Hello and welcome to Vegan Drinks In Japan, the second post of my three-part series about eating vegan in Japan! I started the series with some tips and tricks for finding easily accessible vegan snacks when travelling in Japan, and now I’m moving onto beverages.
Here’s a guide to some of the different types of vegan-friendly drinks you’ll be able to get hold of in most Japanese supermarkets, convenience stores or vending machines. Obviously ingredients do vary from brand to brand, so I can’t 100% guarantee that all of these products listed below will be vegan, but this is just a list of suggestions of the types of drinks you should be looking out for!
Quite conveniently, alternative milks have always been popular in Japan. The most ubiquitous is soy milk, which is sold in basically all supermarkets and convenience stores. Plain sweetened and unsweetened versions are the most common, but it’s also often sold in a myriad of different flavours.
Peach, mango, cherry, apple pie, chestnut, red bean, roasted sweet potato, mixed fruits, banana, matcha, almond, coffee, tea and chocolate-flavoured soy milk cartons are pictured below!
I tried a few of these flavours and especially enjoyed the roasted sweet potato, and the chestnut:
I saw some pretty interesting flavours of soy milk, such as this amazake-flavoured one:
And even this cherry blossom one!
Almond milk has recently become quite popular, with most supermarkets selling it both plain as well as flavoured. This black sesame one was really nice, and as a bonus it’s also unsweetened, which is pretty unusual for flavoured milks!
I also spotted various different types of coconut milk. Plain and coffee-flavoured ones pictured below:
Juice is sold everywhere. Aside from all the normal types of juice you’d expect to see, I noticed that vegetable juices are much more widely available in Japan than in the UK. For example, here’s a vegetable juice I spotted at my local supermarket…
…which boasts 30 different types of vegetable! These include: tomatoes, carrots, Chinese cabbage, peppers, kale, choi sum, spinach, broccoli, lettuce, celery, ginger, purple cabbage, red shiso, pak choi, cauliflower, watercress, parsley, pumpkin, asparagus, onion, beetroot, daikon radish, purple sweet potato, aubergine, green peas and burdock root. What a combo! And here’s the ingredients list as proof that I’m not just making this up:
I also saw several different types of smoothies sold in supermarkets and convenience stores, such as this green smoothie below:
Tea and coffee
You’l find lots of different types of tea and coffee (sold at varying temperatures), including black tea, green tea, oolong tea and mugi-cha (barley tea – avoid this if you’re gluten-free!).
However, if you’re avoiding caffeine but fancy an iced tea, I found this Rooibos tea in a convenience store! It tastes just like black tea but is naturally caffeine-free, and this one here is also unsweetened, which is great as I seriously dislike those shop-bought iced teas that are often saturated with sugar.
Also, if you’re slightly confused by the comment I just made about varying temperatures, what I meant was that drinks are sold not just icy cold, but boiling hot too! This coffee came from a vending machine, but was so hot it felt like it had just come out of a kettle, much to the surprise of my travelling companion.
Chia seed drinks
I spotted several chia seed drinks such as this one below. This is an açaí drink with chia seeds suspended in it to create a gel-like consistency. It might not be everyone’s cup of tea (sorry) but could be worth trying if you’re into that kind of thing!
Kombucha seems to have gained some sort of cult following in recent years, so if you’re a die-hard fan you’ll be happy to know it’s also sold in Japan. I loved this umeboshi (pickled sour plum) flavoured one from Asakusa Farm in Tokyo:
Thank you so much for reading, and I hope you found this helpful. Do you have any useful tips for eating vegan in Japan? If so, please share below!
You can check out my post about vegan snacks and I’ll be posting about vegan restaurants in Japan soon!