How a Pure Vegetarian Survived in Tokyo – Tokyo Diaries

Tokyo is one among the top 20 must see cities in the world. When you get a chance to visit a place like Tokyo, you should not say ‘No’, instead should go there fully prepared. Now fully prepared does mean something. Japan is a place which is famous for non-vegetarian, vegetarians doesn’t have much option there.Β 

I was in Japan for 15days along with a colleague who is a pure vegetarian and loves hogging Roti, Parantha, Paneer etc . How a pure vegetarian survived in Tokyo, this is what you are gonna see πŸ™‚
How a Pure Vegetarian Survived in Tokyo - Tokyo Diaries

How a Pure Vegetarian Survived in Tokyo

Β Tokyo is expensive and it is not a cheap city, we were staying in Ginza area which is one of the most happening place. We had some good options when it comes to food, but for Vegetarians I can count maximum of 3 options. It was not possible for us to go there and eat daily because a) They were not close to the place we were working. b) They were expensive. c) They all close by 11:00pm. d) They were Indian for name sake and not pure Indian. I never had problem since I am a person who eats anything and everything πŸ˜› . I used to try different sea food every day πŸ™‚

How did my friend survive?

We were staying in a Hotel and not an apartment. The first day we went to the so called Indian restaurant and we hogged well. The cost per head was not less than 4000yen (2359 INR). The next day onwards we were having all-nighters. Most of the days due to the criticality of work we were not able to go out for dinner on time. By the time we planned for dinner it was 3am. Now where to eat, infact there were some good joints open since we were in Ginza, but where will we get vegetarian food? Every restaurant we went used to get the smell of yummy sea food, but no sign of veg anywhere. We went and asked a couple of restaurants and they all told yes to vegetarian food and vegetarian means Sea food or Fish πŸ™‚ It was a Facepalm moment for him.Β 
How a Pure Vegetarian Survived in Tokyo

How a Pure Vegetarian Survived in Tokyo

Jugaad (The adjustment), it works everywhere, it doesn’t even have any nationality limitation. We went to Italian restaurants mainly and used to order Pizza, pasta, Risotto etc but with a certain exclusions. There was a punch dialogue he used every where we went for food : “No Niku, No Sakana, No tamago”Β 

This means “NO Meat, No Fish, No Egg”. Irrespective of whether you know any word in Japanese, every vegetarian should learn these 3 words to make eating out easy in Tokyo. This is no joke, but experience based on 15 days stay and survival of a pure-vegetarian in Tokyo. He had also carried some ready to cook food which became his life saviour many times πŸ™‚ We found some restaurants for our eating daily and with the three words it wasn’t difficult. Moreover, we became regular in those restaurants and they also understood what we needed. This was not all, It was difficult eating breakfast also, because Japanese breads have egg in it and this is a problem for vegetarians, the pure ones.Β 

Our daily eating was not much difficult considering we used to eat from the same place everyday, but when we go out it was difficult. For him the most important words in Japanese are “No Niku, No Sakana and No Tamago”.Β 

Important Tips for Vegetarians :Β 
  • When you ask for Vegetarian food, please specify the exclusions “No Niku, No Sakana, No tamago”. Otherwise sea food is considered vegetarian here.
  • Even Mcdonald’s you will not get vegetarian unless you say the three golden words.
  • Please take some ready to eat food with you. You can consume them by cooking using the electric Kettel in room or a microwave.
  • Carry a container which can be used in microwave too. Incase if the place you stay/work have microwave you can heat the ready to cook and eat.
  • While booking hotel, see if you there is a microwave or other option for cooking some ready to eat food.

About the author /


The techie and soccer maniac, an avid twitter user. Goes by the name @metalsaint. Lazy blogger and foodie who loves to write about travelling, reviews, (movie, restaurant, gadget etc) and yes very hardly working :P

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39 Comments

    • theknotstory

      canned food and ready to eat mixes are life savers for vegetarians πŸ˜€

  1. Harine

    When we had been to Paris & Switzerland, not that we did not get vegetarian, we could not explain to them that we needed vegetarian because of the language issues, so make sure you learn the words for vegetarian in the local language. plus one more tip, being south Indians, we started missing rice like anything there, & my FIL was craving for rice so much that he bought a small rice cooker & some rice from a super market & we made rice in our room(SHHHH!!) and had it with pickles πŸ™‚ you can carry all the readymade gravies like Puliyogare, coriander rice mix etc if you can just cook rice somehow…
    Harine recently posted…Trip to Paris and Switzerland – May 2014- Day 1 – Walt Disney Studios ParisMy Profile

    • theknotstory

      LOL!! rice cooker is a great idea πŸ˜›

  2. Jess @UsedYorkCity

    As a veggie, I had the HARDEST time eating in Tokyo…I pretty much lost 5 pounds in my 2 week visit, crazy! Like your friend, I eventually learned to seek out Indian restaurants, and even ordered a cheese pizza for delivery one night when I really was sick of rice…shockingly one of the most expensive things I ate there!;-) I guess cheese and bread are not really the norm!
    Jess @UsedYorkCity recently posted…Intermission: CabaretMy Profile

    • theknotstory

      Italian and Indian restaurants are the only option for vegetarians in Tokyo πŸ™

  3. Simera

    Great post. I am not a vegatarian but do eat vegatarian meals most of the time.
    Beautetude

    • theknotstory

      yea! its really difficult for vegetarians to survive abroad.

  4. sahana

    gee, I am a vegetarian and this sounds like torture!

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