Kyoto Guide: Sightseeing × Vegan Food | Nijo Area

Nearest train station: Nijojo-mae Station (Tozai Line, JR San-in Line)

Nearest bus stop: Nijojo- mae (9, 12, 50, 67, 101, 111)


Nijo Castle - Nijojo

In 1601 Tokugawa Ieyasu, the first shōgun of the Edo period (1603 - 1868), initiated the construction of Nijo Caste by ordering all feudal lords of western Japan to contribute to it. It was finished 23 years later, in 1626, under the reign of Tokugawa Iemitsu. Even though the shōgunate was in the capital city Edo (which later was re-named Tokyo), Kyoto was still the home of the imperial court. Nijo castle was built as the Kyoto residency of the Tokugawa shōguns. In 1867 something historically extremely important happened at the Ninomaru Palace of Nijo Castle: Tokugawa Yoshinobu declared the returning of the authority from the shōgunate to the imperial court.

From time to time, there are light ups at night in collaboration with TeamLab which are truely magical or other special exhibitions. I highly recommend checking out the homepage if there is something like that during the period you plan on going there!

Address: 541 Nijojocho, Nakagyo Ward, Kyoto, 604-8301, Japan



Opening Times:

October - June: 8:45 - 17:00

July - August: 8:00 - 18:00

September: 8:00 - 17:00

Ninomaru Palace: 8:45 - 16:10 (July, August: till 17:10)

(Admission ends one hour before closing)

Closed on:

Nijo Castle is closed December 29-31

Ninomaru Palace also closed on Tuesdays in January, July, August, December or the following day if Tuesday is a national holiday.

Entrance Fee: 620¥ (410¥ extra for Ninomaru Palace)

Kyoto Imperial Palace and Kyoto Gyoen National Garden

Just a 13 min walk from Nijo Castle, you can find the former ruling place of imperial Japan, the Imperial Palace of the emperor. Even though since the Meiji Restoration in 1869 the imperial family resides in Tokyo, the Kyoto palace is still preserved and the emperor visits it from time to time.

While you can enter the palace itself, it is also possible to just take a walk in the beautiful Kyoto Gyoen National Garden. Both is for free. The garden has several attractions itsselfe and is especially beautiful during spring and fall season. As it has a few early blossoming cherry trees, you can do hanami in March already.

Address: 3 Kyotogyoen, Kamigyo Ward, Kyoto, 602-0881, Japan



Opening Times of the Imperial Palace:

April - August: 9:00 to 17:00

September, March: 9:00 - 16:30

October - Februrary: 9:00 - 16:00

(Closed on Mondays)

Cafés & Restaurants

Vegan = V , Vegetarian = VG, Non-Vegan and Non-Vegetarian = NV

Premarché Alternative Diner (NV, V)

Pizza, burgers, pasta, bowls, desserts

This restaurant is perfect when craving junk food like pizza or burgers! The have many other dishes, too, but I especially recommend their vegan Margarita!

Not everything is vegan but many vegan options are available. So, it is great of you are traveling with non-vegan friends or family.

For more info please check out full blogpost here (includes full menu!)

Tipp: If you want order ice cream for dessert, don't! They get it from Premarché Gelateria which is just a 2 min walk away. There are not only much more options, it's also cheaper!

Prices: Lunch Set 1400¥ Drink Set 1700¥

Opening Times: 11:30 - 14:30, 17:30 - 21:30 (closed on Wednesdays)

Address: Japan, 〒604-8332 Kyoto, Nakagyo Ward, Hashinishicho, 672 2F



Premarché Gelateria (VG, V)

Ice cream

Amazing rich and creamy vegan ice cream! Although not all flavors are vegan, they have many delicious vegan options clearly labled.

Check out full blogpost here (including more flavors):

Prices: 1 scoop 500¥, 2 scoops 600¥

Opening Times:

Monday, Tuesday, Thursday: 12:00 - 18:00

Friday, Saturday, Sunday: 12:00 - 20:00

(closed on Wednesdays)

Address: 308 Ontomocho, Nakagyo Ward, Kyoto, 604-8331, Japan



Premarché Organics (NV, VG, V)

Organic goods, vegan snacks

A small shop for organic foods near Premarché Gelateria. There are nice vegan options,

but quite expensive compared to organic shops in Europe though.

Opening Times:

Monday, Tuesday, Thursday: 12:00 - 18:00

Friday, Saturday, Sunday: 12:00 - 20:00

(closed on Wednesdays)

Address: 394 Ontomocho, Nakagyo Ward, Kyoto, 604-8331, Japan



Alpenrose Kyoto Oike (NV, VG, V)


Perfect for breakfast before going to Nijo Castle. Or why not buy it as a snack to eat in Kyoto Gyoen Imperial Garden?

Although most breads are not vegan, they have a decent amount of clearly labeled vegan options. I recommend the green yomogi bread filled with anko (red bean paste), it's super yummy, sweet and filling!

Prices: about 200 - 400¥

Opening Times: 9:00 - 19:00

Address: Japan, 〒604-0043 Kyoto, 京都市中京区Nakagyo Ward, 御池通小川東入石橋町427



Cafe Malda (NV, VG, V)

Coffee, tea, muffins, lunch

With a 17 min walk from Nijo Casle, or a 11 min one from South part of Kyoto Gyoen it might be a little bit far, but definitely worth a visit! Not only do they offer vegan muffins (ask the staff which ones are vegan if unsure), they have amazing coffee and a huge variety of delicious teas.

While the outside looks rather traditional, the inside of this cafe is quite stylish and inviting. There is a lot of wooden furniture in unique shapes and pretty, colorful decoration.