photo by Kanko*
As you can easily notice while walking around Japanese cities, the Japanese are so passionate about food. There are so many kinds of diners, restaurants and take away shops everywhere. What is more, not just eateries that serve Japanese food, but you can eat variety of types of international cuisines. Yes, Japanese cities are full of diners and restaurants, but somehow, there are only a small number of vegetarian restaurants and eateries, especially, very little with vegan menu. Traditional Japanese cuisine has plenty of vegetable meals that looks as if vegetarian meal, however, fish stock is often used in those vegetable dishes. Fortunately, the number of vegetarian restaurants is gradually increasing in Japan in accordance with the growing popularity of vegetarian life style. This column will introduce popular vegetarian restaurants in Osaka area.
A vegetarian restaurant right in the middle of Osaka city. Almost all menus, even dessert and drink menu as well as food menu, are vegan recipe. This place is constantly busy day and night with hungry customers who come for sandwiches, pizzas, ramen noodles and fried soy meat. This is probably the handiest vegetarian restaurant in Osaka, located just 5 minutes’ walk from a subway station in the center of the city. Prices are also reasonable, set menu is around 1,000yen and a la carte dishes range from 500 to 700yen. Their regular customers are not limited to just vegetarians. People who just want to eat more vegetables in their daily diet also casually visit here.
Address: 1F, 4-2-2 Kitakyuhoji-machi, Chuo-ku, Osaka-shi
Access: 5 minutes’ walk from exit no.5 “Honmachi” station of Osaka Metro Midosuji Line
Trading hours: Mon-Thu＆Sat 11:30-17:00, Fri 11:30-15:00/18:00-22:00
Located in Kawachinagano city, this restaurant is a little far away from the center of Osaka. The building of this restaurant had built in the Edo period, and was renovated to be transformed into a restaurant. The name of the shop “Kuri” means a kitchen. Though outside of the restaurant looks just like a traditional Japanese wooden architecture, inside is a sophisticated modern space with beautiful Scandinavian furniture. They serve modern Japanese vegetarian food which is evolved from Shojin-ryori, the traditional Buddhist cuisine that has been developed by Buddhist monks. Their meals are all plant-derived without using meat, fish, five spices (garlic, chives, Chinese onion, spring onion and onion), including fried mock oyster, mock chicken and other unique dishes. A booking is required before visiting as this is a highly popular restaurant introduced various medias, and also opens only 3 days a week, Monday to Wednesday. Booking is open for public customers from the first day of a month up to 2 months ahead. Note that eggs may be used in Buddhist cuisine, therefore this restaurant is suitable for lacto-ovo-vegetarians.
Address: 475 Teramoto, Kawachinagano Shi, Osaka Fu
Access: Get on a bus from “Kawachinagano” station of Nankai Koya Line/Kintetsu Nagano Line, get off at “Kanshinji” bus stop and walk 2 minutes
Trading hours: Mon-Wed 11:30-15:00
Paprika Shokudo Vegan
This restaurant is well known among vegetarians who live in Osaka. Not just that all menus are vegan recipe, they pursuit healthy food production by using lots of organic vegetables. In addition to pizzas and soy meat dishes, there are many unique dishes such as sushi made from all plant-derived ingredients. This restaurant suits not just vegetarians, but also those who want to have healthy diet. The location is handy to access, right in the middle of Osaka city.
Address: 1-9-9 Shinmachi, Nishi-ku, Osaka-shi
Access: “Yotsubashi” station of Osaka Metro Yotsubashi Line
Trading hours: 11:30-14:00/17:30-22:00 (the shop is irregularly closed)
Vegetable Ramen Uniwa
Yuniwa produced the first vegetable-derived ramen in Japan. Their vegetable ramen was first created by request from customers of another restaurant that is next to Yuniwa. To meet these customers’ expectation, Yuniwa staff started making plant-based “vegetable ramen”. Ramen soup is normally made from animal-based stock to add rich taste and flavor, and noodles contain egg, therefore ramen is not suitable for vegetarians. But Yumiwa’s ramen soup is made from all plant-based ingredients such as konbu seaweed and dried shiitake mushrooms. Also, all of their noodles and toppings are plant-based. They have 10 kinds of ramen, in addition to side dishes and drinks such as inari-sushi, dessert and original beer. If you are a vegetarian but want to eat ramen, visit Yuniwa.
Address: 1F, 3-12-6 Kuzuha-misaki, Hirakata-shi, Osaka-fu
Access: Taxi from “Kuzuha” station of Keihan Electric Railway
Trading hours: 11:30-15:00/17:30-21:00 (Thu closed)
Located in Hirakata city of Osaka, Sousou is a stylish café restaurant. The building reminds us of an old-fashioned primary school’s wooden building from the early Showa period. There is a relaxing atmosphere inside with warm orange lights. The interiors are selected with the sophisticated eye. Some of Sousou’s menus include meat, fish and other non-vegetarian ingredients as it is not a complete vegetarian restaurant. But they have a variety of vegetarian dishes as well in accordance with their policy “providing enjoyable dishes with plenty of fresh vegetables”. The most popular menu here is “vegetable lunch” for which 20 vegetables are used. Vegan lunch is available by using konbu seaweed for miso soup. Also, they have a good range of healthy drink menu including hot ginger water and ripe tomato juice. Alcohol drinks such as Japanese wine and organic wine are available during dinner time.
Address: 1-18 Hirakata Motomachi, Hirakata-shi, Osaka-fu
Access: 7 minutes’ walk from “Hirakata Koen” station of Keihan Electric Railway
Trading hours: Tue – Sat 11:00-15:00/17:00-22:00, Sun 11:00-16:00
There are many vegetarian restaurants in Osaka including casual restaurants that you can visit everyday, as well as classy restaurants that you can go with your partner or close friends for special anniversary. The spirit all those restaurants have in common is to create unique vegetarian dishes with selected ingredients. Finding vegetarian menu in an ordinary restaurant or diner is not easy, but in the restaurants introduced in this column, all menus are vegetarian friendly.