People love Japan for many reasons; beautiful landscapes and classic architecture contrasted with modern high-rise buildings and the latest technology.
Among all of the many reasons to visit Japan, Japanese food is what intrigues me the most. As a Muslim traveller adhering to a halal diet, it wasn’t that easy even 10 years ago to consistently eat halal in Japan. Thankfully, it’s a lot easier today, but you do need to know a little bit about how halal in Japan works first, which is why I’ve curated this guide to eating halal in Japan for Muslim travellers.
Whether you love tasting local food when you travel or enjoy exploring the local culture through food, enjoying the local cuisine is a great way to really feel immersed in your travel destination, wherever you are.
However, as Muslims, you always want to consider your food intake restriction wherever you go. Sure, you want Allah to shower His blessings on you throughout the trip, and one of the ways is by making sure you consume halal food according to Islamic teachings.
It can be challenging to find halal food when travelling to a non-Muslim country, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. Here is the halal travel guide that you can take along when you are travelling in Japan.
Eating halal in Japan for Muslim travellers
Japan can be considered a Muslim-friendly destination, as it becomes more thoughtful in fulfilling Muslims’ needs. It’s getting easier to find places that cater to the halal diet. Besides, this article will make it even easier for you by showing you the five types of restaurants or eating places you can look for in Japan.
For some established restaurants, they have been equipped with halal certification. Some Japanese institutions handle the halal certification, for example, Japan Halal Association (JHA), Japan Halal Foundation (JHF), Japan Islamic Trust (JIT), Muslim Professional Japan Association (MPJA), and Japan Muslim Association (JMA). Restaurants usually put up the certificate near the cashier, making sure that customers can see it.
You may encounter other logos that are not presented here. Ask away if you need confirmation about the logo or certificate. Japanese people uphold a high standard of service, so they will surely offer you the best help and answer as long as you ask nicely, InshaAllah.
Ps: you can check the detail on each halal certification body in Japan at the end of this article!
For some small businesses, a halal certification might cost a lot. So, they don’t put any certificate to prove that they serve halal food. However, one thing that can help ensure that the meal is halal is knowing if the business owner is a Muslim. The easy way to find out is by asking directly to the seller. Not only that you can ensure the food that you choose, but you also get to interact with the local people! Even though they don’t have the official certificate, they usually put an unofficial halal logo in an easily seen place.
Some restaurants specifically state that they are Muslim-friendly. There are some reasons for that; for instance, the restaurant doesn’t have the certification, is not owned by Muslims, or still serves alcohol. Some other restaurants are Muslim-friendly because they have a separate menu, equipment, and utensils from their standard menu. Like the first two types, this one also usually puts signage in front of the restaurants or the food stall.
d. Pork-free (and/or alcohol-free)
Some restaurants serve permissible meat for Muslims, such as chicken, beef, and seafood. This type of restaurant can be your option; however, do eat with your discretion. Since you know that halal isn’t only about pork and alcohol. It’s also about the whole process from the beginning until the end, before you can enjoy the meal.
Both Vegan and Vegetarian focus on consuming more plant-based foods. The main difference is that vegetarians only avoid meat, while vegans avoid all products derived from animals, including eggs, honey, and dairy. Because no meat and (almost) no animal products are involved in the diet, these two eating places can be a safe alternative for Muslims when choosing a place to eat.
So there you have it, you’re own handy guide to eating halal in Japan for Muslim travellers. When you’re in Japan, try to look for one of the types of eateries listed above, and InshaAllah, you’re good to go!
So, are you ready to explore foods in Japan? Great, because I have some personal recommendations for you! Find the list of halal eateries that you need to try in Tokyo in this post.
Happy reading and culinary exploring!
References for halal certification bodies in Japan: