Last year, when I was still living in Tokyo but staying in Kyoto for a bit, I saw pictures of Vegan Ramen UZU Kyoto and I immediately knew I had to check it out. If you are a fan of both ramen and art, this is a must-go restaurant in for you!
About the Restaurant
Vegan Ramen UZU Kyoto opened in March 2020 as a collaboration with teamLab. If you are not familiar with teamLab exhibitions, they are basically beautiful digital art exhibitions paired with water, music, light etc., so all your senses are involved in the experience. They are especially popular for taking stunning photos for Instagram. You can find them for example in Odaiba (Tokyo) or at Nijo Castle (Kyoto).
(Check out this post out for a guide on sightseeing and vegan food around Nijo Castle)
Different to those regular exhibitions, at Vegan Ramen UZU you can enjoy delicious vegan ramen being surrounded by digital art and mesmerizing music. Mirrors on the opposite sides of the room let the restaurant appear endlessly big and add visually to the amazing experience. Another unique thing of this restaurant is that instead of several small tables there is just a single huge one where everyone gathers around to eat. I found that quite interesting. Because the table is black, it reflects the art and therefore adds to the special atmosphere.
According to this article I found, the black and white art you can see on the wall is titled ‘Reversible Rotation’, and can also be found at the teamLab Borderless museum in Tokyo and it is inspired by Japanese calligraphy. The restaurants logo, too, was designed by teamLab.
I personally loved the atmosphere. First of all, when you enter the restaurant it has a modern and kind of mystical feeling to it as you can already see the blue art from the narrow entrance. The music reminded me on meditation music and together with the slowly moving art it deeply relaxed me.
As stated on the official website, Japanese people have always been eating in a way similar to veganism (In my opinion actually more pescatarian just without the dairy) and the restaurant owners want to share that with the world through their vegan ramen. That’s why they researched the theory of „East Asian evergreen forest culture“ (照葉樹林文化), thought of recipes by trying out different ingredients and created this delicious vegan ramen. They want to achieve that the customers eating it start to think about the connection between food and the environmental problems as well as the relationship between humans and the earth, as the current food industry is pushing our earth to its limits.
About the Food
When I went there, the restaurant had just opened not long ago. There were three ramen options: soy sauce based ramen, miso based ramen and tsukemen-style ramen. There also were side dishes like gyoza, sushi, and dry fruits as well as delicious sounding desserts available. One thing you should be aware of is that you need to order a drink, too.
You can have a look at photos of the different ramen options here:
I personally chose the shoyu ramen and gyoza which were both full of flavor and so delicious! The ramen tasted unlike any vegan ramen I previously tired. One thing that surprised was half of a tomato swimming in it. It looked very pretty and unexpectedly really suited the taste of the dish.
The gyoza was amazing, as well. If I hadn’t been so full I might have ordere more of it.
I would have liked to try their desserts, too, but the food was so much that I just couldn’t eat any more than that.
All in all, I really enjoyed the food and experience at Vegan Ramen UZU a lot, although the food is quite pricy. But considering how unique this restaurant is and that the food tasted amazing, I think it is absolutely worth a visit at least once.
If you go there, please let me know in the comments how you liked the experience :)
Important to note: The restaurant does not allow children under 6 years old.
Price Span: 500¥-12000¥
Openig Hours:11:30-14:30, 18:00-22:00 (Closed on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays)
Address: 146 Umenokicho, Nakagyo Ward, Kyoto, 604-0905, Japan
Tel.: +81 80-7603-6106