A vegan support group has started up, here; Vegan Society of Japan (vegan.jp).
If you are in Japan during mid-July, we have our first event; How to Eat to Survive – Japan’s First Vegan Film Festival Kyoto on Sunday July 19 2009 at the Koryu Kaikan Hall, Hitomachi, Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto which we expect 300 people to attend. In October, we will be organizing the annual Vegan and Vegetarian Festival in Kyoto. About 5,000 people come to it. It has always been entirely vegan.
We also sell and post internationally Herwin Walravens’s book: Japan Vegan Restaurant Pocketguide.
Depending on whether you are traveling or residing, it might be useful to know; Warabe Mura and Alishan Organic Center, as they have good support for English speakers. Most local “Co-op” chain supermarkets will have a good quality supply of locally grown foods and vegan staples.
There is a healthy vegan, vegetarian and macrobiotic underground in Japan. Most major cities will have at least one veggie friendly cafe and a few European style delis where you will recognize regular foods. Kyoto, Osaka and Tokyo have many more.
On the road, you will at least be able to survive at udon and soba (noodle) shops if you avoid the dashi (dip) and just use the shoyu instead. We recommend you copy and bring the Japanese pages from the Vegan passport as not many Japanese will recognize the word vegan.
Best contact us via email as we are not always on this forum. If you let us know where you plan to go, perhaps we can make recommendations. The most sublime vegan experience is probably visting Koyasan (Mount Koya) which is about 45 minutes from Kansai (Osaka) airport in the mountains, a 1500 year old temple complex where you stay in a temple inn and they serve “shojin ryori” (vegan temple food).
The oldest vegetarian/vegan restaurant in Japan (in Kyoto) is more than 400 years old!