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(2024) Vegan Kyoto Guide | Best Restaurants & Cafes For Vegan Food

Your guide to finding the best vegan cafes and restaurants in Kyoto, Japan
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Kyoto is a culturally rich city: Immerse yourself in the serenity of the golden Kinkaku-ji Temple, marvel at the torii gates of Fushimi Inari Taisha, or stroll through the bamboo forest in Arashiyama.

But what about vegan food?

When it comes to food, vegan foodies will be glad to know that there are gems waiting to be discovered throughout the city. From a warming bowl of vegan ramen, to the viral flower bouquet ice cream, let me show you some of my favourite places to have delicious vegan food in Kyoto.

Kyoto Travel Information For Vegans

Best Time To Visit Kyoto

I love visiting Kyoto during its 'Autumn leaves' season (kōyō) in late November to early December. The view of red, yellow, golden foliage covering the mountains is spectacular. Or go in April for the equally beautiful cherry blossom season. But avoid the busy Japan Golden Week which is April 29 to May 5 every year.

Where To Stay In Kyoto For The Best Food

During my visit, I stayed in a hotel called Kabin Koji which is in walking distance to downtown Kyoto (about 10 minutes) and Gion area (about 15 minutes). Out of all the hotels in Japan I've been in, their rooms are clean, modern and relatively spacious for its price.

Other than Kabin Koji, I'd recommend staying near the downtown Kyoto area as that's where a lot of my recommended vegan restaurants are. That being said, as long as you are near a train station, it's convenient to get around in Kyoto.


If you are heading directly from Kansai Airport (Osaka) to Kyoto, consider getting this discounted train ticket.

The Kansai Thru Pass lets you ride unlimited trains, subway and bus between Kyoto, Osaka and Kobe (Cheaper than buying separate tickets if you are going to many different restaurants and attractions, just keep in mind it doesn't cover JR train lines).

JR Kansai Hiroshima Area Pass for those who want to go to Hiroshima as well. It includes all JR lines including the bullet train JR Shinkansen from Shin-Osaka to Hiroshima

Recommended Tours & Activities

To make your trip to Kyoto even more memorable, these are some of the activities I'd recommend:

Internet & Data

For my trip, I used Airalo for mobile data. It’s one of the cheapest options in the market and the reception is great throughout my trip. With some light scrolling on social media, checking maps and translating Japanese, I used about 1gb of data per day. And most coffee shops and shopping centres have free wifi as well.

Mumokuteki Cafe

Mumokuteki Cafe is one of my favourites in Kyoto. Located in a central location close to Nishiki Market and the Teramachi-Dori shopping street, this charming, all-vegan cafe offers set meals that are as beautiful as they are delicious.

On the ground level when you first enter, you’ll find their shop selling clothing and household goods. Look for the stairs that go up to the second level where the cafe is located.

On the menu, you’ll find their beautifully-presented ‘gozen’ meals which include a main with a variety of side dishes, soup and rice. The ‘3-kind gozen’ I tried comes with three vegan meat: tofu hamburger steak, miso cutlet and soy karaage, and all of them are delicious. They also offer a ‘gozen’ meal with a bamboo basket steamed vegetable as the main.

You’ll also find a great variety of desserts here including tiramisu parfait, cheesecake and soft serve ice cream shakes. The tiramisu, although not traditional, is tasty with its soft, espresso-soaked sponge cake with 2 layers of mousse.

Access and Hours


This flower bouquet ice cream shop in Kyoto makes one of the prettiest and photogenic vegan desserts. The flower bouquet is actually made from sweet bean paste, similar to the main ingredient of traditional Japanese sweets - wagashi. They meticulously pipe the colourful bean paste into shapes of flowers and leaves. They’d even call you over before they put on the finishing touches so that you can see the process up close.

The bottom part of the bouquet is where you will find the gelato. All the gelato flavours are plant based and doesn’t contain animal-derived dairy products according to the menu. During my visit, they had interesting flavours like cactus and salted truffle & cacao, alongside some classic flavours like matcha and strawberry.

Access and Hours

Ain Soph Journey Kyoto

Located in the central shopping district of Kawaramachi, Ain Soph Journey Kyoto is a reliable choice for a tasty vegan meal. Ain Soph is a vegan restaurant chain from Tokyo, and this is the only branch located outside of Tokyo.

Housed in a renovated two-level Japanese house, the restaurant offers a cozy space with a traditional Japanese flair. This restaurant is very popular especially among tourists, so expect some wait time if you are going on weekends or during dinner times.

Compared to my last visit a few years ago, they have simplified the menu and sadly some of my favourites are not available anymore, like the fluffy matcha red bean pancake. That being said, the current menu is still great with choices like burgers, curry rice and other plates. They still offer the original ‘heavenly pancake’ which comes with two pieces of fluffy pancakes, whipped cream, ice cream and fruits.

Access and Hours

Vegan Ramen UZU Kyoto

Vegan Ramen UZU offers a truly unique and immersive dining experience in Kyoto. When you enter, you’ll be greeted with soothing music, and the staff will put a drop of essential oil on your wrist before you enter the restaurant to enhance your dining experience.

The place is intimate with only about 14 seats at one big table, with a striking digital wall art installation by teamLab.

The food here is amazing. They offer 5 types of ramen and I chose the ‘Green MISO’ ramen. This seemingly simple ramen had a superbly rich and memorable broth made with green tea, kelp and shiitake mushrooms. Paired with the perfectly cooked noodles made with flours from Hokkaido and Miyazaki, this ramen was one of the best dishes I’ve had in my Japan trip. Even though the broth was a bit too spicy for me, I couldn’t help but finish the whole thing.

While they are famous for their ramens, I’m also wow’ed by their sushi. Each piece gives you an intricate blend of flavours, featuring ingredients like lotus root, perilla leaves, wasabi hummus and more. It’s topped with edible flowers that you can break and sprinkle over the top.

Booking online in advance is highly recommended as it’s a highly popular restaurant. You will be charged a 4,000 yen holding fee when you book, and the amount will be refunded to you after your visit. And on the day of visit, they can charge the same credit card as the one you used for the booking, which makes the dining experience quite seamless.

Access and Hours

Itadakizen Kyoto

A small, atmospheric restaurant in a traditional Japanese house, Itadakizen Kyoto is an all-vegan restaurant North of downtown Kyoto.

Their small menu is a fusion between Japanese dishes like soy milk broth enmen noodles, and Korean dishes like bibimbap and kimbap. I’ve chosen to go for the Korean cuisine with bibimbap and kimbap. The bibimbap is served in a hot stone pot with a generous amount of topping, even though the portion is smaller than expected. And the kimbap is well-made and flavourful.

As Itadakizen is a relatively small restaurant and food is prepared fresh, the wait time for food could be long if the place is busy. I’d also recommend making a booking on their website especially if you are going for dinner.

Getting here may be a bit tricky as it’s not really close to a train station. I’d recommend taking the bus here, for example, you can take the 46 or 201 bus from Kawaramachi area and walk 8 minutes to reach this restaurant.

Access and Hours

Veg Out

This all-vegan cafe gives you a beautiful view of the Kamo River while you dine. If you come early, you may even be able to secure one of the window seats.

The menu offers classic Japanese cafe dishes like lunch plates, curry rice and buddha bowl. The preparation of ingredients is relatively simple which showcases the natural flavours of the local veggies, but the flavours may lean towards the simple side for some people. They also have a selection of desserts including the pecan tart I tried, but it was a bit too dry and crumbly for my liking.

Even though some of the dishes may not wow you, Veg Out still offers a unique dining experience with a beautiful river view.

Access and Hours

Ramen Towzen

This vegan ramen restaurant is a hidden gem in Kyoto for vegan foodies. Walk through a garden path before entering this homey restaurant with tatami floor and traditional floor seatings. Remember to take off your shoes before entering.

Towzen offers a concise menu of classic Japanese dishes made vegan, including ramen, sushi and soy meat rice bowl. For ramen, they provide quite a few customisation options, including the flavour, spice level, size, etc.

I opted for their Towzen set (2,000 yen) which comes with ramen, one piece of eggplant ‘eel’ sushi, salad and soy pudding. The tantan ramen has a thick and creamy broth with soy mince topping, and the soy milk pudding is an unexpected surprise with spot-on flavour and texture.

One thing to keep in mind is that this restaurant has a strict ‘no photos’ policy for the interior. So make sure you take photos only of the food.

This restaurant is also located about 15-minute walk from the famous Shimogamo Shrine, which makes it a great option to visit after your meal here.

Access and Hours

More Vegan Cafes & Restaurants In Kyoto

There are a lot more vegan cafes and restaurants in Kyoto that I didn't have time to cover in this guide. If you are interested, consider getting The Vegan Foodie Guide To Japan, which covers 20 additional vegan friendly places in Kyoto. The ebook features 132+ cafes and restaurant in popular Japan destinations including Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka and beyond.

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