Allergic to Soba? Check Out this Hokkaido Campaign that May Just Save Your Life!

  • With such a great variety of mouth-watering food to indulge in on your travels throughout the land of the rising sun, you may encounter what many people dread – food allergies. In Japan, many food industries, supermarkets, and restaurant establishments take the time to label food or the menu clearly to ensure consumers are aware of the ingredients in case of any allergies.

    While food allergies may restrict some people in enjoying the full experience of traditional Japanese food, it is always better to be safe than sorry. In order to raise more awareness around food allergies, one place in Japan is conducting a new and cool way to find out if you’re allergic to soba!

    What is soba?

    Soba is one of the most popular noodle dishes in Japan that is served hot in the colder seasons and served cold in summer. Thankfully, there are many ramen and noodle shops all over Japan that sell this traditional soba noodle dish, so it won’t be difficult to find at all on your travels.

    Traditional soba noodles are made from buckwheat only, but some of the cheaper variations also have standard wheat listed in the ingredients as well. According to a study conducted on buckwheat allergies, it was found that a small percentage of children are actually allergic to it. While this may not seem too alarming, for that small percentage, the allergy can create an anaphylactic shock or reaction in its severe state, which can often be life-threatening.

    Tattoo-like soba allergy stickers

    In order to raise awareness around soba allergies and also in the interest of tourists, the group of soba restaurants along route 230 in Hokkaido, known as the 230 Soba Street Promotion Association, started a campaign by using the tattoo-like soba allergy stickers on March 12.

    The stickers are in the form of a Japanese art style (ukiyo-e) and when they are placed on a person’s skin, parts of the sticker will turn red if that person has an allergy to soba. The campaign is a great way to avoid finding out the hard way if you’re allergic to soba or not, that’s for sure!

    So, if you tend to have allergies and aren’t quite sure whether to dive right into a delicious bowl of soba noodles, check out these new Japanese-style artistic stickers if you’re in the Hokkaido region! Hopefully, this new campaign spreads all across Japan and is used for other food allergens as well.

    Related Articles:
    5 Essential Words to Help Your Order Food and Drinks in Japan
    Got Food Allergies? How to Navigate Japan’s Food Paradise