For part three of this series looking at vegan-friendly restaurants in different Japanese cities, we journey to the city of Hiroshima. At the time of writing, there appear to be no 100 percent vegan restaurants here since Shanti Yoga Vegan Café closed in December 2017. However, this doesn’t mean that you have to go hungry!
Here are four omnivorous eateries in Hiroshima City that offer dedicated vegan menus and will leave you feeling satisfied whatever your diet.
This delightful coffee shop and café prides itself on its use of local, organic food and avoidance of chemical and genetically modified ingredients. Like all of the eateries on this list, it serves both meat dishes and vegan options without it feeling like a compromise. Inside, Kissa Saeki is peaceful, spacious and elegantly decorated — perfect for small groups and solo diners. The food is tastefully presented, and the prices are also very reasonable. It offers a range of lunch sets as well as a breakfast set, and a variety of hot and cold drinks. The vegan katsu (cutlet) sandwich in particular is delicious and made with bread from a local bakery that you can buy in loaves at the counter to take away. For dessert, make sure you try the chocolate tart. Not only is it vegan, raw and sugar-free, it’s absolutely heavenly!
- Location: Near Kamiyacho Higashi station
- Address: 1-4-25 Kamiyacho, Naka-ku, Hiroshima 730-0031
- Tel: 082-246-9339
- Opening hours: 7:30 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday to Friday; 9 a.m.-8 p.m. Saturday. Closed on Sundays.
Art Café Elk
Art Café Elk is a cozy restaurant tucked away on the second floor of a building not far from the Peace Park. The menu offers a range of plant-based versions of Japanese dishes, including yakiudon (stir-fried thick wheat noodles) and karaage (deep-fried chicken). If you can’t make up your mind, the vegan Japanese platter is a great choice, as it comes with a delicious selection of different traditional dishes. If you’re extra hungry, it can be ordered with a side of vegetable tempura as well. Gluten free options are also available.
Be sure to leave room for dessert, because you won’t be disappointed! The chocolate cake is rich and moist, and the banana spring rolls are the perfect combination of crispy on the outside and gooey in the center. All the food is beautifully presented, and the café has a good selection of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks available too.
- Location: Just over the river from the Peace Park
- Address: 2F Nakahara Building 1-7-23 Otemachi, Naka-ku, Hiroshima 730-0051
- Tel: 082-247-4443
- Opening hours: 10:30 a.m.-4 p.m.; 6 p.m.-10 p.m. Closed on Wednesdays.
Otis! is a funky Tex-Mex eatery and live music venue with a homely feel and tons of character. It’s run by a friendly older Japanese couple who have a good understanding of veganism.
The clearly-labeled menu offers a variety of plant-based Tex-Mex dishes including chili, nachos, enchiladas and pizza that all come with homemade soy cheese. If you don’t fancy Tex-Mex, other options include curry, soup and sandwiches. Generous portions of vegan cake are also available.
The food here may not be high-end, but it’s great-tasting comfort food and perfect if you want a change from Japanese cuisine. Don’t forget to check the schedule on their website to find out when they have live music, as there will normally be a cover charge on those evenings.
- Location: A few minutes south of the Peace Park
- Address: 1-20 Kakomachi, Naka-ku, Hiroshima 730-0812
- Tel: 082-249-3885
- Opening hours: Noon-11 p.m. Monday to Saturday; 5 p.m.-11 p.m. Sunday and holidays.
No trip to Hiroshima would be complete without trying some local okonomiyaki (savory fried pancake). While this dish is usually not suitable for vegans due to the use of eggs in the batter, Nagata-ya has a special “vegetables only” section on its menu offering three different types of vegan okonomiyaki (for vegetarians, the choice goes up to nine). If you tell the server that you’re vegan, they’ll also make sure to only give you vegan-friendly sauces.
You can choose to sit at the counter or a table, both of which have hot grill plates to keep your food warm as you eat. If you opt for a counter seat, you can watch the chef prepare your food right in front of you. Just be aware that this restaurant is very popular with tourists, so try to avoid peak hours if you can — or be prepared to queue!
The food here is simple but delicious, and it’s great to have the chance to try some vegan-friendly traditional local cuisine.
- Location: Just over the river from the Peace Park
- Address: Shigeishi Building 1F, 1-7-19 Otemachi, Naka-ku, Hiroshima 730-0051
- Tel: 082-247-0787
- Opening hours: 11 a.m.-8:30 p.m. Closed Tuesdays and the fourth Wednesday of the month.
If you’re interested to try out some other veg-friendly dining spots in this peaceful city, here are a few that were on our list but we haven’t made it to — yet!
- Roopali. An Indian restaurant with veggie options (map).
- Saishokukenbi. A vegetarian restaurant serving a wide range of Japanese and Western dishes (map).
Happy vegan travels!
Do you know of any other vegan-friendly places in Hiroshima that are worth visiting? Let us know in the comments!