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Vegetarians in Japan

Did you know, Japanese people were used to be vegetarians? Due to Buddhist vegetarianism, Japanese people were at least pescetarians (seafood eating vegetarian) because traditional Japanese diet did not include regular intake of meat. (around 700A.D, killing animals for eating was once forbidden by the emperor; thus people stopped doing so)  Regular Japanese people used to eat rice, miso soup, and one vegetable dish in one meal time. Their major protein intake source was soy beans; some fish were served during special occasions such as weddings. Western culture came and brought the idea of meat eating back about 150 years ago.

Current Vegetarian population in Japan

According to Japan Vegetarian Society ( , about 9% of Japanese population are vegetarians. The popularity of vegetarianism in Japan is on rise; this is due to an influence of the same global movement.

Macrobiotic  (Japanese origin vegetarianism that is popular amongst celebrities in USA)

In early 20th century Nyoichi Sakurazawa found the basic idea of his new diet from his own curing experience of tuberculosis. Macrobiotic diet “emphasizes locally grown whole grain cereals, pulses (legumes), vegetables, edible seaweed, fermented soy products and fruit, combined into meals according to the ancient Chinese principle of balance known as yin and yang.” (from Wikipedia)

This strict diet still has followers in Japan; often people with chronic conditions such as eczema, find this diet helpful to improve their condition. Due to Japan to be the birth place of this diet, it is much easier to follow this diet regime in Japan. There are books and on line communities available for more information.

Alternative Meat

There are many alternative meat products in western countries; in Japan, the famous meat alternative would be the soy meat. This product is widely available in supermarkets as well as online shops. Many different manufactures are producing a great variety. Obviously, Tofu products are also popular; people are able to find many different types of tofu to choose from.

Vegetarian restaurants in Japan

Japan Vegetarian Society is awarding certificates for restaurants that are offering satisfying vegetarian menu. On this site, there is a list of approved restaurants. It is a trend to eat healthily amongst well-off females; they would go to lunch in fashionable /gourmet cafes and restaurants that serve organic food. There are many choices if you look on line; some serve visually attractive as well as tasty dishes to attracts costumers who are into social media! Japanese food business is well known for its presentation. Vegetarian food business would  have a potential to bloom in Japan; due fertile volcanic soil, Japanese vegetables and fruits are tasty as itself. More and more Japanese farmers are into producing organic and high quality crops due to competitions against cheep foreign import.


Lately, food allergy is getting more severe amongst people all over the world; Japan is not exception. Allergy warning on food is more visible than before in supermarkets and restaurants which expended often to meat. The most important thing to remember for vegetarians in Japan, would be that fish broth is regularly used  in the majority of Japanese dish. “Vegetarian option”  might be available swapping the fish broth to seaweed alternative. But it’s the best to check before you eat.



Related links:
Kosher food in Japan
The latest information for Halal food In Japan
The latest update about vegans in Japan
Eating out in Japan without making a fool of yourself
Religious in Japan


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