If you’re vegan…
…here is some advice from a previous tour participant who so kindly wrote this for us! Thank you Sam!
Your bags are packed, your camera is charged and your heart is thudding in anticipation of joining a Pacset Tour on its way to Japan! You might be going for anime or for the culture or for EVERYTHING…the end result is…what food will you eat first?? For Vegans, that can be quite complicated at times, but don’t worry, here’s a few tips on how to eat in Japan if you are Vegan!
As a Vegan and someone who has been on a couple of Pacset’s amazing tours, I have some suggestions on how to get around with a full belly. If you are vegetarian, there is no worry. Everything is open to you! However, be sure to ask the restaurants on their soup stock because a lot of it is fish based!
You’re off the plane, and Evan and Lanny are getting you all set for money exchange and off you go to your hotel. Japan is a very overwhelming place, full of eye sparkles and doki doki goodness. Us vegans need to have an eagle eye to scout for 7-11’s and Lawsons right away! These will be your friend throughout your trip. Now, American 7-11’s can be boring, but 7-11’s in Japan are all sorts of awesome! Lawsons are just as amazing. Upon your first day, be sure to stop in one of those or another convenience store. This is where you stuff your backpack full of snacks! These convenience stores offer a lot of fruit, pastas and other local snacks to keep you on the move. Be sure to scoop up several onigiri (rice balls) too! Make sure you buy the round onigiri, NOT the triangle shaped ones. Triangle onigiri is not a vegans friend because they have fish and meat inside. Round rice balls are either plum flavored (purple) or seaweed (rice with bits of seaweed in it). Stock up on those because it will give you a boost of energy from time to time and be a filler between meals.
The key to ensuring good meals is patience. You will come across many places that offer nothing and some that offer a LOT. Take advantage of breakfasts in your hotels because they will offer vegan friendly items like tofu, sliced fruits, and onigiri. Eat up! Before your tour sets out on their destinations for the day, go out to find a convenience store before that and stock up again on snacks. Tokyo and Kyoto are your best friends when it comes to vegan restaurants and vegan friendly places. It may not look it and you may feel defeated, but don’t give up! Here is a great site to go through PRIOR to your tour to find vegan places to eat:
These are great sites to get familiar with BEFORE you leave on your Pacset tour. American restaurant chains are in Japan too…so if you’re a Subway fan, you’re in luck! Stop in on the burger joints because some offer veggie burgers. Check out the local small restaurants in your areas because they do offer vegan items. Soba noodles are your friend! Things might get repetitive on the tour as far as foods, but that will happen. Keep an open mind and be patient, you’ll find something. Be sure to keep a watchful eye on tempura too! Some places like to use an egg mix while others use a flour mix, so before you start scarfing down those veggie tempuras, ask about the mix. One of the main things to study before entering Japan is how to say “I am Vegan”. A lot of Japanese people are not familiar with that term but they do know what a Vegetarian is. So make sure you study “No fish, no milk, no eggs” too!
Your Pacset tour will be amazing and you will have the best time of your life. I was nervous on my first trip to Japan on being Vegan, but I made it! You’ll have a great time and you’ll experience a lot of delicious foods.