Osaka is known as Japan’s foodie city. As someone who has to eat gluten free, I assumed I would not be able to participate in that side of Osaka.
I couldn’t have been more wrong! The gluten free Osaka scene is thriving… if you know where to look.
Yes, it is challenging to eat gluten free in Japan. And yes, there are fewer gluten free options in Osaka than there are in Tokyo and Kyoto.
But with some hard work and research, I was able to eat delicious gluten free food in Osaka. I was even able to find celiac safe okonomiyaki and takoyaki – Osaka specialties.
I’m sharing everything I learned in this gluten free Osaka guide, so your own trip to Osaka can be equally as yummy.
NOTE | I have celiac disease and avoid cross contact. Saying that, staff, practices, menus, and hours can all change. I encourage you to always do your own research and ask questions before you dine.
Gluten Free Osaka: An Introduction
Osaka is a gritty city. It’s modern, crowded, full of neon lights and jam-packed alleys, and the smoky scent of fried street food. It has a reputation as “Japan’s kitchen” and that’s well deserved.
We visited Osaka twice.
The first time, we had two days to do a whirlwind tour of Osaka, with the help of Gluten Free Tours Japan, who helped communicate in Japanese and order gluten free food on my behalf.
We returned to Osaka again, for what was supposed to be one night before flying out of the country. An ill-timed typhoon had other plans for us, and canceled our flight!
Dan and I ended up staying a whole extra week in Osaka before heading back to Tokyo for a new flight. Did we really need to do that? No… but we loved Japan so much, it was an easy excuse to spend more time in this beautiful country.
My point is, I’ve spent nearly 10 days in Osaka across two visits. This is much longer than the average tourist, who might stay in Osaka one or two nights, tops. During that time I’ve done a lot of research on the gluten free Osaka scene, and I’m sharing all my gluten free restaurant finds in this article.
Let’s get into it!
Gluten Free Osaka: What You Need to Know
Before I cover my gluten free restaurant recommendations in Osaka, I think it’s important to share some general advice for anyone who is gluten free and planning a trip to Japan.
My top 5 tips for gluten free travelers in Japan:
- Use this gluten free Japanese translation card – I promise you’ll thank me later.
- Research and know the hidden gluten sources in Japanese food.
- Build your itinerary around gluten free restaurants.
- Always double check opening hours and days because they change.
- Have a back up food plan.
There are not as many dedicated gluten free restaurants in Osaka as there are in Tokyo or Kyoto. However, this is still a long post because there are a number of non-dedicated gluten free restaurants that can serve safe gluten free food.
To help you avoid overwhelm, I have put a ☆ next to my very top picks.
My Recommended Japanese Gluten Free Translation Card
I highly recommend buying this Japanese gluten free translation card before your trip to Osaka. I used this card and it was the #1 thing that kept me safe.
Unlike other gluten free translation cards, this card is professionally translated by native Japanese speakers, created by a celiac who traveled Japan, and discusses hidden gluten sources in Japanese cuisine.
Honestly this card is a must-have for anyone who is gluten free in Japan!
Gluten Free Osaka Map
To help you navigate your way around Osaka, I created this map of gluten free options. You can download it to your phone and use it yourself!
Gluten free Osaka, Japan map key:
- Dark blue: Dedicated gluten free bakeries and restaurants.
- Light blue: Restaurants with celiac safe options (not dedicated).
- Green: Things to see and do.
- Maroon house icon: Recommended places to stay.
5 Dedicated Gluten Free Osaka Restaurants
Comeconoco Gluten-Free Laboratory & Cafe ☆
Comeconoco Gluten-Free Laboratory & Cafe is the #1 best gluten free restaurant in Osaka. For me personally, it’s also up there with the best dedicated gluten free restaurants in all of Japan!
This gluten free cafe serves delicious sandwiches, pastries, and desserts. I recommend the ham & cheese sandwich lunch set, which comes with two scones, soup, and pesto pasta at a very reasonable price.
The custard cream puff pastry is also next level delicious. Seriously, Dan took one look at mine and had to order his own (and he isn’t even gluten free!).
They sell out of their lunch sets, so I messaged them on their Instagram to set aside a plate for me. It worked really well and I ended up eating lunch here three times.
Be sure to check the opening days and hours for this place because I found it to be somewhat limited. It is definitely worth planning your days in Osaka to coincide with when Comeconoco is open.
Address: Comeconoco Gluten-Free Laboratory & Cafe, Japan, 〒540-0034 Osaka, Chuo Ward, Shimamachi, 2 Chome−2−3 １０１
Comeconoco Cooking Classes ☆
But wait… there’s more!
Yukiko (the lovely owner of Comeconoco Cafe) also offers 100% gluten free cooking classes! Read my full review of our cooking class here.
We booked a private set menu cooking class and made karaage (Japanese fried chicken), three flavors of sushi, and mochi.
It was SOOO GOOD and a highlight of my time in Japan. The class cost 8,000JPY (~$56 USD) per person and was totally worth it.
Sari Sari Store (99% Gluten Free)
Sari sari store (cocowell) is a coconut-based ice cream shop that is gluten free and dairy free – and yes, this includes gluten free ice cream CONES!
I messaged their Instagram before our visit to confirm the cones were actually gluten free, because it seemed too good to be true. They are, indeed, GF!
There is gluten on the premises but it is in the oats they use for their granola, which is kept in a separate box. The staff is aware that oats can contain gluten and warned me about this unprompted, and told me about how they keep it completely separate.
To me, that’s a good sign, and a reason I’m including it in the dedicated GF section of this post.
Dan and I went back to sari sari twice because it was so good and the staff was so nice. Get the chocolate flavor!
Address: sari sari store, Japan, 〒556-0021 Osaka, Naniwa Ward, Saiwaicho, 2 Chome−2−2 １F
An39 is a health food restaurant with salads and vegetable flavored muffins, located close to the Umeda Sky Building.
I messaged them on their Instagram and they replied to confirm they are dedicated gluten free!
Sadly, we went here for lunch and when we arrived there was a sign on the door saying they were closed for a week! The Google Maps hours weren’t updated, and it was a huge bummer that left me very hungry in an area of Osaka without many alternative gluten free options other than 7/11 onigiri (which is what I ended up eating).
So, I cannot attest to the food myself but it’s worth checking out. My advice is to message them the day you plan to visit to confirm they are actually open.
Address: an39, 5 Chome-6-31-102 Fukushima, Fukushima Ward, Osaka, 553-0003, Japan
Gluten Free Cafe & Shisha Bar Anosaki Konosaki
Gluten Free Cafe & Shisha Bar Anosaki Konosaki (yes I know, their name is a mouthful) is the final dedicated gluten free Osaka restaurant that I know of.
Honestly, it was not my favorite despite it being dedicated gluten free.
The food was borderline bad, they ran out of multiple dishes despite only being open for an hour when we arrived, the chairs were hard and uncomfortable, and it was sweltering hot inside.
Because they were out of karaage and waffles, I ordered pasta. It tasted half uncooked. Overall Dan and I agreed this was one of the worst meals we had in Japan, which is just so unfortunate for a dedicated gluten free place.
Do with this information what you will. It could be that we visited on an “off” day and that you will have a better experience!
Address: Gluten Free Cafe & Shisha Bar Anosaki Konosaki, Japan, 〒530-0015 Osaka, Kita Ward, Nakazakinishi, 1 Chome−2−5 エスパシオン中崎 1階
9 Best Osaka Restaurants with Gluten Free Options
OKO Fun Okonomiyaki Bar ☆
OKO is a super popular okonomiyaki restaurant. Okonomiyaki is a Japanese cabbage pancake, and Osaka is famous for this food. I heard that there was gluten free okonomiyaki at OKO but it was unclear from reviews online if the okonomiyaki was actually celiac safe.
Because of that, I was quite nervous about eating here. A lot of places in Japan list “gluten free okonomiyaki” but cook it on the same grill, so there is tons of cross contact. I messaged OKO’s Instagram in advance but nobody ever replied.
So, Dan and I decided we would go and investigate ourselves! Here’s my report.
Arrive Early or Wait in Line…
On our first attempt, we arrived around 6:30pm but the line was out to door and down the block! Since I wasn’t sure if I could even eat safely here, we bailed.
We tried again the next night but this time we arrived around 5:30pm (OKO opens at 6pm). We were first in line which is exactly what I wanted, so I could have a clean grill if needed.
When Shiho (the owner and sole operator of OKO – and quite possibly the nicest person I’ve ever met) opened at 6pm, I showed her my Japanese GF translation card, and asked about cross contact. She seemed very knowledgeable and aware of the importance of avoiding cross contact! Phew!!!
Gluten Free Options at OKO
Shiho told me that ALL the okonomiyaki is gluten free, made with okra pulp instead of wheat flour. Therefore, the entire grill is gluten free.
However, the toppings and sauces are not all gluten free. If you’re celiac, order from the vegetarian menu because everything on that is GF. Shiho also told me that for GF orders, she uses different sauce and clean utensils.
Side note: there is also gluten free gyoza!! And it is delicious!
The place is sooo cute. It’s a narrow three story building filled with fun murals and notes on the walls. There is also a make-your-own drink bar for only 200 JPY for any drink.
I wrote a message on the second story wall… let me know in the comments if you find it!!
Address: OKO – Fun Okonomiyaki Bar, 1 Chome-15-24 Higashishinsaibashi, Chuo Ward, Osaka, 542-0083, Japan
Cafe Morning Box
If you know me, it probably doesn’t surprise you that I specifically booked that hotel because of the on-site gluten free food! We ended up staying here a full week (due to a typhoon + flight cancellation) and I ate breakfast at the cafe many times.
There are quite a few gluten free options including rice-based cannelles and other baked goods, plus big slices of gluten free rice flour bread.
I read a review that all the bread here was gluten free, but when we visited that wasn’t the case unfortunately. The staff doesn’t seem that knowledgeable about celiac, but when I asked them to take steps to prevent cross contact, they were happy to comply.
A few times, I ordered the rice bread French toast, and asked them to use a fresh pan, grill, and utensils. They agreed, it tasted really good, and most importantly I didn’t get sick!
I also loved the hotel itself (there is an on site onsen!), but scroll further down this post to read more about our stay.
Address: Cafe Morning Box, Japan, 〒542-0083 Osaka, Chuo Ward, Higashishinsaibashi, 1 Chome−10−3 ホテルモーニングボックス 1階
Sushi Roll Double Quotation Iki
Sushi Roll Double Quotation Iki is a tiny six-seater sushi izakaya, with a very eccentric and talkative chef who spent some time working as a sushi chef in Los Angeles. He’s fluent in English and will talk your ear off!
This restaurant specializes in American-style sushi rolls (with the rice on the outside) which is hard to find in Japan.
Mostly, his specialty is vegan and vegetarian sushi and he has a big following of veggie people – it’s not a vegetarian restaurant though.
There is also gluten free soy sauce, and he uses gluten free rice vinegar in the sushi rice. He’s pretty aware of celiac disease, and can prepare gluten free sushi on request.
However, the chef told me he “gets so nervous that he will make a mistake” when prepping food for celiacs, and for this reason he does not advertise that he can do GF as he doesn’t want to have a lot of celiacs visit.
I understand this. His kitchen is very small and the risk of a mistake is high if he had a full house. Luckily, we went at a time when nobody else was there so he could really focus.
I ordered the 1400 JPY “chef’s choice” platter, which included three types of sushi (four pieces each, so 12 total). He said this was best as he could create personalized gluten free sushi.
Overall it was a fine experience and it did feel safe (especially as it was empty!) but I would not make this your priority to visit in Osaka.
Address: Sushi Roll Double Quotation Iki, 13-40 Naniwacho, Kita Ward, Osaka, 530-0022, Japan
Kura Sushi is a conveyor belt sushi chain that you can find all over Japan. I’d heard from other gluten free folks that they could eat at Kura Sushi because they use rice vinegar in the sushi rice here. However, I was still nervous to try it.
Enter… Gluten Free Tours Japan! This is a company that Dan and I used for a week of our time in Japan.
Hiroshi helped me by calling the specific Kura Sushi location and double checking that they could make my sushi gluten free. Then, I sent him photos of the menu and he circled which items were safe.
There is an allergen menu available online, so it’s possible to check yourself. However, it was in Japanese. Going here with Hiroshi’s help gave me an extra layer of comfort.
I will warn you that a lot of the sushi that looks like it could be gluten free is not in fact listed as gluten free. So, you definitely should not go here and just “eyeball” it, as you’ll definitely get sick.
Be sure to bring your gluten free soy sauce with you. Some locations have it but most don’t!
Genji Soba is a very well known and generations-old family run soba restaurant. They offer gluten free soba and gluten free tempura, but it’s complicated in terms of celiac safeness, because they also have a lot of wheat present at the restaurant.
When we visited, the tempura was not celiac safe because it was cooked in a shared fryer. Bummer.
As for the soba, there is some that is 100% buckwheat and gluten free. And there’s some that is 80% buckwheat and 20% wheat. They do use gluten free soy sauce for the broth if you request it, but double check.
There are many chances for cross contact with the boiling, strainer, etc.. I showed my translation card and used Google Translate to order and it worked well.
They do bring out boiled water at the end for you to mix with the soba (called sobayu). BE SURE TO CHECK THIS IS GLUTEN FREE i.e., not water that the wheat noodles were boiled in.
Overall, I did not get sick and it was tasty. But it felt like there were a lot of risks in eating here, and I was nervous. It would have been safer to go when we were using Gluten Free Tours Japan’s services than on our own.
The soba I ate in Kyoto felt more celiac safe, in my opinion, so if you only go to one soba in Japan, go to that one.
Overall it was a cool experience and wonderful local vibe.
NOTE | They charge an extra 200 JPY for anything gluten free!
Address: Genji Soba, 4 Chome-5-8 Namba, Chuo Ward, Osaka, 542-0076, Japan
Taqueria La Fonda
Taqueria La Fonda serves extremely good tacos on handmade corn tortillas – legitimately better than many tacos I had during my month in Mexico!
Staff here is aware of celiac disease, and knows which tacos are safe. The suadero (beef brisket) tacos in particular were delicious.
We went twice – once with Gluten Free Tours Japan, and once on our own. It was easier with the help of GFTJ because they called my order ahead and double checked everything, so it was ready to go when I arrived.
Both times, we had to get takeout because they were so busy. I think you have to call to make a reservation if you want any chance of dining in – which would definitely be worth it!
Address: Taqueria La Fonda, 2 Chome-2-14 Tokuicho, Chuo Ward, Osaka, 540-0025, Japan
Where to Find Gluten Free Takoyaki in Osaka Japan?
Takoyaki is an Osaka foodie specialty that is not normally gluten free. It’s basically fried balls of dough, traditionally filled with tiny pieces of octopus.
I was SOOO happy to discover a few places where I could eat gluten free takoyaki in Osaka, which I am sharing below.
Keep in mind that none of these places are 100% gluten free.
OKO Tako – Gluten Free Takoyaki ☆
The first (and most convenient) place to get gluten free takoyaki in Osaka is OKO Takoyaki. Yes, this place is also owned by Shiho of OKO Fun Okonomiyaki Bar fame!
OKO Tako has a very similar vibe to her other restaurant but it obviously specializes in takoyaki, not okonomiyaki. We visited shortly after their grand opening, and all the takoyaki was gluten free! They use okra pulp instead of wheat flour, just like in their okonomiyaki.
Most of the sauces were gluten free, too (I double checked the ingredient labels with Google Translate image-to-text feature). However I’ve read some reviews since our visit that mention they now have a couple gluten-containing sauces, so please double check.
Notably, all the takoyaki is also vegetarian (usually takoyaki contains seafood). This is a must visit spot in Osaka.
Address: OKO Takoyaki, Japan, 〒542-0083 Osaka, Chuo Ward, Higashishinsaibashi, 1 Chome−13−9 2階 Vegan Glutenfree takoyaki
Komeko Takoyaki (米粉たこ焼きあーこ) ☆
Komeko Takoyaki is another place that does gluten free Takoyaki! Here, you can get the truly authentic, Osaka-style takoyaki filled with tiny pieces of octopus.
This is a tiny, local, hole-in-the-wall restaurant, in southeast Osaka but very easy to get to by the subway line. Just look up 米粉たこ焼きあーこ on Google Maps (I’ve linked the location pin – the name is written in Japanese on Google Maps).
The owner, Yamado, started Komeko Takoyaki because she has a friend with a wheat allergy. So, all the takoyaki here is made from rice flour!
Notes for Celiacs
The takoyaki itself is gluten free, but not all of the toppings are gluten free.
Your safest option would be the plain salt takoyaki.
However, I tried it with the okonomiyaki sauce – it’s Bulldog brand and I checked the ingredients with Google Translate’s image-to-text feature. I also posted it in the Gluten Free Japan Facebook group, where multiple people said they regularly use it and it’s gluten free.
AVOID THE MAYONNAISE. Yamado uses Japan’s Kewpie mayonnaise brand, which is NOT gluten free!
The flakes she puts on top of the takoyaki are called bonito, which is dried/smoked fish. This is traditional for takoyaki. It’s sooo good and it’s gluten free.
Yamado also makes rice flour okonomiyaki, but she warned me this is not celiac safe because it’s cooked on the teppan grill where she also cooks wheat-containing noodles. So, I would avoid the okonomiyaki unless she changes her practices in the future.
Contact in Advance
I recommend messaging Yamado on her Instagram ahead of time, because the Google Maps hours are not accurate. I used Google Translate to message her in Japanese because she does not speak English – this worked really well!
She is so sweet, and she opened especially for us when we visited because she was actually planning to be closed that day (which was not updated on Maps so I’m very glad I messaged her!!).
I don’t think she’d ever had ANY foreign tourists before we visited, and I figured out all this gluten free stuff with her via Google Translate. She is sooo patient and helpful.
I highly recommend coming to Komeko Takoyaki for a truly unique and local experience… and authentic gluten free takoyaki!
Address: 米粉たこ焼きあーこ, 2 Chome-4-39 Nagayoshi Deto, Hirano Ward, Osaka, 547-0011, Japan
GO-HACHI is the third place in Osaka where I believe you can get gluten free takoyaki, but I did not eat here personally.
I found them on Google Maps, where they have multiple reviews that mention gluten free, rice flour takoyaki. I believe it’s also free of dairy and eggs.
However, in translating their Instagram description, it says the takoyaki contains cannabis products…! Honestly, it might be a mistranslation because that seems so strange.
I didn’t have time to investigate, but it could be worth messaging them on Instagram for more information.
Address: たこ焼き58 GO-HACHI, Japan, 〒547-0033 Osaka, Hirano Ward, Hiranonishi, 6 Chome−7−30 ファミールタカラ
Where to Find Gluten Free Okonomiyaki in Osaka Japan?
Of course you probably want to try okonomiyaki while in Osaka – after all, this is an Osaka specialty!
The only place I know of that serves celiac safe, gluten free okonomiyaki is OKO Fun Okonomiyaki Bar, which I discussed earlier in this gluten free Osaka guide.
There is another restaurant, called Chibo Okonomiyaki, that advertises gluten free okonomiyaki. However, this is cooked on the same grill as the wheat flour okonomiyaki, so it is definitely NOT celiac safe.
RELATED | Gluten Free Hiroshima Japan Guide
Gluten Free Kuromon Ichiba Market
Kuromon Ichiba Market is the popular food and fish market in Osaka. I loved it here and found it better for gluten free options than both Tokyo’s Tsukiji Market and Kyoto’s Nishiki Market. I also just loved the general vibe here.
You will need to go around to the stalls and use your Japanese gluten free translation card to determine what is safe or not. Beware of cross contact with any shared grills or fryers.
I was able to eat some delicious mochi, daifuku, coffee, strawberries, dango, and oyster here. I’m pretty sure the famous venomous pufferfish sashimi would also be gluten free, but I didn’t dare…
RELATED | Gluten Free Tsukiji Market Tokyo Guide
Gluten Free “Back Up Options” in Osaka
Like elsewhere in Japan, there are some reliable chain restaurants in Osaka that can serve as a good “back up option” if you need a safe gluten free meal.
These include conbinis (like 7/11 or Family Mart). Check out my gluten free Japanese snacks guide for information on safe GF options at conbinis.
You can also get safe, low allergen meals at chain restaurants (like Coco Curry, Mos Burger, and Kura Sushi).
I’m planning to share more details on what’s safe to order in my general gluten free Japan guide, which I will link here when it is published!
More Restaurants in Osaka With Gluten Free Options
I know that I shared a lot of places to eat gluten free in Osaka in this article. However… there are even more!
As I mentioned, we spent our fist two days in Osaka with the help of Gluten Free Tours Japan. They know some AMAZING hidden gems in Osaka, but in respect of their business model I’ve decided not to share those restaurants here.
One of those restaurants ended up being both Dan and my favorite meal we had in Osaka. It was just such an adorable, local restaurant with delicious food. AND it was 100% gluten free!
Consider booking their services if you want some extra help finding gluten free Osaka food.
Where to Buy Gluten Free Soy Sauce in Osaka
Sadly, I am not aware of anywhere in Osaka that you can buy gluten free soy sauce. Please let me know in the comments if you discover it somewhere!
Where to Stay in Osaka If You’re Gluten Free
Lastly, let’s talk about where you should stay in Osaka if you’re gluten free. One of my best travel hacks is to book accommodation that is convenient to gluten free restaurants – this always makes my travel so much easier.
Since we visited Osaka twice, we stayed in two different hotels. I’m sharing my thoughts on both below.
Hotel Morning Box ($$)
Hotel Morning Box is a boutique hotel with an amazing location in central Osaka. I mentioned above that there is actually a cafe in the lobby that has gluten free bread and pastries!
Since a typhoon canceled our flight out of Osaka, we ended up staying here for an entire week and it was a perfect base.
Our room was nice and spacious by Japanese standards, and there is also laundry and an onsen on the top floor. This is a really lovely, kind of boujie hotel while still having a pretty reasonable price tag.
Walking distance from good gluten free restaurants:
- Cafe Morning Box – 0 minutes (on site!!)
- OKO Takoyaki – 3 minutes
- OKO Fun Okonomiyaki Bar – 6 minutes
- Kuromon Ichiba Market – 17 minutes
- Genji Soba – 22 minutes
- sari sari store – 26 minutes
- Comeconoco – 32 minutes
Hotel the Lutheran ($)
Hotel The Lutheran is where Dan and I stayed on our first visit to Osaka. Honestly, it was great! We looked into staying here on our second visit, too, but it was sold out.
This hotel is incredibly affordable while still being on par with other mid range hotels in Japan. We really enjoyed it and it was definitely our cheapest hotel stay in Japan.
It’s very conveniently located to Osaka Castle, just a couple minutes away. There is also a subway station on the corner, so you can get pretty much anywhere within Osaka very easily.
Walking distance from good gluten free restaurants:
- Taqueria La Fonda – 6 minutes
- Comeconoco – 14 minutes
Gluten Free Osaka: Final Thoughts
That’s it, folks… my complete guide to gluten free Osaka! I ended up being really pleased with the gluten free options in Osaka, despite the GF scene not being as developed as it is in Tokyo or Kyoto.
These are my top 5 gluten free meals I ate in Osaka:
- Comeconoco Cafe: Nothing beats a 100% gluten free restaurant, and this lunch deal was just so delicious.
- Comeconoco Cooking Class: We both LOVED this cooking class and ate sooo much food.
- OKO Okonomiyaki: An extremely fun experience and delicious, safe okonomiyaki to boot.
- Kura Sushi: I know it’s a chain restaurant but it was SO cool to try conveyor belt sushi.
- Secret Restaurant: I haven’t shared the name of this restaurant because we never would have found it without Gluten Free Tours Japan’s help. But I have to give it another shout out because the omurice and cheesecake was delicious.
Please let me know in the comments below if you have any questions about being gluten free in Osaka. Same goes for if you notice any updates or restaurant closures! I try to keep my gluten free guides as updated as I can, and this is only possible with your help.