Are you gluten free and planning a trip to Hiroshima, Japan? I’ve got you covered in this complete gluten free Hiroshima guide!
I recently spent 48 hours in Hiroshima as part of my month-long trip to Japan. Below, I’m sharing all the gluten free restaurants I ate at (including celiac safe okonomiyaki – one of my top five meals in Japan!), plus my recommended hotel, and a 2-day itinerary for gluten free travelers in Hiroshima.
Let’s get into it!
This gluten free guide was published in 2023.
Gluten Free Hiroshima and Miyajima Island
Dan and I nearly didn’t visit Hiroshima. It wasn’t on our original Japan itinerary. However, when a typhoon canceled our flight and stranded us in Japan for an additional week, we hopped on a bullet train from Osaka to check out Hiroshima.
If you are also considering visiting Hiroshima during your trip to Japan, I encourage you to do so. It’s not only a deeply important historical site, but there are enough gluten free options here to keep you going for at least two days.
I’m not saying it’s easy to be gluten free in Hiroshima. There are way less celiac safe options here than in other cities in Japan (I’m looking at you, Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka). That’s why I’m writing this guide – to share everywhere I ate and make your trip planning easier.
Gluten Free Translation Card for Japan
Before we get into gluten free Hiroshima restaurants, you absolutely need a gluten free translation card in Japan. My recommendation is this card from Legal Nomads.
I used that exact card nearly every day during my month in Japan. It never failed me. Unlike any other card on the market, it goes into detail on actual Japanese cuisine and hidden gluten sources.
For the price of a couple coffees, you’ll save yourself from getting glutened on vacation. I’ll share more details about why I love this card so much in my gluten free Japan guide – stay tuned!
Gluten Free Hiroshima Map
To help you navigate your way around Hiroshima, I created this map of gluten free options. You can download it to your phone and use it yourself!
Gluten free Hiroshima map key:
- Blue: Restaurants with celiac-safe gluten free options.
- Green: Restaurants with reported gluten free options, but I have not visited yet so can’t personally confirm celiac-safeness.
- Gray: Celiac-friendly chain restaurants.
- Maroon house icon: My top recommended places to stay.
- Orange: Things to see and do.
Dedicated Gluten Free Hiroshima Restaurants
There are currently NO dedicated gluten free restaurants in Hiroshima. I’ll keep this blog post updated in case this changes!
Don’t worry, though, because there are a number of celiac-safe restaurants in Hiroshima that I share about in the following sections.
Celiac Safe Restaurants in Hiroshima and Miyajima
Cafe Ponte is an Italian restaurant in Hiroshima that has a separate gluten free menu. It has a pretty convenient location – near the A-bomb dome, ferry landing, and Peace Park – and is where we ate on our first night in Hiroshima.
I recommend making a reservation if you can. We got the very last table available when we arrived (around 6pm) and sat outside.
The gluten free menu here is all naturally gluten free items – no pasta or pizza. However that includes three types of risotto and other items.
I ordered the caprese salad to start and the mozzarella was shockingly good. For my main, the mushroom risotto was also excellent.
I couldn’t resist and also ordered the orange crème brûlée for dessert which was great! There was kind of a lot going on with the candied orange rind, berries, and a whole scoop of ice cream but it was still good!
Regarding cross contact, I did ask about this to confirm the risotto was cooked in fresh water, not pasta water. Our waiter was extremely confused (he thought I was requesting to boil it in bottled water!) but I asked to speak to another member of staff who spoke fluent English and we got it sorted out! I do think it’s worth checking because it’s not like they said “ohhh, we never do that.” But, they did seem generally knowledgeable.
Reservations? Yes, recommended. Arrive early (before 6pm) if no reservations.
Address: Cafe Ponte, 1 Chome-9-21 Otemachi, Naka Ward, Hiroshima, 730-0051, Japan
Their menu marks a number of gluten free options, and they also advertise gluten free on their website. I’ve heard a couple good reviews from fellow celiacs, including those who avoid cross contact, but I didn’t get the chance to eat here myself so I can’t share about that personally.
Our (Very Odd) Experience at Otis!
Dan and I were planning to have our last meal in Hiroshima at Otis!, but when we walked into the restaurant we had the most bizarre experience. There was an open mic going on at around 5pm, and we walked straight into the LOUDEST guitar solo I’ve ever heard in my life.
The door to enter goes directly onto the stage, so it felt like we were suddenly in a spotlight, hahah! The restaurant was filled with people watching the guitarist rock out. Everyone looked very somber; nobody was eating.
We sat in the back and looked at the menu for a moment but honestly it was too loud for me to ask the owner my questions, so we ended up leaving and getting food at 7/11 instead (more on that below!).
Honestly, maybe we were a bit over-tired from our long day in Hiroshima, but we both found this experience HILARIOUS. Just a small warning for if you visit Otis!, you might end up on a Japanese stage, too!
Reservations? Not required.
Address: Otis!, 1-20 Kakomachi, Naka Ward, Hiroshima, 730-0812, Japan
Miyajima Base (on Miyajima Island)
Miyajima Base is a small karaage restaurant and probably the best place for celiacs to eat anywhere on Miyajima Island (a MUST visit while you’re in Hiroshima)!
Karaage is Japanese fried chicken, and it’s usually full of gluten. However, at Miyajima Base they use rice flour and gluten free soy sauce, so all the karaage is gluten free. They also use separate oil so there’s no cross contact – they are very clued up on celiac disease.
I believe that they used to use normal soy sauce in their karaage and advertise it as GF. However, a celiac contacted them about this to educate on why that’s not okay for us, and they ended up changing their practices and putting “celiac” on their menu!
Major respect to them for changing their ways, and respect to that person for advocating for our community!
Anyway, Miyajima Base is not dedicated gluten free. Their eel conger bowl contains gluten, but it is prepared separately and they warned me about this.
Dan and I went here around 9am when they opened, after taking the first ferry to Miyajima Island at 6:25am and having the early morning to explore. We both got a 5-piece karaage bowl (this was massive, I think I could’ve done the 3-piece instead), and a sparkling lemonade (sooo good).
I loved this little place and highly recommend for anyone who’s gluten free on Miyajima Island!
Reservations? Not required.
Address: Miyajima Base, 310 Miyajimacho, Hatsukaichi, Hiroshima 739-0588, Japan
Starbucks (on Miyajima Island)
The only other place I ate on Miyajima Island was Starbucks. And actually, I got a triple shot latte, not any food.
However, I wanted to mention it briefly here because the Miyajima Starbucks is soooo pretty – it was this amazing view of the water, and if you walk out on the balcony you can see the shrine.
Address: Starbucks, 459-2 Miyajimacho
Gluten Free Hiroshima Okonomiyaki (Celiac Safe vs Not Safe)
But wait, the best gluten free Hiroshima food is yet to come!
Okonomiyaki is a traditional Japanese cabbage pancake… that’s freakin’ delicious but also full of gluten. It’s typically cooked on a large flat grill (teppan) and so cross contact between any wheat flour okonomiyaki cooked on the same surface is a big issue when trying to find gluten free okonomiyaki.
There are two places that advertise “gluten free” okonomiyaki in Hiroshima but only one place is celiac safe. Gluten sensitive (not celiac) people may be open to visiting the other establishment, which is why I will mention both here.
Koguma Okonomiyaki (広島焼き 仔ぐま) – Celiac Safe
The only okonomiyaki in Hiroshima that is celiac safe is made by Ken-San at Koguma Okonomiyaki. This was one of my top 5 meals in ALL of Japan.
If you are looking for this restaurant on Google Maps, note that its name is in Japanese (広島焼き 仔ぐま). Here is the Google Maps location pin.
The location is about a 30-40 minute tram ride from the Peace Park, but well worth the journey. Dan and I actually made a lunch stop here on our way back to Hiroshima from Miyajima Island and it fit into our itinerary perfectly.
YOU NEED TO MAKE A RESERVATION FOR GLUTEN FREE OKONOMIYAKI.
To make a reservation, message Ken-San on his Facebook page here. He doesn’t speak English, so I translated my messages into Japanese via Google Translate, and he translated his replies into English! I messaged about 24 hours in advance, but I recommend giving him a little more notice than that just to be safe.
When I say this okonomiyaki is celiac-safe, I absolutely mean it. Ken-San makes his gluten free okonomiyaki on a completely separate pan, on a separate burner, and with all separate utensils, sauce, noodle packets, and more.
I watched the whole thing, and he was soooo careful. He really goes above and beyond to keep celiacs safe and I just so deeply appreciate him for that. It is not easy to eat gluten free in Japan and this felt like a safe haven.
The okonomiyaki tasted delicious and so authentic – by far my favorite gluten free okonomiyaki I had in Japan, and the only one that had noodles in it.
Better than the okonomiyaki, though, was the atmosphere and conversation (via Google Translate) with Ken-San and his wife. He told us about his mother, who is actually an atomic bomb survivor who was 2km from the hypocenter yet miraculously had no physical effects.
She opened Koguma Okonomiyaki, which Ken-San took over in time. She’s also an artist, and you can see some of her work in the restaurant. It was a deeply touching conversation and added another layer to our experience at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, which we visited directly afterwards.
Reservations? Yes, for gluten free okonomiyaki. Message on their Facebook page >24 hours in advance.
Address: 広島焼き 仔ぐま, 5 Chome-24-10 Rakurakuen, Saeki Ward, Hiroshima, 731-5136, Japan
Hassei – Not Celiac Safe
Hassei is another restaurant in Hiroshima that advertises gluten free okonomiyaki. It is more conveniently located, close to the Peace Park.
However, they use a shared grill here! So, this place is unfortunately not celiac-safe.
Why a Shared Grill = Lots of Gluten
You may not be familiar with okonomiyaki yet, but personally having seen okonomiyaki cooked many times now, I want to warn you that despite what some people say about “having no reaction,” the amount of cross contact with a shared grill is huge and inevitable.
Imagine cooking normal pancakes on a grill all day with the same spatula without cleaning it, then plopping your gluten free batter on the same surface that’s covered in gluten remnants and flipping it and chopping it with a spatula caked in wheat batter. SO MUCH GLUTEN.
In my opinion, it cannot really be called “gluten free” anymore in good faith. No amount of gluten is safe for celiacs. However, if you are very mildly sensitive to gluten and not celiac, then you may be okay here. I don’t want to limit your options, which is why I mention Hassei, but I did want to add this hefty warning.
One thing I will say is this restaurant is VERY open about their level of cross contact, and on their menu they even offer that people with allergies are welcome to bring in their own meals from outside, so that they can still dine with family or friends ordering the normal okonomiyaki. I think that’s very kind, and it’s not necessarily normal in Japan either.
Address: Hassei, 4-17 Fujimicho, Naka Ward, Hiroshima, 730-0043, Japan
More Gluten Free Hiroshima Restaurants
In an effort to make this gluten free Hiroshima guide as complete as possible, I’m including some additional restaurants that, based on my research before our most recent trip, do serve gluten free food.
Please note that I did not eat at the below places myself, and as always you should double check cross contact protocols before your visit.
More Hiroshima restaurants with gluten free options:
- Yamaichi Bekkan: A Japanese restaurant that is very accommodating for gluten free. Per their website, they have gluten free soy sauce and are willing to adjust most meals to be gluten free. They cannot do any fried food gluten free as the oil is contaminated. Beyond the restaurants we visited above, this would be your next best bet, I think.
- Kissa Saeki: Organic restaurant that marks allergens (including wheat) on their menu online. Per reviews, they have knowledge about gluten.
- Craft Beer & Sumibi Harebare: A brewery where, per reviews, staff can help you find gluten free options on the menu (GF options are primarily vegan as well).
- Miyabi Tei: Restaurant inside the Sheraton hotel, per reviews it has gluten free soy sauce and they can adjust dishes to be gluten free.
If you have the chance to eat at any of the above restaurants, please comment below and share your experience!
My Favorite Gluten Free “Back Up Plans” in Japan
As difficult as being gluten free in Japan can be, one thing I love about traveling in this country is that there are quite a few reliable gluten free “back up plans.”
What do I mean by this? I’m referring to chain restaurants and convenience stores that have celiac safe options, and that you can find in pretty much any city in Japan.
Reliable, celiac safe, gluten free quick meals in Japan:
- Conbinis: Convenience stores in Japan include 7/11, Family Mart, and Lawson’s. Use Google Translate to check ingredients and find gluten free options at these. My go to was the red salmon and salt onigiri, Oikos yogurt, and soft boiled eggs.
- Mos Burger: A burger chain across Japan that has a low-allergen menu consisting of a certified gluten free hamburger and hotdog. They are both tiny, but pretty good, and come in separate plastic packaging to prevent any cross contact. Note that only the larger Mos Burgers (not the “Mos Cafes”) have the low allergen menu.
- Coco Ichibanya Curry: This fast-casual Japanese curry chain has a special low-allergen curry that is gluten free. It’s served in a heated-up bag, which you pour yourself, to prevent any cross contact from occurring.
Let’s be honest, sometimes things don’t go according to plan with gluten free travel. It’s so nice to have a back up plan so you get some safe food in you!
Where to Stay in Hiroshima If You’re Gluten Free
Dan and I stayed in Hiroshima for one night only, and we wanted an affordable place to stay that was close to the Peace Park and gluten free restaurants.
We chose Hostel Mallika – one of those famous Japanese capsule hotels! – and loved it.
Hostel Mallika was a great place to stay on a budget. We booked two separate capsule beds, which were clean and comfy.
The hostel had lockers for our valuables that they let us continue to use even after check out, for the rest of the day.
Regarding gluten free, it’s across the street from Otis!, and walking distance to the Peace Park and Cafe Ponte. Also easily accessible by public transport to Koguma Okonomiyaki, Miyajima Island, and the train station. Overall a prime location!
Sheraton Grand Hiroshima Hotel
The Sheraton Grand Hiroshima Hotel will be a good choice for those with a higher budget who prefer to stay near Hiroshima Station, rather than in the center of town.
Miyabi Tei is an on-site restaurant at the Sheraton that’s reported to have some gluten free options, although I can’t personally confirm.
Hiroshima no Yado Aioi
Hiroshima no Yado Aioi is a great option for families or couples visiting Hiroshima.
It’s a ryokan-style hotel with tatami mat floors, and an onsen spa. It has a great location close to the Peace Park, and some of the rooms even have views of the A-bomb dome.
Gluten Free Hiroshima Itinerary Example
I started writing travel itineraries within my gluten free guides last year, and they’ve been a huge hit. As a gluten free traveler, you really do need to plan ahead when it comes to the locations of activities, gluten free food, and opening hours. Nowhere is this more important than Japan!
2 Day Itinerary for Celiacs in Hiroshima
Take the bullet train from Osaka, Tokyo, or Kyoto to Hiroshima. Be sure to pack some gluten free snacks from 7/11 for the journey! Check into your hotel (I recommend Hostel Mallika for clean, budget-friendly capsules).
This evening, get your bearings by taking a walk through the Peace Park. Have a gluten free dinner at Cafe Ponte, before going to bed early because tomorrow is a long day.
Wake up early and take the tram to Miyajimaguchi, in time to catch the first ferry of the day at 6:25am. Once on Miyajima Island, walk to the giant torii to see it without the crowds. Visit Itsukushima Shrine and Daisho-in Temple, before getting breakfast (gluten free fried chicken!) at Miyajima Base when they open at 9am. Grab a coffee at Starbucks and do some final wandering before taking the ferry back to the mainland.
Next, take the old tram to Koguma Okonomiyaki for the most authentic, celiac-safe okonomiyaki in Japan. Be sure to message on Facebook to make reservations at least 24 hours in advance.
After lunch, take the tram back to the Hiroshima Peace Park. Visit the A-bomb dome and the Children’s Peace Monument, before spending a couple hours in the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum.
For dinner, this depends if you’re staying the night in Hiroshima or not. If you’re staying overnight, go to Otis! or one of your trusty gluten free Japan plan B’s (Coco Curry or Mos Burger). If you’re catching an evening bullet train to Tokyo, like we did, pick up some conbini snacks on your way to the station.
RELATED | Gluten Free Tokyo
Gluten Free Hiroshima: Final Thoughts
There you have it, my complete guide to gluten free Hiroshima restaurants, hotels, itinerary, and more.
Hiroshima might have been a surprise add-on at the end of our month in Japan, but I’m sooo glad we visited. Not only did it feel incredibly important to pay our respects and visit the Peace Memorial Museum, but I also had one of my favorite meals of the entire trip at Koguma Okonomiyaki.
If you have any questions, or would like to share updates after your own trip to Hiroshima, leave me a comment below!
Check out my other gluten free Japan posts…
Ultimate Gluten Free Japan Guide (Coming Soon!)
Osaka Gluten Free Guide (Coming Soon!)
Kyoto Gluten Free Guide (Coming Soon!)
100% Gluten Free Cooking Class in Osaka: Complete Review (Coming Soon!)
Gluten Free Tours Japan: Complete Review (Coming Soon!)