Tokyo's Best Vegan and Vegetarian Ramen Shops

Tokyo's Best Vegan and Vegetarian Ramen Shops

Tokyo may be one of the world's great food meccas, but it's no secret that it can be a tough city to navigate for vegans and vegetarians, given the ubiquity of fish and seafood in Japanese cooking. This reality certainly extends into the Japanese ramen world, where up until a few years ago, the notion of vegan ramen was basically incomprehensible in the capital city.
Thankfully, for our many non-animal-product-eating friends, that’s beginning to change. Recently, several forward-thinking ramen masters have recognized the void in the market — or the creative challenge of cooking without animal protein — and begun kicking out compelling vegan and veggie creations. Given the Japanese ramen game’s relentless pursuit of innovation, it was all somewhat inevitable. 
The quality and variety of the veggie bowls on offer in Tokyo still leaves a bit to be desired — especially compared to the near infinity of meat-based offerings in town — but hey, you‘ve got to start somewhere. Here are the best bowls of vegetarian and vegan ramen in Tokyo as of early 2017. 

"The first app in English that gets under the skin of Tokyo's ramen scene." - Vice

Sora No Iro | ソラノイロ

Bowl to Crush: Tokusei Veggie Soba (特製ベジソバ)

Miyazaki-san, the master behind the Sora No Iro Group (now with three locations and counting), has a sophisticated approach to ramen-making and is definitely one of the leaders of the new school. His soups are invariably innovative and refreshing and all of his shops appeal to a diverse urban crowd, extending beyond the hardcore ramen set. Aside from their signature chicken-based shoyu ramen, Sora No Iro offers both vegetarian and vegan ramen, featuring a carrot and cabbage-based soup and veggie toppings that change seasonally. The house-made noodles are kneaded with paprika to give them some extra flavor and an organic orange color. Light but filling and fully satisfying, it's no wonder that these bowls pull in a packed house on a daily basis. Bonus points for the central locations too. 

Opening Hours: Mon-Fri: 11am-3:30pm, 6pm-10pm; Sat: 11am-3:30pm
Days Closed: Sunday
東京都千代田区平河町1-3-10 ブルービル本館1B
1-3-10 Hirakawachō, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo

AFURI | 恵比寿

Bowl to Crush: Irodori Yasai No Vegan Ramen (彩り野菜のヴィーガンらーめん)

Famous for its light, yuzu-based shoyu and shio soups, Afuri doesn’t score elite marks from hardcore ramen heads, but it’s one of the more popular chains among Japanese women and everyday Tokyo eaters. The group has steadily expanded over the past decade, claiming some impressively convenient central locations. 
Afuri now offers a signature vegan ramen — and it's no slouch. The vegetable soup comes blanketed in a 'rainbow of vegetables,' including squash, cauliflower, purple turnips and various greens. Notably light and refreshing — big eaters can probably crush two or three of these bowls without blinking — it's a top spot on the vegan radar in central Tokyo.

Azabujuban Branch
Opening Hours: 11am-5am
Days Closed: None
東京都港区麻布十番1-8-10 麻布十番 TSビル 1F

Ebisu Branch
Opening Hours: 11am-5am
Days Closed: None
東京都渋谷区恵比寿1-1-7 117ビル 1F

Harajuku Branch
Opening Hours: 10:30am-3am
Days Closed: None
東京都渋谷区千駄ヶ谷3-63-1 グランデフォレスタ 1F

Nakameguro Branch
Opening Hours: 11am-5am
Days Closed: None
東京都目黒区上目黒1-23-1 中目黒アリーナ 1F

Roppongi Crossing Branch
Opening Hours: 11am-9am
Days Closed: None
東京都港区六本木4-9-4 UFビル4 1F
1F UF Bld.4, 4-9-4 Roppongi, Minato-ku, Tokyo

Roppongi Hills Branch
Opening Hours: 11am-11pm
Days Closed: None
東京都港区六本木6-2-31 六本木ヒルズノースタワー B1F
B1F Roppongi Hills North Tower, 6-2-31 Roppongi, Minato-ku, Tokyo

Sangenjaya Branch
Opening Hours: 11am-5am
Days Closed: None
2-12-11 Sangenjaya, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo

Shinjuku Branch
Opening Hours: 11am-10pm
Days Closed: None
東京都新宿区西新宿1-1-5 ルミネ1 B2F
B2F LUMINE1, 1-1-5 Nishi-Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo

Yokohama Branch
Opening Hours: 11am-11pm
Days Closed: None
神奈川県横浜市西区南幸1-5-1 横浜ジョイナス B1F
B1F Yokohama-joinus, 1-5-1 Minamisaiwai, Nishi-ku Yokohama-shi, Kanagawa

Ouka | 新宿御苑らーめん桜花

Style:  Halal Ramen
Bowl to Crush: Vegan Ramen

Ouka is one of the very few halal ramen shops in Japan. The official shop specialty is a non-vegetarian spicy ramen made with a fish-based soup and served with a side of grilled chicken, egg, and baby corn. But the shop also offers a nice vegan ramen, which is also available in a spicy version. Made with konbu soup, sesame oil, and topped with an assortment of vegetables, it's light, clean and served with thin, chewy noodles.  The shop has menus in English and English-speaking staff who are happy to answer any questions you might have about the ramen and its ingredients. 

Opening Hours: Mon-Thu: 12:30pm-3pm, 6pm-10pm; Sat, Sun & Holidays: 12:30pm-10pm
Days Closed: Friday
1-11-7 Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo

Umeno Kisuzume | ウメノキスズメ

Bowl to Crush: Ebi Wonton Soba (海老雲呑そば) — [NOTE: contains fish and shrimp]

Launched in late 2016, this shop is still fairly new to the scene. Hidden down a flight of stairs, past an Indian curry restaurant in a compartmentalized underground retail space, the shop is something of a hidden gem. Everything inside is simple and put together with care — clean white walls, gleaming new kitchen equipment. Like the shop interior, the menu is simple, with just two dishes: wakame soba and ebi-wonton soba. Both options are for pescatarians: they use no meat, but contain some fish and shrimp. The soup is made from two types of kelp and dried niboshi — it's light, fragrant and frankly delicious. The dish comes topped with wakame and onions; and if you so choose, delicate, handmade shrimp wontons. Gentle, finely crafted ramen in a quaint, comfortable setting — altogether an awesome little ramen shop. 

NOTE: As of June 2017, Umeno Kisuzume is on hiatus for a couple months. Double-check to make sure it's in operation before visiting. 

Opening Hours: 11:30am-3pm, 5pm-8pm
Days Closed: Sunday & National Holidays
東京都渋谷区千駄ヶ谷3-3-3 B1F
B1F, 3-3-3 Sendagaya, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo

T's Tantan | T's たんたん 東京駅京葉ストリート店

Bowl to Crush: Shiro Tan Tan (白たんたん)

Located in the heart of JR Tokyo Station, T’s Tantan is one of the city’s easiest to access vegan ramen options. A ramen-focussed spinoff of T's Restaurant, a popular vegan eatery and health food emporium in Jiyugaoka, the shop offers various ramen dishes entirely free of animal product, including spicy tantanmen, shoyu and tomato based soups, with toppings ranging from faux-minced meat made from soy to kabocha squash, pumpkin seeds, leafy greens, bean sprouts and more. The shop markets itself as a mainstream eatery for health conscious Tokyo denizens of all stripes. Expect a substantial line at the door during peak dining hours. Like the various establishments in the nearby Tokyo Ramen Street, T’s is very tourist friendly but the personal touch obsession with quality of a legit ramen shop is palpably missing from the bowls. But if you’re feeling generous, what the restaurant lacks in authentic ethos, it makes up for in accessibility and service to the meat-free crowd — tradeoffs. 
Location Note: The shop is located inside the ticket gates of JR Tokyo Station, at the end of the Keiyo Street shopping parade on the way to the Keiyo Line platform.

Opening Hours: 7am-11pm (last order 10:30pm)
Days Closed: None
1-9-1 Marunouchi, Chiyoda, Tokyo
東京都 千代田区 丸の内 1-9-1 東京駅 改札内 京葉ストリート

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