Okinawa is famous for its beautiful beaches and coral reefs. But what about vegan food?
You’ll be glad to know that Okinawa has a good selection of restaurants that provide vegan options. You can find vegan comfort food like the famous Okinawa taco rice, burgers and ice cream.
This guide will be divided into different parts of the main Okinawa island:
- Naha (including Naha Airport)
- Central Okinawa (including American Village)
- South Okinawa
Let's get into it:
Vegan Restaurants in Naha
This cafe is a gem. Located in one of the small alleyways near Kokusai Dori shopping street, Mana is a beautiful and cosy place serving all vegan and all delicious food.
You will be greeted by the rustic, homey decor with wooden tables and chairs. The tablewares also match the atmosphere perfectly. The staff is friendly and can speak some English.
They have a rather small menu. You can find vegan plates with many small dishes, curry, desserts and drinks. Despite the small menu, the quality is amazing.
The dal curry I tried comes with a bowl of flavourful curry with legumes and cut veggies. The rice plate has three small sides. On that day, they were soy chicken, cooked veggies and salad. There’s also a tempura veggie on the side. For dessert, don’t miss the lemon cheesecake. It uses local tofu and organic lemon.
Keep in mind that they only opens at lunch time Thursday to Sunday.
Using seasonal local produce and Japan ‘5 grains’ like millet, Ukishima Garden is a high quality, if not a bit expensive, vegan restaurant in the Naha area.
They have different menus at lunch and dinner times. At lunch, you can find plates, curry, burgers, and other desserts and drinks. At dinner time, you can choose between a 4- or 6-course set, which includes salad, appetizer, main, desserts and more. At the time of visit, the dinner set already includes a drink and you are not required to order a separate one.
The 4-course dinner meal I tried is great. The famous Okinawa dish, taco rice, is the main I chose for this meal. It uses Okinawa tofu as the mince crumble. Paired with salsa, shredded lettuce and brown rice. The appetiser plate, salad and ice cream are all delicious as well. The set comes to 3630 yen after tax.
The decor and atmosphere is another high point of Ukishima Garden. The outside garden is a great choice to enjoy your lunch, and upstairs tatami seating lets you experience a more traditional side of Japan.
Overall Ukushima Garden is a great vegan restaurant with well-prepared food if you don’t mind spending a bit more.
Rakuen Cafe (樂園 Cafe)
Located on the 2/F of Ryubo Department Store next to Prefectural Office Station, Rakuen Cafe is a modern cafe that has a good selection of clearly marked vegan options.
You can find vegan taco rice, burger, pancake, ice cream parfait and more here. The green leaf symbol you see on the menu means vegan. At the time of visit, they carry some baked goods like cookies from Detox Cafe Felicidad.
Lala Zorba is a vegan restaurant specialising in Asian Ethnic cuisine as well as some local dishes. Keep in mind that it only opens at night time from Thursday to Monday.
You can find dishes like curry plates, dumplings, buddha bowl, soba, desserts and drinks. They also features some set meals with a few courses. Click here to see the menu.
The dumpling set that I tried include an appetiser plate, dumplings, soy chicken, and a spicy fried noodles which I changed to Okinawa soba. The Okinawa soba turns out to be my favourite with its varied toppings, chewy noodles, and flavorful soup.
Cafe VG is a vegetarian cafe near Miebashi station. It has two cute resident dogs that may bark and inspect when customers come in.
They serve some classic veg options like taco rice, curry rice, and more. Dinner time has a bigger menu with pasta and savoury pancake. The options that can be made vegan are marked clearly. So be sure to ask for vegan when you order.
The taco rice at lunch time is a healthy take on the dish without losing the tastiness. It has an abundance of salad leaves, topped with flavourful soy mince. It’s well seasoned with herbs and spices.
A few blocks from Kokusai Dori is Saborami, a small cafe that has a few vegan options, including curry rice, toast, ice cream, chocolate tart, and drinks. The food is nice and the staff is friendly. It’s a nice place to sit and have a break as it’s walking distance from the main shopping area.
Located at the B1 level of Ryubo Department Store is this juice store with smoothies made with soy milk. They can put the drink in your own reusable cup. Be careful as some drinks may have honey.
Vegan Restaurants in Naha Airport
DonBuri Nantoya is a food court stall in Okinawa Naha Airport 4/F that provides vegan options. Options include a seaweed veggie tempura bowl, veggie curry rice, mapo tofu bowl and soy chicken bowl. On the allergy chart, the circle means it’s made without 5 pungent spices and triangle means it contains the spices.
There are people who said the miso soup is not vegan. I couldn’t find information on their website. So if you are unsure, ask them to not include the miso soup.
The tempura rice bowl uses mixed vegetables and mozuku, which is a type of seaweed that’s naturally found in Okinawa). It’s overall nice, but a little bit bland in taste.
Vegan Restaurants in Central Okinawa
Plant-Holic have closed at the end of 2019 unfortunately.
This cafe is one of the best in Okinawa I’ve had on this trip. The food is carefully prepared with great ingredients. They use locally sourced vegetables that is grown by the natural cultivation method, which means no pesticides, fertiliser (natural or chemical) are used. The farm is called Moringa Farm if you are interested.
From the great ingredients, Plant-Holic prepares them into delicious dishes. The taco rice set I had, which also include a plant-based yogurt drink and a nut ice cream, is impeccable. Even the purple coloured mixed grain rice is grown without pesticides which shows a great deal of attention to details.
Located on the 9th floor, Imacoco over looks the East side of Central Okinawa. The view is spectacular. And to go with the view, Imacoco offers delicious vegan food.
The size of the menu is not big, including pretty standard veg restaurant dishes like plates, curry, taco rice, desserts and drinks. For the assorted plate, you can choose between tempura fish or soy chicken, which I opted for the tempura fish. Other sides on the plate are all varied and well cooked.
Looking over the view while having great vegan food is an experience hard to find elsewhere.
One thing to note is that the location is a bit far from the bus stop. I recommend using apps like Didi or Japan Taxi app. They basically work just like Uber. Messaging them on Facebook to check whether they are open that day is also a good idea.
Kitchen Nogi Macrobiotic & Organic restaurant
Close to Imacoco Cafe is this macrobiotic restaurant that have a few clearly marked vegan items on their menu.
You can find ramen, plates and more at lunch and tea time. Dinner has a bigger menu including tempura and ‘cheese’ tofu.
There are some bar seats where you can watch as the chef prepares your food. The ramen I tried have fried veggies and tofu. Simple but nice.
Miyabi Chaya Nakamoto
This Japanese teahouse have some traditional desserts that are vegan. The vegan dorayaki and sweet red bean rice ball are both pleasant surprises to find.
Staff speaks some English and the menu is in Japanese. If you plan to visit, the two dessert sets on this page are vegan. The one on the left is a dorayaki (どらやき), rice ball (おはぎ) and drink set. The one on the right is a set with 2 rice balls. For rice ball, you can choose sweet red bean (あんこ), sesame (ごま) or soybean powder (きなこ).
Vegan Restaurants Near American Village
Tami’s is a restaurant serving all vegan food in the colourful American Village. Located at the complex where the ferris wheel is, it’s a nice place to sit down and have a meal after going through the unique streets in the area. I especially enjoy sitting in the outdoor area that looks over the American Village.
The menu features a decent selection of western dishes. You can find burgers, plates, desserts and more. Dinner time has a slightly bigger menu. The hamburg steak plate has a plant-based steak with sweet teriyaki sauce. The texture is slightly soft and the potion is rather small. The soft serve ice cream and brownie are nice but the brownie is a bit dry.
One unfortunate thing at the time of visit is that there is a fish in a water dispenser. A weird site of a vegan restaurant that promotes cruelty-free food.
This cafe near the American Village has a decent range of clearly marked vegan options, including curry, lasagna, desserts and more.
This cafe is on the second floor. Don’t confuse the similarly named R Cafe on the first floor of the same building
About 20 minute from American Village is this sweet vegan cafe that sells crepes. There are sweet as well as savoury flavours. Other than that, you can also find some delicious sandwiches, coffee and smoothies.
Unfortunately on that day the pan for making the crepes is broken. So I opted for their Halcyon sandwich. The size is huge and it’s generously filled with classic ingredients like hummus, sundried tomatoes and other veggies. The peanut butter smoothie is also great. However, the paper straw gets soft very quickly and makes it a bit hard to drink.
Aien Coffee and Hostel
This hostel near Cafe Halcyon has a vegan menu and other vegan goodies. You can find burrito, avo toast, tacos, and drinks like soy latte here.
Another great find here is this Raw Bahalu brand of chocolate and the twix bar-like Bahalu Bar is delicious. It has peanut butter caramel and almond cookie inside the chocolate coating.
Ezparza's Tacos and Coffee
This Mexican restaurant has quite a few clearly marked vegan options, including taco, pizza stick, enchilada, etc. However, I find the Very Vegan taco a big disappointment. More than half of the veggies are charred black. In combination of the not-toasted taco shell and not-crispy chips, I’d suggest other places in the areas.
Vegan Restaurant in South Okinawa
Detox Cafe Felicidad
Although this vegan cafe on the south side of Naha is a bit out of the way, the delicious food, big portions, and friendly staff make the trip worth it.
It has a decent selection of vegan dishes like coconut curry, pasta, smoothie bowl, desserts, drinks and more. The food is well made and delicious.
I took the recommendation of the staff and ordered their popular coconut curry dish. The portion is easily 1.5-2 meals in most other restaurants. Half of it is a salad with a good variety of veggies, pickles, fruits and dressing. The other side is a flavorful coconut milk curry with grilled veggies. The whole dish is well presented and very tasty.
Other items including the coconut milk berry yogurt lassi and maple syrup brown sugar ice cream are great as well. Make sure to ask for no straw for drinks.
If you want to get something home, they also have some baked goods, including cookies, scones and cakes.