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Just one hour from Tokyo by bullet train, Shizuoka is not only home to the iconic Mount Fuji but thanks to its temperate climate, mountainous terrain and Pacific coastline it’s also a gourmet paradise producing some of the country’s best food and drink.
With award-winning sake, deliciously fresh seafood and some of the highest quantities of green tea and wasabi grown in Japan, Shizuoka is already a destination on the radar of many foodie travellers – and with GlobalData highlighting veganism’s growing influence in the tourism space and vegan experiences as a way to attract environmentally-conscious travellers, Shizuoka’s increasing availability of vegan and plant-based gastronomy experiences makes the prefecture a must-visit for all in 2021 and beyond.
Tourism Shizuoka Japan shares a selection of some of the prefecture’s top vegan-friendly and plant-based experiences, including destination-inspired vegan recipes that can be enjoyed from home.
Green tea tasting in the sky
Shizuoka is Japan’s largest producer of green tea estimated to grow around 40% of all tea cultivated in the country, so the prefecture is abundant with stunning tea fields – many of which boast mesmerising views of Mount Fuji. In the hills of Ryogouchi, The Sky Terrace at the Hoko Tea Farm offers guests an unforgettable tea tasting experience ‘suspended’ above the fields, surrounded by the rural beauty of a family-run plantation which dates back generations. Here visitors can enjoy a vegan-friendly tea experience from JPY3,000 (approx. GBP20) per person which includes two kinds of tea. Guests can also bring their own food to enjoy on the terrace while taking in the spectacular backdrop of Mount Fuji.
Sweet treat masterclass from a local artisan producer
The Fujinomiya Township and Culture Ecotour from En-Ya Mt.Fuji Ecotours is perfect for vegan travellers wanting to combine a love of gastronomy with an insight into the local culture and history of Shizuoka. It includes a traditional Kimono fitting experience paired with a guided visit to the Sengen Taisha Shrine and surrounding town, followed by a foodie masterclass with a local artisan producer to learn the art of creating Wagashi – a traditional vegan-friendly Japanese sweet made from rice flour and bean paste. Prices start from JPY16,000 (approximately GBP106) per person and the experience is available year-round.
Vegan street foods old and new
Shizuoka has been known for street foods that happen to be vegan-friendly for centuries, with popular treats such as Abekawa-mochi (rice cakes covered with roasted soy powder) and Ko-manju (steamed buns with bean paste and a hint of sake) that date back to the time of the old Tokaido Road still enjoyed in the prefecture today. Travellers can taste a more modern interpretation of a vegan street food by trying Chagori – a new take on the traditional ‘Kakigori’ ice dessert. Chagori is made from shaved ice topped with sweet tea syrup, often served with vegan toppings such as bean paste, and is a popular addition to the menus of many of Shizuoka’s vendors from July through to September. The delicacies can be enjoyed from as little as JPY300 (approximately GBP2).
Vegan treats in downtown Shizuoka
For travellers wanting a light bite while exploring downtown Shizuoka, CHA10 Organic Matcha Stand is the perfect vegan-friendly stop. Specialising in organic matcha and green tea beverages, many of which are naturally vegan friendly, the café’s menu also features an extensive range of hot and cold drinks made with soy milk alongside a wide variety of plant-based desserts and sweets. Vegan favourites include the Matcha Soy Latte, Matcha Jar Cake – made with rice flour, soy custard and almond milk, and Nitro Matcha – which has a smooth and creamy texture. Prices start from JPY 400 (approximately GBP2.60).
Shizuoka-inspired vegan recipes to enjoy from home
Tourism Shizuoka Japan has partnered on a deliciously-foodie collaboration with renowned vegan chef, filmmaker and author Wil Yeung, who has created a series of Shizuoka-inspired plant-based recipes to enjoy from home. His most recent recipes include Matcha Pesto Spaghetti with green tea from Central Shizuoka, Spicy Sushi Burrito with wasabi from Izu and Japanese Fried Rice with seaweed which is used widely in Japanese cuisine. All recipes from the collaboration can be seen here: Yeung Man Cooking.
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