Not far away from Osaka or Kyoto, Nara is a perfect place for a day trip to visit traditional temples and see cute deers in Nara Park. It also has quite a lot to offer in terms of vegan food.
In this guide, there are 5 places you can visit in Nara for vegan food. They include both western and Japanese flavours.
Before getting to the food, here is a cute deer in Nara Park:
This all-vegan cafe is located about a 5-minute walk from JR Nara Station. The place is not big with only about 10 seats.
The highlight is this assorted plate, which has about 8 different dishes. The selection changes with the season. The owner starts preparing the food right after you place the order. All the dishes taste fresh and well-made, and they have a good variety of different tastes and textures.
Another highlight is this matcha ice cream. It’s rich in matcha flavour. Just like a traditional cup of matcha, it’s not very sweet. The texture is good: smooth and not too icy. The cone is also very good and crispy, but it seems like it’s not available all the time.
This teriyaki burger from Onwa is pretty big. The bun is toasted and the patty is fried. It has teriyaki sauce and vegan mayo. It would be much better if the burger is dry and doesn’t drip water.
3-23 Sanjoomiyacho, Nara, 631-8123, Japan
Fri-Sat: 12 - 9pm
Sun, Wed, Thu: 12 - 8pm
Closed on Monday and Tuesday
Kururu is just a few minutes from Kintetsu Nara station. The environment is calm and relaxing. For the food, I’d recommend the Japanese assorted plate with tofu burger patty. The curry brown rice is quite nice as well.
This vegan cafe is run by a middle-age lady who is very sweet and helpful. Although English is not her first language, she tried her best to communicate with you. But as it's a one-person show, the service could be slow if there are other customers in the cafe. So allocate more time if you are going.
Japan, 〒630-8226 Nara, Konishicho, 8-1 ラフィーヌ東洋3F‐B
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Near the entrance of Nara Park, this traditional dessert shop sells a green mugwort vegan mochi with sweet red bean filling. The surface is dusted with soybean powder.
The mochi is exceptionally soft and chewy. And it’s filled with a generous amount of sweet red bean paste. One of the best I’ve had.
As the mochi is freshly made, if you are lucky, you can witness them pounding the mochi dough with a big wooden mallet at an incredible speed.
29 Hashimotocho, Nara, 630-8217, Japan
10am - 7pm
Tsuru no Chaya
Tsuru no Chaya (鶴の茶屋) is a small ice cream shop in Nara Park. They offer two vegan flavours at the time of writing: roasted soybean powder (kinako) and black sesame.
160 Kasuganocho, Nara, 630-8212, Japan
10am - 4pm
A vegetarian cafe near JR Nara Station. It only opens for lunch time. Dinner requires reservations. Closed on Monday.
Vegan ramen seems to be a popular option. Ask for vegan when you order.
Japan, 〒630-8357 Nara, Surugamachi, 25-1 フェリス駅前 1階
Tue-Sun: 11:30am - 2:30pm
Vegan Cafe Ramuna
Just tucked away in a small street south of Nara Park, Vegan cafe Ramuna is a cafe to get away from the busy park and have a nice meal.
The cafe has traditional decor. There are seats both inside and outside. The owner lady is very sweet and welcoming. Also, it seems like the owner is a cat lover as there are many cat paintings in the shop (but no real cats though).
You can find assorted plates, bento set, and even western dishes like pizza and hot dogs here. The pizza has vegan cheese on top and is freshly baked. Although the taste is not particularly impressive, the price is very reasonable.
Another dish I tried is the matcha ice cream. It has some rice cereal and a spoon-shaped biscuit on top. It would be even better if it's less icy.
Overall enjoyed this sweet little cafe. Be sure to check out their shop section to get some Japanese snacks to bring home.
1028-5 Takabatakecho, Nara, 630-8301, Japan
Fri, Sat: 12 - 8pm
Sun, Wed, Thu: 12 - 6pm
Closed on Monday and Tuesday
Kuppila is a vegan cafe and bar. It offers set lunch, pita sandwich, curry and even chocolate brownie.
11-43 Shibatsujicho, Nara, 630-8114, Japan
Mon-Tue: 11:30am - 2pm
Wed-Sat: 11:30am - 2pm, 5 - 9pm
Closed on Sunday
Somi Sweets and Coffee
This vegan bakery and cake shop is located north of Kintetsu Nara Station. If you don’t want to walk for 15 minutes, take the 13 bus (Northbound) and get off at 法蓮仲町 (Horennakacho) stop.
1232 Horencho, Nara, 630-8113, Japan
Thu-Sun: 11am - 6pm