Once again back in Arashiyama, exploring and showing family members the charm of this district in Kyoto. We left them in a restaurant and needed to grab something for ourselves – a common issue you could come across when travelling with a mixed group of people with different diets in Japan.
We decided to visit Musubi Cafe, conveniently located just outside of the busy main area in Arashiyama, with vegan options on their menu such as curry, taco rice and pasta. They use ingredients locally sourced and provide dishes that are “gentle on the mind and body”.
Just a few minutes walk from the well-known Togetsukyo Bridge and in the middle of Arashiyamas two most popular attractions, bamboo forest and monkey park – it’s the ideal location for a spot to eat before exploring further. If you want to know what you can eat as a vegan at Musubi Cafe, keep reading!
Musubi Cafe space
A couple of months ago, we visited Musubi Sweets Factory and had some brilliant vegan cakes in Arashiyama. Once again, on the hunt for vegan food in Kyoto, I remembered that Musubi Sweets Factory also had a sister cafe serving lunch and dinners with vegan options!
The cafe has a lovely relaxed atmosphere with very friendly staff – a calming space to get a break from busy crowds and tourists who are just 5 mins away. Inside the cafe is bright and homely, furnished with simple wooden tables, dried flowers and some green plants which give the place a pop of colour.
The menu at Musubi Cafe
Musubi Cafe has both English and Japanese description on its menu, making it easy to navigate for those of us who can’t read the language. They have a different breakfast, lunch and dinner menu and although I was unable to have a look at their dinner options, the two I saw appear to be all vegan.
The blackboard shows two additional choices for that day’s lunch. Option A is always vegan-friendly and option B is a meat option.
Musubi Cafe also had a brilliant drink selection. It’s great to visit somewhere which has more than one vegan-friendly beverage, from soy lattes to juices, matcha lattes and soy yoghurt shakes, on top of teas, coffees and juices that don’t require milk.
Sweet options aren’t lacking either. With nine vegan and gluten-free desserts, there is something for everyone. Some of these options are available in their other cafe, but they have 2 desserts which are not – a musubi parfait which comes with ice cream and a butter sandwich.
Vegan food at Musubi Cafe
Chickpea and tomato curry lunch combo
This was Jonny’s choice which came with soup, salad, a mini smoothie and a rooibos tea.
The curry was very yummy, paired with such nice side dishes too. The colourful and crispy salad had a Japanese spin to it with the added seaweed topping, and the clear vegetable soup was light and tasty.
Price: ¥1,600 (£8.70/ $11.04)
Veggie bean curd soup with eggplant
I went for the “today’s special” option from the board and I’m very pleased that I did- it also came with soup, salad, smoothie, rooibos tea as well as three extra side dishes.
The main dish had more of a stew consistency than a soup and inside were tasty aubergines and great textured bean curds, which had similar consistency to mock minced meat – a very tasty and nourishing meal!
Price: ¥1,600 (£8.70/ $11.04)
I enjoy this style of eating where you can try lots of smaller dishes and flavours in one meal – it reminded me of this vegan cafe in Okayama. Both meals were so wholesome and although they were a great portion, with delicious side dishes they didn’t leave you feeling heavy.
I asked for a soymilk cafe au lait (or a soy latte) before realising the meals also come with two drinks. I ended up having four drinks in total, including the free water that we received as we sat down. This was not an issue, but It’s worth remembering that your set meals come with drinks if you don’t want your table filled with cups.
I didn’t have room for dessert which was unfortunate as I had my eye on the parfait. But, if you’d like to see some of the other options available, we tried 5 vegan cakes last time we visited their sister cafe in Arashiyama.
Things to do close by Musubi Cafe
- Walk the streets of Arashiyama
- Togetsukyo Bridge | 7 mins walk
- Arashiyama Monkey Park Iwatayama | 7 min walk
- Tenryu-Ji Temple | 10 min walk
- Gio-ji Temple | 31 min walk
Vegan option close to Musubi Cafe
V = Vegan, VO = Vegan Options
- Musubi Sweets Factory | V | 6 min walk
- Tenryu-ji Temple Shigetsu (Shojin-ryori) | V | 14 min walk
- eX Cafe (wagashi, matcha drinks with soy milk) | VO | 9 min walk
How to get to Musubi Cafe
1-8 Arashiyama Nishiichikawacho, Nishikyo Ward, Kyoto, 616-0003
3 min walk from Arashiyama Station
Monday to Sunday 10:30 – 18:00
Although Musubi Cafe is one of the only restaurants in Arashiyama with vegan options, it’s still a great option. It’s got hearty vegan food and a laid-back atmosphere which was a much-needed break after our early start. We will for sure be coming back when we next visit!
If you’re after more vegan options in Kyoto, check out this relaxing spot by the river.