Being Vegan in Okinawa, Japan – Eating Sushi


Not long ago, that was me. Long before Rachel Cooks Vegan. Long before I even knew anything about food. I loved sushi. And living by the gulf, seafood was everywhere. It’s not just feeling badly for sea creatures that inspired me to stop eating them. Sadly, overfishing is a real problem with real consequences . I won’t go off on a tangent though, so if you’d like to read more about the facts and consequences of overfishing you can click here.

Before i was vegan, I spent many months as a pescetarian. I loved seafood. I grew up in Florida and many of my family memories are of me going to seafood restaurants with my family. My dad and I would get some seafood at a place on the beach and then go play putput golfing. My brother and I would both order shrimp and he’d make fun of me for picking the breading off. And in later years, my sister and I spent many Friday and Saturday evenings together getting sushi in Tampa. I love sushi. The only thing I love more than sushi is my sister.

Then suddenly, my pescatarian days were over when I realized why I wasn’t already vegan. Laziness, mixed with a love of eating smoked salmon. So I went vegan. And you know what? I love veggie sushi. Japan was the perfect place for me to go vegan.

So here’s the list of places where you can find vegan sushi in Okinawa. Some of my fondest memories were made here.


1. Kouwa sushi.
My friend Frankie and I stumbled upon this place while my husband was deployed. We walked in and sat at the bar where we spoke to the owner, Cho. A super nice guy and awesome sushi chef, he is originally from okinawa but worked in the United States for some time. The girls responsible for me going vegan, Erika and yesenia, later went to Kouwa and asked Cho to start making a vegan roll. And holy crap, it is delicious.

Cho also has other vegan options such as avocado tempura, seaweed salad, tofu steak, and even his miso soup is vegan. He has other options for sushi rolls like avocado rolls, cucumber rolls, etc. I highly recommend you check his place out and sit at the bar. Read more about kouwa by clicking here.


2. Yoshihachi’s.
One of the first places I went when I came to Okinawa. This place is famous! Yoshi, the owner, is the original creator of the tempura roll. He’s awesome! He speaks many languages besides Japanese including English and Spanish. For vegans he has teriyaki tofu, vegetable tempura, sautéed eggplant, French fries, and he does have a veggie roll BUT make sure you order it without mayonnaise. This place is awesome! A must-do while in okinawa, even for vegans. Read more about it by clicking here.


3. Kami sushi.
This place was where I went the second day of me being in okinawa. It’s extremely popular with Americans. I haven’t been in quite some time because it’s always packed. They do have options for vegans and they’re very good. The have a tofu steak, tempura vegetables, a veggie roll, and sea grapes. You also can order their tuna/salmon spring rolls with extra avocado instead of fish. It’s a great place! If you see Saiya (girl in the pink shirt who works there), give her a hug from me. Read more about kami sushi by clicking this link.

4. Newport sushi.
I only ate here before being vegan, but according to my friend Carola from carolatic they do have options for vegans. Read more about Newport by clicking here.

5. Sushi Zen.
I have never been here. But it’s very popular, and my friend Erika says they made her the best veggie rolls she’s had on the island. Read more about sushi zen by clicking here.

So that is my list! I hope you’ll check out some of the restaurants listed. These aren’t the only sushi restaurants on the island obviously, and I didn’t even know they catered to vegans until me or someone else asked. Don’t be afraid to ask people to make you a veggie option. There’s always vegan food to find in Okinawa, if you know where to look.

Thanks for reading!



10 thoughts on “Being Vegan in Okinawa, Japan – Eating Sushi

  1. Karthik says:

    Hey Rachel,
    Loved Reading your blogs. We are vegetarians (meaning we eat dairy products and egg). We have been in Okinawa for 2 years and love finding new places to eat. Your blogs gives us great directions. Have fun. In any case you are in Naha and want some guidance- I would love to tell you about a few vegan places. Keep this blog going. !!!

    • Thank you! I love hearing from my okinawa readers. And so great to hear from a vegetarian hear! I’m compiling a list of places to eat vegan in Okinawa, I’d love to hear some of your favorites!

  2. <3 says:

    Hi Rachel I love your blog! Though I am not vegan I am learning more & more about it & slowly trying to go that route. It really helps that you’ve posted a lot of vegan/veggie friendly places in Oki as I’ve been searching for so many & will definitely be checking out some of these places because of you.

    Just something I thought I’d let you know since I was reading your post…the owner of Sushi Zen is extremely racist towards people of asian decent. I had a really bad experience there when I had a birthday there & basically he told my asian friends to leave or pay a 4,000 yen fee each just for being there + food because they were asian, straight up. my friends were technically asian american but that is really besides the point. My friends were very hurt & we were all shocked by that incident & I know some others who have also had a similar experience. I would not recommend any restaurant that discriminates because of race.

    (sorry for going a little dark there but I thought it was important because I’m sure others like me are reading) I really enjoy your blog & just wanted to say thanks for posting!

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