While Tokyo might have more Michelin-starred restaurants, foodies often flock to Kyoto for its vibrant food culture. As the former imperial city of Japan, Kyoto’s cuisine blends both traditional fare with modern tastes, focusing on delicate flavours. With a large population of Buddhist monks, it’s easy for vegans and vegetarians to find delicious dishes, too. From fine dining, to tea houses and casual eateries, vegans need not miss out on the exquisite food experiences that Kyoto has to offer. Here’s some vegan-friendly places we recommend for traditional Japanese dishes – some with a twist. Yuba One of the city’s specialities, Yuba – otherwise known as tofu skin or bean curd – is extremely versatile and nutritious. It’s made from the skin that appears when boiling soy milk. With a silky yet chewy texture, it can be cooked in a variety of ways and eaten on its own or served with vegetables. Make sure to try the Yuba and mushroom rice at Hale, located in the popular Nishiki market. The texture of the yuba is incredibly satisfying, and the sauce is mild and tasty. They often offer this generous rice bowl as part of their vegan lunch set, which includes pickled veggies, fresh chilled tofu and a seasonal vegetable dish. Hale, Nishiki-dori, 198-1 Why non-vegans will love these plant-based places in Hong Kong too Sushi One of the most challenging dishes to find veganised in Japan is sushi, because it’s usually cooked with dashi (fish stock). As a vegan, it’s quite embarrassing to have visited Japan without having tried sushi! Fortunately, there’s a superb restaurant called Ajiro which serves a set dinner of traditional Japanese dishes, including sushi. This is an unusual dining experience where you sit on the floor (tatami style) and are served one mouth-watering course after another with no menu provided. It’s evident why this place has a Michelin star: each dish is a work of art, with fresh seasonal ingredients and edible flowers used. The sushi is served with several side dishes and is so elegantly prepared. Ajiro, 28-3 Hanazonoteranomaecho, Ukyo Ward Wagashi (Japanese confectionery) If any country takes the cake (no pun intended) when it comes to desserts, it has to be Japan. With cute, carefully crafted mini desserts traditionally served in tea houses, Japanese confectionery are often vegan by default. Paired with the bitterness of matcha tea, appreciating Japanese confectionery is about enjoying the whole atmosphere. At Iyemon Salon Atelier, choose which wagashi you’d like from a large selection of fan favourites as well as daily choices which are all vegan. You’ll find hojicha, matcha and chocolate selections, among others. Enjoy traditional Japanese tea in a cosy setting and take your time cherishing each sweet bite. Iyemon Salon Atelier Kyoto, 481-1 Klyoicho Yasaka Tori Mae Sagaru, Chiso Building 1F, Higashiyama Burger King’s plant-based Impossible Whopper isn’t really vegan Gyoza These crispy and juicy pan-fried dumplings are a popular Japanese starter, but can be challenging to find without the meat. Fortunately, Pettirosso – a tiny fusion restaurant run by an Italian-Japanese couple – really delivers. Their menu is mostly vegan/vegetarian and uses natural, organic and local ingredients. The gyoza is crisp on the outside and filled with a vegan ricotta-like filling. You can taste the Mediterranean influence with each bite that practically melts in your mouth. The menu changes often depending on availability of ingredients, but the gyoza is a popular favourite. Pettirosso, Tominokōjidōri Shimogyō-ku 92-2 Matcha This fine powder of green tea leaves is traditionally served as tea during a Japanese tea ceremony, but matcha flavoured snacks and desserts have taken the world by storm. From matcha flavoured muffins, smoothies, chocolate and even beer, you can get your green tea fix in a variety of ways. One place worth checking out is Ain Soph Journey for the matcha pancakes. These fluffy gluten-free matcha infused pancakes are served with azuki beans, berries, vegan whipped cream, soy vanilla ice cream and a smooth matcha sauce. Perfect for breakfast or dessert, this indulgent dish will satisfy that matcha craving. Ain Soph Journey Kyoto, 538-6, Nakanocho, Nakagyo-ku 8 desserts that prove vegans can eat epic sweet treats Taco Rice Although not considered as “traditional” as the other items on this list, Taco rice was created in the eighties and has become a popular fixture in Japanese cuisine. Originating from Okinawa, you’ll find this dish in many restaurants in Kyoto. Some versions use sake or soy sauce for that extra Japanese punch. Mumokuteki serves up a vegan version using plant-based “meat” with rice, salad, guacamole, vegan sour cream and tortilla chips. This isn’t your typical taco bowl or taco salad that you’d find in the United States. The flavours are simple and the dish isn’t too spicy – characteristics of Japanese cuisine in general. Mumokuteki, 2F, Teramachi-dori Want more stories like this? Sign up here . Follow STYLE on Facebook , Instagram , YouTube and Twitter .