Incredible Vegan Restaurants in Kyoto

Kyoto is home to many delicious vegan restaurants
Kyoto is home to many delicious vegan restaurants | © Trevor Mogg / Alamy Stock Photo

Osaka Hub Writer

Kyoto has long reigned as a destination for fresh, seasonal and veggie-laden food, making it one of the best cities in the nation for finding plant-based meals. Here are Culture Trip’s picks of the best vegan restaurants in and around the city.

Kyoto’s Buddhist roots have imparted a legacy of delicious green cuisine

1. Veg Out for kyōyasai along the scenic Kamo River

Restaurant, Vegan

Perched on the scenic Kamo River, the heart of Kyoto City, this airy and inviting restaurant is an excellent introduction to plant-based eating. Veg Out’s menu features dishes prepared with kyōyasai, local heirloom vegetables that have a thousand-year history. Try its famous Buddha Bowl or the tomato coconut curry, and finish with a delicious drip coffee or chai and a baked dessert.

2. Morpho Cafe for vegan takes on carnivorous classics

Cafe, Japanese, Coffee, Vegan

Just a short stroll from Kyoto Imperial Palace is a cute, homely eatery with a menu composed entirely of vegan dishes. Featuring a balanced selection of both Japanese and Western options, Morpho Cafe is a one-stop shop that caters to all preferences. For vegan twists on Japanese classics, try the vegan katsu teishoku (a traditional Japanese lunch set) or the avocado and tomato rice bowl. The soy meat burger and potato and creamed corn pizza are good choices for those craving Western flavours. With food this delicious paired with an incredibly friendly staff, you’ll have a great experience no matter what you order.

3. AIN SOPH. Journey Kyoto for crowd-pleasing favourites

Restaurant, Vegan

AIN SOPH. Journey is new to Kyoto – it only opened in 2018 – but the venue has long-standing sister restaurants around Japan, including one in Tokyo’s Shinjuku. This restaurant is dedicated to serving vegan food that is accessible to the masses. Featuring mouth-watering vegan beef and chicken burgers, fluffy pancakes topped with fresh fruit, and fusion food like taco rice, the menu is sure to have something to suit every taste. The old-fashioned space can cater to large groups and even wedding parties.

4. Vegan Cooking Arashiyama-kan Tofu and Vegetable for green bento boxes

Restaurant, Vegan

Travellers heading to Arashiyama, one of the area’s most popular attractions featuring a gorgeous bamboo grove and scenic river, will be happy to know a delicious vegan restaurant lies in the middle of the touristy town. Using only locally grown and pesticide-free organic vegetables, Vegan Cooking Arashiyama-kan Tofu and Vegetable serves the bento-style meals for which Kyoto is famous. Its matcha, another Kyoto staple, is a must-try. The owners are exceptionally friendly – they might even give you the lowdown on nearby tourist spots or show you around themselves.

5. Vegans Cafe and Restaurant for free-from meals for every dietary requirement

Cafe, Restaurant, Japanese, Vegetarian, Coffee

Vegans Cafe and Restaurant is one of the area’s most beloved vegan establishments. Located a little outside the city centre, it still manages to draw in a decent following of devoted patrons. A variety of cuisines are represented in vegan form, with dishes such as soy milk miso ramen, deep-fried tofu pizza, and garbanzo beans curry. The owners are very considerate and pay careful attention to detail – all ingredients are plant-based and are meticulously highlighted on the menu for those who suffer from food allergies. It’s located just a couple of stops away from the famous Fushimi Inari-taisha.

6. Natural Food Village, the oldest vegan restaurant and café in the city

Restaurant, Vegan

Another Kyoto favourite, Natural Food Village is the oldest vegan joint in the city. The store features a wide selection of foreign foods – curry, pho and pasta are all on the menu – made from vegetables sourced from nearby farms. The comfy cushions, shelves of books and collection of knick-knacks on display create a cosy atmosphere. Natural Food Village provides English menus and is a great place to relax alone with a cup of tea as well as the perfect venue for an evening boogie. Music events and live performances happen regularly.

7. Little-Heaven for exquisite vegan food

Restaurant, Vegan

Little-Heaven is a fine-dining vegan restaurant. Preparing expertly crafted vegan food for only a handful of customers each day, this restaurant provides exquisite cuisine that both looks and tastes incredible. The menu includes vegan burgers, sushi and pizza, though the exact ingredients and side dishes change with the seasons. Each meticulously plated meal features elements such as star-shaped okra and flower petals garnishing plates. This place is truly a mini-heaven on earth for any foodie, not just vegans. Reservations are a must.

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