A variety of vegan festivals are held in Japan. They tend to be very popular and can often sell out early, especially of items that aren’t sweets. If you visit during the final hours, you may not be able to purchase any food, so plan to arrive early!
Due to cold winter weather and hot summer weather, outdoor festivals tend to not be held in certain months. They usually take place in spring and fall. In general, all of the large vegan festivals in Japan are outdoor, with the exception of the Plant-Based Expo. The Vegan Forest event (check its Facebook page for info) was also held in summer in the cooler forests of Yamanashi. Both events were held in July 2019.
In addition, you may be able to find smaller, local festivals or events with just a few vendors throughout the year. A good way to find them is to follow your favorite vegan shops and restaurants on social media.
While we were able to list more than 20 vegan festivals in Japan for 2019, due to the influence of COVID-19, very few such events were held in 2020 and it is unclear which events will be held in 2021. We will publish information about the events (name, location, date, time and so on) as it becomes available.
2021 VEGAN FESTIVALS
Vegan World Expo
When: Sunday, May 2nd 2021 from 10:00-16:00
Where: 東京都立産業貿易センター 台東館 7階（〒111-0033 東京都台東区花川戸2-6-5）(the Tokyo Metropolitan Industrial Trade Center Taito Building 7th floor (2-6-5 Hanakawado, Taito-ku, Tokyo 111-0033)
What: Formerly known as the Plant-Based Expo and organized by the Vegan Gourmet Festival. From autotranslate from their website:
“Japan’s largest exhibition specializing in plant products
The “Vegan World Exhibition” is the only “exhibition specializing in plant products” in Japan, and is an exhibition and sales event for B to B to C that disseminates and provides the latest plant products, information, and commercial transactions.
At the venue, there will be an exhibition booth that is completely plant-based, such as products, cosmetics, and clothing, from plant-based alternative food technology. At the special booth, we will also offer gourmet food that you can actually eat on the spot, and develop “Vegan World” where you can experience a plant-based lifestyle.”
However, elsewhere on the website in the Q&A section it states that eating and drinking at the venue will be prohibited due to the COVID-19 situation. Check their Instagram (Japanese) as well for information as the expo draws closer.
ANIMAL PROTECTION GROUPS
Below are some of the animal protection groups in Japan (note not all are vegan).
All Life in A Viable Environment
Animal Advocacy Japan Facebook (bilingual) From their Facebook: “Bilingual Japan Animal Rights and Welfare info& News” It is not an animal rescue/activist group.
あにまるガード (Animal Guard) Facebook (some English translations provided) A no-kill shelter and group in Niigata caring for and rehoming animals and educating about animal welfare.
Animal Rights Center – Facebook (some English translations provided) Instagram (some English translations provided) From autotranslate from their Facebook: We will do our best to eliminate the suffering and suffering of animals caused by factory livestock and animal exploitation, violence and discrimination against the vulnerable, and environmental problems.
アニマルライツ中部 (Animal Rights Chubu) Facebook Twitter
Animal Refuge Kansai (ARK) (English) A non-profit, non-governmental organization with about 30 staff members which works to rescue, care for and rehome dogs and cats. As of the time of writing in December 2020, since they began keeping records in 1991 they have rehomed 3274 dogs and 1390 cats. From their website: “ARK aims to form a network of people who love animals, believe in sharing their lives with them, and who work actively to rescue them from suffering.”
Animal Rights Kansai Japan – Facebook An English statement is provided on their Facebook: “We are a group of activists who fight for animal rights in the Kansai area of Japan.”
アニマルライツ神戸 (Animal Rights Kobe) Facebook
アニマルライツ大阪 (Animal Rights Osaka) Facebook
Dolphin Project/ドルフィン・プロジェクト Facebook Instagram Twitter From autotranslate from their Facebook: Founded in 1970, we are an international organization that sees dolphins around the world in the wild, free and protected. Let’s protect the dolphins together!
Fukushima Slaughter Zero Action/福島殺処分zeroアクション Facebook Seeking to eliminate slaughter (putting down) of shelter animals. From autotranslate from their Facebook: I want to get rid of slaughter. If we share that feeling and many people take action, we can eliminate the slaughter. Mainly protects dogs and cats with old illness and injury problems.
HEART Tokushima (English) From their website: “Humane Education, Advocacy and Rescue Tokushima – Animal Shelter
HEART is a registered NPO no kill animal shelter run solely on a volunteer basis and funded entirely through donations. We are based in Tokushima, Japan and our aim is to build a community in which companion animals can live free from suffering or cruelty. Our activities include rescue, care and re-homing of stray, abandoned, abused and neglected animals. We also promote spay/neuter and responsible pet ownership through education and supportive means.”
KDP – Kanagawa Dog Protection Facebook From autotranslate from their Facebook: Kanagawa Dog Protection is working to protect dogs that have been abandoned by people and are waiting to be slaughtered, and to find foster parents.
Kawakuji Animal Rescue Facebook (English) Instagram (English) An Ibaraki-based group focusing predominantly on neonatal kittens and TNR.
Japan Animal Welfare Society (English) From their website: “Established as a Legal Entity in 1956, JAWS has a more than 60 year history of serving as a central member of the animal welfare community in Japan and of working with numerous domestic and foreign organizations.”
Japan Anti-Vivisection Association (JAVA) (English) From their website: “Established in 1986, the Japan Anti-Vivisection Association (JAVA) is a nation-wide citizen group dedicated to protecting animals and our mission to stop all animal testing.”
Japan Cat Network (English) From their website: “We are an animal welfare group with a 20+ year history in Japan of “Helping people help pets”.. A volunteer run organization and donation funded…Our greatest joy comes from helping individuals learn the importance of spay/neuter, TNR and/or finding fur-ever homes for the stray/abandoned animals in their own community..”
The Japanese Society for Alternatives to Animal Experiments (English)
彼らを救おう、日本でも殺処分ゼロを！by Save Their Life (Let’s Save Them and Reach No Euthanasia in Japan! by Save Their Life) Facebook Sharing information about shelter animals facing euthanasia in an effort to find them owners and reach no euthanasia for shelter animals in Japan.
Life Investigation Agency (LIA) (English) A small NGO. From the About section of their website: “Life Investigation Agency (LIA) was established in 2010. We are an independent campaigning organization to investigate, expose, inspire and campaign against the illegal trade in wildlife, illegal logging and trade of timber species, the destruction of our natural environment and the abuse for animals.”
Nippon Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) (English) From their website: “We are communicating with animal protection groups and organizations around the world, aiming at the prevention of abuse to animals, promoting rescue activities and enlightenment activities.”
NPO法人 動物解放団体リブ (NPO Animal Liberator) Facebook From autotranslate from their Facebook: The mission is to release animals.
It is an organization that respects and liberates the freedom and dignity of animals (including humankind) and aims to create a peaceful society. From their website, they provide some English sentences about the goals they’d like to see achieved, such as: Stop using “Bullhook” and “Drill” on elephants as soon as possible.
NPO CATNIP Companion Animal Trust Nippon(English) A small animal rehoming, rescue and TNR NPO based in Fukuoka, northern Kyushu, Japan.
NPO Inuneko Minashigo Kyuentai/NPO法人 犬猫みなしご救援隊 Facebook The name means NPO Dog & Cat Minashigo Relief Team. They deal with providing lifetime care for abandoned, abused, sick and neglected animals, re-homing, spreading animal welfare awareness, educating the younger generation, providing assistance for elderly pet owners, and creating a caring and thoughtful community where people and animals can live in harmony through education on how to feed stray cats and clean up after them in public places.
Pawer (English) Facebook provides information on their website in English, Japanese, and Spanish. From their Facebook “about” section: “There are about 83,000 dogs and cats legally killed as “culling” at government-run animal shelters in Japan. Pawer was created to provide different kinds of information about dogs and cats and to better understand the reality of animal culling in Japan.”
PEACE (Put An End to Animal Cruelty and Exploitation) (English) From their website’s About Us page: “PEACE stands for “Put an End to Animal Cruelty and Exploitation”.
PEACE campaign to raise awareness of the terrible animal suffering and exploitation taking place behind the scenes in out modern, convenient and comfortable world.
PEACE are active mainly in the areas of animal testing, zoos and the sale of exotic pets.
PEACE campaign for change in a number of ways including: carrying out surveys, collecting data, petitions and lobbying for change.
PEACE send out a newsletter and hold meetings once a month in Tokyo .”
Wild Welfare (English) This group is not Japan-based but is active in Japan. From their website: “We improve animal welfare for all species held in zoos, aquariums and sanctuaries. We work with facilities, not against them, to help support long term change in animal care. We challenge captive wild animal practices that compromise animal welfare.
For Animals Japan/4AJ Facebook (bilingual) Instagram (bilingual) A street activism group. From autotranslate from their Facebook: It is an activity to let passers-by know the cruelty of livestock by watching videos on the street, and to know the advantages of vegan and the disadvantages of animal food through communication.
Japan Vegetarian Society (vegan and vegetarian)
Vegan Consumer Japan/ヴィーガン・コンシューマー・ジャパン (English) Instagram (bilingual) Facebook page (bilingual) Facebook group (bilingual) Works towards more and better vegan options and labeling in Japan to make vegans’ lives easier and safer.
VegeProject Japan (English) Facebook (bilingual) produces the extremely useful paper Tokyo Vege Map and has a vegan mark on various food and drink products in Japan, as well as a vegan mark for restaurant use. VegeProject Japan also holds various events in Tokyo.
From its website: “VegeProject’s concept was born in 2013 through Haruko Kawano’s desire to introduce vegan menus to the cafeterias of her university (Kyoto University). Since then, vegan options have been introduced not only at Kyoto University but also at other universities such as Tokyo University.
Now as a nonprofit organization, we are creating vegan choices in all avenues of society in Japan. We have succeeded in introducing vegan menus at a number of different places such as universities, restaurants and government cafeterias, and have also developed vegan products in cooperation with various companies.
In addition, VegeProject provides vegan certifications, produces VegeMap and vegetime.net, and organizes vegan events.”
There are also vegan meetup groups around Japan (all links bilingual) like the Tokyo Vegan Meetup group, the Yokohama Vegan Meetup group, and the Kansai Vegan Meetup group. Try to find or make one in your local area!
Tokyo Vegan, (bilingual) the companion website to the popular Tokyo Vegan Meetup group, has information on what veganism is and why to become vegan, available bilingually. It may be a good resource to share with Japanese friends. They also have links to restaurant guides, recipes and cooking classes, and so on.