Vegetarian's Japan Guide

The Best Guide to Kyoto’s Vegan-Friendly Restaurants

Kyoto, a prefecture filled with world heritage sites and historical and cultural streets and buildings, is one of the top tourist destinations in the world. Besides the elegant traditional buildings and amazing scenery, many are unaware that a vegan-friendly restaurant is actually not that hard to come by, especially around Kyoto Station. What is more incredible is that the vegan/vegetarian food served in the below restaurants and cafes is just as good and tasty as the meat/seafood dishes, if not better!

Kyoto’s Vegan-Friendly Restaurants

Tip: We have also included a list of Vegetarian/Vegan-Friendly Hotels in Kyoto at the end of the article!

The Vegan Restaurants in Kyoto’s City Center

Ⓒ 大吃大喝的蔬食生活人生

Most of the vegan and vegetarian-friendly restaurants and cafes in Kyoto are located in Kyoto’s city center. From ramen restaurants to crepe stores, there are various dining choices close to many of the city’s popular attractions!

So check out the recommended restaurants in our Vegan-Friendly Restaurants in Kyoto’s City Center to plan your visit!

The Vegan-Friendly Restaurants Around Kawaramachi in Kyoto

Kyoto’s Kawaramachi area, close to Gion and Nishiki Market, is usually packed with tourists. And the good news is that the area is heaven for vegans and vegetarians! Whether you feel like having Japanese or Western cuisine, you can surely find a restaurant that will satisfy you!

Refer to our Vegan-Friendly Restaurants Around Kawaramachi for vegan-friendly dining options!

Ⓒ 大吃大喝的蔬食生活人生

Where to Find the Vegan-Friendly Restaurants Around Gion

Gion, a district in Kyoto where the elegant Geishas and Maikos live, is the most-visited spot in Japan’s ancient capital. The good news is there are a couple of vegan or vegan-friendly restaurants in Gion, allowing you to visit Gion anytime without needing to worry about where to dine!

For more information, refer to our Vegan-Friendly Restaurants Around Gion article!

The Vegan-Friendly Restaurants Around Nijō Castle

Nijō Castle and the Kyoto Imperial Palace are well-known tourist attractions in Kyoto. But as it isn’t close to Kyoto Station or the Gion area, it might seem hard to find a vegan-friendly restaurant for lunch or dinner. Fortunately, while relatively hidden, a couple of nice places serve incredible vegan food!

For more information, refer to our Vegan-Friendly Restaurants Around Nijō Castle article!

Natural Food Village (ナチュラルフード ビレッジ)

Along the train line to Mt. Hiei and Kurama, Natural Food Village is the oldest vegan restaurant in Kyoto, opened in 2001. The restaurant that uses organic ingredients and natural seasonings has an incredible multi-national menu, and the space beyond the door is like a different country. Its interior is decorated with many items representing different cultures the owner learned during his 4-year backpacking trip. Rather than a multi-national ambiance, Natural Food Village is a spot where patriotism is almost non-existent.

The best thing about dining at Natural Food Village is that you can hardly guess the taste of the food in front of you. Especially the small dishes of the Gozen set, you will likely be pleasantly surprised by the taste and texture due to how the food looked and presented.

Live music might be on when you visit too!

Natural Food Village’s Business Hours and Access Information

  • Natural Food Village is open from
    • 12 pm to 3 pm from Tuesday to Sunday
    • 6:30 pm to 10 pm from Tuesday to Saturday
  • The restaurant is a 10-minute walk from Eizan Railway’s Chayama-Kyoto-Geijutsudaigaku Station (茶山・京都芸術大学駅).

Kanga-an (閑臥庵)

You probably have heard of Shojin Ryōri, commonly found in Japanese temples. But how about Fucha Ryōri (普茶料理)?

If you are curious to give it a try, visit Kanga-an. You will have one of the most fabulous dining experiences in this small but luxuriously decorated temple. There is even a small bar!

For more information, refer to our article on Kanga-an!

Ramen TowZen (京都下鴨豆乳ラーメン専門店豆禅)

Ramen is one of the most well-known Japanese dishes. Although it has traditionally been a non-vegetarian dish, things have changed in recent decades, and vegetarian/vegan ramen has become more commonly available! In Kyoto, the best place to enjoy a bowl of ramen noodle soup is Ramen TowZen. On top of being a vegetarian place, it can also remove pungent ingredients such as garlic upon request.

For more information, refer to our article on Ramen TowZen!

Vegan Restaurant LITTLE-HEAVEN(ヴィーガンレストラン リトルヘブン)

Vegan Restaurant LITTLE-HEAVEN is a spot where you can find multinational dishes. The dishes in their course menu resemble those in the fine dining restaurant. You will surely be amazed by what is brought out by the waiter because the food doesn’t just look non-vegan, but it also makes you doubt what you are chewing too! If you dine with someone who is non-vegan, he/she will be impressed!

If you decide to visit Vegan Restaurant LITTLE-HEAVEN, allow yourself 2 hours at this amazing place. The best ingredients of the season are used. Smartly seasoned, the natural flavor of each ingredient compliments each other in the dish. You will want to enjoy each dish slowly to take in the beautifully presented meal and the heavenly-tasted food.

Important: A reservation is required to dine at Vegan Restaurant LITTLE-HEAVEN. Please refer to the restaurant’s website HERE for reservations.

Vegan Restaurant LITTLE-HEAVEN’s Business Hours and Access Information

  • Vegan Restaurant LITTLE-HEAVEN is open from 12 pm to 10 pm.
  • The restaurant is a 2-minute walk from Randen/Keifuku’s Katabiranotsuji Station (帷子ノ辻駅) or a 10-minute walk from JR’s Uzumasa Station (太秦駅).

The Vegan-Friendly Restaurant in Arashiyama

Ⓒ HappyCow:megabug

Arashiyama is one of the most-visited destinations in Kyoto, so restaurants offering mouthwatering traditional cuisines can be found close to the attractions in the mountains. However, the famous tofu cuisine in the area is mostly not vegan because of the broth used, making it hard for vegetarians and vegans to enjoy everything Kyoto offers. Fortunately, a couple of restaurants understand our needs and provide vegan set course menus! As these restaurants also serve meat and seafood dishes, you can visit them even if your family and friends are meat lovers.

For more information, refer to our Vegan-Friendly Restaurant in Arashiyama article!

The Vegan-Friendly Restaurants in Uji

If you plan to visit Uji for Byōdō-in Temple (平等院), consider dining at one of the vegan or vegan-friendly restaurants nearby! In fact, while remaining unknown to most international tourists, Byōdō-in isn’t the only temple filled with Japan’s important cultural properties. Just two stations away from Uji Station, Mampuku-ji is another temple you won’t regret visiting. Plus, you can taste the unique Fucha Ryōri at the temple or one of the restaurants close by!

For more information, refer to our Vegan-Friendly Restaurants in Uji article!

© Japanese Vegetarian Community: Allen Chang

vegan cafe CLOUD8(ヴィーガンカフェクラウドエイト)

Leaving Kyoto City and heading towards Wakasa Bay (若狭湾), there is a vegan cafe nestled in the mountains of Maizuru City in Kyoto Prefecture.

Surrounded by nature and overlooking the nearby mountains, the vegan place in the traditional house is probably one of the best spots to enjoy Japanese vegan food.

Unlike a normal cafe, vegan cafe CLOUD8’s lunch menu only consists of course menus. While a course menu sounds expensive, you can actually enjoy it for as low as 1,800 yen! And during the summer, if you have more cash to spare, make a reservation a week in advance to try their Raw Vegan Lunch Course. Not only will you be served with organic vegetables and fruits, the main dish cooked at a low temperature is incredible too!

Important: It is essential to make a booking if you want to have lunch at vegan cafe CLOUD8. You can contact the cafe by emailing [email protected].

vegan cafe CLOUD8’s Business Hours and Access Information

  • vegan cafe CLOUD8 is open from 10:30 am to sunset.
  • The lunch menu is served between 11:30 am and 1 pm.
    • Reservation is essential as they also take 2 groups of customers per day.
  • You will need a car to get to vegan cafe CLOUD8.

Vegetarian/Vegan-Friendly Hotels in Kyoto

If you are after a vegetarian/vegan-friendly accommodation in Kyoto, check out the below hotels/ryokans!

  • Kyoto Nanzenji Ryokan Yachiyo (南禅寺 八千代 旅館)
    • Yachiyo is a ryokan close to Kyoto’s famous attractions, such as Heian Shrine (平安神宮) and Phiosopher’s Path (哲学の道).
    • The traditional ryokan, which has a gorgeous garden, is best known for its Kaiseki Ryōri, including Nanzenji Temple’s specialty Yutofu (湯豆腐). Amongst its different multi-course options, one of them is specially prepared for vegetarians.
  • Good Nature Hotel Kyoto (グッド ネイチャー ホテル キョウト)
    • If you prefer to stay in the downtown area, Good Nature Hotel Kyoto, located in Kawaharamachi, can be a good option.
    • The hotel’s breakfast has a vegan option.
    • You can also head to Hyssop (ヒソップ), a cafe in the hotel that opens from 8 am to 9 pm. It has a vegan menu.
    • IMU HOTEL KYOTO in Kyoto’s Shijō is a cheaper hotel that provides accommodation plans to include vegan breakfast and/or dinner.
    • You can also reserve to visit its cafe for vegan lunch.
      • Refer to the official website HERE for more information.
  • Towa Ryokan (都和旅館)
    • Just a 10-minute walk from Kyoto Station, Towa Ryokan is a Japanese-style inn that boasts Kyoto cuisine.
    • Vegan meals can be provided to the ryokan guests and day customers.
  • Malda Kyoto (マルダ京都)
    • Malda Kyoto is a hotel that only accepts 3 groups of customers per day. You will have the entire floor to yourself.
    • Café MALDA offers vegetarian curry and vegan/gluten-free muffins and desserts.
  • THE JUNEI HOTEL Kyoto Imperial Palace West (ザ・ジュネイホテル京都御所西)
    • Just a 10-minute walk from Kyoto Imperial Palace, the ryokan offers guests a vegan and gluten-free Kyo-Kaiseki option for dinner/breakfast.
  • Vegan Minshuku Sanbiki Neko:
    • A fully vegan facility that provides vegan breakfast to start your day right.
    • The owners, Helen and Craig can also assist you in finding vegan and vegan-friendly restaurants in the areas that you plan to visit.
    • Refer to their official website HERE for more details and to book.
  • Sunrise Suites (サンライズ スイーツ)
    • A serviced apartment hotel that provides a vegan breakfast set course that you can enjoy in your room.
    • All of the guestrooms are equipped with a kitchen and tableware set.
    • You can see Kyoto’s famous UNESCO World Heritage Site, Tōji Temple, from the rooftop garden.
  • Maneki Machiya
    • A vegan-friendly guesthouse provider that can provide information about vegan restaurant information in the area in Kyoto you plan to visit.
  • Kanamean Nishitomiya (要庵西富家)
    • A traditional ryokan that can cater to the vegan diet.
    • It also serves day-visit customers for breakfast and dinner.
    • Please contact the ryokan if you have special dietary requirements. HERE is their official website.

Discover the Vegan-Friendly Restaurants in Osaka

Click the photo for more vegan-friendly restaurants in Osaka!

When you visit Japan’s Kansai region, Kyoto probably won’t be the only prefecture on your itinerary. If you also plan to visit Osaka and need help finding vegan/vegetarian food, refer to our Top Vegan and Vegetarian-Friendly Restaurants in Osaka for places to enjoy delicious vegan/vegetarian dishes!

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