Originally published on metropolis.co.jp on December 2012

Expats often complain about the lack of viable natural food in Japan, but outside international online outlets like Tengu Natural Foods and iHerb—the latter of which is cheap but has limitations on the import of certain items to Japan—there are a few other options aside from the usual cluttered import shops.

The online giants are Amazon and Kenko—search in the Japanese Amazon for more variety. Lohas sells raw food and supplements for the ultra-conscious. Nuts can be expensive in Japan, but Ohtsuya sells them in bulk (up to 1kg), raw or roasted, for the cheapest prices around. They also carry bulk spices, herbs, seeds, dried fruit (including coconut and coconut-milk powder), and related items.

Chia seeds and hemp seed nuts can’t be imported from abroad, but you can find them at Kenko, Tengu, or Living Life Marketplace (LLM)—with Kenko the cheapest. Hemp Kitchen is also worth a look, with other hemp products such as oil, flour and pasta.

Specialty oils can be more difficult to locate, although some supermarkets carry peanut, almond, flaxseed, and grapeseed oils. You can find coconut oil on Kenko, LLM, or Tengu. Cocowell sells coconut oil and a variety of organic coconut-based products.

Tengu and LLM sell cacao nibs, and cacao powder can be found at most of these stores. While maple syrup and honey are easy to find, if you want agave syrup try Amazon, Kenko, Tengu and LLM. You can also buy nutritional yeast from these places.

Three more good places to try are Natural House, Pro Foods, and Natshell.

For more options and to cost compare try an online search using the Japanese name (see below), using a web translation tool or dictionary if necessary. Check the sites below and get some more natural roughage in your system this Christmas.

Eat your words

nuts ナッツ nattsu
almond milk アーモンドミルク amondo miruku
chia seeds チアシード chia shido
flaxseed フラックスシード, 亜麻の実, アマニfuraku shido, ama no mi
coconut oil ココナッツオイル coconattsu oiru
grapeseed oil グレープシードオイル grepushido oiru
peanut oil 落花生油, ピーナッツオイル rakkaseiyu, pinattsu oiru
agave syrup アガベシロップ agabe shiroppu
nutritional yeast ニュートリショナルイースト nyutorishonaru isto
carob powder キャロブパウダー carobu pauda
hemp seed nuts ヘンプシードナッツ, 麻の実ナッツ henpu shido nattsu, asa no mi nattsu
macrobiotic マクロビオティック makurobiotiku
organic オーガニック oganiku
raw ロー, 生 ro, nama