Delicious Vegetarian Dining at Saishoku-Kenbi, located in the Koi area in the west of Hiroshima city. It is about 20 minutes outside of the city center. Saishoku Kenbi is one of only two completely meat and fish-free eateries we have in the Hiroshima city area (the other is Shanti Vegan Cafe).
When I first started ordering vegetarian meals in Japan, we would describe ourselves as “saishoku-shugi-sha” since people were puzzled as to why we wanted the dish without the “main” meat ingredients, we described ourselves as people who eat vegetables. It was nice to then come across this great little vegetarian diner using the same word in its title”saishoku” 菜食 (vegetarian diet). Luckily it is becoming more commonly understood in Japan. In fact, sometimes you can even get away with saying “vegetarian” and be understood.
The lunch set is available everyday from 12-2pm and changes monthly. It is a delicious combination of Japanese foods cooked without meat or fish (even in the broth or sauces). Many of the main dishes utilize vegetarian meats, so if you are able to read the menu and see “chicken” or “mince” don’t worry, it is referring to veggie meats. Veggie burgers, sandwiches and a variety of other vegetarian items are also available on the menu. S.K also sells the best selection of soy and veggie meats that I have seen in both dried packets and ready to cook frozen form as well.
The frozen veggie-meats compare well with Morning Star frozen ham, sausage and chicken in the U.S. The dried soy mince and other options are similar to what is available in Health Food stores in the US or via Alishan Tengu online vegetarian and health foods available from their location in Japan. I was surprised that some of the products available are from Japanese companies like S&B but packaged for export (written in Chinese) which makes you wonder if there is a larger market for vegetarians in China than in Japan. I do remember having some amazing Chinese vegetarian dishes that looked and tasted just like the meat versions in Beijing.
Saishoku-Kenbi is located 2km up the main street behind the Nishi-Hiroshima train station, unfortunately the road is narrow and there is no sidewalk if you are on foot, but there is a local bus that will take you up the hill for a small fee. If you’re unsure of the location, a taxi from Nishi-Hiroshima station would be a good option (show the driver the address in Japanese below) and would likely cost just over 700 yen. If coming from town, it would likely cost between 1,500-2,000 yen for a taxi from the Peace park area.
Golden Week (5/3-5) Buffet Dining available for ¥1,800 (adults) Elementary kids ¥1,000 and kids under 6 yrs are only ¥500 (kids under 3- free). 11:00-16:00, eat as much as you like for up to 90 minutes. Take-out burgers, grilled veggie-meats (like yaki-tori), sandwiches, pizza and other dishes are also available from ¥450-680 each (11:00-15:00). Order the omakase (Chef’s Recommendation) bento lunch for ¥800 which includes a variety of Japanese dishes and vegetarian-meat dishes- this has to be ordered in advance (at least a day), if ordering 10 or more bento they ask you to order at least 3 days in advance.
- Hours: Open Everyday except Tuesday: 11:00-16:00 (last order 15:00). Lunch: 11-14, Tea time: 14-16:00
- Address & Tel: 4-32-2 Koui-kami, Nishi-ku, Hiroshima-city 733-0815 (Japanese: 〒733-0815 広島市西区己斐上4丁目32-2)
- TEL: 082-271-3770
- FAX: 082-271-3770
There are a few other restaurants in this chain in Tokyo and Osaka and were recommended by the Japanese vegetarian society website.