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Many Allergies 2013/9/15 12:59
My friend and I want to visit Japan, but are weary of weather our combined allergies will be a problem. I am allergic to fish. So I can't eat any sea food, nor anything cooked in fish stock. She also does not eat fish, but along with that she is allergic to wheat, dairy and egg. This means that combined we have a very restricted diet, and are worried about finding places that will accommodate us. I would also like to stay at a Ryokan, but I know they serve traditional food and I'm not sure they would be able to accommodate us. I am in Japanese classes now, and we would also be visiting with a friend that is from Japan, so telling them will not really be the issue, just weather they will have anything for us or would be willing to substitute/leave things out. Also, we would like to be out during the day so ideally we would like to keep eating in to a minimum.

If you could share your thoughts I would appreciate it. Thank you!
by Cj (guest)  

Re: Many Allergies 2013/9/15 17:44
The most Ryokans provide two services,
i)stay and meals(dinner & brealfast) included or
ii)stay only(no meals)

so ask at you favorite Ryokan whether you can choose stay only accommodation. This service is cheaper than meals included course.

Then you can choose things you can eat outside.
Ask the staff "Sumimasen, Sakana(Tamago) ga taberaremasen"(Excuseme but I am unable to eat fish(eggs)). They will happy to suggest menus have no fish or eggs included.
by tokyo friend 48 rate this post as useful

Re: Many Allergies 2013/9/15 22:00

You two do seem to have a very restricted diet. That itself is not a problem, but I strongly suggest you try to find a good ryokan that are knowledgable and can be responsible for the information they personally hand out to you. You may want to even spend your money finding the best accomodation.

I has a family with severe allergy and the first time we traveled, we booked a hotel with a very reliable conceirge. She made sure that all the restaurants in which she made reservations to on our behalf knew precisely what they should be serving to us. For the rest, we ate on our own risk while carrying our own food as well.

That said, I don't mean to discourage you, but not many chefs in Japan are prepared to cook while omitting all those allergens. Although in Japanese, shown at the bottom are lists on allergic-friendly accomodation throughout Japan. Be sure you contact them directly in advance to make sure you won't have any misunderstandings while you're here.

Also, it might depend on how severe your allergies are, but don't trust anonymous internet users like me, and make sure you double check phrases and information through someone reliable such as a doctor or a conceirge or anyone who can talk to you face to face as a professional.

Once your wishes are granted, you will be amazed at how much you can do while having allergy. Good luck and Bon Appetit!

by Uco rate this post as useful

Re: Many Allergies 2013/9/16 00:14
Sorry, but I can't be as optimistic as the previous posters. If you're really allergic to fish, then basically you should stay away from Japanese food and Japanese restaurants. Fish stock is the basis of Japanese cuisine, to the extent that cooks in a restaurant kitchen won't be able to prepare Japanese dishes without it.

You can probably eat simple dishes (hamburgers, salads, etc.) in family restaurants like Denny's, or buy food from supermarkets and convenience stores.

I wouldn't count on simply telling restaurant staff about your allergies if they're really serious or life-threatening.
by Umami Dearest rate this post as useful

Re: Many Allergies 2013/9/16 13:45
There are many Japanese cuisine recepies that doesn't require fish broth, such as yudofu, shabushabu, sukiyaki and many grilled dishes as well as steamed dishes. The most authentic chefs don't even use kobu for their yudofu. Besides it's possible to stay at a ryokan and enjoy the atmosphere while eating non-Japanese style dishes.

On the other hand, if your allergy is very severe, I would advise you to stay away from the so-called family resturants where they often prepare food on same cutting boards and knives.

Anyway, I'm sure the OP and his/her friend know how to deal with these things since they have been living with it. The following onsen hotel might be a good place to start asking since they say they can cook without allergens. Or if there is any other specific region you wish to visit, post again for assistance.

All I'm saying is that it's not impossible. But again, double check with those you can rely on.

by Uco rate this post as useful

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