Tokyo is an amazingly clean city and fairly easy to navigate despite the lack of signs in English. We found the Japanese people to be extremely kind in helping with directions, walking us to the correct subway or bus station and even helping to carry our bags. Summer is a great time to visit Japan, especially for enjoying the outdoors, nature, mountains and hot springs. Mt. Fuji is only 1.5 hours from Tokyo and well worth the visit!
Although admittedly everything is very expensive in Japan, it is still possible and relatively easy to eat raw foods in Tokyo. I arrived with bags of raw seeds, goji berries and raisins just to be safe because I did not know what to expect…yet I was pleasantly surprised with the availability of fruits and vegetables and ease of staying raw during my 1-week stay.Our first stop in Tokyo was at the b-sangenaya Hotel at the Sangenya Subway Station. This hotel turned out to be very convenient because directly across the street is a supermarket!
I was very happy to buy fresh peaches and cherries for my first raw food meal in Japan! The peaches were very expensive at 400 JY each ($5 USD) but they were well worth it! I was also happy to find bags of pre-cut cabbage and salad (with carrot and onion) for 100 JY each. I bought 3 small bags to make a nice breakfast salad for only 300 JY (about $4 USD).Our second day in Japan took us to the Pink Cow Restaurant where I hosted a Raw Food brunch and workshop on Detox and Raw foods. The turnout was amazing! We had 50 people and more than half of them were Japanese!
I was so happy to see such an interest in raw foods and healthy living in Japan. The Raw Food brunch consisted of a massive buffet thanks to the efforts of Traci from the Pink Cow.
After the talk, we were taken for a walking tour of the area by one of the participants, Katrine of www.rawfoodhomerecipes.com. What luck we had to turn the corner, literally 500m from the Pink Cow, to stumble upon a Farmer’s Market selling organic fruits and vegetables!! I was so happy!! The Farmer’s Market is every Saturday and Sunday from 10am – 6pm and has a fantastic selection of local vegetables such as sweet corn, tomatoes, purple bell peppers, organic cabbage, elephant garlic, fresh kale and lots of variety of greens for Green Smoothies! They also had huge peaches for 100 JY each, a much better price than 400 JY at the supermarket!The vendors all generously offered free samples of everything, and just from the walk through the market, we were full!! There was also a nice selection of raw nuts, seeds, goji berries, dried mulberries, cranberries, sun dried raisins and sun dried tomatoes. I bought a local salt which contains natural sulfur…it’s meant to be very good for healing. The salt can be eaten, added to a bath or used as a face scrub. I highly recommend this market for a chance to meet local farmers of Japan friendly and to learn more about the availability of fresh fruit and vegetables – they are very open to talking about their farming practices and their crops.
Just at the end of the market, we found an Organic Restaurant and Shop called Daylesford Organic. Wow, things just kept getting better and better! I would recommend this restaurant as a nice treat in Tokyo…because it’s expensive, it may not appeal to everyone’s budget. But it’s good to know that there are organic restaurants in Japan! They had a lot of nice organic products as well, including organic pear juice and organic tomato and spinach sauce.Continuing just a few hundred meters down the street, we found the Organic Store called Natural House, a very nice store with a large selection of organic product, products, pre-prepared meals and even a salad and juice bar. Tokyo is a place for healthy, vegan raw food! I was very pleasantly surprised after hearing so many bad things before I arrived. I honestly say it much much easier to eat raw food in Japan than I ever imagined! And the peaches in the summer are amazing!
Here are a few other good travel tips for Japan:
You can get a mobile phone for free at the Narita airport when you arrive to Tokyo. Just look for the signs near the Rental Car and Bus counters. There is one place called Mobal at mobalnarita.com when you can get a Japanese cell phone for free, really! All incoming calls and text messages are free; you will only pay if you send an SMS or make an outgoing call. I used this phone a lot and paid nothing! Simply leave a credit card number as a deposit, and as long as you return the phone and charger at the end of your stay, you will pay nothing! Don’t lose the phone though…the fee is about $1,000 if you lose it! As I said, I had no problem and I highly recommend this service for anyone who needs a phone for a short stay in Tokyo.
Definitely get out of the city to Mt. Fuji and Hakone for the hot springs. The buses are easy to take from Tokyo to Fuji, and from Fuji to Hakone. The nature and scenery outside of Tokyo are really fantastic. Mt. Fuji can only be climbed in the summer from late June – August so try to plan your trip to be there during that time. There is more fresh fruit in season during summertime too, an added bonus for a raw foodist in Japan!
Finally, try not to worry too much about radiation during your stay in Japan. I had a few people make comments to me saying ‘bring a geiger counter’ and such, which I felt was unsympathetic and a bit cruel considering how many Japanese people suffered from the earthquakes there. Since I don’t eat fish anyway, I wasn’t too worried about the food. The Japanese people explained to me that the growing of vegetables moved to other islands in the south after the earthquake, and truth be told, we have no idea how much radiation damage exists all over the entire planet so why live in a state of fear? I advise to take chlorella tablets as a precaution but not to worry too much because what can we really do? I enjoyed every minute of my stay in Japan – the Japanese people are absolutely the kindest and most helpful people and I think everyone should go to Japan and experience the Japanese culture at least once in their lives. I hope to visit again, without the geiger counter and full of love!