Vegetarian's Japan Guide

The Best Guide to the Vegan-Friendly Restaurants in Takayama

Besides Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka, Takayama is one of the most-visited cities by overseas tourists. Because the region’s typical must-eat food is Hida Beef, you might think it would be hard to find vegan or vegetarian-friendly diners. But that isn’t the case! The city is rather vegan-friendly compared to many other regional destinations in Japan. So refer to the below list and add some of them to your itinerary!

Takayama’s Vegan/Vegetarian-Friendly Restaurants

EvilTex Hamburger and Mexican

Just a few minutes walk from Takayama Station’s east exit, EvilTex is a vegan-friendly burger and Mexican place to grab a quick bite. The great news is the diner can replace the non-vegan patty with a soy vegetarian patty for all burgers on the menu. They can also make you a vegan burrito, a vegetarian enchilada, quesadilla, and chimichanga.

The size of its burgers is huge, so you will need to open your mouth to the maximum for a bite. While it might not be as elegant as you want, the important thing is the taste! The favorable burger is amazing, and so are the chips that come with it. If you are unsure which burger to order, how about an Avocado Burger? Each layer between the crisply-grilled buns adds to the burger’s presentation, and the avocado is skillfully sliced and placed in a fan shape. So before the first bite, remember to take a photo and post it on your social media!

If you like Mexican cuisine, you will love the homemade salsa and guacamole. The vegan burrito is made from fresh ingredients and is full of flavors. Coupled with the nicely fried fries, your meal at EvilTex is definitely going to be satisfactory.

EvilTex’s Business Hours and Access Information

  • EvilTex is open from
    • 11:30 am to 3 pm (L.O.) and 5 pm to 9 pm (L.O.) on Monday and from Wednesday to Saturday
    • 11 am to 3 pm (L.O.) and 5 pm to 8:30 pm (L.O.) for Sundays and publi holidays
  • The restaurant is a 5-minute walk from Takayama Station.

Heianraku (平安楽)

Among all the vegan-friendly restaurants in Takayama, Heianraku is probably the most popular one. While the cozy restaurant isn’t a high-end spot, nor has anything unique on the menu, the Chinese restaurant was once ranked first on Trip Advisor!

Heianraku was opened in 1963. The couple who currently runs it is the second generation. Their friendly and gorgeous smile will definitely leave a great impression when you visit the restaurant. What is better than their cooking skill is Mr. and Mrs. Furuda san’s hospitality!

A Chinese restaurant in a small town like Takayama in Japan is somewhat special. Although most of the dishes on the menu are Chinese, the menu is multi-cultured. In fact, the Heianraku is so accommodating that it sometimes gets requests from customers to cook fresh ingredients for them! So, more and more dishes are a

Thanks to the restaurant’s flexibility, a vegan menu has been available since a decade ago. In fact, no matter what you order, they taste like heaven. If you have a food allergy, let Mr. Furuda know. He will cook you a delicious meal without the ingredients you can’t eat!

Dining at Heanraku

You will be amazed by how much they know about the ingredients that go into your order. When Naoko-san brings out your food, she will explain how the dish was made and what was used to make it. The portion of the food served at Heianraku is generous and reasonably priced.

Tip: The Veggie Dumplings (ベジ餃子) is a must-eat!

Besides the homemade side dishes on the counter, the cooking process only starts after receiving an order at Heianraku. Although this means you need to wait a little bit longer, you won’t be bored while waiting. Naoko-san (Mrs. Furuda) does a great job ensuring the guests feel they are looked after in the restaurant. Offering complimentary healthy local snacks is one of the many tricks up her sleeve. This is why customers who appreciate the hospitality would revisit Takayama just to dine at Heianraku.

Don’t worry about language barriers. The couple speaks great English!

Tip: You can ask for an English recipe for the complimentary dish.

Heianraku and the Local Community

Enjoying the local sake is also what you can do at Heianraku. Because there are many choices, you can most likely sample it before getting an entire bottle. Instead of just drinking the sake, Naoko-san will also give you a brief background of the sake you ordered. By doing so, the couple also supports the local business because the customers know where they can buy the sake to bring home!

There are only 12 seats in Heianraku. The locals are usually really nice, and they would give up their seats for overseas tourists because they can always come back another day. Appreciating the kind act, the couple would give them freebies the next time they visit the restaurant. Seeing the scene really warms up our hearts.

Heianraku’s Business Hours and Access Information

  • Heianraku is open from Wednesday to Monday from
    • 11:30 am to 12:30 pm (last order)
    • 5 pm to 7:30 pm (last order)
    • Please refer to their business calendar HERE.
  • The restaurant is a 7-minute walk from Takayama Station.

Suzuya Restaurant (寿々や)

Hōba Miso (朴葉味噌焼き) is the famous local dish in Takayama. But most restaurants specializing in grilled miso dishes are meat-based. Fortunately, Suzuya has a few vegan dishes for us to enjoy. So, when you visit Takayama, stop by the family-run restaurant and try the tofu, vegetables, and mushrooms grilled with miso paste on a magnolia leaf!

When the weather is chill, order the Sansai Miso Nabe (山菜みそ鍋). The miso-based hot pot is filled with fresh locally harvested produce and tofu.

Like Heianraku, the staff at Suzuya is known for their friendliness and passion for customer service. The owner speaks good English, so you can strike up a casual conversation with him/her if you wish.

Note that Suzuya is popular, so there might be a queue when you get there. But the dining experience here is worth the short wait. So don’t let the queue to put you off!

Suzuya’s Business Hours and Access Information

  • Suzuya is open from Wednesday to Monday
    • 11 am to 2 pm (last order)
    • 5 pm to 8 pm (last order)
    • Please refer to their business calendar HERE.
  • The restaurant is a 10-minute walk from Takayama Station.

Tomy Muesli (トミィミューズリー)

If you like curry and/or vegan pie, visit Tomy Muesli. Although both dishes are something that you won’t expect to see in a muesli cafe, you won’t regret ordering them here. Apart from the incredible food, Tomy Muesli has a bright but relaxing ambiance. If you are unsure what to order, the friendly staff who speak English will give you their recommendation for the day. You can even seek travel advice from them!

The cafe is run by a couple. The husband was from Swiss. It promotes a healthy lifestyle. All savory dishes are prepared using multiple seasonal homegrown vegetables. Besides Heianraku, Tomy Muesli is the most vegan-friendly restaurant in Takayama. Of course, an assortment of homemade muesli and granola is available. You can also order one of their fruity soymilk smoothie

Different from the typical Japanese or Indian curry, Tomy Muesli’s curry is dry. It is made by simmering over 14 spices and vegetables. The resulting curry has a rich, fresh vegetable flavor and is full of spice’s nice aroma. The taste is just incredible.

Homemade cakes and other desserts are also available.

Tomy Muesli’s Business Hours and Access Information

  • Tomy Muesli is open from 10 am to 7 pm from Wednesday to Monday.
  • The cafe is a 15-minute walk from Takayama Station.

Tofu Cuisine Noguchiya (とうふ料理のぐちや)

Hida Takayama is famous for its Hida beef. So most restaurants sell Hida beef sushi, Hida beef burger, Hida beef hot pot, or Shabushabu… which made us worry about whether we would be able to find a place for lunch.

Then, we found this tofu cuisine restaurant buried among all the other small shops in Kami-Sannomachi (≧▽≦)!

The restaurant’s interior is so old-fashioned that you won’t be surprised to find a samurai as one of the customers (´▽`*).

That said, it is still a clean restaurant that provides super delicious tofu dishes. We especially recommend the tofu steak!

The tofu steak itself didn’t appear too appetizing because it just looked like a piece of tofu sitting on an iron plate with sauce all over it. BUT it was so nice to the point that we almost asked for the recipe (*´ω`).

Important: Not all dishes are vegan. Please check with the staff before ordering.

Tofu Cuisine Noguchiya’s Business Hours and Access Information

  • Noguchiya is open from
    • 10 am to 4 pm from December to March
    • 10 am to 5 pm from March to November
  • The restaurant is a 12-minute walk from Takayama Station.

Ebisu Soba, Takayama (手打ちそば恵比寿)

After strolling around the old townscape, you are probably hungry. If you fancy some chewy soba noodles, visit Ebisu, which opened in 1898. And don’t worry, Ebisu has a vegetarian section on the menu using vegan broth.

The mushroom and kelp stock is delicious and has depth in flavor. Adding the freshly handmade noodles made each morning, the meal is amazing. The perfectly deep-fried tempura is also a must-order when you visit Ebisu.

Like most buildings on the same street, Ebisu’s building is more than a century old. If you can, climb up the steep stairs to the second floor. It will be quite an experience. Sitting around the lower tables on cushions, the soba dining experience can’t be more complete. Through the glass windows on the Yukimi Shōji (雪見障子) sliding doors, you can peak into the little traditional garden while enjoying the food.

Whether it is your first time eating soba noodles, you will find the informative comic soba-eating guide interesting. As you wait for your order, read through the guide. You might learn something new about how soba noodles are consumed in Japan!

The staff at Ebisu is friendly and attentive. They know very well what veganism is. If you are a vegan, remember to ask the restaurant to remove the egg from your order. Menus in English and other languages are also available.

Ebisu Soba’s Business Hours and Access Information

  • Ebisu Soba is open from 11 am to 3 pm from Wednesday to Monday.
    • The last order is taken at 2:45 pm.
    • If Tuesday is a public holiday, it closes on the next business day instead.
  • The restaurant is a 15-minute walk from Takayama Station.

Tip: You can get a free parking coupon for Parking MITAKA (みたかパーキング) if you spend more than 1,500 yen at Ebisu Soba.

Center4 Hamburgers

Another burger place at Takayama that is vegan/vegetarian-friendly is Center4 Hamburgers. It is a great place to visit if you are after some comfort food. Located close to Shiroyama Park on the other side of the town, it is the perfect spot to stop by to boost up your energy level after trekking the Higashiyama Walking Course.

Center4 Hamburgers has an American interior and is full of character. The friendly owners make the whole place welcoming and feeling cozy. While there is only one vegetarian sandwich and the restaurant can only remove meat from the burgers, the sandwich and the burgers taste fantastic. The chips are amazing and crispy on the outside and fluffy inside!

For burgers, go for the Whit Mushroom Burger, which is filled with three types of mushrooms and topped with white sauce. If you are a vegan or don’t eat eggs, ask the staff to exclude the mayonnaise from the sandwich.

Tip: If you plan to visit Center4 Hamburgers, it is best to make a reservation. Please call +81-577-36-4527.

Center4 Hamburgers’s Business Hours and Access Information

  • Center4 Hamburgers is open from Thursday to Tuesday
    • 11 am to 2:30 pm (L.O.)
    • 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm (L.O.)
  • The restaurant is a 15-minute walk from Takayama Station.
    • Follow the sign on the road to the restaurant behind a shop.

Kakushō (角正)

For a high-end dining experience in a traditional setting, visit Kakushō. The famous Shōjin Ryōri restaurant, which opened in the Edo period, is housed in a heritage building completed more than 250 years ago. Being able to dine in the large traditional former samurai complex already partially justifies the meal cost. In addition, Kakushō is the oldest restaurant in Gifu Prefecture. The same family has run it for 12 generations, and the culinary skills passed down are unbeatable.

As expected, Kakushō’s service is top-class. Together with the incredibly tasty food, your experience at Kakushō will be wholesome and unforgettable. It is a place where you will be amazed by every bite. Going through the intricately aesthetic presented morsels, your five senses are treated to an impeccable feast.

If you visit it for lunch, you can also adore its vast stunning garden from the private room while eating. In between courses, the staff will also explain the next dish to you in English and Japanese.

Tips:
☛ If you aren’t comfortable sitting on the tatami mats, the restaurant can prepare a table set for you.
☛ It is best to make a reservation and let the restaurant know your dietary requirements. They can cater to a gluten-free diet too. You can reserve through byFood, an English restaurant reservation platform.

Kakushō’s Business Hours and Access Information

  • Kakushō is open from
    • 11 am to 1:30 pm (L.O.) for lunch
    • 5:30 p to 7:30 pm (L.O.) for dinner
  • The restaurant is a 15-minute walk from Takayama Station.

Other Vegan/Vegetarian-Friendly Restaurants in Takayama

  • Chahan Hana (炒飯 花)
    • A small family-run Chinese restaurant that can exclude animal products from most dishes.
    • The staff is friendly and speaks some English.
  • Guest House Tabinoshiori (ゲストハウス旅のしおり)
    • A cozy traditional-style guest house in the center of Takayama. The guestroom overlooks the courtyard and the old townscape.
    • It can cater to a vegan diet if you inform them beforehand.
    • The cafe on the ground level can also adjust the ingredients upon request. Please make a booking if you need this arrangement.
    • The coffee at the cafe is amazing.
    • The couple who runs the place is sweet and friendly.
    • If the apple pie is available on the day, order it!
  • Miyama Ouan (匠の宿 深山桜庵)
    • A ryokan that can cater for special dietary requirements in Hirayu Onsen, close to Takayama.
    • Private onsen tubs are available for guests to use.

On Takayama City’s website, there is a webpage with restaurant information for Muslims. A few of them do indicate that a vegetarian menu is available.

Or, you can always refer to our Japanese Phrases for Vegetarian article if you ever get stuck with communication (=゚ω゚)ノ.

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