Food allergies in Japan 食物アレルギー
Some of products that cause allergies.
Some people are allergic to eggs.
Call 119 for emergencies.
How should you prepare for your trip?
Food allergies are generally taken very seriously in Japan, and due to the high quality of service restaurant owners will usually do their best to meet your requests. By learning just a few basic words, you should be able to manage.
First, learn this word: アレルギー (arerugii). As you can probably tell from how it sounds, it means “allergy”. The easiest way for a non-Japanese speaker to make a complete sentence is to learn this phrase:
“[allergenic food] arerugii ga arimasu”, which means“ I am allergic to [name of food]”.
The restaurant owner will generally point out certain dishes on the menu, or will ask for information from the kitchen about the ingredients of the dish you have chosen.
The most common allergies
To find the name of a product you are allergic to, you can use online dictionaries, Google translate or Wikipedia, but here's a short list of the most common:
- egg: tamago
- milk: gyūnyū
- nuts: nattsu (from English nuts) /shujitsurui (a more scientific term)
- soya: daizu
- fish: sakana
- shellfish: shiifūdo
- wheat: komugi
- gluten: guruten
If the person you are speaking to does not seem to understand what you are saying, don’t hesitate to write it down.
Some Japanese restaurants also cook gluten-free dishes and indicate it in their menus: look out for the word グルテンフリー (gluten free).
If something goes wrong
If, despite your best efforts, you find you have eaten something harmful, call 119, which is the number for fire/medical assistance. Be sure to check what is covered by your healthcare plan or travel insurance before leaving home.