Because of the large number of cultural properties, Ōtsu in Shiga Prefecture is probably the most visited city in Shiga Prefecture. But unlike its neighboring cities in Kyoto, vegan-friendly restaurants are hardly to come by in Ōtsu. So if you are a vegan/vegetarian or will travel with one, refer to the below list for where to dine when you get there!
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A convenient place to visit for a vegan meal in Ōtsu’s city center Enman-in (圓満院). The Tendai sect temple offers soba noodle soup (開運そば) to its visitors. You can also reserve Shōji Ryōri (精進料理) if you are after a fancier dining experience.
When you stop by for lunch, you can also consider exploring the temple and enjoying a few cultural activities before heading off!
For more information, refer to our article on Enman-in!
Enryakuji Kaikan (延暦寺会館)
Mt. Hiei is Japan’s one of the three Holiest Places and is one of the top tourist spots in Ōtsu. The mountain is the precinct of Enryakuji Temple, which is listed as a World Heritage. Besides being a religious destination, Mt. Hiei was also involved in various historical events between the 12th and 17th centuries. So whether you are after a spiritual place filled with amazing traditional temples or are a history buff, Mt. Hiei should be on your itinerary (=ﾟωﾟ)ﾉ.
Living up to the name of the Mother of Japanese Buddhism, the rice or noodle set menus available for day visitors at Enryakuji Kaikan are vegan. The broth and sauce used are made from radish, konbu seaweed, and shiitake mushrooms, so you can order anything on the menu without needing to worry about whether it is vegan.
If you would like to try the vegan grilled eel rice set, visit Mt. Hiei on weekends and public holidays. You can also enjoy the incredible vegetarian Sanskrit Latte (梵字ラテ) and Sanskrit Tiramisu (梵字ティラミス)!
Tip: Arrive early for the seats next to the windows. The view of Lake Biwa is amazing.
Enryakuji Kaikan’s Business Hours and Access Information
- Enryakuji Kaikan is open from 11:30 am to 2 pm.
- The last order is at 1:30 pm.
- Refer to our Mt. Hiei article for Enryakuji’s access information.
Important: There are days when Enryakuji Kaikan isn’t open to day visitors. You can call +81-77-579-4180 between 9 am to 5 pm Japan time to confirm.
KOMURAYA is a restaurant run by a group of local chefs, farmers, and fishermen. It aims to offer food that will make the body happy. Utilizing the chefs’ great cooking skills, seasonal ingredients delivered directly from the farmers and fishermen are turned into delicious dishes without any additives. While KOMURAYA serves meat and fish, it also has a few vegan options, including the Vigan Burger (ヴィーガンバーガー). The fresh produce can also be purchased from the restaurant!
The burger’s buns are made from brown rice flour. Compared to the normal buns, it is chewier. Because of the brown rice flour, the patty also tastes differently but amazingly than the usual vegan meat! Instead of only ordering a vegan burger, you can choose to couple it with a plate of side dishes to try out various things in one meal. A drink can also be added to form a set menu.
If you like curry, their Green Curry Plate (グリーカレー) is vegan as well. And to try out various side dishes, order an Additive-Free Lunch Plate (無添加ランチプレート)!
Important: Let the restaurant know you are a vegan/vegetarian for them to prepare you a vegan additive-free lunch plate. If there are many people in your group, it is best to make a seat reservation by contacting them through their Instagram Account.
For a non-caffeine drink, how about a cup of Rooibos Tea (ルイボスティー)? It has a sweet aroma and nutty taste!
KOMURAYA also opens for dinner. They can serve you vegan side dishes that go well with alcohol. Of course, ordering an alcoholic drink isn’t a must.
The Concept of KOMURAYA
Because the Japanese are really particular about the appearance of the raw ingredients, those with an odd shape can hardly be sold to the consumers. This results in a large amount of food waste and loss for producers. So to resolve the problem, the project ν-Bottom-Ōtsu was created, and the solution they found is a restaurant that can turn these usually unsellable ingredients into various dishes that the consumers would appreciate.
KOMURAYA’s Business Hours and Access Information
- KOMURAYA is open from
- 11 am to 3 pm for lunch
- 6 pm to 10 pm for dinner
- The last order is taken an hour before closing.
- The restaurant is closed on the 2nd and the 4th October.
- KOMURAYA is a 10-minute walk from JR Katata Station (堅田駅).
Discover the Attractions in Ōtsu City
Ōtsu, the capital of Shiga Prefecture, is a city filled with rich cultural and historical elements. Although it only lasted for five years, we are sure after you admire the scenery of Japan’s biggest lake – Lake Biwa, it won’t be hard to understand why Emperor Tenji (天智天皇) wanted to stay close to it!
For more information, please refer to our article on Ōtsu City (=ﾟωﾟ)ﾉ.