The Best Vegan Hiroshima Restaurants
Wondering what to eat as a vegan in Hiroshima? Well, I’ll be honest, Hiroshima definitely doesn’t have as many vegan restaurants as other Japanese cities such as Tokyo or Kyoto.
In fact, according to HappyCow, since Vegan Café closed there are no longer any fully vegan restaurants in Hiroshima. Although I’m pretty sure that one of the restaurants that’s listed as just having veg options is actually vegan (more on that below).
Nevertheless, there are quite a few vegan friendly Hiroshima restaurants with clearly marked vegan options. With a little bit of research and planning, you can eat really well as a vegan in Hiroshima. And you can even enjoy vegan versions of specialty dishes from Hiroshima cuisine!
In this vegan guide to Hiroshima, I’ll share my favorite restaurants in the city, as well as tips for finding even more vegan friendly restaurants (and for avoiding restaurants that appear to be vegan friendly but actually aren’t)
This small and cozy macrobiotic café tucked inside a health food store is one of the best places to eat in Hiroshima. It’s very centrally located near the Hiroshima Peace Park, so it’s an obvious choice for a lunch stop in between visiting the museum and the other peace memorials around the park.
On HappyCow it’s listed as serving both meat and veg options, but as far as I could tell the menu was fully vegan. I also read in the locally produced vegetarian guide from Get Hiroshima (described below) that Croissant Marché is the only 100% vegan restaurant in the city center.
They offer two types of set lunches every day — a vegan lunch and a vegan curry lunch. Exact ingredients vary each day, but the curry is a Japanese-style curry, and the vegan lunch is a healthy, macrobiotic version of the typical Japanese set lunch. This means a bowl of miso soup, brown rice, a main dish featuring tofu, seitan or legumes, and a few smaller vegetable dishes.
Everything we ate here was absolutely delicious, and at just 900 yen it was one of the best value meals of our month-long Japan trip. The space is very small, with just two tables and some counter seating.
But they also offer vegan bento boxes, so if you can’t get a seat you could take away a bento box and eat it in the park nearby. Or if you have a day trip or a long train journey ahead of you, picking up a bento here for the road would be a good idea.
And, if you’re doing any self-catering, you can stock up on hard-to-find vegan ingredients at the attached shop. They even have vegan bread, which is rare in Japan! The store is open every day except Sunday from 10 am to 7 pm, while lunch is served from 11:30 am to 2:30 pm.
Mimikou is a no-frills eatery specializing in curry udon soup, a dish local to Kyoto. The original Mimikou branch is in Kyoto itself, and when we ate there we were quite impressed with their full-page vegan menu.
But at Japanese chain restaurants, the menu often changes from one branch to the next, which is the case with Mimikou. In Hiroshima, they only have two vegan options: curry udon soup with sweet deep-fried tofu, and curry udon soup with “vegetable fritter sliced deep”.
Although it would have been nice to have more choice, the soup was very good, and they do understand what vegan means here. Like Croissant Marché, it’s also one of the best restaurants in Hiroshima for a casual dining experience that’s authentically Japanese.
It was quite a surprise to find this vegan friendly Tex-Mex restaurant in Hiroshima. It’s actually been around for more than 30 years, as proven by the dated graffiti on the walls.
I’m assuming the name is a reference to soul music legend Otis Redding, because the Japanese couple who run this place are obviously huge music fans.
In the evenings, the restaurant sometimes doubles as a live music venue, in which case there’s usually a cover charge. When we visited, though, there was no band playing. It was just us, a couple of other patrons and the owners, who are getting up in years but are still young at heart.
While I do encourage you to try local Hiroshima cuisine while you’re in town, this place is perfect for those who just can’t take any more rice or noodles. Otis serves up Tex-Mex favorites like tacos, enchiladas, chili sin carne, and nachos with guacamole.
OK, so it’s not as good as what you would get in Texas, but for Japan it’s not bad at all. Vegan options are clearly marked, and many of the dishes can be served with the restaurant’s own homemade vegan cheese. I recommend the enchiladas, and the nachos are pretty good too.
The one local Hiroshima food that you really must try is okonomiyaki. Sometimes called a “Japanese pizza”, okonomiyaki is really more like a savory pancake.
You may have already tasted this popular street food dish in Kyoto or Osaka, but the Hiroshima version is a bit different. The pancake is super thin and is almost completely hidden by the big helping of fried noodles that are an integral part of the dish.
Nowadays, there are several places that make vegan okonomiyaki in Hiroshima. The one we chose is called Kasane Gasane and is located on the sixth floor of the Full Focus building in front of Hiroshima train station.
In fact, this entire floor of the building is filled with dozens of okonomiyaki restaurants, where the food is cooked on a teppan grill right in front of you. It’s a classic Hiroshima dining experience!
Kasana Gasane understands very well what vegan means and has a dedicated vegan menu on their website. They use vegan sauce on request (be sure to ask for it). And in addition to the usual cabbage, soba noodles and green onions, they also offer mushrooms and soy ham as vegan toppings.
The staff here were quite friendly and helpful, and we really enjoyed the experience. We did have to wait a little while to be seated because there was a big group of Japanese students ahead of us, but it was worth the wait.
Other reportedly vegan-friendly okonomiyaki restaurants in Hiroshima include Icchan Okonomoyaki, Nagataya and Yakeppachi. Of these, Nagataya is the only one that has a website.
You can see their vegan options in the “only vegetables” section of the online menu. Two of the options look rather plain, and it’s unclear whether they offer vegan okonomiyaki sauce. The okonomiyaki with rice cakes, corn, garlic chips, green onions and soba noodles looks like it might be worth trying though.
Other Vegan Hiroshima Restaurant Recommendations
In addition to the vegan-friendly restaurants in Hiroshima reviewed above, there are quite a few more that I didn’t have a chance to try on this trip. Here are a couple that I definitely want to visit next time I’m in Hiroshima:
Kissasaeki Organic cafe 喫茶 さえき
Offers reasonably priced set lunch meals and breakfast meals. Most of the menu is vegan. The vegan katsu (breaded “pork” cutlet) sandwich gets great reviews.
This is the only fully vegetarian restaurant in Hiroshima, and most dishes here can be made vegan on request. It gets great reviews too, but I didn’t make it here because it’s quite far from the city center.
From the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum it’s about one hour on foot, and not much quicker by public transport. Open only for lunch, from 11 am to 4 pm.
For more restaurants that serve vegan food in Hiroshima, check out the Hiroshima and Western Honshu Vegetarian Guide published by Get Hiroshima in collaboration with the local tourism bureau.
This very useful guide covers not just the city of Hiroshima but also nearby places, including Miyajima, Okayama, Tottori, Shimane and Yamaguchi.
The publication was supervised by the Japan Vegetarian Society, so it should be more trustworthy than crowdsourced directories. Although, since it was published in March 2019, it’s not as up to date as online guides like HappyCow. For example, the Art Café Elk is included in this guide but has been closed for more than a year.
I recommend using the Get Hiroshima guide in conjunction with HappyCow, with the caveat that HappyCow users sometimes inadvertently recommend places that are not vegan-friendly. See the example below.
Hiroshima Restaurants to Avoid
Ume no Hana
A restaurant specializing in all different kinds of tofu dishes. Sounds like heaven for vegans, right? Well, in Japan it’s not that simple.
Most Japanese restaurants use katsuo dashi, a fish-based stock, as the base for the majority of their dishes. This means that even seemingly vegan tofu dishes often contain hidden animal-based ingredients.
Unfortunately, that’s the case at Ume no Hana. I found this place listed on HappyCow, where it got great reviews from vegan travelers. Other vegan bloggers have also raved about it on their own websites.
But when we arrived, we saw this message printed on the front of the English menu:
While the wording made it sound like there might still be a few vegan options, when we checked with the staff it was clear that that was just a polite Japanese way of saying that they had nothing for us.
I’ve reported the issue to HappyCow, and Ume no Nano seems to have been removed from their database. This is definitely not an isolated case, though, so take online reviews with a grain of salt.
I’m not saying you shouldn’t use HappyCow. On the contrary, I’d say it’s almost essential for vegans and vegetarians traveling in Japan. But do take into account who has written the reviews.
If it’s written by a local or by someone who says they confirmed in Japanese with the staff about vegan options, then you’re good to go. But if it’s written by a tourist who doesn’t speak Japanese and may not know much about Japanese cuisine and the non-vegan ingredients to look out for, keep this in mind.
If you don’t speak Japanese, I recommend printing out the card you’ll find at the bottom of this article and showing it to restaurant staff.
Wondering what there is to do in Hiroshima besides eat? See my complete Hiroshima travel guide and itinerary!
Photos by The Nomadic Vegan. All rights reserved.