What is it like to be a vegetarian in Japan? It’s difficult?

Conducting some research I found that it is not easy to be a vegetarian in Japan. Although Japan has a low cancer rate and a long life expectancy, it is not because they stop eating meat. In reality, the Japanese diet is made up of lots of meat everywhere, making life difficult for vegetarians or vegans.

Although you find several dishes that apparently do not have meat, most of them have sauce and broth with fish oil and meat, sometimes even the salad has fish flakes. Being a vegetarian in Japan is complicated, mainly due to the fact that in Japan it is not customary to change or remove any ingredient from a particular dish. Asking the cook not to add a certain item to the dish is considered rude and therefore some refuse to do so.

Vegetarian in japan

What is a vegetarian called in Japan?

Vegetarian in Japanese is called bejitarian (ベジタリアン) a word borrowed from English. The native Japanese concept is the saishokushugisha (菜食主義者) only that they can still eat fish.

The closest thing to strict vegetarianism that we know in the West is the shoujin ryouri (精進料理) or devotional cooking that comes from the practice of Buddhist monks with non-violence principles. Here they avoid eating even plants that need to kill the stem like potatoes and carrots.

Japan consumes a lot of meat, even in dishes that shouldn't have meat, they add. Research claims that only 0.08% of the Japanese are ideological vegetarians.

Vegetarian in japan

Suggestions for vegetarians in Japan

It can be difficult but it is not impossible to find vegetarian restaurants, especially in cities like Tokyo. Just do a brief search on Google Maps and find the location you want. In case it is difficult to find a vegetarian restaurant we recommend a list of dishes that do not have meat (I hope). Unfortunately buying vegetables and fruits at the market can be a little expensive, but nothing exorbitant. Take the opportunity to access some articles on the foods mentioned below by clicking on them:

In addition you can find industrialized products for vegetarians such as meat, hamburgers, small files and even soy sausages. Being a vegetarian in Japan can seem complicated, but despite the difficulty that people talk about locating, Japan is rich in choice and variety of foods. Do you know or have any tips? Leave it in the comments. Finally, I will leave a video with an interview that a friend did with a vegetarian who lives in Japan.

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