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How to order vegetarian cuisine or ask for vegetarian options in Japan

My buddy stayed in Japan for 2 weeks.

He was my roommate in London and I was looking forward to seeing him in my country again for the first time in 8 years or so.

I met him on Miyajima and we had a precious time. He told me he had a great time during his trip in Japan,  except for one big thing.

“He is vegetarian”.

Food is one of the most important parts of travel in a different country, and yet, he had difficulty finding vegetarian meals or ask for vegetarian options in Japan.

Read this article before you get into trouble ordering vegetarian foods or asking for vegetarian options in Japanese.

This is vegetarian Turkish food I had in Okayama. Putting the Yogurt sauce aside, it can be a vegan food too.

This meal was not in the menu, so I had to ask for a special option for me.

Can you survive as a vegetarian in Japan?

The answer is Absolutely “YES”, but you have to be well prepared in advance.

Japan is a very meat & fish intense country, when it comes to food.

Ramen (Soup Noodle), Gyoza (meat dumplings), Kobe Beef, Sushi, Tempura, Yakiniku, Shabushabu (hot-pot dish mainly with thinly sliced meat), Okonomiyaki (Savory pancake )…

They are all using either meat or fish.

Even world-famous Miso soup usually contains fish stock (Dashi).

You are basically surrounded by meaty foods in Japan.

Here’s how I get vegetarian options in restaurants in Japan.

I’m a part-time vegetarian. More precisely, I’m pescatarian. I don’t eat meat but I eat fish and dairy products like cheese and eggs from time to time…

Being vegetarian isn’t common in Japan and a lot of people do not even comprehend what the word, “vegetarian” means…

Plus, there aren’t many vegetarian options in a normal restaurant in Japan.

But, it’s always possible to ask for vegetarian options in an individual restaurant or with an experienced chef confident in his or her cooking technique.

Let’s look at the ways to come by vegetarian meals or take meat or fish out of non-vegetarian meals.

How to order a vegetarian food in Japanese

English:I’m vegetarian. I can’t eat meat and fish, and even fish stock(Dashi).

Japanese:Bejitarian nanode Oniku to Sakana wa Tabere masen Dashi mo Muri Desu.

If it’s too difficult to pronounce, please show this Japanese sentence below.


A vegetarian Curry in Takamatsu

We are extremely sensitive to allergy in Japan. There are a lot of people who have allergy to different kinds of foods like in other countries too.

It would be a massive problem if you serve a chicken meal to who’s allergic to chicken.

Therefore, it may be easier to say that you are allergic to meat or fish, then they will try to find a vegetarian meal as much as possible for you.

English:I’m allergic to meat and fish. what is the meal that doesn’t include fish or meat?

Japanese: Niku to Sakana no allerugi desk. Sakana ka Niku ga haitte nai ryouri wa dore desuka?

If it’s too difficult to pronounce, please show this Japanese sentence below.


Vegetarian Okonomiyaki

This is a vegetarian Hiroshima Style Okonomiyaki(Savory pancake with fried noodles inside) that I had on Miyajima.

The chef at the restaurant told me they can even make vegan Hiroshima Style Okonomiyaki too!

Do you have any specific order you wanna ask for your vegetarian meals in Japan?

There are hundreds of expressions to ask for vegetarian option in Japanese in a Japanese restaurant.

These were a fraction of them, if you have any specific sentences you wanna ask, please leave your sentence in English in the comment below.

I will add your sentences for vegetarian options in this article.

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