Eating gluten free at Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo was quite challenging as a celiac, with surprisingly limited options. I had fun, but it was a little frustrating. Maybe that was my fault for going in with unrealistically optimistic expectations.
That is why I’m writing this gluten free Tsukiji Fish Market guide, so you can have a bit of help navigating this gluten-full (but delicious!) market in Tokyo.
About Tsukiji Fish Market
Tsukiji Fish Market is a rite of passage for anyone visiting Tokyo. It’s a famous fish market, but there’s more to the story.
Tsukiji Market used to be made up of an inner and outer market. The inner market is where you could see the famous early-morning tuna auctions, where most sushi restaurants in Tokyo get their fish from. The outer market is where all the food stalls were.
However, Tsukiji Inner Market separated from the food stall portion of the market back in 2018.
You can still witness the tuna auctions!! You just can’t do this at Tsukiji Market anymore. You will have to go to their new location, called Toyosu Market. If you want to see the tuna auction, I recommend booking a tour like this one.
Tsukiji Outer Market (or, just Tsukiji Market now) is still bustling and in business, and this is where you can get actual food. Think: sushi, grilled seafood, mochi, matcha, wagyu beef, you name it. This gluten free guide will cover celiac-safe foods at Tsukiji Outer Market.
Gluten Free Tsukiji Fish Market
Overall I found eating gluten free at Tsukiji Fish Market a slightly frustrating experience, but knowing I had a gluten free sushi class directly afterward helped! (Strategic itinerary planning, am I right?)
The big problems you’re going to face are:
- Soy sauce – obviously.
- Grain vinegar used in pretty much all sushi rice.
- Marinades on the meats/fish.
- Cross contact on shared grills.
- Traces of wheat in mochi and daifuku.
On top of all that sneaky gluten, I found that very few people at Tsukiji Fish Market speak English – making my GF translation card essential.
Before you get too depressed and cancel your visit to Tsukiji Fish Market, I will say that I was able to eat and drink some things, and I still found it a fun experience. It’s worth going. I’m sharing all my tips below.
Tip #1: Get a Gluten Free Japanese Translation Card
Your Japanese gluten free translation card is going to be an absolute LIFELINE at Tsukiji Fish Market.
My recommended card is this one from Legal Nomads. I always use Jodi’s translation cards when I travel because, simply put, they are the best.
The Japan one in particular worked SO WELL. It’s professionally translated by two native Japanese speakers, and all of the content is written by a celiac, specifically for Japanese cuisine and hidden gluten sources.
My strategy at Tsukiji Fish Market was to show the staff my translation card, let them read it thoroughly, and then write any additional questions/clarifications/requests with Google Translate. It worked really well!
Tip #2: BYO Gluten Free Soy Sauce
My second big tip for visiting Tsukiji Fish Market as a celiac/gluten intolerant is to bring your own gluten free soy sauce.
Personally, I bought gluten free soy sauce at home and took it to Japan with me. I didn’t want to waste precious vacation time hunting for gluten free soy sauce.
In addition to a big bottle, I also recommend you buy some of these small packets of gluten free soy sauce for situations like the fish market, so you’re not always lugging around a heavy container.
If, however, you find yourself soy sauce-less… there are a few places in Tokyo where you can buy GF soy sauce. Check out my gluten free Tokyo guide for their locations.
Where to Eat at Tsukiji Fish Market as a Celiac
Woohoo – now on to the fun stuff! Below are all the places I was able to find gluten free food/drink during my visit to Tsukiji Fish Market.
I encourage you to go in with a sense of exploration, though, and don’t limit yourself to my recommendations.
Tsukiji Fish Market is the type of place that’s going to change regularly, so it’s definitely worth asking questions and showing your translation card at promising-looking stands.
Turret Coffee Tsukiji
Turret Coffee is a little coffee shop, not actually within Tsukiji Fish Market but very close to Tsukiji Station where you’ll likely take the Hibiya Line to get to the market. So, it’s a convenient first stop if you need a dose of caffeine, like me!
(It’s noteworthy that they open at 7am, which is a feat for Tokyo where for some reason I cannot comprehend, coffee shops tend to open 10am or later!!).
Dan and I both got the famous Turret latte (660 JPY) – one iced and one hot. It so so strong! So dark! I was obsessed.
Turret Coffee call themselves the “most outrageous coffee in Tokyo” and I can see why. Definitely worth a stop.
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Matcha Stand Maruni
For a drink within Tsukiji Market itself, I recommend Matcha Stand Maruni. There’s probably going to be a line but it’s worth the wait, I promise. Best matcha latte I had in Japan!
I ordered the matcha soy latte (750 JPY) and it was sooo delicious. Probably my favorite find in the market, actually
Onto some actual food! The best, and safest, gluten free food I found at Tsukiji was wagyu beef at a small stand called Tsukiji Oumiya.
The woman working here read my translation card carefully. She said I could not eat the wagyu sushi because their rice has grain vinegar. However, the plain beef in a cup would be okay because it only had salt seasoning it.
The wagyu beef cup cost 1000 JPY and it was extremely soft and delicious. I felt safe because there was no soy sauce, glaze, shared grill or anything else like that.
This little stall has been in business at Tsukiji Fish Market for 97 years, and they cook their beef at 56 degrees for 5 hours. It was a great experience and I’d recommend other celiacs hunt this stall down for some safe gluten free food!
Well, you’ve got to get some seafood while at a seafood market and for me, that seafood was oyster. Oyster is generally a safer gluten free option because the shell protects it from possible cross contact when it’s grilled. Alternatively, eat it raw like I did!
There are a lot of places selling oysters so just look for one that looks less busy, doesn’t use sauces, and is less likely to cross contaminate. I bought an oyster for 400 JPY and it was delish!
Back to drink options (I drank a lot more than I ate this morning!). I recommend checking out Tsukiji Iroha.
They sell an interesting grapefruit juice concoction that was freakin’ delicious. Basically, they fresh squeeze a whole grapefruit and mix it with soda water. Then, they place the grapefruit on top and stick a straw through it.
It was super refreshing and… naturally gluten free!
Teatro effe Tokyo
Teatro effe Tokyo is a little shop near one of the entrances to Tsukiji Fish Market. They sell various baked goods and cheesecakes, however I did see a sign outside advertising a gluten free tiramisu drink and gluten free cheesecake!
I decided not to eat here purely because it looked really busy and I didn’t want to take the time to figure out whether the gluten free food was celiac safe or not. I’m generally wary of bakeries and other gluten-filled environments that advertise only one gluten free options – there’s a lot of risk of cross contact here.
However, it’s certainly worth checking out and doing some detective work of your own!
I really enjoyed checking out Ichifuji at Tsukiji Fish Market, which is a small pottery/ceramics store.
That’s right, no food here which I guess makes it 100% gluten free, haha! If you’re looking for a little souvenir to take home, definitely check it out.
I did not try any (I was craving sushi – more on that below), but I reckon you could find gluten free sashimi at Tsukiji Fish Market.
Just be sure to check that the fish has not been marinated in soy sauce, and be wary of any rice that comes on the side (most rice at Tsukiji has a gluten-containing vinegar in it).
There is a small stall within the market that sells strawberry skewers, candied strawberries, and daifuku. I didn’t save the name, unfortunately, but you should be able to find it pretty easily by wandering around.
Unfortunately, the daifuku here is NOT gluten free. That was a huge bummer. The two staff read my translation card really thoroughly and compared it to the daifuku ingredient list, before telling me it was not safe. I’m not exactly sure why it’s not safe – I’m assuming traces of wheat – but they were very insistent and respectful about it.
Instead, Dan ordered the daifuku (he said it was amazing) and I ordered the plain strawberry skewer. That was 500 JPY, super ripe and sweet!
Gluten Free Failures at Tsukiji Fish Market
In addition to sadly not being able to eat the daifuku, there were a few other gluten free “failures” at Tsukiji Fish Market. I’m going to share them all below, but again I encourage you to do your own investigating as things can change quickly at a market like this!
Eni Kaita Mochi
Eni Kaita Mochi is a mochi and daifuku shop that’s located across the street from Tsukiji Fish Market. It was recommended in the Gluten Free Japan Facebook group so I checked it out.
They do have a menu that marks allergens, but unfortunately only one mochi didn’t contain wheat, and it was stored pressing up against the ones that do contain wheat. I decided that it (obviously) wasn’t celiac friendly.
Itadori Bekkan is one of the small sushi counters located within Tsukiji Fish Market. I actually saw this place recommended on the Find Me Gluten Free app so decided to check it out.
The sushi chef respectfully read my translation card. We then went back and forth with Google Translate until we determined that they use a gluten-containing grain vinegar on the sushi rice so it is not safe. Ugh.
That’s exactly why I don’t blindly trust FMGF and always ask my own questions! I definitely would have gotten sick.
Where to Find Gluten Free Sushi at Tsukiji Fish Market?
Look, as a sushi lover I’m as bummed about this as you are. I did NOT find any gluten free sushi at Tsukiji Fish Market.
And, that’s not without trying. I asked at about six different places, including Itadori Bekkan as well as other small stands and restaurants. At each one I used my translation card, and then confirmed about the vinegar on the sushi rice.
Everyone was extremely polite and read my GF card thoroughly, but ultimately none of them were gluten free. This was usually because the sushi rice vinegar contained gluten, and once because there was “no way to separate allergic materials in the restaurant.”
Overall it was very respectful, but still quite frustrating that pretty much all sushi was off limits at a fish market. Like I mentioned earlier, Dan and I actually went to our gluten free sushi making class this same day, so that eased the pain a bit!
If you manage to find gluten free sushi at Tsukiji, please leave me a comment below!
Gluten Free Tsukiji Fish Market: Final Thoughts
There you have it… my gluten free Tsukiji Fish Market guide! I hope that this is helpful to you as you plan your trip to Tokyo.
I do my best to keep my gluten free travel guides updated, but please let me know in the comments below if you have any edits or updates after your own trip – particularly if you find any gluten free sushi!
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!)