Although the chances of finding a vegan bento box in Japan’s train station are close to zero, there are a few places that offer vegan bento boxes in big cities like Kyoto. Gen (玄 gen) is one of them. It also has gluten-free bento boxes! While Gen isn’t particularly close to Kyoto Station, if you plan to visit Kyoto Imperial Palace and don’t have time to sit in a restaurant for lunch or dinner, grab a bento box, bread, or even a few snacks from Gen! We assure you that you won’t regret it. The food that the owner/chef makes is just incredible. Even the non-vegans would enjoy it!
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Gen’s owner/chef previously worked at a few vegan-friendly restaurants in Tokyo and Kyoto. After working as the chief chef at the famous vegan restaurant, AIN SOPH. GINZA, for three years, he also worked in a vegan and gluten-free cafe in Kyoto for two years.
Wanting to own a restaurant, he later opened Gen with his brother. The restaurant is particular about only offering dishes without using wheat, dairy products, meat, fish, eggs, white sugar, or additives. Seasonings used at Gen are made with natural ingredients. Thus, every bite of their food is not only tasty but gentle to your body.
Ordering Gen’s bento boxes, curry, and desserts through Uber Eats is also possible. So if you plan to visit temples and shrines in Kyoto’s city center, put through your order, and delicious vegan food will be with you shortly (^_-)-☆.
You can refer to their menu HERE beforehand.
Tip: Gen’s vegan quiche is amazing.
Our Visit to Gen
We pre-ordered the Hamburger and Germinated Brown Rice Bento (玄genのハンバーグ弁当), a quiche (キッシュ), and a rice flour roll cake (米粉のロールケーキ) for dinner. As we also joined a tea ceremony event after visiting the Kyoto Sento Imperial Palace, it was almost closing time when we got to Gen. Fortunately, the owner kept the bento box and the queue warm that we didn’t need to heat them up.
The gluten-free hamburger is made of flavored vegetables and beans. It went really well with the brown rice. Other side dishes included pickles, tempura vegetables, and a vegan vegetable roll. Albeit the tempura batter was soft, the bento box was delicious.
As expected, the quiche baked with tofu, cashew nuts, pumpkin cream sauce, and vegetables was phenomenal. We regretted not ordering more…
The rice flour roll cake made from rice flour, soy milk, banana, and cashew cream was incredible. The cream in the middle was so smooth and had the right level of sugar. It was our first time trying something made from rice flour, and we loved it!
Gen’s Business Hours and Access Information
- Gen is open from 11 am to 8 pm.
- It is a 15-minute walk from Kyoto City Subway’s Imadegawa Station (今出川駅).
- You can also take Kyoto City Bus route 101 from Kyoto Station and get off at Imadegawa Omiya (今出川大宮). The restaurant is then a 5-minute walk.
- If you come from Shojo Kawaramachi, take route 12 and get off at Horikawa Kamidachiuri (堀川上立売).
Discover Other Vegan-Friendly Restaurants in Kyoto
While Japan isn’t a vegan-friendly country, the good news is Kyoto Prefecture has many vegan-friendly restaurants. Even in the rural area, there might be a restaurant close to where you want to visit serving delicious vegan or vegetarian dishes that satisfy your cravings!
Refer to our Guide to Kyoto’s Vegan-Friendly Restaurants for more information!