If you ever get a craving for Japanese food (which is me every other day), it’s difficult to just go out and get it. From hidden fish stock to meat, dairy and egg inside foods, it’s not the most easily accessible unless you make it yourself.
Azekuraya is a traditional Japanese restaurant in Nara with vegan options to satisfy those cravings. This restaurant in between Todaiji and Nigatsudo temple is the perfect lunch spot when coming to visit the Nara deers, especially when travelling with a group of people with mixed diets.
So if you’re planning a trip and in need of vegan food options in Nara, let me tell you more about Azekuray, a great, affordable option for your Nara adventures!
On first glance:
V/ VO: Vegan Options
Cost: ¥500 – ¥1,200
Payment: Card and cash accepted
Vegan options in Nara
This tea house and traditional Japanese restaurant within Nara Park is in a great location for those who want to come and visit the deers and visit the popular temples. Conveniently located just below Nigatsudo temple, this simple Japanese restaurant offers food that hits the spot and recharges you to carry on exploring the area.
The inside is very stereotypical of Japanese restaurants, with the option to sit at tables or bar-style seating, which reminded me of this restaurant in Miyajima. Inside Azekuraya isn’t very big so I would recommend at a maximum, a group of four come here to eat unless you don’t mind sitting at different tables.
The menu at Azekuraya
At Azekuraya, they have an English menu that lists what is in each item. There are a few different things you can order if you’re vegan or vegetarian, as long as you change the soup to the vegetarian soup for an extra ¥100.
For each dish, you have the option to choose from thicker udon noodles or soba noodles made from buckwheat. I love both types of noodles but on this occasion, we both decided to go for udon noodles.
Make sure you don’t accidentally order anything that has fish paste, meat stock or any other animal products inside which will be listed on the menu.
Things that can be made vegan at Azekuraya
The following items should be suitable for those who are vegetarian or vegan as long as the soup gets changed to the vegetarian soup.
- Hifu Set
- Ume Nyuumen
Although it doesn’t specify, I would be cautious about the curry noodles on the menu as Japanese curry tends to have animal products inside.
Be warned: If you get a pink and white half circle on your meal (have a look at the menu pictures for what I mean), that is a type of processed seafood called Kamaboko, so make sure not to eat it!
Although this restaurant in Nara offers vegetarian meals with options to change to vegetarian soup, the concept that people don’t eat animal products is not understood in the same way in Japan as it is in a lot of countries.
Let me show you what we ordered ↓
A warm bowl of udon in a vegetarian soup, topped with fried bean curd and a sprinkle of onions. The udon noodles are lovely and chewy, the broth flavours are simple yet tasty and the bean curd gives the dish a wonderful texture. A simple dish you can get at Azekuraya Nara for vegetarians that’ll leave you full and satisfied.
Price: ¥770 (£4.18/ $5.21)
Hiru Set (udon)
A warm udon dish with fried bean curd, Welsh onion, and edible wild plants in the soup, also comes with a bowl of rice, pickles and a dessert. Since living in Japan, I’ve adopted a new habit where I like to share a bowl of rice with Jonny to dip into any meal that comes with broth/ soup, so I had to try this set meal!
The dessert is a type of wagashi (tea sweet) and we got warabimochi (bracken starch) covered in kinako (soybean flour) and kuromitsu syrup (a Japanese sugar syrup).
This was the first time I had tried warabimochi, a floppy, jelly-like dessert, and I wasn’t initially sure how to feel about it. I’ve since tried it a few more times and I actively enjoy it. It’s a very sweet dessert but not the same type of sweetness you get from Western desserts.
I also enjoy the powdery soybean flour which is sprinkled on top of the dessert. However, if you try it for the first time, the dryness might take you by surprise!
Price: ¥1045 (£5.67 / $7.07)
Things to do close to Azekuraya
- Nara Park | 8 min walk
- Todaiji Temple | 4 min walk
- Nigatsudo Temple | 5 min walk
- Yoshikien Garden | 10 min walk
Vegan options close to Azekuraya
V = Vegan, VO = Vegan Option
- Vegan Cafe Ramuna | V | 23 min walk
- Kururu | V | 26 min walk
- Onwa | V | 47 min walk
- Wakakusa Curry | VO | 27 min walk
How to get to Azekuraya
630-8211, 407 Zoshicho, Nara-shi, Nara-ken
21 min walk to Kintetsu Nara Station
39 min walk to Nara Station
Monday to Sunday 11:00 – 16:00
Looking for more restaurants that you can visit with people of mixed diets? We recently went to Kyoto Engine Ramen with our family where everyone had an amazing meal and left feeling super happy, check it out!