Japanese cuisine is widely diverse and often considered healthy. However, travelling across Japan with special dietary needs, like being vegetarian or vegan, having celiac disease, or adhering to kosher or halal diets, can be challenging.
Besides the difficulty of identifying unfamiliar ingredients (especially without proficiency in Japanese), another significant challenge you might encounter while travelling in Japan is that dietary needs are not always catered to. Merely mentioning you have a special dietary need or are avoiding animal products might not be enough. You'll likely need to explain in more detail what foods or drinks you can or cannot have - but please be mindful that such requests are uncommon and may even be considered rude. So some restaurants may not be able to accommodate them.
If you’re booking accommodations such as a ryokan, it’s important that you let the staff know about any dietary needs at the time of booking. Note that some ingredients, such as dashi (stock) or soy sauce are so essential for Japanese cuisine that it may be hard or even impossible for many places to accommodate your request.
Please find more information about Japanese food in our articles: