If you're a vegetarian and have been to Japan, you'll probably know that finding vegetarian, let alone vegan, food is quite a challenge. If you haven't been to Japan, now you know... Most dishes contain meat or fish, and even if they seem vegetarian, they often hide some fish stock, bonito flakes or other type of broth that was used to cook something in. However, it is not impossible to eat vegan or vegetarian when in Japan (I did it for 7 months), but you'll have to be up for a challenge.
For this blog edition I'll write about my experience with vegetarian food options in Kyoto, however, these places will often also contain vegan options. I will list some of my favorite food options and places in Kyoto below.
Mumokuteki was definitely my number 1 vegetarian restaurant in Kyoto. They serve healthy traditional Japanese dishes and it all looks amazing. Furthermore, the atmosphere is great in the restaurant too. Keep in mind that not all options might be vegetarian (or vegan), but despite of that, you won't have a problem finding something that suits your taste here. Also, don't hesitate to ask about they ingredients, they will help you out! For desert I can highly recommend the dandelion 'coffee', it's made from dandelion roots and tastes amazing.
Price: 700-1400 yen for a main dish
2. Ain Soph
This used to be restaurant Matsuontoko, but they recently changed the name to Ain Soph. While they were previously a hamburger place, nowadays they serve all kinds of healthy dishes and everything is vegan, so it's perfect if you don't want to worry about that. If you're up for some good-looking, healthy food, definitely check this place out! Fortunately their website is partly in English if you want to check the menu before you go!
Price: 1300-1500 yen for a main dish
3. Miyakoyasai Kamo
Miyakoyasai Kamo is a great restaurant if you're into Japanese style veggies. The restaurant offers a buffet with dishes made from all kinds of local vegetables. It is therefore also sustainable, since the veggies come from local farmers. It is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and offers a variety of fresh, healthy dishes. Since it is not clear which dishes are vegetarian or vegan (not all of them are), I recommend bringing a Japanese speaking person or to bring a little note like this: http://justhungry.com/japan-dining-out-cards
Price: 1370-1500 for dinner
4. Veg Out
Veg Out is a restaurant that combines both a great view of the Kamogawa river and a relaxing atmosphere. They work with local farmers who put great care into their products. The food here is a mix of all kinds of dishes from nachos to buddha bowls.
Price: 1000-1200 yen for a main dish
5. 千丸屋 〜京湯葉老舗〜
This place is the best to eat the most amazing local kyoto tofu. Kyoto is known for its tofu traditions and there are lots of places that offer tofu/buddhist cuisine. This restaurant is a good place to try yuba, really thin tofu sheets. They are so so so delicious and I would really recommend you try it out if you want to try some local tofu. If you want to try more types of tofu (which I would really recommend as well), check out this page for example: https://stevejobko.com/6224.html
Price: not sure about the price for a proper meal