Being vegetarian in Japan isn’t easy. Although the country once had a centuries-long ban on eating meat due to traditional Buddhist taboos, this went mostly out the window during the Meiji era. Today, many Japanese people are unfamiliar with meat-free and fish-free diets, which can make it difficult for visitors (and residents) who don’t eat meat. However, more and more restaurants are starting to offer vegetarian and even vegan menu options. Here are the best vegetarian restaurants to check out in Hiroshima.
Nagata-ya specializes in okonomiyaki, the regional dish of Hiroshima. A savory crêpe with fried yakisoba noodles and cabbage topped with a thick and fruity sauce, okonomiyaki can be customized with a variety of ingredients. Typically, these other ingredients include pork and seafood, but at Nagata-ya you can enjoy a full menu of vegetarian options. The restaurant is top-rated among travelers from all over the world and is even vegan-friendly.
Enjoy shojin ryori, the traditional Buddhist temple meal, at Shanti Yoga Vegan Café. As a part of Buddhist beliefs, meat and animal products were historically considered taboo so shojin ryori developed around soybean-based foods like tofu and abura-age (fried soybean curd). As the name suggests, the café is attached to a yoga studio, so you can grab a healthy lunch here after getting in a yoga session.
For some non-Japanese vegan and vegetarian food in the heart of Hiroshima City, check out the Tex-Mex restaurant Otis! Although they do serve some meat dishes, there are plenty of vegetarian options here, including veggie chili, enchiladas, and tacos. Be sure to take a look at the wall of signatures and scribbles from visitors, which includes some notable names like Disney/Pixar’s John Lasseter.
The Hiroshima branch of Saishoku Kenbi offers up favorite Japanese dishes like ramen, katsu, and grilled kushiyaki skewers, all made completely without meat or fish products. Their faux meat is extremely convincing and could fool even a discerning eye into thinking that it was real.