Sunday, 31 March 2019

Tokyo 101 (FAQ), including area guide

A selective guide for visiting or beginning vegans and vegetarians. As of March 2019.

Visiting or moving to Tokyo as a veg*n (=vegan or vegetarian) requires preparation, especially for those who are very strict with their consumption habits. The number of vegans here is minuscule and even ovo/lacto-vegetarians number only a few thousand at best.

Eating fish is seen as integral to Japanese culture. Fish is everywhere, including in many broths, or as an ingredient in sauces and condiments. Japanese food labels aren't always precise which means that sometimes there is no way of telling whether an ingredient, e.g. an emulsifier, is made from animal sources or not.

It's not all bad though. As far as shopping goes, almost every imaginable ingredient is available (except for the new meat replacements like BeyondMeat), if not in a brick-and-mortar stores, then online. Eating out in Tokyo has become much easier in recent years, too. There are many quality eateries where veg*ns can eat well. It's a big city though so getting from A to B can be tiring.