Vegetarian's Japan Guide

The Best Vegetarian-Friendly Cafes Around Inokashira Park

Inokashira Park in Kichijōji is a great urban park to enjoy nature. You can easily spend a couple of hours in this vast park. But the longer you stay there, the emptier your stomach will get. So, many would grab a picnic mat and food to picnic on the park’s lawn or benches. But if that sounds too troublesome, cafes in and around Inokashira Park offer nice food and drinks. A couple of them are vegan/vegetarian-friendly! Thus, refer to the below list to plan your visit!

A List of Recommended Vegetarian-Friendly Cafes Around Inokashira Park

INOKA (イノカ)

If you are tired from trekking around Inokashira Park or paddling the swan boat, visit INOKA for a rest. The cafe at the side of Nanai Bridge (七井橋) offers tofu donuts and coffee with soy milk. The handmade tofu donuts here are made without using dairy or eggs, perfect for those who have an allergy or want to eat healthily.

The tofu donuts come in four flavors: plain, cinnamon, matcha, and kinako (soy bean powder). They all have a chewy texture with crispy skin. Just note wheat flour is used, so it isn’t gluten-free.

In summer, shaved ice of 15 flavors is also sold at INOKA, perfect for combating the heat!

For drinks, the coffee here is better than Starbucks. Their Choco Mint Latte is the most popular item on the latte menu. If you like mint or the day is hot, get a cold latte instead of a hot drink! The Iced Choco Mint Latte has a fantastic look. The aqua-blue minty milk at the bottom beautifully contrasted the chocolate and coffee’s dark brown above. No matter what the background is, a photo of the drink will definitely earn you a lot of attention on social media.

Alcoholic drinks are on the menu, too.

The cafe, opened in 2018’s summer, has a simple but stylish interior. Table sets aren’t available. Instead, a simple bench is fixed along the dark wall. A few wooden coffee stands are also attached for you to place your drinks.

Tip: If you visit INOKA with friends, don’t order your drinks separately. Instead, order two drinks in one goo for the cafe to pack your drinks with their unique carry bag! It has an image of a part of the Inokashira Park, making it a great souvenir.

INOKA’s Business Hours and Access Information

  • INOKA is open from
    • 10 am to 5:30 pm from Tuesday to Friday
    • 9:30 am to 6 pm on weekends and public holidays
  • The cafe is a 5-minute walk from Kichijoji Station.

Blue Sky Coffee (ブルースカイコーヒー)

Blue Sky Coffee is another place to head for coffee in Inokashira Park. It is also the spot for all the cat lovers. But just to be clear, this isn’t a cat cafe, but where you can purchase cat-shape donuts (ねこドーナツ)!

A couple of cat donuts in two colors, ginger and dark brown, are placed on the pastry display. The dark brown cat is a chocolate flavor donut. Although chocolate usually gives us a sugary image, the stereotype doesn’t apply to Blue Sky Coffee’s cat donuts. It has a strong chocolate taste but isn’t over-sugary. As the donuts aren’t deep-fried, they are healthier than the ones sold at most places around the world.

The coffee beans used in the take-out cafe are roasted in-house. The owner doesn’t advertise the bean’s origin despite its great quality. He didn’t want his shop to be remembered as a place selling single-origin coffee, but Blue Sky Coffee’s coffee is phenomenal. Moreover, the reason for using various cute elements to decorate his coffee stand isn’t just to attract customers but to make it more approachable to anyone. In addition, the price tag of all the menu items is very affordable!

The cafe is on the front porch of a private residence. Because the house is surrounded by rich vegetation, without the blackboards and signs, you will most likely walk past by feeling envious. The owner of the residence practically can enjoy the peacefulness of the countryside and the convenience of Kichijōji!

Tip: Even if there is a queue when you get to Blue Sky Coffee, the waiting time shouldn’t be long.

Blue Sky Coffee’s Business Hours and Access Information

  • Blue Sky Coffee is open from 10 am to 6 pm from Thursday to Tuesday.
    • If the shop is closed on any other day unplanned, it will be announced on their Twitter Account.
    • The coffee stand is closed during the cherry blossom season.
  • The cafe is a 10-minute walk from Kichijoji Station’s south exit.

Mlesna Tea Tokyo (ムレスナティー東京)

A spot to have a relaxing afternoon tea and live like a celebrity on the side of Inokashira Park is Mlesna Tea Tokyo. The cafe that overlooks the park looks like a villa. The space beyond the gate is like a VIP lounge. Just by being in the luxurious space, it already feels like you are a part of the upper class.

Mlesna Tea Tokyo is a black tea specialist. The company offers more than 140 different tea flavors! Each product is nicely packaged, making them the perfect gift and souvenir. As it is hard to tell if you would like the flavor just by looking at the names, free sampling is available. The friendly staff will help you to choose the one that is best for the receiving end.

Afternoon Tea at Mlesna Tea Tokyo

If you have time for afternoon tea, leave the shopping to the end. Head upstairs to the salon space first!

Order a scone set if you have space in your stomach after lunch. In fact, if you love scones, come with an empty stomach and order the all-you-can-eat scone set. The set comes with an unlimited supply of scones and Ceylon tea. Note that everyone in the group needs to order the all-you-can-eat scone set. Each session has a time limit of an hour and 45 minutes.

Once you are seated, a list of Mlesna Tea Tokyo’s tea flavors is given to you. It is the sign of the beginning of your elegant afternoon tea session! Throughout the tea time, the staff will serve you more tea when your cup is empty. The flavor is different each time, so you can enjoy more of their products.

It would be quite boring if there was only one scone flavor. Thus, at Mlesna Tea Tokyo, there are a couple of different types of scones to go with a variety of tea flavors. No matter which flavor you choose, the freshly baked scones have a crispy skin and moist interior. The set comes with cream and jam, too. Again, you need to decide which cream or jam you prefer, and you can ask for more cream and jam. As a tea specialist, Mlesna Tea Tokyo offers Ceylon tea sauce to go with the scones. It is a must-try!

If scones sound too ordinary, try their Ultimate Hot Cake. Instead of the fluffy and wobbly ones, the cafe’s hot cake has a firmer but moist texture. The butter on top and the whipped cream go nicely with it.

Tips:
☛ A reservation is recommended by calling 0422-24-6710. They take reservations a month in advance.
☛ Reserve the private room on the first floor next to the tea shop if you plan to visit with families and friends.

Mlesna Tea Tokyo’s Business Hours and Access Information

  • Mlesna Tea Tokyo is open from 11 am to 7 pm daily except from the end of December to the beginning of January.
    • The last order is taken at 6 pm for food and 6:30 pm for tea in the tea room.
  • The Tea Room on the second floor has four reservable sections.
    • 11 am to 12:45 pm
    • 1 pm to 2:45 pm
    • 3 pm to 4:45 pm
    • 5 pm to 6:45 pm
  • Refer to HERE for the cafe’s menu.
  • The cafe is a 3-minute walk from Kichijoji Station’s south exit.

Chai Break (チャイブレイク)

For those who love spices, the cafe for you to visit is Chai Break. The Spice Chai (スパイスチャイ), made by mixing black tea with six spices, is the signatory drink here. It is another way to enjoy the black tea. As a chai specialist, it offers a couple of ways to enjoy the chai.

Apparently, in India, chai tea doesn’t mean spice-infused tea. If you order a chai milk tea there, a cup of strongly brewed tea with milk and plenty of sugar. So, when you visit Chai Break, if you only order the Brewed Milk Tea (煮出しミルクティー), it doesn’t contain any spices. But rest assured that you won’t be given a cup of over-sugary milk tea. The sugar is served separately, as everyone has different preferences for sugar levels.

If you wonder why Chai Break takes black tea so seriously, it is because the owner, Mizuno-san, wants the locals to realize the deliciousness of high-quality black tea. Drinking black tea isn’t common for the Japanese. Thus, they lack the chances of encountering nice black tea. Hoping to change this, Mizuno-san opened Chai Break in 2009. Instead of selling black tea, he decided to use chai as a selling point to attract attention. Once the customers know the taste of the high-quality black tea in the spiced drink, they may start holding an interest in it.

As the Indian black tea culture influences the cafe, the decor is unique. The tea bowls placed on the wall display behind the counter aren’t from a Japanese kiln. They are used in India to serve tea. Traditionally, people would break the bowls after they finish the tea.

Chai Break’s Chai Drinks and Desserts

The Brewed Milk Tea is used as the base to make all the chai drinks it offers. As the ratio between black tea and chai is 2:1, you can surely taste the high-quality tea apart from the spices. Different from most chai lattes sold elsewhere, the spice of Chai Break’s chai drinks isn’t too overpowering. It perfectly balances the ingredients, and the drink is mellow.

Tip: After ordering, don’t start serving the internet on your phone straight away. Check out how your chai drink is made. It is like a small performance!

If the weather is hot, order a cup of Ice Chai (アイスチャイ). The finely crushed ice ensures you won’t be drinking just ice water for the last couple of mouthfuls.

For desserts, try the Ginger Milk Pudding (生姜のミルクプリン). The white pudding in the glass made using milk and ginger has a spicy taste. Although the idea might sound unnatural, it is surprisingly delicious. Chai Frappe (チャイフラッペ) that is topped with whipped cream is another popular drink in summer.

Chalo Chalo! Chai Break

In 2023, Chai Break opened its second shop in Kichijōji called Chalo Chalo! Chai Break. It is a takeaway store in the dine-in space on the first floor of the department store, Marui Kichijōji (吉祥寺マルイ). Besides the chai drinks, homemade food and dessert menus are also available.

If you plan to visit Chalo Chalo! Chai Break, check with the staff if the Grill Wada Pao (グリルワダパオ) is vegetarian. Wada is an Indian version of croquette. Pao is the bread used to sandwich Wada.

Chai Break’s Business Hours and Access Information

  • Chai Break is open daily except Tuesdays from
    • 9 am to 7 pm on weekdays
    • 8 am to 7 pm on weekends and public holidays
    • If Tuesday is a public holiday, it will close on the next business day.
  • Chalo Chalo! Chai Break is open from 10:30 am to 8 pm.
  • Chai Break is a 5-minute walk from Kichijoji Station’s south exit.

Café du Lièvre Bunny House (カフェ・ドゥ・リエーヴル うさぎ館)

Between Inokashira Benzaiten and the Ghibli Museum, Café du Lièvre Bunny House is a spot known for the crispy galette made using buckwheat flour. You can choose from several savory Bretagne-style galettes, including a couple of vegetarian flavors. Each galette is topped with plenty of fresh vegetables, cheese, and different toppings. Sweet crêpes are also available for dessert.

Because the cafe is in Inokashira Park, it is like a cottage in the forest. The natural light coming through the floor-to-ceiling windows and skylights makes the place brighter and relaxing. From the glass-enclosed interior, you can see the people passing by in the park, making it a great spot to daydream.

As its name suggests, bunny and rabbit decors and paintings are used to decorate the cafe. While no real rabbits are hopping around, it is a pet-friendly cafe. So, a couple of dogs might be around when you visit it. Heading down the staircase at the entrance’s right, there is a small art gallery for anyone interested in contemporary art.

In summer, Café du Lièvre Bunny House also serves Japanese-style shaved ice and smoothies to help you combat the heat.

Café du Lièvre Bunny House’s Business Hours and Access Information

  • Café du Lièvre Bunny House is open from
    • 11 am to 5 pm on weekdays
    • 10:30 am to 5 pm on weekends and public holidays
  • The cafe is a 10-minute walk from Kichijoji Station’s south exit.

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