Vegan Store offers vegan bento, onigiri, and more. Japanese convenience stores are just the best. They offer so much awesome stuff to eat that’s it’s honestly hard to choose what to get. The steamed pork buns are always a good call (especially if they’re Final Fantasy-flavored). But how can you pass up the onigiri rice balls stuffed with salmon, fried chicken bento boxed lunches, spaghetti with meat sauce, or shrimp cutlet sandwiches? Even dessert is a delicious dilemma: Do you opt for some of Japan’s amazing ice cream, or maybe a pastry filled with chocolate and whipped cream?
Hmm…you know what? Now that I thin about it, maybe I should have said Japanese convenience stores are just the best, provided you’re not vegan. Despite its accurate image a country where people don’t eat a lot of meat in terms of raw quantity, Japan does eat meat and fish pretty regularly, and so vegan options can be tough to come by.
But that gap in convenience store service is about to start getting filled with the opening of Vegan Store. A brand-new convenience store that just opened on December 3 in Tokyo’s Asakusa neighborhood, Vegan Store is true to its name, offering a variety of vegan food products, but with a Japanese twist. Inside the shop, you’ll find bento boxed lunches, onigiri rice balls, soft-serve ice cream, and other Japanese convenience store standards, but all made in-house to vegan standards. Vegan Store will be selling a selection of pre-packaged foods that are either certified vegan or determined to be so by the store’s product selection team.
▼ There will also be an attached casual sit-down vegan restaurant, where all dishes are also gluten-free, with prices ranging from 500 to 3,000 yen (US$4.60-US$27.80).
While veganism has been growing in popularity in Japan recently, the movement still hasn’t reached the prominence it has overseas. This disparity no doubt played a part in the decision to open Vegan Store in Asakusa, where Tokyo’s most important Buddhist temple, Sensoji, is one of the city’s biggest draws for international travelers. As an additional accommodation to visitors from overseas, Vegan Store will also have an in-shop foreign currency converter machine, in case foreign customers’ yen for vegan fare is grater than the amount of yen in their wallets. If the store is a success, though, the company plans to open branches in other parts of Japan in the future.
Vegan Store / ヴィーガンストア
Address: Tokyo-to, Taito-ku, Nishi Asakusa 2-25-9
Open 6 a.m.-11 p.m.
Closed Mondays (or Tuesday if the preceding Monday is a national holiday)