For vegetarians and vegans finding places to eat whilst traveling in Japan can be difficult, and without some forward planning, you may well find yourself being left with little choice other than diving into the nearest convenience store for emergency rations, or opting for familiar international chain restaurants. Although Sapporo is a big city with many options to suit all dietary requirements, if you would like to try out cuisine made from local produce, beautifully presented in separate bowls in a distinctly Japanese fashion, you should definitely visit Itadakizen!

Tucked away in Maruyama, the fashionable part of town notable for its vast array of unique cafes and teashops, you will find the welcoming wooden exterior of Itadakizen.

The interior is equally as cozy with a relaxed atmosphere. It’s a small restaurant with friendly staff and is therefore welcoming to solo travelers too!

There are several lunch sets to choose from, as well as a child’s set. The sets are made using seasonal vegetables, and the rice is mixed with barley grown in Scotland! Lunch set’s come with a pudding, which on this day was black sesame flavor.

If you think you’ve seen this place somewhere before…
Interestingly, the first Itadakizen opened as a Japanese vegan restaurant in London, Kings Cross in 2009, so if you have been to London you may well have seen it! The London shop is still in operation, so definitely pay a visit if you are ever in the King’s Cross area.

If you have time…
If you have a moment to spare, why not explore the Maruyama area? Just a five-minute walk from Maruyama subway station you will find Maruyama Park, which is one of the best spots in Sapporo for seeing cherry blossoms in the spring, and red leaves in the autumn. You will also find Hokkaido Shrine in Maruyama Park, which is, of course, worth visiting at any time of year.

  • From the top of Mt. Maruyama, you can see some of Sapporo’s landmark buildings, including the JR Tower, the distinctive shape of which is visible on the left-hand side of this photo.
    From the top of Mt. Maruyama, you can see some of Sapporo’s landmark buildings, including the JR Tower, the distinctive shape of which is visible on the left-hand side of this photo.

2-1 S2, W23, Chuo-ku, Sapporo, Hokkaido
8-minute walk from Maruyama Station on the Tozai subway line
Weekdays: 11:30 am – 3 pm and 5 pm – 9 pm / Saturday: 11:30 am – 9 pm / Sunday: 11:30 am – 6 pm (Dinner is available from 5 pm by reservation) Monday: Closed

Author: Phoenix Scotney, Co-ordinator of International Relations at Hokkaido Tourism Organization.