NEWSTART Cooking Classes Enter 11th Year

I participated in the NEWSTART cooking class in Harajuku on May 19th. This long-running cooking class has been held for 11 years.

The classes are held 8 times a year and the menu is different every time. The recipes are chosen for their healthfulness and use only a limited amount of sugar and oils. All the recipes are vegan.

This time, we learned how to make a menu of pasta primavera, gazpacho, “tuna” salad, and banana pudding.

Everyone’s tastes are different, but my personal favorites were the gazpacho and the banana pudding. I’d never considered making a pudding without a thickener like agar, but this simple pudding relied on just the banana and tofu to thicken it, along with salt, cashew nuts and some maple syrup on top. I think it would also be good with some strawberries blended in as well.

The gazpacho was refreshing and would be perfect for the upcoming hot weather.

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There were also various vegan foods and ingredients available for purchase after the class, including ground cashew nuts, cashew nut “cheese,” vegan ramen, muffins, and much more. This was a good chance to pick up some ingredients and foods that I don’t usually see in the store.


There is an optional nutrition lecture (held in Japanese, except once a year when there’s a guest lecturer from the U.S., in which case it’s translated into Japanese) that begins 30 minutes before the class, or it’s fine to join just for the class itself.

The recipes are in Japanese but help can be provided translating them into English.

The next class will be held on June 23rd, 2019 in Harajuku, and the theme will be Asian-style food, including a tofu and bean salad, young bamboo shoots with wakame seaweed, raw spring rolls, and fruit and nut balls, and soft brown rice. The class is from 10:30 to 2:00, including the lecture before we start cooking.  Participation fee is ¥3000, but first-time participants get a discount of¥500.

To join, please comment on one of the NEWSTART cooking class posts on Facebook, such as in the group Vegan Japan  ヴィーガン日本, or call 0495-74-0232 between 9 and 5 Mon-Thur, and between 9 and 12 on Friday. If you need to speak with an English-speaker, just make that known and you will be transferred.  

*I was provided one free cooking class in exchange for writing this review. I purchased ingredients to take home with my own money.

Vego Chocolate Hazelnut Bars available in Japan

For a limited time only, certified vegan Vego chocolate bars from Europe are available for purchase in Japan.

From the seller: “The Vego bar is different from most other chocolates available in Japan, because they are vegan, gluten free, organic, and fairly traded. They are made using whole hazelnuts, the finest chocolate and hazelnut paste. The result; a dreamy creamy hazelnut chocolate experience!

For the first time ever, they are available to purchase within Japan for a limited time only. That means once they are gone, they’re gone!
You can purchase from here (, or via PayPal; (please contact via email first).”

We tried the bars and found them to have the smoothness of milk chocolate, without any of the unpleasant chalkiness lower-quality chocolate can sometimes have. The whole hazelnuts inside were crunchy. The bars also melted perfectly so were good for cooking with.

Product details:

65g or 150g sizes.

• VegoIngredients: Cane sugar, whole hazelnuts (20%), cocoa mass, hazelnut paste, cocoa butter, emulsifier: (soy lecithin for the 65g bar, sunflower lecithin for the 150g bar), vanilla extract.

Contains: Tree nuts (hazelnuts)

May contain: Traces of other nuts and milk.

Vegan, organic, fair-trade, and gluten-free. Made of fine chocolate with hazelnut paste added in, resulting in a smooth and creamy chocolate, and generously packed with whole hazelnuts.

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Petition to get vegan options in all restaurants at Universal Studios Japan and Tokyo Disney Resort

Think Japan doesn’t have enough vegan options? Sign this petition to push for one vegan option to be offered in each restaurant in Universal Studios and Tokyo Disney Resort! Share on your Facebook wall or share with your overseas vegan and vegetarian friends to help create change in Japan and help the animals! (English) (Japanese)

theme park vegan petition

Vege and Fork Market, Vol 17, Nov 3 & 4 2018

The 17th edition of the Vege & Fork Market was held on Saturday and Sunday 3rd & 4th November 2018 from 10 a.m to 4 p.m. at Asao Water Treatment Center in Kawasaki (about a ten-minute walk along a pretty river from Kakio train station). It was a bit cool and cloudy on Saturday, with poor weather on Sunday, but still, people were able to enjoy delicious vegan food. On offer were vegan burgers, koshari, Indian food, sushi, ice cream, cakes, muffins, doughnuts, bread, and cookies. The most popular booths began to sell out of items before noon on the first day of the festival.

There were also non-food booths offering home decorations like candles and dried flowers, as well as booth selling fresh flowers, massages at reasonable prices and many more things.

The next festival will be held in May 2019.

Below are some pictures from the festival.

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2015 Kyoto Vegan Gourmet Festival – Save the date!

The Kyoto Vegan Gourmet Festival will be held from 10am-3pm on Sunday 22 November 2015 at Umekoji Park in Kyoto. Like other vegan festivals in Japan, it will feature vegan food stalls and animal rights talks. November is usually also a good time to see autumn leaves in Kyoto, so accommodation may sell out quickly. Save the date now so you don’t miss out!

Kyoto Vegan Festival - 2015