If you find yourself in Beppu and you’re after some amazing food and an even better vibe, I would definitely recommend the Veggie Joint.
I found it online while scoping out veggie places and was really excited to try. After waiting in my hostel like a loser for them to open at 11am (desperate much?) I headed over.
It’s a short walk from Beppu Station and is so worth it, I fell in love with the place as soon as I walked in. It’s not so big but it’s pretty spacious and the décor is insanely stylish. There was just me, the owner and an older Japanese lady in and I sat down by the window.
I ordered the ‘chilli and chips’ and…wow. The chilli was made with mushrooms and other veggies and the taste had so much depth to it, you could tell everything was made from really good, fresh ingredients.
The lady was pretty curious about me and asked a lot of questions in Japanese. Luckily the owner, Taka, is fluent in English and was happy to translate. We talked about life as a JET, the UK and The Beatles (he even played some songs on the speakers).
Soon after the lady left and while I was eating my incredible food, a couple came in, who were friends with the owner. The guy was a teacher from Spain and the girl was a student at the University. Next came a couple from California, who’d visited already the day before, and as I drank my DELICIOUS acai smoothie we got talking.
The lady was a yoga instructor who’s visited India (a place I’ve been set on going to for years) so it was nice to ask her about her experiences there. Her partner was cool to talk to as well. We chatted about travelling in Japan compared to other places they’d been in Asia, as well as swapping recommendations for places to go in Beppu. It was nice to hear that although the woman was veggie, the guy was a meat eater, and he loved the food too.
I would recommend this place to anyone, the food is fresh, organic, vegan and tastes amazing. It’s also reasonably priced, which is another bonus. While all of this is great, I have to say this wasn’t the best part. The whole experience was completely made by the owner. He has so much personality and is really welcoming and the laid back vibe just fills the whole restaurant, everyone was happy to talk. It felt like I was eating in like a cool, very culinarily-talented cousin’s kitchen.