Vegan in Japan: 4 Veg-Friendly Eateries in Kamakura
By Ashley Owen
On March 30, 2018
Kamakura, a beautiful seaside getaway just outside Tokyo, is refreshingly vegan-friendly for a relatively small city. Here are four great establishments that are sure to satisfy you during your visit — two of which even have ocean views!
1. SairamPhoto by Ashley Owen
In terms of location, Sairam is hard to beat: it’s just opposite the beach and offers a fabulous ocean front vista from both the seating area indoors and its spacious outdoor deck. The restaurant has a very chilled out, eco-friendly vibe, with big windows and wooden furniture. From the no-shoes policy to the relaxing background music, the calming atmosphere envelops you right from the start.
Although a little on the pricey side, the food here is entirely vegan, organic and also free from white sugar. They offer a self-service buffet with a variety of salads, curries and pasta dishes (¥450/100g) as well as some à la carte options. If you go for the buffet, you can add rice and soup or bread and soup to your meal for an extra ¥500.
They also offer lunch sets, which come with a selection of small but tastefully-presented appetizers and a soup. The English on their menus is somewhat limited, but there are plenty of images to help you decide what to order.
Without a doubt, the highlight of Sairam’s menu is the French toast dessert (¥1,800). The bread is fluffy, warm, thick and chewy, and it comes served with both soy cream and soy ice cream. Plus it’s sprinkled with seeds and dried fruit so you can pretend it’s still healthy!
- Location: On the seafront, a 6-minutes walk from Hase station
- Address: 20-11 Sakanoshita, Kamakura, Kanagawa 248-0021
- Tel: 0467-61-1831
- Opening hours: 11:30 a.m.-6 p.m. (LO 5:30 p.m.). Closes at 5 p.m. November-March, closed on Wednesdays and Thursdays
2. VegetusPhoto by Ashley Owen
If you’re after an upmarket vegan dining experience, look no further than Vegetus. It offers a completely plant-based, multi-course set menu for ¥4,500, with dishes that change with the seasons. The restaurant itself is small, with just one table for four and six seats at the counter. Combined with the sophisticated décor, this creates an intimate atmosphere that’s perfect for a date night.
The food at Vegetus is exquisite. Each course is beautifully presented and clearly made with care. First you’ll be served an amuse-bouche, followed by a plate of three or four small appetizers. You then have a choice between two main courses and two rice or pasta dishes (an English menu is available). The meal is rounded off with dessert and your choice of tea. Other alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks are also available to buy separately.
Highlights from our visit included the pan-fried tempeh — seasoned perfectly with chives and pesto — and the capellini dish. Served with a crushed edamame and miso sauce, it was a delicious Japanese take on a Western-style pasta dish. What’s most impressive about Vegetus is that the owner runs the restaurant entirely by herself. If you happen to visit when the restaurant is full this could mean the service is a little slow, but trust me — the food is worth the wait
- Location: A few minutes’ walk from Kamakura station
- Address: 2F, 10-13 Onarimachi, Kamakura, Kanagawa 248-0012
- Tel: 0467-67-6675
- Opening hours: 5 p.m.-10 p.m. Closed Thursdays
3. Kamakura 24sekkiPhoto by Ashley Owen
Kamakura 24sekki is a charming vegan bakery with a small café area, located in a residential neighborhood between Kamakura and Hase stations. It gets its unusual name from the 24 seasonal divisions of the solar year in the old Chinese and Japanese calendars. It’s extremely welcoming and relaxed, with friendly and attentive staff — the sort of place where you can happily while away the time with a hot drink and a good book.
They have a small lunch menu consisting of a variety of soup-and-sandwich sets for around ¥1,200 each. As well as fresh veggies, filling options include tofu cutlets, lentil pâté and home-made melty vegan cheese. Being a bakery, they of course make all their own bread on-site, and you can really taste the quality compared to store-bought bread. You also have the option to upgrade to bran bread for an extra ¥20 or spelt bread for an extra ¥50.
For dessert you can choose from the selection of freshly-made vegan baked goods on display by the counter, including muffins, cinnamon rolls and donuts. These are all available to take out as well, along with an assortment of different breads such as olive baguettes and fruit-and-nut loaves, so make sure you check it out before you leave.
- Location: 20-minute walk from Kamakura and Hase stations
- Address: 923-8 Tokiwa, Kamakura, Kanagawa 248-0022
- Tel: 0467-81-5004
- Opening hours: 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday-Sunday. Closed Monday-Thursday
4. MagokoroPhoto by Ashley Owen
Located on the seafront, Magokoro has a very friendly and laid back vibe. Unlike the other eateries on this list, it’s not entirely veggie. However, they have an English menu which clearly labels the options available for vegetarians and vegans, and if you tell your server that you’re vegan they’ll be happy to confirm what’s suitable.
The café is hemp-themed and pretty much every dish is made using some form of the ingredient, giving the food a unique, nutty flavor. There’s a choice of a daily plate (¥1,200) and a curry plate (¥1,180), both of which come with salad, rice and a selection of small side dishes, plus a soup and bread set (¥780). When it comes to dessert, there’s a seasonal vegan cake, soy and hemp gelato (¥560) and a vegan parfait (¥810). The soft and creamy ice cream comes in chocolate or vanilla, and is topped with hemp seeds, adding a nice crunchy texture to the dish. Magokoro also has a well-stocked bar and occasionally hosts live music events in the evening. If you visit during the day, make sure you sit at the window for a great view of the ocean while you eat!
- Location: On the seafront, a 4-minutes walk from Hase station
- Address: 2F, 2-8-11 Hase, Kamakura, Kanagawa 248-0016
- Tel: 0467-38-7355
- Opening hours: 9 a.m.-11 p.m. Closed on Mondays (Tuesday if Monday is a holiday)
If you’re interested to try out some other veg-friendly dining spots in this coastal city, here are a few that were on our list but we haven’t made it to — yet!
- Sorafune (Kamakura Vegetable Cafe). A vegan restaurant serving traditional Japanese cuisine (map).
- Natudeco. A vegetarian restaurant with many vegan options (map).
- Hachinoki. An omnivorous restaurant that also serves shoujin ryori (Buddhist vegetarian cuisine) (map).
As you can see, there are some great options for vegans living in — or wanting to visit — Kamakura. A visit to this historic city by the sea also means a chance to try out some scenic and delicious vegetarian eateries for a meal out at your destination. Happy eating!
Do you know of any other great places veggie visitors to Kamakura should check out? Let us know in the comments!