I’m comin’ atcha from rainy Newcastle and TBH there’s nowhere else I’d rather be! My three weeks in Japan were dope AF and we wrapped things up with 4 nights in Tokyo for some eating, shopping and sightseeing.
You may remember that there was a sneaky first day in Tokyo at the beginning of the trip so we’ll start there for the sake of keeping things simple. To make the most of the 5.30AM arrival time, we headed off to Sanrio Puroland to check out all the of the Hello Kitty goodness. It’s completely indoors, so a great option for a rainy day and while it won’t fill your whole day, it’s fun for kids and adults to walk around and enjoy the super kawaii surroundings. There wasn’t really anything in terms of vegan food but I was reunited with my old pal, melon soda.
After all the excitement of Sanrio Puroland, we decided to hit T’s TanTan; a vegan ramen joint inside Tokyo Station. Set meals are pretty inexpensive, the surroundings are fresh and cute little veggie quotes cover the walls. I opted for the plain ramen with a side of soy meat, what a substantial meal at a great price!
The next day we swung by Harajuku to see if we could spot any amazing street outfits. Unfortunately we didn’t but got to hit up Crayon House for lunch. This place isn’t all vego or vegan, so ask one of the staff and they should be able to point out what you can have. I had some salads, noodles and onion rings, while it was a fine meal it definitely wasn’t anything to write home about so probably wouldn’t go again unless it was to check out the adjoining grocery!
Back to the final days of our trip and for lunch on our arrival back to Tokyo, we headed back to T’s TanTan and apparently so did everybody else! After a short wait we were seated and I grabbed the soy sauce ramen with another side of soy meat. This one was definitely my fave; much more fresh and light but equally as filling so I couldn’t finish it all.
That night it was off to Ain Soph. Ripple, one of three fast food restaurants in the Tokyo area to scoff down some delicious vegan junk food. This seemed to turn into the burger tour of Japan so in keeping with that theme I rolled with a crispy chicken burger and cheesy fries. The faux chicken patty was nicely spiced and had a pretty good texture (although a tad chewy), the cheesy fries were also very tasty and the sauce had a nice tang to it. I followed things up with a little tiramisu in a jar, definitely grab one if you have the chance!
Harajuku round two was on the cards for the following day to do some serious kawaii shopping. I was super pumped to give Cori Vegan Foodstand a try and on one of the days when I was the absolute hungriest, it appeared to be closed for no obvious reason. We disappointedly headed down to Hanada Rosso to try and find something to eat. Their vegan burger seemed very well reviewed so simply had to cram one in, so I did. It was very satisfying, a bit meaty and full of veg and flavour, the fries, salad and strawberry shake (more of a smoothie) were all welcome accompaniments too.
The afternoon was spent in Shibuya, continuing to shop up a storm before heading back to Shinjuku for dinner at one of my all time Tokyo faves: Chaya! Located on the top of the Isetan building in the thick of Shinjuku, Chaya serves macrobiotic cuisine consisting of largely vegan meals with some seafood (it’s pretty easy to figure out but ask if you need help). This place does feel a little fancier (with a price to match) so if you’re looking to dress up, this is the time to do it. I ordered the set meal which came with an amuse bouche of what I think was just hummus, still good though. It was followed by a starter of corn gratin and tomato carpaccio before the main meal of a Japanese style burger (no bun) and cold potato soup. I love the freshness of the meals at Chaya, which is why I continue to go back despite the price tag and even order cake, which I don’t usually do. Check out the strawberry shortcake!
Mt. Fuji was the next location we had to tick off our list so we hopped a coupla trains to Lake Kawaguchi to try and catch a look. We won’t go into the food situation (literally zero) so we grabbed a couple of snacks to tide us over until our early dinner at Lima Cafe near our hotel in Shinjuku. It’s a limited yet tasty menu, I opted for the burger (weird, huh?) which came with salad and a soup plus a cheesecake because I was bloody starving.
We had the next day set aside for last minute shopping so got stuck in around Shinkjuku before heading to Harajuku to try for Cori Vegan Foodstand and it was still freaking closed so we then went to 8ablish and were seated for lunch before being told that we had missed the last order by 15 minutes (WHY SEAT US THEN?!) we left frustrated and headed to MOS Burger Cafe for some soy burger goodness to save us from the hunger that threatened the success of our shopping day.
Earlier in the week I came across Doughnut Plant in Lumine EST and attempted to buy a doughnut. Now, I say attempted because as I told my friend the doughnut I was going to get (of which there were plenty), the woman behind the counter quickly removed them all and put them in another cabinet and when I asked to buy one, she refused. I’m sure she had a perfectly valid reason but it was weird and I wanted a freaking doughnut. I went back after our jaunt in Harajuku and was #blessed with the opportunity to grab a cranberry soy milk doughnut and not only was I allowed to buy it but the same woman remembered the one she had denied me days earlier! One of life’s great mysteries, huh?
I enjoyed that doughnut after having precisely zero energy to track down dinner, so hit up Lima’s grocery section to pick up some ramen and ice cream to enjoy from the comfort of my hotel room. This vegetable ramen was exactly what I was after; fresh, light and satisfying plus the ice cream was a nice little pre-treat before the doughnut (I was on holiday, leave me alone!)
On our last day in Japan we decided to hit Ueno Park to catch some culcha and naycha so hopped on the train. The park is massive and home to many galleries (and a zoo, booooo-urns) but we thought the Natural History Museum looked cool so gave it a go. Some of it is in English and for less than $10 to get in, it is really worth the fee because you could spend a whole day in there if you wanted to! We checked out plenty of animal and plant exhibits, copped some science info and went on our merry way back to Lima Cafe for one last meal; this time I grabbed the soy meat bowl and a brown rice soft serve. They also have a bunch of takeaway options so we grabbed a couple of wrapped bao-style buns for the airport.
And with that, the trip was over. We hopped on our plane, had a relatively smooth and quick flight home and then had the most annoying bus + train back to Newy of all time. But I’m home now, with my dog (dogs if you include Gia, which I do because I look after her a lot!) The first thing I ate? I Vegemite sandwich, mate!
My Japan Wrap Up will be up next week but until then, I hope you’ve enjoyed coming along on my trip to Japan as much as I’ve enjoyed sharing it with y’all!
1-31 Ochiai, Tama
Tokyo Station, 1F, Keiyo Street
Kita-Aoyama 3-8-15, Omote Sando
Ain Soph. Ripple
Shinjuku-ku Kabuki-cho 2-46-8 Nissho Building 1F
6-28-5 Jingu Mae Suite 101, Shibuya Ku
Isetan Department Store, Main Building 7F, 3-14-1 Shinjuku
Tokyo Shinjuku-ku, Yoyogi 2-23-1
160-0022 Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 3-38-1