Cool Soba Allergy Check Tattoos for Visitors to Japan!

Cool Soba Allergy Check Tattoos for Visitors to Japan!

Summer in Japan is the time for some delicious zaru soba, or cold soba noodles! Served on a bamboo basket (the zaru of zaru soba!), these buckwheat noodles are paired with a savory dipping sauce and staple in Japanese homes, mentsuyu. It’s the perfect way to fight the summer heat!

Many people, though, have a buckwheat allergy, including around 0.03% of Japanese people, and if you’re a tourist just visiting Japan or a toddler just getting old enough to eat new foods who’s never tried it before, how are you to know if you do or not? After all, this especially nasty allergy isn’t one you want to mess with!

Lucky for you, the 230 Soba Street Promotion Committee in Sapporo (the largest city in Hokkaido and a major tourist destination) recruited J. Walter Thompson Japan which teamed up with dermatologist Dr. Mami Nomura to come up with the perfect way to keep their customers safe: temporary tattoos to test for the allergy!

Checking for soba allergies is fun with these ukiyo-e stamps. This is an approach to responding to a serious life or death problem for foreigners visiting Japan.


These temporary tattoos are applied to your skin and then brushed with soba-yu, water soba has been simmered in. If you’re allergic, red details then appear in the tattoo! These are based on the classic ukiyo-e style of Japanese art, so the striking red details add an especially cool effect that might make you wish these tattoos weren’t temporary!


Now you're ready for some yummy soba on your next trip to Japan!

This is a Tokyo Otaku Mode original article by Jen Smith

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