Of course, just because you are vegan does not mean you have to shop at a specialty store or order food online. In fact it is quite easy to live as a vegan in Japan just by shopping at regular Japanese supermarkets, particularly if you are interested in a whole-food plant based diet. All Japanese supermarkets stock things like soymilk, tofu, rice, fruit and vegetables, nuts and pasta. Below are some of the supermarkets that we have found to be particularly good.
Aeon – Large supermarket chain that often carries Beyond Tofu products. Aeon has the highest operating revenue in Japan’s retail industry, 8.39 trillion yen for various businesses. It has 2,185 supermarkets (some run under different names) and employs more than half a million people in all of its businesses.
Aoki – Sells organic and foreign foods.
Bio C’ Bon – Organic supermarket chain from France with outposts only in Kawasaki, Yokohama, and Tokyo. Sells many products marked vegan in English including personal care products and also bulk nuts, etc. They carry products like vegan ice cream, soy and rice mayonnaise, vegan burritos, vegan cookies, vegan yoghurt, nutritional yeast, vegan bread, various types of plant milk, soy and rice cream, vegan curry, vegan burgers, lots of vegan sweets, vegan dish soap, hand cream, toothpaste and a dry fruit and seeds sold in bulk.
Gyomu Supa – This is a great chain of wholesale supermarkets which sell a lot of imported food. Some of the highlights are cans of chickpeas and kidney beans for about ¥100, coconut & almond milk, vegan soymeat pasta sauce, Taiwanese pancakes, and squeezable tubes of sweetened coconut cream.
Hankyu Oasis – Sells high calcium, organic soymilk and wheat germ.
Ito Yokado – Sells brown rice and perilla (egoma) oil.
Jupiter – Sells foreign food.
Kaldi – Sells foreign food.
Kodawariya and Kodawari Ichiba – A chain of stores in Tokyo and Kanagawa, Chiba and Saitama that carry some organic fruits and vegetables, unsweetened peanut butter, tempeh, rice milk, and other vegan-friendly products. The shop list is here (Japanese). They also have an Instagram account here.
National Azabu – A supermarket in Hiroo, Tokyo, with vegetarian labels on price tags and likely the city’s largest selection of non-dairy milks. Carries products that are hard to find elsewhere like Amy’s frozen meals and non-dairy ice cream. They have machines for you to make peanut butter in-store and you can bring your own reusable container for it or buy one there.
Natural House – Sells organic and vegan foods such as seitan.
Maruetsu – Part of the Aeon network of supermarkets; often carries Beyond Tofu products.
Seijo Ishii – Sells foreign food.
Super Tamade – Sells cheap produce.
Guide to Supermarkets and Convenience Stores
A free English guide from itravelforveganfood.com is available for download here, with tips on reading ingredients and labels, how to buy from supermarket and convenience stores, and also a guide to vegan-friendly shops in Tokyo such as Ohsawa Japan, Bonraspail, Bio C’ Bon and Natural Mart. Includes many photos and descriptions of what to look for.