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Vegetarian's Japan Guide

Itōya: The Best Vegan-Friendly Izakaya in Matsumoto

If you are after a vegan-friendly Izakaya (similar to a Western pub, a Spanish tapas bar, or a tavern), visit Itōya (小料理 いとう家). You can enjoy homemade local dishes prepared using locally sourced ingredients, including vegan and gluten-free dishes. The owner, Itōya-san, speaks English and tries her best to make things easy at her restaurant. She runs the entire place and will give you a wholesome and comforting time with her bright and friendly personality and top-notch service.

The counter seat setting is another highlight at Itōya. Striking up a casual conversation with Itōya-san is what you will definitely enjoy as you wait and eat. Admiring the small restaurant’s decoration and watching your order is a part of the dining experience at this Izakaya not far from Matsumoto Castle.

About Itōya’s English Menu and Its Ordering System

One of the many efforts that Itōya-san made to make her restaurant more English-speaker-friendly is to have an English menu in front of the restaurant. It makes both sides’ lives easier. Her customers can decide if they want to dine here without entering the restaurant, and her time wouldn’t be wasted on those who aren’t interested in what she offers.

After you are seated, a set of flashcards are given. These cards are Itōya’s English menu. Each dish has a card with a simple explanation and a photo of the dish, making it easy for you to decide what to order. The vegan and vegetarian dishes are clearly marked as well!

Once you have decided what you want for the night, you only need to give those cards to Itō-san. Your order will be brought to you without a long wait!

Tips:
☛ Call +81 263-32-3826 to reserve your seat
☛ Itōya is one of the top places to try the region’s mushrooms.
☛ A good range of sake is also available for sake-tasting. The maitake mushroom sake is a must-try. If you don’t like mushrooms, order the homemade Ume-shu (plum wine).
☛ If the restaurant is full, check back in later. The table turnover rate is fast.

What to Enjoy at Itōya

Itōya’s oden is very popular. Oden is normally offered by restaurants in the colder months, but Itōya offers it throughout the year. There are most than 10 different ingredients in the pot you can choose from. But note fish stock is used for the soup and meat and seafood are cooked in the same pot. If you aren’t strict with your vegetarian diet, the radish, deep-fried tofu, and konjac are the must-try. Seasonal produce might also be available. So, check with Itō-san for her recommendation!

If you are a vegan or vegetarian, there will be at least 10 options for you to choose from, including stir-fried mushrooms and veggie dumplings. The yu-tofu and mushroom hot pot is a great choice when the weather is chill.

When Itō-san has time, she also shows off her Shamisen skill to entertain her customers. You could hardly find an Izakaya where you can see a live performance using a three-stringed traditional Japanese musical instrument!

If you are unsure about your sightseeing plan in Matsumoto, ask Itō-san. She will give you great advice, making your visit to the city more unforgettable.

Itōya’s Business Hours and Access Information

  • Itōya is open from 5 pm to 10 pm from Tuesday to Saturday.
  • The restaurant is a 12-minute walk from Matsumoto Station.

Explore the Fascinating Attractions in Matsumoto City

Matsumoto-Castles-Moat-and-Cherry-Blossom-Matsumoto-Nagano-Japan
Click the photo to find out more about this gorgeous attraction!

Wonder what attractions in Matsumoto are worth your time? Check out our list of selected attractions in Matsumoto that you won’t want to miss out on.

There are a couple of places where you can source delicious natural water from in the city center, an art museum filled with Kusama Yayoi’s eye-opening contemporary artworks, places perfect for cherry blossom and fall foliage hunting, and a lot more!

For more information, please refer to our article on Matsumoto!

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