Non-Running Travel Recap: Adventures of a Vegetarian in Japan!

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Sooo I’m still not allowed to run after my bulging disc diagnosis.  But I’m trying to have fun anyway.  The latest: a trip to Japan!  My husband had wanted to see Tokyo and Kyoto for years, and before traveling to anywhere new that I wanted to go (like the TMB, planned for September!), we decided to check this one off his bucket list.  I was interested in experiencing Japan but I had one major concern: the food.  My husband eats most meats and fish, but as my readers know, I am a vegetarian.  The Japanese diet is very meat heavy, and especially seafood heavy, with fish broth — dashi — showing up in what feels like every. single. dish.  Plus, the concept of a vegetarian, I’d learned when doing my research, doesn’t exist in Japan.  Buddhists are sometimes vegan, but the ovo-lacto vegetarianism that is common in the U.S. doesn’t seem to have taken hold in Japan.   To cater to the small number of vegetarians that do exist in Japan, both Tokyo and Kyoto have some fully vegetarian and vegan outlets.  However, because my husband eats meat, that wasn’t going to be an option for every meal.  And I wanted to eat Japanese food, not just vegetarian food.  So I developed three food goals for the trip:

(1) Experience Japanese culture

(2) Eat food that tastes good

(3) Eat food that is nourishing.

In other words, I didn’t want to fill up on plain white rice or French pastries (which are everywhere in Japan!) or Japanese desserts (also everywhere!).  So here’s what I learned and ate on our trip, including my favorite picks for best vegetarian foods in Japan.

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