Finding vegan Japanese snacks might sound difficult when you don't understand the language. However, let us tell you that Japan has a lot of vegan treats to offer. From chips to ice creams, there are plenty of options for all vegan snack lovers!
While we've come up with our definitive Japanese snacks list, this guide will be handy for you to filter out the vegan ones.
Top Vegan Japanese Snacks To Try
- Shirako Tokyo Nori Sheets
- Calbee Potato Chips
- Amanoya Spicy Kabuki-Age (rice puffs)
- Kameda Happy Turn (sweet and salty rice crackers)
- Hot Wasabi Peas
- Orion Mini Cola Candy
- Kasugai Lychee Candy
- Ramune Soda
- Kracie Soy Ice Cream
- Suika Bar
- Azuki Bean Popsicle
- Mochi or Daifuku
- Botamochi and Ohagi
- Warabi mochi
Find your friend some Japanese vegan gifts or get them for yourself. After thorough research and several taste tests, we've picked our favourite 20 vegan Japanese snacks worth trying!
We've selected these from crunchy, sweet, traditional to ice-cold nibbles. So there's definitely something for everybody!
Crunchy Vegan Japanese Snacks
Believe it or not, a lot of Asian chips are vegan! These popular vegan snacks mainly consist of rice crackers, toasted seaweed, and potato chips. Here are some of the best snacks that we think you should try:
Shirako Tokyo Nori Sheets
Nori sheets are roasted seaweed in sheet form, which you can eat alone or sprinkle on dishes like ramen. It has an umami flavour with a slight saltiness. We think you'd enjoy this snack if you prefer something that leans more towards savoury than sweet. It also makes an excellent alternative to chips since it is more nutrient-packed. We can confirm that it is one of the healthiest vegan Japanese snacks on the list.
Shirako Tokyo Teriyaki Nori
Calbee Potato Chips
Another one that makes it to our vegan Asian snacks list is Calbee potato chips. As a potato chip connoisseur, we'd say that this is one of the best-tasting potato chips we've ever tasted! What's lovable about this vegan Japanese snack is that everything is well-balanced. The potato chip slices are neither too thick nor too thin. Flavour-wise, it is also not too salty or too sweet.
We recommend trying the 'Seaweed and Salt' flavour since it is a fan favourite. It is different from the typical American chips since the seaweed flakes add a unique taste to the chips. But if you prefer smoky chips, the 'Hot and Spicy' flavour would be a great choice. Otherwise, sticking to the original taste can still give you an extraordinary snacking experience.
Calbee Seaweed and Salt Potato Chips
Amanoya Spicy Kabuki-Age (rice puffs)
This vegan Japanese snack is made for those who love spicy rice puffs. It is a deep-fried rice cracker that combines sweet, spicy, and savoury. It is also addictively crunchy, so it'll be hard to stop yourself from eating it!
We think it is the perfect snack when you just feel like munching on something out of boredom. Unfortunately, unlike other vegan Japanese snacks on this list, this one is not halal. This snack isn't halal because some of its ingredients contain alcohol.
Amanoya Spicy Kabuki-age (Japanese Spicy Rice Crackers)
Kameda Happy Turn (sweet and salty rice crackers)
Happy Turn has been a very popular rice cracker in Japan since 1976. The vegan Japanese rice crackers are claimed to be "tomaranai oishisa" (too delicious to stop eating). Well, that is not a lie. We agree since the crunchy, sweet, and salty rice crackers are irresistible!
We admit that Japan has come up with tons of yummy rice crackers. But we've never loved a rice cracker as much as this one. Call us dramatic, but we'd surely give up other vegan Japanese snacks just to keep this snack. But, of course, the best part of enjoying it is finding ones with extra seasoning coating.
Kameda Happy Turn Rice Crackers
Hot Wasabi Peas
This vegan Asian treat is made of dehydrated peas coated in wasabi seasoning. We have no words for it except that it is truly addicting and satisfyingly crunchy. The wasabi flavour gives a kick that makes it fun to keep popping the peas into your mouth. It also makes it hard to control ourselves from finishing it in one sitting!
This snack is a must-try if you want something different from other vegan Japanese snacks. However, note that this might not be your favourite if you do not like spicy treats. Fair warning, it is very spicy and will leave your nose tingling just after a few munches!
Hapi Hot Wasabi Peas
Sweet Vegan Japanese Snacks
Orion Mini Cola Candy
As the name suggests, Orion Mini Cola Candy tastes like cola! It is one of our favourite vegan Japanese snacks since the candy has a slight fizz that tickles the tongue. Due to that, we think that it's a great refresher to help you stay awake in class or at work. So you might want to have these little hard candies with you just in case!
Not to mention that the packaging is so cute, and its small size makes it convenient to carry around. Overall, these sweet little candies are a fun snack to enjoy.
Orion Mini Cola Candy
Kasugai Lychee Candy
As stated in its name, this Japanese vegan candy is lychee flavoured. It is a classic Japanese hard candy that you must try for yourself! If you've never tasted lychee before, you might find that this sweet tastes quite like a strawberry. However, we must admit that this candy does not replicate the actual taste of the tropical fruit. Still, it is a yummy little treat that you can enjoy to satisfy your sweet tooth.
Kasugai Lychee Candy
Cold Vegan Japanese Snacks
As we've mentioned earlier, our list of vegan Asian snacks extends to refrigerated treats! These are our favourites:
Ramune is a wildly popular soda in Japan. Lately, it also has been gaining attention from all over the world. Out of all the vegan Japanese snacks we've mentioned, Ramune Soda is the most fun to experiment with!
It comes in many fun flavours, from sweet strawberry to savoury curry. Watermelon Ramune reminds us of watermelon Jolly Ranchers. But we think strawberries and peach are the best flavours. This is because they taste just like gummies with a subtle sweet scent. On the other hand, the melon flavour would make a great mixer.
Despite all the fun flavours available, what makes these vegan Japanese snacks unique is the packaging itself. Interestingly, the soda is packaged in a unique bottle with a traditional marble stopper neck. Be sure to open the soda on a flat surface. Then, hold the plunger down for a few seconds once you've pushed the marble out before enjoying this drink.
Ramune Japanese Soda
Kracie Soy Ice Cream
We can't forget vegan ice creams when discussing vegan Japanese snacks! Kracie's soy-based ice creams come in four flavours: Vanilla, Chocolate, Strawberry, and Matcha.
While they taste amazing, the matcha flavour stands out the most. Believe it or not, there is not much difference in taste if you were to compare it with non-vegan ice creams. However, like many non-vegan matcha ice creams, Kracie's vegan version has a recognisable earthy flavour.
It is low in calories and cholesterol-free, proving that desserts can be delicious and healthy! Unfortunately, since it is a frozen treat, there are not many websites outside of Japan which sell them online. However, you can find soy ice creams at your local Japanese cafes. They are also available in many Asian supermarkets, such as HMart.
Suika Bar, or Watermelon Bar, is a popsicle shaped like a slice of watermelon. It is cooling and super cheap, so we get why it's everyone's go-to popsicle. Its attractive appearance also contributes to why we can't exclude it from our vegan Japanese snacks list.
This giant watermelon popsicle offers three different flavours in one bar. The green part is the rind, while the red part of the ice bar contains watermelon juice. As for the seeds, they are made from dark chocolate!
It is an understatement to say that it is the best watermelon popsicle we've ever tasted. We recommend stocking up on this refreshing treat to help you cool down from the summer heat. You can find this in an individual pack or a box of six at most Asian supermarkets.
Azuki Bean Popsicle
Another one that belongs to the unique side of vegan Japanese snacks is red bean ice cream. We know it sounds a bit weird, but this tastes amazing. Imuraya's Azuki bar contains about 100 azuki beans in a single popsicle. Therefore, it is not only a tasty dessert but also protein-packed!
You can easily find it in individual packs or multipacks at most Asian supermarkets.
This Asian popsicle has a mild nutty taste and bears a light sweetness. Moreover, the chewy bits of red beans inside make it even better. We think ice cream biters would genuinely enjoy this experience.
Traditional Vegan Japanese Snacks
Of course, we can't end the list without introducing you to some yummy Japanese traditional treats! The snacks we've mentioned above sure are tasty.
However, the best vegan delicacies are always the traditional ones! You can easily purchase them online from websites like Amazon or your local Asian supermarkets. Here are some of them that are worth trying:
Yokan is a thick jelly made from sugar, agar, and red bean paste. It comes in many flavours, including matcha and chestnut. You will usually find these vegan Japanese snacks sold in blocks. However, you are meant to eat it in slices.
They are not as sweet as western jellies, but each sweet block has an attractive, bold flavour. Plus, the firm texture gives a satisfying feeling as you bite into it. The sweet taste and subtly coloured appearance also make yokan more of a charmer in our eyes. We think it'd make a pretty tea-time treat!
Toraya Youkan Anko Japanese Traditional Sweets
Monaka is a vegan Japanese snack made from a wafer cake with red bean paste or chestnut as typical fillings. You might also find some that contain ice cream, cream cheese, or whipped cream. However, these variations may not always be vegan.
The wafers are dry and crispy, and the taste depends on their filling. Our favourite is the red bean monaka, which does not have an overwhelming flavour. The red bean paste nicely complements the mochi wafers, so it is not too bland or sweet.
This Japanese confection is unique because it comes in many interesting shapes. It can be in the shape of a square, triangle, or more sophisticated forms like cherry blossom and chrysanthemum.
Toraya Monaka (Japanese Bean Jam-filled Wafers)
Taiyaki is a fish-shaped cake filled with red bean jam. It is similar to Korea's famous 'Bunggeoppang'. If you love the Korean version, you'll most probably enjoy the Japanese version too! It is sweet, savoury, and feels like a warm hug when enjoyed on a cold day.
Taiyaki is traditionally made with eggs, but the vegan version is becoming widely available due to the popularity of veganism. Look for this yummy treat at your local Japanese bakeries or cafes!
In Japan, you can find the best vegan Taiyaki in Tokyo at ‘Taiyaki Hiiragi’ or ‘Hakata Hiiragi Taiyaki’ in Fukuoka.
Mochi or Daifuku
Mochi or Daifuku are traditional Japanese sweets made with glutinous rice flour. They are soft, chewy and pretty similar to each other. However, Daifuku usually has fillings such as red bean paste, whereas mochi is a rice cake just as it is. That said, mochi tastes like starchy marshmallows, while Daifuku is sweeter.
Mochi is typically vegan, but you must watch out for Daifuku's ingredients. Daifuku may not always be vegan as it can contain milk or egg. You can get these vegan Japanese snacks from local Asian grocery stores or bakeries. Besides that, you can get a taste of finely-made mochi and Daifuku at most Japanese restaurants.
Peach Mochi Daifuku
Dango is another Japanese treat which is similar to mochi. However, Dango is made with rice flour instead of glutinous rice. Due to that, its texture is a bit different from mochi. Like most vegan Japanese snacks we've mentioned, you can get them at any Asian supermarket or Japanese restaurant.
Plain Dango balls taste like sweet rice. Although we find it tasty enough to eat it plainly, it can be boring to some. Therefore, you can enhance the flavour by topping it with red bean paste. Some Dango balls are also topped with black sesame paste or sweet soy sauce.
Botamochi and Ohagi
Botamochi and Ohagi contain glutinous rice, rice and red bean paste. These sweet and savoury vegan Japanese snacks come in many versions. Some are covered with red bean paste with the glutinous rice mochi inside. On the other hand, some have soybean coating with red bean paste inside.
We can't choose which one tastes better since both versions taste amazing. We love it when the soybean powder just melts in the mouth. But we also can't resist the sweet red bean paste with a chewy mochi centre!
Warabi mochi is a jelly usually coated with soybean powder or brown sugar syrup. But if you love matcha, matcha powder warabi mochi might be your new love. The Japanese sweet is refreshing and pleasantly chewy, making it a perfect snack on a sunny day. Plus, it is an upgrade from the typical sweet jellies you often buy in packets.
Thus, we don't think jelly-lovers should miss out on this vegan Japanese snack. You can get them fresh from any Japanese restaurant or supermarket. Alternatively, you can try out our warabimochi recipe!
Manju is a round, bite-sized steamed bun typically filled with red bean paste. It is the Japanese version of the Chinese mantou, and unlike other Japanese treats, it is more filling. Therefore, you can enjoy it with a cup of tea as a light meal.
One thing we love about this Japanese confection is the soft and fluffy bun. Biting into it is truly a heavenly experience, especially when you are greeted with the sweet taste of the red bean paste. So the next time you visit a Japanese bakery, take some Manjus home!
Edamame is an easy-to-find vegan option when it comes to Japanese snacks. You can find them everywhere, including in grocery stores or enjoy them fresh at any Japanese restaurant.
It is also a healthy go-to snack since it contains antioxidants and vitamins.
We also love edamame since it is such a simple and easy-to-prepare snack. Just sprinkle salt over it, and you'll have a tasty, nutritious treat.