Traditional, healthy Japanese cuisine at the only dedicated vegan eatery in central Hiroshima city.
We (and many vegan travelers passing through Hiroshima) were dismayed when the first incarnation of the Vegan Cafe closed a couple of years ago. So, we were very pleased when we heard that it has been reborn in the same location (below the Shanti Yoga studio in Mikawa-cho just south of Don Quijote).
This time around, the cafe is focused on shojin-ryouri, traditional Japanese Buddhist cuisine that doesn’t use any animal products. Everyday, they serve beautifully presented set meals consisting of around 6 small dishes, rice and miso soup, followed by dessert and matcha green tea.
The cafe now consists of a single tatami mat room of traditional design with very minimal, but pleasing decor.
Thin square floor cushions are arranged in two lines of 5, one along the wall and the other along the windows that run the length of the room. Sitting on the floor, I think the idea is that diners sit in a line with their backs to the wall or window respectively, facing the customers on the other side of the room. This felt a bit strange and my dining companion and I chose to turn sideways so that we could face each other. This didn’t seem to be a problem.
The dishes are presented on low four-legged trays with your chopsticks wrapped in an origami peace crane made with gorgeous paper – a very nice touch. The staff are very friendly and greet their customers very warmly. The day’s menu is handwritten on Japanese washi paper in beautiful and, for many, unreadable Japanese script. The staff explain the dishes that will be presented and also do their best to explain in English.
Shojin-ryori has a reputation for being pleasing to the eye than satisfying the appetite, and I was a little worried that I would leave hungry. This was actually far from the case, especially after rounding of the meal with a delicious dessert and matcha tea.
Only 30 meals are prepared each day and they are served from 12pm until whenever they sell out. For this reason, it is recommended that you call ahead and make a reservation, but walk ins are fine if you are willing to risk disappointment.
Vegan lunches are available Tuesday to Friday from 12pm for ¥1500 (including dessert and a drink) and on Saturdays, Sundays and National Holidays for ¥2000 (including dessert and matcha green tea).
Lunches are not served on Mondays, but they do serve fresh green smoothies.
Follow the Vegan Cafe on Instagram for daily doses of positivity.
Address: 2F 2-20 Mikawa-cho, Naka-ku Hiroshima-shi
Address in Japanese: 広島市中区三川町2-20 mandano BLD.2F