Staying Vegan In Japan And Reading Japanese Food Labels

Staying Vegan In Japan And Reading Japanese Food Labels

Hey guys,

at the moment I have a lot of things going on in my life, which is why I don’t have the time to find and try out new recipes to post them on my blog. Sorry for that!

But I’d like to share something else with you today…

I’d love to visit Japan this year! I’m super interested in the Japanese culture and I’ve heard a lot of great things about Japanese food.

But doing some reading online I realized that if you are a vegan and want to keep it that way, Japan might not be the best travel destination that you could choose.

Food labels in Japan are written in, guess what, Japanese! And as I don’t speak a word of Japanese, that could become a big problem for me. So what to do?

Get some help online, of course!

I stumbled upon this great blog which provides a lot of useful information on living in Japan as a vegan. One of the blog posts teaches you how to tell if a product is vegan.

Here are a couple of things that I’ve learned from the post:

  1. Of course the best solution is to learn how to read Japanese food labels. That doesn’t mean that you have to learn the language itself, but know what kanji symbols to look out for.
  2. Asking people about a product isn’t always helpful. If something contains emulsifier, a cashier might tell you that it’s not vegan, although the majority of emulsifier in Japan is made from soy.
  3. Japanese food labeling is not consistent, which makes it even harder for a foreigner like me to find something suitable.
  4. Google Translate is your friend. Use a smartphone to quickly find out what a label says.

I also found out that many times manufacturers do not have to add all the ingredients of a product to the ingredients lists. That’s a very strange rule and I really don’t like it.

It looks like I have to spend a lot more of my time reading up on this topic than I expected. Things were so much easier in Australia, but I want to visit Japan and other parts of Asia so bad, that not being able to read a food label won’t hold me back from doing this journey!

Be that as it may, I’d like to thank you for taking the time and actually reading what is going on in my brain right now. I hope I didn’t bore you and promise that I’m going to publish another super delicious vegan recipe sooooon!!!

Until then,


My name is Jennifer and I am the head cook here at It Ain’t Meat, Babe. I was born and raised in Ontario, Canada, but did a lot of traveling in my early life. I developed a passion for cooking a couple of years ago when I started to get more into healthy nutrition due to suffering from chronic, antibiotic-induced gut inflammation. Shortly after my diagnose, I decided to try cutting meat entirely out of my diet – and succeeded. I’ve been living without it ever since. And I’m the biggest fan of OZ (Australia)!

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