Japan’s first capital city is a gorgeous place filled with sights: flashy Dotonbori street, tranquil Osaka Castle, and Shitennoji Temple; one of the oldest temples in Japan – just to name a few! All the exploring is bound to work up an appetite, but where should you go if you follow a vegetarian or vegan diet? Thankfully, when it comes to vegan places in Osaka, there’s a ton of options available! Here are our favorite 3 start:
1. Organic and Vegetarian Cafe ATL
Cafe ATL is an all vegan cafe, located on a side street jutting off of the lively Shinsaibashi shopping arcade. Here, you can get away from the hustle and bustle of the shops and enjoy organic, handmade vegan treats while looking out of the window, people-watching and admiring the adorable puppies in the pet shop and grooming salon opposite.
Here you can grab a coffee and cake (the matcha and banana cake is gorgeous) with friends, or for 1500 yen there’s a set lunch menu comprising an appetiser, main meal, and drink (plus for 500 yen extra you can treat yourself to a cake too!). Featuring delicious options such as seasonal vegetable soup, in-house baked bagels with hummus, and rich curry, everything sold is vegan, organic, seasonal – and most importantly, delicious!
Psst – all their cakes are gluten-free!
Note: It’s on the second floor!
Shugetsu is an intimate ramen joint just off “Den-den Town” – Osaka’s answer to Akihabara, and a geek paradise filled to the brim with lively anime stores and fashionable second-hand English record shops. Amongst delicious meat offerings is a vegan ramen and self-serve salad bar, both of which can be ordered via a vending machine that greets you as soon as you enter the shop.
Unlike many other vegan ramens on offer in Japan, the broth is body-warmingly rich and thick thanks to the inclusion of soy milk! The creamy broth combined with the generous use of garlic creates a comforting flavour and texture reminiscent of carbonara.
Topped with seasonal vegetables, though rich and filling, this ramen isn’t sickly or heavy at all and will get you ready for a busy afternoon of yet more sights.
3. Kuromon Ichiba
When you have dietary restrictions, things like street food can seem like a distant dream; so when you’re travelling to somewhere like Osaka which is famous for it you can feel a bit left out. No fear! Kuromon Ichiba is a market street bound to delight and surprise you with all of it’s options.
It doesn’t matter at all whether you eat before you go or not – either way, the smells and sights of all the fresh food cooking away is going to make you absolutely ravenous. Away from the sushi, yakiniku skewers and famous takoyaki balls, there’s plenty of veggie options for you to enjoy; and being a market, every day will bring different treats.
For something substantial and savoury, you can grab a hot sweet potato; the crispy purple skin flakes away in your mouth to expose hot amber potato that just melts away in your mouth. When you inevitably burn your mouth rushing to eat your prize, you can cool it down with locally produced soy milk.
However, the market really comes into its own when it comes to sweet treats – pillowy mochi filled with azuki bean paste and a fresh, jewel-like strawberry sit on refrigerated counters, beckoning you with their gentle pastel colours. Skewers of fresh fruit, ready to be eaten just as they are can be grilled right in front of you. Be sure to try the yakipain (pronounced ya-key-pine) – grilled pineapple that is finished off with caramelised brown sugar. The hot sugar gives a sweet crunch to the chewy, tangy pineapple that you’ll keep craving long after you finish eating it.
Header image via @ghanim92