Vegetarian's Japan Guide

Essential Japanese Travel Phrases for Vegetarians and Vegans

As a vegetarian, it is hard enough to be able to find a vegetarian-friendly restaurant in Japan. And if the staff in the restaurant doesn’t speak much English, it is going to be even harder to communicate our dietary requirements.

To make your life easier, please find below a list of useful phrases for you when such a challenging time comes (^_-)-☆.

You can interchange the underscored word with any vocabulary suitable for the situation.

Please note that in Japanese, “R” is pronounced as “L” (‘ω’)ノ

Commonly Used Phrases at Restaurants:

  • すみません、お肉、お魚が入ってない料理はありますか?Sumimasen, oniku, osakana ga haittenai ryouri wa arimasuka? (Excuse me, are there any dishes that don’t contain meat and fish?)
  • すみません、ベジタリアンのメニューはありますか?Sumimasen, bejitarian no menu wa arimasuka? (Excuse me, is there a vegetarian menu?)
  • すみません、タレなしでお願いします。Sumimasen, tare nashi de onegaishimasu. (Excuse me, can I have it without any sauce)
  • すみません、つゆの中に鰹節ははいってますか?Sumimasen, tsuyu no naka ni katsuobushi wa haittemasuka? (Excuse me, is there any bonito in the broth?)
  • すみません、お卵ニンニクは食べられません。Sumimasen, otamago, ninniku wa taberaremasen. (Excuse me, I can’t eat eggs or garlic)
  • すみません、お肉を食べられませんので、キノコに替えて貰えませんか?Sumimasen, oniku wo taberaremasen node, kinoko ni kaete moraemasenka? (Excuse me, I can’t eat meat, can you replace it with mushrooms?)
  • はい、豆腐はたべられます。Hai, tofu wa taberaremasu. (Yes, I can eat tofu)
  • この近くに、ベジタリアンに対応できるお店はありますか?Kono chikaku ni, bejitarian ni taiou dekiru omise wa arimasuka? (Are there any restaurants around here that cater to vegetarians?)

Note that in Japan, especially in the countryside, the term “vegetarian” or “vegan” aren’t so commonly used. So, it might be easier to stick with the sentence structure of just saying what you can’t have in your order.

Sabo Mameya Obuse Nagano Vegetarian Dining
Ⓒ 茶房まめ家

Frequently Used Vocabularies

JapaneseJapanese PronunciationEnglish
ベジタリアンbejitarianVegetarian
ビーガン/ヴィーガンbīganVegan
お肉onikuMeat
sakanaFish
海鮮kaisenSeafood
牛乳gyū-nyūMilk
たまご/玉子/卵tamagoEgg
ねぎ/ネギ/葱negiSpring Onion
たまねぎ/タマネギ/玉葱tamanegiOnion
にんにく/ニンニク/大蒜ninnikuGarlic
オニオンonionOnion
ガーリックgārikkuGarlic
◯◯抜き◯◯nukiExclude ◯◯
◯◯なし◯◯nashiExclude ◯◯
食べられませんtaberaremasenCannot eat
食べられますtaberaremasuCan eat
タレtareSauce
つゆtsuyuBroth/stock
食材shokuzaiIngredients
料理ryoriDishes/cuisine
豆腐tōfuTofu
キノコkinokoMushrooms

9 out of 10 times in Japan, the tempura sauce on top of tempura bowls and the broth used for udon, soba, and miso soup contain seafood. If you are strict with your diet, double-checking with the restaurant you are visiting is always a great idea.

The Staff May Reply with the Below

  • 確認いたしますので、少々お待ちください。Kakuninshimasu node, shoushou omachi kudasai. (I will confirm for you, please wait)
  • はい、お肉、お魚、お卵が入ってない料理はあります。こちらになります。Hai, oniku, osakana, otamago ga haittenai ryori wa arimasu. Kochira ni narimasu. (Yes, we have dishes that don’t contain meat, fish, or eggs. Here are the dishes)
  • はい、ベジタリアンのメニューはあります。こちらのメニューから選んでください。Hai, begitarian no menu wa arimasu. Kochira no menu kara erandekudasai. (Yes, we have a vegetarian menu. Please choose from the menu here.)
  • 申しわげございません。ベジタリアンのメニューはないです。Moushiwakegozaimasen. Bejitarian no menu wa nai desu. (I am very sorry. We do not have a vegetarian menu.)

A Phrase that You Can Use at Any Restaurants

私はベジタリアンなので、お肉、卵、海鮮がはいってないメニューはありますか?

Japanese Pronouciation: Watashi wa bejitarian nanode, oniku, tamago, kaisei ga haittenai menu wa arimasuka?

English: I am a vegetarian. Do you have a menu that doesn’t contain meat, eggs, and seafood?

And if You Just Can’t Understand what the Other Party is Saying

すみません、日本語があまりできないので、英語で大丈夫ですか?

Japanese Pronunciation: Sumimasen, nihongo ga amari dekinainode, eigo demo daijyōbu desuka?
English: Sorry, I don’t really speak Japanese. Can you say it in English?

Find out Some Useful Phrases that You Can Use in Accommodation Facilities in Japan

Click the photo to learn more Japanese phrases useful for traveling in Japan!

In addition to the phrases that you can use in restaurants in Japan that we have introduced above, how about learning some useful terms and sentences that you might find handy during your stay in hotels in Japan?

If you are interested in learning more phrases that will be useful when you visit Japan, please refer to our Useful Japanese Travel Phrases – Accommodation article!

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