Reply
    1. isitveganjapan Post author

      I’m sorry, we don’t know about the probiotic (if any) in the soy yoghurt. The manufacturer may be able to give you more info. Please let us know if you find out more!

      Reply
    1. isitveganjapan Post author

      Hello, thanks for your comment. Glico Almond Effects does have a sugar free option. Avoid the Top Valu sugar free option as it’s been confirmed to have a pork-based emulsifier. We’ve written about them above.

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s