What to Expect
If you’re taking a hike in the forest, you likely don’t expect a convenience store or a restaurant. You probably bring enough to sustain you, maybe even a little extra just in case.
This is a good way to approach Fuji Rock Festival if you’re gluten free, especially if you’re sensitive to cross-contamination, or if you’re vegetarian/vegan in addition to GF.
I’m not going to lie: it’s not going to be a piece of cake. I love Fuji Rock Festival, and it’s worth it, I promise, if you can accept that you won’t be eating like a queen or king for a weekend.
The climate can be unforgiving, alternating between rain storms and sunshine. The stages are spread out and most of them are not covered, so you will burn a lot of calories just getting around to see your favorite artists and staying dry. I usually eat and drink more than I expect to.
What to bring?
Fortunately, you can bring food and drinks inside the festival as long as it’s not in a can or glass container. We often bring box wine to save money on festival drinks, but of course there are lots of GF cocktails sold around the festival.
Bring snacks!!! If you’re still outside Japan, stock up on all your favorites at home and pack them in your suitcase. You will likely have much more variety than what you can find in Japan.
I always stock up on a bunch of snacks (mixed nuts, bars, fruit (fresh and dried), GF crackers, etc.) before I go to the Yuzawa area. Kaldi is one of my recommended spots since they are fairly economical and there are locations all over Japan in major train stations.
Some other places you might try are Una Casita, Natural House, La Cave de Yamaya, Natural Lawson, Seijo Ishii, or Meidi-ya. These shops have a lot of imported items, so they are more likely to be clearly-labeled gluten free. They are all also more likely to carry gluten-free snacks made in Japan.
Getting a loaf or two of rice bread, usually carried at Seijo Ishii and Natural Lawson, is also a good idea. If you have a Costco membership, they also have usually have snacks and staples, like little portioned hummus containers and GF muesli/granola.
Outside the venue, there are some small shops and convenience stores, but their selection is going to be limited. Also, bear in mind that Yuzawa is a small town and not used to so many visitors, so stocks won’t be replenished as quickly if something runs out. Moreover, you won’t want to keep walking back and forth between the festival and the town, so better to just come prepared.
What can you eat at the venue?
Easy answer: not a whole lot, especially if you’re strict about cross-contamination. Expect limited English and that many food stands won’t be able to accommodate gluten free. I have been in contact with all the vendors at Fuji Rock and the finalized gluten-free and gluten-free friendly list is here.
Generally, food vendors will not be able to confirm that there is not cross-contamination. Many places are small shops that are likely to have very little experience with gluten free. They might not realize that soy sauce contains wheat, for instance. Therefore, if you’re very sensitive, be prepared for the hangries and bring your munchies. I swear, you’ll thank me!
Be prepared for long lines and many popular foods selling out quickly. The staff might be stressed out and busy, which will make them less accommodating to an allergy card or a special request.
Part 2: Food Vendor list
Part 2 includes a vendor list of safe and GF-friendly options. Also, keep an eye on our Instagram since I will be posting lots of tips and info throughout the three-day festival.
Who are you really excited to see this year?
Have fun and let me know what questions you still have in the comments. What Fuji Rock lacks in culinary excitement, will be made up in nature, good vibes, and great music.