Following a gluten-free diet isn’t a fad for some people, it’s a necessity. But navigating the food world in a foreign language is difficult. Even so, a gluten-free Tokyo experience is possible and worth it. There are currently at least 11 gluten-free restaurants in Tokyo where diners can eat gluten-free without worrying about cross-contamination. Each of the places on this list states that their kitchens are 100 percent free from gluten.
Gluten-Free T’s is the best place in Tokyo to experience traditional Japanese foods like sukiyaki, karaage, tempura and gyoza all under one roof. They also have a delectable, pillowy-soft sakura cake for dessert. Located centrally in Roppongi, the restaurant is easy to get to, the staff speak fluent English and they are a Validated Gluten-Free Safe Spot. Follow them on Instagram to keep up with their open hours during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Where: 7-8-5-2F Roppongi, Minato-ku
Where Is a Dog recently moved to Kichijoji, just a short walk from Kichijoji Station. The restaurant offers eat-in or take-out lunches catering to people who need to eat foods that are free from gluten, dairy, additives, animal products, soy or all of the above. They also have a bakery and sell gluten-free bagels and breads.
Where: 2-24-9 Kichijoji Honcho, Musashino-shi
Pastry chef Rie Utsunomiya wrote on the Kome Co. website that she had a cousin with an egg allergy, so once she became a pastry chef, she wanted to open a shop to cater to people with food allergies. The shop’s specialty is making pastries with rice flour (the “kome” in their name means “rice” in Japanese). Safe for celiacs, their cakes are perfect for birthdays or Christmas. They also offer chocolate eclairs, a rare treat for people who follow a gluten-free diet, as well as other pastries and cookies.
Where: 7-14-9 Kameido, Koto-ku
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Another rice flour only pastry shop, Otaco bakes gluten-free chiffon cakes in six flavors: plain, Earl Grey, mocha, matcha, cocoa and walnut raisin. They place great emphasis on using fresh ingredients, especially their eggs. Customers can shop in-person or online. They also offer gift wrapping and cards.
Where: 3-5-1 Asakusa, Taito-ku
Daughter Boutique is a bakery featuring Western-style baked goods like muffins, brownies and cookies made without gluten, cane sugar or artificial sweeteners. They also use organic ingredients whenever possible. You can pick up the goodies at their take-out brick-and-mortar space or order online.
Where: 3-16-8 Matsugaya, Taito-ku
Tama Kuchen Café is cozy and inviting. On top of that, their gluten-free sweets and drinks are Insta-worthy with bright colors, berries and flowers. Diners can order gluten-free boba drinks, which are very difficult to find in Japan. They also usually serve gluten-free beer, although not during the state of emergency. Their bread and Baumkuchen can be ordered online.
Where: 3-20-1, Tamagawa, Setagaya-ku
Caféphiles will adore this coffee shop that features coffees from Tanzania and Ethiopia. They offer gluten-free sweets including a Florentine biscuit with almond, walnut, hazelnut and pistachio as well as a crispy sugar cookie. These and their coffees are also available to purchase online.
Where: 5-24-7 Chuo, Nakano-ku
— こめひろ (@_comehiro) July 7, 2013
Comehiro is a cute take-away bakery with something for everyone. Get there early because the line gets long by 10:30am and they often sell out. Their delicious curry and croquette breads are hard to find anywhere else in Tokyo. Also, try their Okinawan brown sugar bread, slightly sweet and perfect for a snack. They offer delivery of their frozen products all over Japan.
Where: 2-3-18 Sakai, Musashino-shi
This chic take-away bakery is the first GFCO-certified bakery in Japan. Biossa’s baguettes are so close to the real thing that it’s difficult to believe they’re gluten-free, but they are. CEO Bob Miyagi says, “Gluten is not brought to the manufacturing site at all and it is audited to manufacturing records, daily production records and internal rules.” Their different colored bagels are an especially popular and cute treat.
Where: Kasuga 2-10-19, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo
Of course, Coconut Dream’s products are free from gluten, egg, soy, dairy and refined sugar. They have an enormous range of products and you will be spoiled for choice. A very Insta-worthy and tasty option is their kawaii cat-shaped bread.
While technically not in Tokyo, it’s easily reachable by public transport. You can visit the small take-away storefront or shop online.
Where: 1-17-4 Higashiikuta, Tama-ku, Kawasaki-shi, Kanagawa
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This small mom-and-pop bakery in western Tokyo offers low-carb, sugar-free pound cakes and shortbread cookies. Their main demographic is the diet-conscious, but the owner says there is no gluten on the premises. So, it just so happens it’s good for celiacs and gluten-sensitive too. Their candied nuts and blueberry pound cakes are especially tasty.
Where: 1-13-19 Fujimidaira, Hamura-ku
Read more advice on eating gluten-free in Tokyo in A Parent’s Guide to Gluten-Free Tokyo