All About Japan

Greater Tokyo: Sightseeing & Gluten-Free Food

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Tokyo and Yokohama are chock-full of sightseeing options, from the unending charm of Tokyo's neighborhoods to the ritzy hotels, shopping centers and Cosmo Clock 21 of Yokohama's pier. It has a huge selection of dining as well, but it can be tough to find gluten-free restaurants or grocery stores along the way. Here are ten of our favorites combos!

10. Kiss the (Captain) Cook & Hit a Museum

10. Kiss the (Captain) Cook & Hit a Museum

You can start with a filling brunch at Captain Cook in Hiroo before hitting the streets. English food may not necessarily have the best reputation, but if you're gluten-free (and even if you're not!), Captain Cook's eggs Benedict will make you a believer! For those who need a caffeine boost to start the day, their selection of teas, espresso and coffee won't disappoint. They have a really incredible dinner menu as well!

After a delicious brekky, head over to nearby Roppongi to explore the Nezu Museum and Mori Art Museum. Cap the day off with a visit to Tokyo City View Observation Deck in Roppongi Hills, where the magical view will leave you swooning.

9. Shop Like a Local & Chill at Blu Jam

This basement brunch place in Daikanyama boasts beautiful interiors reminiscent of jazz bars in New York. But the cool vibe isn't the only reason why it's become a neighborhood favorite—Blu Jam Café also serves up generous portions of delicious food. A personal favorite is the carbonara served with Arborio short-grain rice instead of the usual pasta. If you're with a vegetarian, they too will rejoice at the availability of filling salads, veggie bread meals and even a scrumptious vegan cheesecake!

If you can manage to move afterward, why not take it easy like a local? Explore the posh street shops in Daikanyama, and enjoy a lazy day inside Japan's national treasure, Tsutaya—Daikanyama is home to an award-winning branch of this bookstore chain! At night, you can walk toward Shibuya for more shopping and snap some shots of the famous crossing and the Hachiko statue.

8. Take a Break at Café Comfort

8. Take a Break at Café Comfort

This hidden gem is another local favorite. Tucked away on the top floor of Yokohama Station's high-end Sogo shopping mall, Café Comfort is usually flocked with ladies who lunch. Although this stop doesn't have as extensive a gluten-free menu as other entries on the list, the variety of coffee options and the komeko rice flour French toast are worth a try if you're in the area.

Plus, Yokohama is the perfect pit stop when heading to Kamakura. If you want to immerse yourself in history, culture and natural beauty, the bamboo forest or the Big Buddha are must-sees. Afterward, take a stroll along the Komachi Dori shopping street.

7. 'O' and Aah at Historic Architecture

Bashamichi is a historic street in Yokohama lined with well-preserved buildings. It derives its name from the horse-drawn carriages (basha) that traversed the bustling port city in the past. Bashamichi Station itself shows a lot a character, with classic, red brick walls mounted with historical photos. The nearby Kanagawa Prefectural Museum is a great place to dive even deeper into the area's history. The Yokohama Creative City Center is also architecturally astounding, and happens to be a picturesque place for a cup of coffee.

The best haunt for the gluten-free is O-Café, which has a wide selection of both meals and desserts. The owner says the issue is near and dear to his heart because his brother is gluten intolerant. I swear by the goodness of their fried chicken, French toast and cheesecake! Their ginger latte is also delicious!

6. (Hotel) Edit Your Yokohama Itinerary

Got to EDIT an article for a print project and some content for a web project here. 😉 I initially thought that after catching up with a friend for late lunch, I'd have to find another "working station" because in the past, the hotel cafe would close by 3PM. Who would have thought that THIS WEEK, they'd start "tea time" operations and that the chef had made available komeko pancakes on the menu. They were as fluffy, light, and tasty as the Australian pancakes I loved from Latte Graphic. This meant being able to stay beyond our lunch meeting and getting work done. Aaaaand.... Eating good pancakes I absolutely love! 😍 The chef even said that he developed the pancake for customers with gluten concerns. (OMG. Gluten-free community is growing finally!) Whenever "reality" would tell me to worry about my needs, God meets my needs and beyond. 😘 Cheers to wood, white, wonder. And friends that build me up. And gluten free pancakes that cheer me up. 😍 #glutenfree #komeko #riceflour #pancakes #remote #work #writing #DreamsResurrectionYear #needs #wants #mindful #productivity #perfecttiming #retail #design #concept

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If you're looking for a place to stay in Yokohama, look no further than Hotel Edit. The decor is comfortable and modern, and it's a stone throw from the romantic Minato Mirai harbor, the Akarenga-Soko red brick warehouses and the Oshanbashi Pier.

The best part about this hotel is that they've acknowledged the gluten-free requirements of tourists, and the chef has actually created his own komeko rice flour-based dishes.

5. Stock Up & Hit the Beach

5. Stock Up & Hit the Beach

If you're looking to stock up on gluten-free goodies in Yokohama, be sure to stop at PX-Store on the second floor of the Marui Shopping Center in Yokohama Station. It can be easy to miss due to lack of signage, but don't give up! My best finds from this shop are gluten-free chips, peanut butter and marshmallow fluff, pasta, noodles and gluten-free mixes. If you live nearby or plan on visiting regularly, be sure to ask for a frequency card!

Yokohama Station is a super convenient location if you want to do some beach hopping. There are beautiful beaches in southern Kanagawa Prefececture such as Chigasaki, Zushi and Shichirigahama that are just a short train ride from the station. Stock up on gluten-free treats before you spend a day at the beach!

4. Snack & Stroll at the Harbor

The best thing that happened to me today. 😘 😍😄 For months, I've been ogling cakes and pastries in the many bakeries I've passed by, and holding tins of Danish cookies in supermarkets, trying to remember how delicious every bite was, because I can't have them anymore. I've made myself content with whatever I can bake, always telling myself that "it's all good." Good enough, but part of me does want something better (food with flour is glorious!😱). I passed by this store over lunch to buy the usual gluten-free flour I can use. I've scoured the shelves many times before, but only found gluten-free ingredients, never ready-to-eat goodies. But TODAY, THIS! I believe God is telling me the same thing: "You've been so used to what you have and what you can do, thinking that if you ask for more, it's ungratefulness, discontent, and greed. Or, you probably got tired of asking and you still remember past disappointments on things which I decided not to give you or not yet give you, because it wasn't for your good. But, do you want it now? Do you really want it? If you do, then let me know. I am a Good Father who delights in giving good gifts." Too long a reflection, but just like the many things on my prayer list, I've been wanting some cookies in a tin. I got them today and was delighted beyond that delicious bite. 😘😍 #matthew7ElevenReminder #goodgifts #goodgoodFather #glutenfree #paninJapan #todaysthanksgiving #alliwantforchristmas

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The best gluten-free cookies I've ever had, I found at this shop. If you need some gluten-free goodies to bring along as you go around Japan, look for Galleon. They have a branch in Minato Mirai, which is very conveniently located if you want to visit the Kishamichi Promenade and the Yokohama Cup Noodles Museum, or if you're up for some shopping at the Landmark Tower.

3. The Rice is Nice at N'espace

Niigata Prefecture is in the northern part of Japan's main island, Honshu. It's on a fertile coastal plain surrounded by two rivers, and is famous for its delicious rice and sake. It's a bit of a haul to go all the way to Niigata just to get a taste of said famous rice, but fortunately Tokyo's Omotesando neighborhood has an extensive specialty products store on the ground floor of N'espace. If you're looking to enjoy "made in Japan," organically gluten-free products, this is the place to be!

They have komeko rice flour bread, rice crackers, cookies and other products that are sure to make gluten-free tummies happy. After some gluten-free shopping (or perhaps some dining at their restaurant), feel free to enjoy the Omotesando main road for luxury shopping, or explore interesting back alleys such as Harajuku Cat Street or the ever-popular Takeshita Dori.

2. Snack at Three Kitchen

After shopping in Omotesando, a good place to gobble some gluten-free food is at nearby Three Kitchen Aoyama. Three Kitchen is actually a retail shop for organic products, but they serve food as well. They have gluten-free and vegan selections—their mac and cheese is a must-try!

1. A Little Birdie Told Me...

1. A Little Birdie Told Me...

There's an ALL GLUTEN-FREE haven (with vegan options as an added bonus) in Shibuya called Gluten Free Café Little Bird. It has a huge selection, with amazing burgers, pasta, ramen, gyoza and pizza (including a marshmallow chocolate one for dessert!)—basically everything gluten-free eaters assume they can't eat while dining out! Many gluten-free diners from Japan and the world over have built a relationship with the owner, thanks to her warm hospitality and seriously delicious gluten-free food in the heart of Tokyo.