A Kanji Guide for Vegetarians and Vegans in Japan


It's not impossible to be a vegetarian or vegan in Japan. Just a little bit of planning is necessary. Understanding Japanese words and letters can make life much simpler. Fortunately, you don't have to be fluent in every Japanese kanji to use the method.

Packing Advice

Checking the ingredients list for the following phrase will help you quickly determine whether an item contains materials from animals: Itchibu ni...wo fukumu, which means "May contain the following..."

It can be challenging to identify where the offenders with animal origins might be hidden on a food packet covered in kanji. Our advice is to scan the ingredients list for the kanji contained within these brackets.

Check for an allergen information chart as an additional piece of advice. This is a practical method for swiftly identifying which primary allergens are present in the product.

Tips for eating out  

Going out to eat with friends might be intimidating, especially given that many Japanese restaurant employees are not particularly educated with vegetarian diets. Add a handwritten menu to this, and even Google translate is useless.

It's a good idea to keep an eye out for the most fundamental kanji or the phrases listed above to immediately spot problematic items: sakana (fish) niku (meat)

Additionally, katakana is used to write various things, including:





Even if you have the Happy Cow app, it can be challenging to locate vegetarian and vegan eateries in both urban and rural areas. What we advise is to perform a quick "" search on Google or Yahoo Maps to bring up a list of locations with vegetarian written in the review section. Additionally, you can look up more possibilities by searching the app for "" or "vegetable dishes." If you are really stuck, check to see if there is an Indian restaurant close by; the rice, dahl, and curries should all be vegetarian. Visit a sushi bar if you want to experience authentic Japanese cuisine; it's surprisingly a terrific alternative.

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