Special Meal Requirements
Food allergies and sensitivities are not common in Japan and there is no law that requires food producers or restaurants to list allergens. All allergies need to be brought to our attention and explained in detail. Your airport pick-up will give you a card that explains your food requirements. Please keep in mind that the card is included as a service and does not guarantee that you will not be served these foods directly or indirectly through cross-contamination. It is your responsibility to protect yourself.
Meals requests, and views on food, are not expressed in the same way all over the world. We want to make sure that we understand your needs, so we can communicate them clearly to your ryokan, hotel, or restaurant. To help travelers with special dietary communicate their requests to their host, the following definitions and explanations are the guidelines that Rediscover Tours uses.
If you have any special meal requirements like Celiac, allergies, vegetarian with fish, vegan, or specific foods that you cannot eat, then you must tell your Japan Expert before asking for a quote. Please keep in mind that special meal requirements will limit the number of ryokans, hotels, or restaurants available to you. Of course, we will do our best to find a place that can prepare meals for you.
*No Fish – not serving you fish is easy but fish broth (katsuo dashi) is used as a spice in many Japanese dishes. Some ryokans offer vegan-friendly meals that use kobu dashi (sea vegetable broth) as an alternative.
*No Gluten – this is a little difficult because there is gluten in soy (soya) sauce which is used as a spice. Some ryokans and restaurants can prepare meals without soy sauce and we recommend you bring your own gluten-free soy sauce.
*Halal – Japanese dishes are often spiced with Mirin (cooking sake) which is alcoholic. The amount is very small but adds flavor.
There are several degrees of vegetarian meals:
*Vegetarian meals with fish:
You will not be served meat (beef, pork, chicken…) however you might be served fish, seafood, and eggs.
*Vegetarian meals without fish but with katsuo Dashi (fish broth) and eggs:
You will not be served meat, fish, or seafood, however, you might be served katsuo dashi (fish broth) and eggs.
*Vegetarian meals without fish and Katsuo Dashi (fish broth) but with eggs and dairy:
You will not be served meat, fish, seafood or Katsuo Dashi, however, you might be served eggs.
You will mainly be served vegetables. You will not be served meat, seafood, Katsuo dashi, dairy or eggs.
Your meal will not contain fish but it will have Katsuo Dashi. Also, you might be served meals with shellfish, crustaceans, mollusks, octopus, squid, and seaweed.
You will be served meals without shellfish, crustaceans, mollusks, octopus, or squid, however fish and seaweed might be served. Meals without Seafood and without Fish but with Katsuo Dashi You will be served meals without fish, shellfish, crustaceans, mollusks, octopus, or squid, however seaweed and Katsuo Dashi might be served.
Your meals will not contain seaweed.
You will be served meals without raw fish or raw seafood but cooked fish/seafood might be served.
You will be served cooked meat, fish, and seafood but raw vegetables or raw fruits might be served.
This is for people who follow a specific diet without gluten but you can tolerate a small amount. Soy sauce and Miso (both containing a small amount of gluten) will be used for cooking.
For travelers with celiac condition options will be limited of course, but with our extensive network, we will do our best to accommodate your needs. Unfortunately, gluten is used directly or indirectly in the preparation of many dishes in Japan including:
*Soy and other sauces (for example teriyaki sauce)
*Noodles (unless made of 100% buckwheat – soba noodles)
When the chef of a ryokan prepares a Western breakfast it might include the following dishes: salad, coffee, toast, eggs, jam, butter, fruits, sausage, and ham.
For guests traveling with children under 6 years old, some ryokans serve kid meals. For kid meals, the ryokans mean: A smaller portion than adult meals and the food is usually Western combined Japanese style. However, the kid meals differ in each ryokan.
Many ryokans can prepare diabetic-friendly meals with low calories, without sweets or sugar, without white rice, and white deep-fried food.
Fish: The flesh of any aquatic vertebrate, in either salt or freshwater, that has gills, fins, and typically an elongated body with scales.
Seafood: any shellfish, crustacean, mollusk, octopus, or squid from saltwater or freshwater.
*Shellfish: Culinary term for crustaceans, mollusks, and echinoderms. An aquatic animal having a shell such as the oyster and other mollusks or a hard exoskeleton such as the lobster or other crustaceans.
*Crustaceans: Arthropods normally found in the ocean or other waters (lobster, shrimp, crab, barnacle, crayfish krill…).
*Mollusks: Large array of sea and freshwater species including clams, mussels, oysters, winkles, scallops, squid, octopus, and snails.
*Echinoderms: Any invertebrate marine animal having a radiating arrangement of parts and a body wall stiffened by calcareous pieces that may protrude as spines. (Sea urchin, Sea cucumber, Starfish).
*Seaweed: Plants from the sea such as Nori, Hijiki, Kanten, Konbu, and Mozuku. These are also known as sea vegetables.
*Katsuo Dashi: Fish broth made with dried bonito flakes used in most Japanese dishes.
*Octopus: The octopus is a cephalopod mollusk.
*Squid: Squid are marine cephalopods.
*Beef: The flesh of a domestic full-grown bovine (as a steer, cow, bull, or ox)
*Red Meat: The flesh of beef.
*Pork: The flesh of a pig or hog used as food.
*Chicken and Poultry: The flesh of chicken and domesticated birds (duck, emus, goose, turkey, pheasant)
*White meat: The flesh of a chicken.
*Peanuts: Technically peanuts are not nuts, but legumes. The peanut, or groundnut (Arachis hypogaea), is a species of the legume “bean” family. Please note that sesame might be served though you request a meal without peanuts.
*Tree Nuts: Tree nuts are considered dry fruits, for example, hazelnuts. A nut is a hard-shelled fruit of some plants having an indehiscent seed. Please note that sesame seeds might be served though you request a meal without tree nuts.
*Dairy: Cow’s milk, cow’s milk yogurt, cow’s milk cheese, and cow’s milk ice cream.
*Wheat: Wheat is a grain used in flour. In Japan, travelers who request meals without wheat will be served meals without flour, barley, or rye.
*Eggs: Japanese define eggs, as chicken eggs so if you are allergic or cannot eat other kinds of eggs please let us know.
*Soba Noodles made with buckwheat:
Soba is a type of thin Japanese noodle made from buckwheat flour. It is served either chilled with a dipping sauce or in hot broth as a noodle soup.
*MSG: Monosodium glutamate, is a sodium salt. It is used as a food additive and is commonly marketed as a flavor enhancer. It has the HS code 29224220 and the E number E621.
*Meals without spicy food: Meals without spicy food will not include spicy food, spicy sauce, or wasabi.
*Meals without Lentil beans: You will be served meals without Lentil beans, however, you will be served soybeans.
*Soybeans: Soybeans are very popular in Japan, they are used in many ways such as natto, tofu, miso, soy sauce
1) Bring and have ready all medications related to the allergy, sensitivity, and medical condition.
2) The facilities you use may not be able to meet your needs depending on the nature of the response.
3) Although the food is prepared with the utmost care, please note that it is prepared in the same kitchen as other dishes, so there is a possibility that small quantities of allergenic substances may be contaminated during the processing or cooking process, and the final decision on whether or not to eat the food must be made by the travelers themselves.
Due to the Japanese law about food poisoning, you are not allowed to bring raw meat or fish of any kind into your room. In the case of food poisoning, the ryokan would be fully inspected and would be responsible for the food poisoning. To limit the ryokan’s risk you are not allowed to bring raw food such as Sashimi and Sushi inside the ryokan. We sincerely thank you for your understanding.
Rediscover Tours arranges amazing trips whether you are traveling with your family, on your honeymoon, as a couple or as a group of friends. We work with you to make sure everything is exactly as you want it.
If none of our tours match exactly what you have in mind that is OK. Just let us know what destinations you like or what kinds of sights or activities you enjoy. We will create a custom tour just for you.
A group composed of people you already know. Planning a corporate trip, an adventure for your sport club or simply for a group of friends these customizable tours are for you.
The tours featured throughout our website are intended to give you ideas for what's possible when you travel with us. Treat them simply as inspiration, because your trip will be created individually by one of our specialists to match your tastes and budget.
It was our first trip to Japan. Working with Jeff was a pleasure. His knowledge of the country and local contacts were very helpful. Choice...
Working with Jeff at Rediscover Tours was a wonderful experience. He helped me plan a 10 day trip of a lifetime to Japan with my mother...
I would like to take this opportunity to commend and thank you for the marvelous vacation we recently enjoyed in Japan. The entire experience exceeded...
Our team of Japan experts have all lived in Japan for years and know its the hidden treasures. Our team is here to answer all your questions and to build your tour just the way you want it.
Jeff was born in a south suburb of Chicago named South Holland and lived in Japan for 14 years. He now lives in Commerce Township, Michigan with his wife Yoshimi, son Shota, and daughter Mina. He enjoys playing with his kids, volunteering with his daughter’s marching band, cycling and training and teaching Aikido.
Michiyo was born in Noboribetsu, Hokkaido Prefecture though currently lives in Takarazuka, Hyogo Prefecture. Her main passions in life is traveling all around the world and enjoying their cultures.
Izumi has spent most of her life in the Kansai region, except for the 10 years that she enjoyed in the UK. Living abroad has made her appreciate her own culture and local beauty even more. She currently lives in Osaka with her family, including two cats and two dogs.
Great trips don't just happen; it takes expert knowledge and years of experience to create a truly memorable holiday. You can rely on Rediscover Tours to make your perfect Japanese experience. Our dedication to excellence makes the difference.
Your Japan travel expert will create your trip just for you
Your interests and travel style will be front and center when designing your tour
Accommodations will be selected based on your style and we will inform them of all your special meal and physical requirements
Your Japan expert has lived in Japan or is Japanese
They know the hidden treasures of Japan that you will love and most tourists miss
Most of our team lives in Japan giving them first hand knowledge of the latest trends and experiences for you to enjoy
Private local guides add a whole new depth to your Japanese tour
We only hire the best guides and review each trip with them insuring excellent experience
Your private guide will listen to you, show you sights of interest and will make on the fly changes to match the weather and crowds
Our office in Japan is here to assist and support you
Rediscover Tours has been organizing travel to Japan since 2000
You will arrive comfortable in the knowledge that all details are taken care of and that our Japan office is just a call away