Pregnancy Cravings in Japan

Like many pregnant women around the world, I didn’t have much of an appetite in the first trimester. But in the second trimester, my appetite came back with a vengeance. 

I was hungry and I wanted all the food.

In this article, I’ll share what kind of pregnancy cravings I had as a Canadian mother-to-be in Japan.

The Pregnancy Cravings of a Canadian Woman in Japan 

At the beginning of my second trimester, I couldn’t stop thinking about Western food. I wanted Oatmeal Crisp cereal (aunt sent it over from Canada), apple sauce (Costco), macaroni and cheese (husband made me some)… The list was endless but it didn’t include any Japanese food until later.

Midway,  I suddenly wanted desserts and strawberries. I’m the type of person who would rather have something savory than dessert so this really surprised my husband.

We went to Sweets Paradise, a sweets buffet restaurant in Japan, to satisfy the sugar-craving beast in me and I ate enough to end up in a sweets coma. I was also thankful for all the adorable cake shops in Tokyo where you could buy a single slice of a perfect cake (especially cakes with fresh strawberries on it).

My favorite place to visit was Ginza Cosy Corner where I may have had one too many cakes that had some variation of strawberry and custard. I also ate half a pack of strawberries every day and even splurged on pineberries (they weren’t good and I was very disappointed).

At the height of my obsession, I dragged a male friend to Ladurée in Ginza to experience a strawberry-themed afternoon tea.

I wanted strawberries so much that my husband and I planned to go strawberry picking in Chiba where one farm had 12 varieties of strawberries. However, about a week before we planned to go, at around 22 weeks, my cravings changed once again and I wanted meat, specifically shabu shabu with the thinnest possible pork and goma dipping sauce.

My husband can put away quite a lot of meat but I out-ate him on several occasions, enough that he just bought double the portions. I was never that much of a fan of meat so it was surprising to me as well when it came to how much I ate.  

And then at 26 weeks, all I wanted was ice. Specifically, small and crunchy ice. More specifically, kakigori, which is a summer dessert of shaved ice with flavored syrup on top. Unfortunately, it was March at this point and kakigori wouldn’t be easily available until perhaps June. We went to a kakigori dessert shop in Ginza but as it was fancy, it didn’t have the crunchiness that I wanted. (It was delicious though.)

My husband found something to placate me at the grocery store though – an ice-cream bar with crunchy kakigori inside. It was glorious. Of course I wanted more crunchiness but something was better than nothing. And at work, probably to the irritation of my coworkers, I found myself eating ICEBOX once a day, which is a cup filled with small pieces of low-calorie grapefruit-flavored ice. Recently, I’ve added cucumbers, carrots, and almonds to my must-have list when it comes to crunchy foods.

I never knew that pregnancy cravings went beyond flavor to things like texture, but they can tell you important things about your changing body and what nutrients you may be lacking. For instance, found out that my cravings for ice were related to having anemia (貧血 or hinketsu), which is common during pregnancy. I received some medication from the doctor and my cravings for ice have diminished a bit.

Now that I’m in my third trimester, I wonder what kind of other cravings I’ll experience. 

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Hi! I'm Kay

I’m a long-term Japan resident and parent who loves writing and traveling. My goal is to help parents from around the world navigate living and traveling with kids in Japan.

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