Traditional Japanese Ramen
Traditional Japanese ramen isn’t vegan or vegetarian. I was even told by many Japanese friends whom I have met on my travels that I will struggle to eat vegan in Japan. Now, that may be true of smaller towns and cities in Japan, but Tokyo has a plethora of great vegan ramen options – as long as you are willing to travel round.
For me, it was important to eat as much ramen as possible. Whilst I am a fan of eating vegan junk food (like at AIN SOPH.ripple), western foods and all other types of Asian food, I have an obsession with noodle soups. And ramen is up there with the best (potentially up there with Vietnamese Phở…). So, I made it my mission to find the BEST vegan ramen in Tokyo.
Different Types of Ramen
There are many different types and styles of ramen; you can choose between traditional, fusion and modern versions. The main difference is in the base of the broth and some of the toppings.
The types of ramen you will mostly find for vegans are:
– Shoyu (soy sauce base)
– Miso (fermented soy base)
– Shio (salt base)
– Tantan (a Chinese fusion with sesame)
My favourite style has to be Tantan with its nutty flavours, but miso comes a close second! I prefer the rich creaminess of these two, whilst Shoyu and Shio are much lighter and more refreshing.
The Best Vegan Ramens in Tokyo
So, where do we find these amazing-sounding vegan ramens? There are tons of options in Tokyo: some fully vegan establishments and some which are meat-based eateries. It may require a little bit of travelling, but you can get a great metro day pass that allows unlimited travel. Find out more here.
T’s TanTan (T’s たんたん)
Located: Keiyo Street
Address: 〒100-0005 Tokyo, Chiyoda City, Marunouchi, 1 Chome−9−1 JR東京駅（改札内）KeiyoStreet内 1階
Opening hours: 7am-10.30pm (every day)
Recommended: Golden Sesame Ramen and Gyoza
Price: Approx. ¥1300 for set menu
Hands down, my favourite ramen has to be T’s TanTan Golden Sesame Ramen. The base is made from sesame, so the broth is creamy and nutty. They also don’t use any MSG and use less oil than a lot of the other local ramen establishments. This means you get an incredibly tasty ramen with less of the guilt!
Now if you are wondering (like I did for a good 30 minutes or so) how do I get to T’s Tantan in Tokyo Station, it is actually located inside the station after the ticket gates. Unless you are coming into the station by train, you will have to get a ticket just for the station concourse. The cost is ¥140 – well worth it for those noodles!!
They also have another location at Ueno station, which also requires a ticket.
Note: I used my Pasmo card to get on to the station platform but wasn’t then allowed back out after, so I had to give my card to the station worker in the office by the machines who manually charged me for the ticket using my card.
Noodle Stand Tokyo (ヌードルスタンドトーキョー)
Address: 〒150-0001 Tokyo, Shibuya City, 21, 神宮前1-21-15ナポレ原宿B1F
Opening hours: Monday – Friday: 11am-4pm, 6pm-9pm. Saturday – Sunday: 11am-9pm.
Recommended: White Miso Coconut Ramen
Another great ramen, but this time in a meat-based ramen establishment. If you are in Shibuya you should definitely check this place out, it is nearby all the cool shops which are great to walk around at night.
If you are with meat-eating friends or simply love coconut, then this is the place for you! Like T’s TanTan’s ramen, it is creamy and rich. I love the slice of lime on top and the soy meat.
Note: when ordering at Noodle Stand, you have to use their electric ticket machine. Put money in the machine first and then select your order. Give that ticket to the staff and sit down and wait! There is only one vegan option but on Fridays they also do vegan dandan noodles.
Soranoiro NIPPON (ソラノイロNIPPON)
Located: Tokyo Ramen Street
Address: 〒100-0005 Tōkyō-to, Chiyoda City, Marunouchi, 1-chōme−9−1 東京駅一番街地下ラーメンストリート
Opening hours: 8.30am-10.30pm (every day)
Recommended: Soy Vegan Ramen
Soranoiro NIPPON is located in Tokyo Ramen Street in Tokyo Station. Once again, it is a meat-based restaurant but they put a lot of focus on their veg menu. It is a little difficult to find as there are so many restaurants under the station there. However, unlike T’s TanTan, you don’t need to enter the actual station to reach it.
I visited this establishment with a local Japanese friend who had never tried a vegan ramen before and he was somewhat shocked by the high standard of food that he was given. We both went for the soy-based ramen and a big plus for me was their garlic chips which you could sprinkle on top. I am a BIG garlic lover, so this was great!
Note: They do also have tantan and an udon style ramen here too. But I hadn’t found many other places doing a vegan soy based ramen so thought it was a great opportunity to try it here! It didn’t disappoint.
Shinjukugyoen Ramen Ouka (新宿御苑らーめん桜花)
Address: 1 Chome-11-7 Shinjuku, Shinjuku City, Tokyo 160-0022
Opening hours: 3pm-10pm (every day)
Recommended: Vegan set menu – soy meat, curry, ramen, drink and dessert
If you are looking for an experience to go along with your ramen, then Skinjukugyoen Ramen Ouka is definitely the place for you! It is a halal restaurant that serves meat and fish, but they have a large vegan customer base so offer a completely vegan ‘set meal’ option so you won’t feel left out.
This restaurant is a bit more pricey than the others, but you get the whole set meal which includes two side dishes, a drink and a dessert. Personally, I loved the sides more than the ramen: the crispy soy meat had a great dipping sauce and their curry was delicious! The vegan ramen has a lighter broth which is perfect, because a creamy base would make the set meal way too filling and heavy.
The service is amazing and you are made to feel extremely welcome. I loved the atmosphere in here. The relaxed intimate setting meant I got to meet some lovely people who were sitting next to me. I’d say it is definitely worth splashing out a little extra just to visit this place.
Note: If you want to guarantee a spot make sure you reserve in advance. If not, you’ll end up waiting outside like myself. This wasn’t a problem for me because the weather was quite pleasant. But when it’s colder, it may not be such a great option.
Kyushu Jangara Ramen Akihabara (九州じゃんがら 秋葉原)
Address: 3-chōme-11-6 Sotokanda, Chiyoda City, Tōkyō-to 101-0021
Opening hours: Monday – Friday: 10.30am-11.30pm. Saturday – Sunday: 9.30am-11.30pm
Recommended: Vegan Ramen Shoyu
My last vegan ramen recommendation is in the quirky area of Akihabara, where many people come to browse electronics and gaming shops. It is also home to very odd maid cafes. Hidden within this area is a gem: Kyushu Jangara Ramen Akihabara. It is quite small inside but the turnover was relatively quick with a lot of locals slurping away and polishing off their meals in minutes.
This was a soy-based ramen and I found the broth really tasty and well balanced and I loved that I could add extra garlic to my meal! I wasn’t as big a fan of the vegetables that they included, as they were already a little mushy upon serving. But the taste more than made up for it!
Note: they only accept cash payments here. There are a few ATMs nearby such as the Family Mart on the main road.
Other Vegan Restaurants in Tokyo
You should definitely try FUJIFUKU (小料理バル藤福) in Asakusa area. It is just one woman and her Chihuahua running the shop. Go for the vegan set menu and you’ll be presented with an array of vegan delights, including sweet corn cakes, cabbage pancakes, and plenty of amazing tofu and soy meats.
If you are looking for something cheap, quick and easy then make for CoCo Ichibanya. They have a separate vegetarian menu (you may have to ask for this) and all the dishes are free from animal products, which is advertised clearly on the menu. They have branches all over Japan. Think of them as the curry McDonalds of Japan.
For those with a sweet tooth, I’d definitely recommend visiting Good Town Doughnuts. They have a massive selection of vegan doughnuts and their mango smile doughnut definitely put a massive smile on my face. I’ve constantly had to stop myself heading back there! Another great option nearby is Coconut Glen’s a dairy-free coconut ice cream shop. I particularly loved their banana, rum and raisin scoop!
Enjoy Tokyo and make sure to eat as much tasty ramen as possible!
Comment below if you find any other great vegan ramen 🙂