Tokyo: Travel Planner

Soumaya HamdiHalal Travel Guide, Tokyo

Is Tokyo on your travel bucket list but you are not sure how to plan your Muslim-friendly holiday? We have broken down the most important aspects of having a Muslim-friendly experience in Tokyo so you don’t have to worry!

Accommodation

Tokyo is a wealthy metropolis, and accommodation of any kind does not come cheap.

Airbnb is the Ii’s primary recommendation. Depending on the season, you can rent a 2 bedroom apartment from between £45 – £90/night on average. However, look out for ‘weekend rates’ as they bump up the overall cost of your stay.

If you are travelling as a couple, staying in a hotel may be more economical than Air bnb. Some double rooms with a respectable rating come as low as £45/night in central Tokyo, though again, this depends on when you travel. If you are travelling alone and brave enough, you may wish to try a night in the famous ‘coffin hotels’, though you won’t have room to pray.

 

Food

Halal food is becoming more available in Tokyo. In fact, there is definitely a drive to create more Muslim-friendly restaurants. You can experience authentic Japanese Kobe beef, an Indonesian curry or perhaps Western food, all at halal restaurants. In fact the city is improving the availability of halal food, making it a great up and coming halal holiday destination. For a list of halal restaurants in Tokyo click here.

There is also a number of non – meat halal options available. After all, it would be a shame to leave Japan without trying sushi! In Japan it is truly fresh and made to order, and the options go far beyond salmon or tuna. Sushi is an expensive delicacy so be prepared to pay top dollar.

Unsurprisingly, dining in Tokyo in general can be quite expensive. If you are looking for cheaper food options, 7 Eleven sell reliably good snacks and ready meals including sushi triangles and ramen.

 

Travel

Flying from London to Tokyo is around 12 hours direct, and 14 hours upwards non-direct. Flights are upwards of £500.

Once in Tokyo the  train and subway system may look complicated. Many stations do not have maps in any language other than Japanese.

Things to note are firstly that there is no single train operator. There are two subway operators: Tokyo metro and Toei, while many (not all) of the trains are run by the JR. This means that switching between train operators will incur extra costs, even if you have a day pass.

Plan your day in advance to visit areas that run on the same operator to minimise costs and confusion.

The exception to this rule is if you buy the Suica travel pass for 500 Yen from a JR ticket office (when you land at the airport will be a good time to buy one). They can be used on all lines and even across Japan, saving you a lot of hassle. Like Seoul, these cards can also be used in some shops and vending machines.

Taxis are expensive so we don’t advise visitors to use them unless you are travelling with 3 other paying adults, or if you have missed the last train.
Of course, if you value the comfort and convenience of a taxi over the cost, they are worth using.

 

Prayer facilities

There is a respectable number of prayer facilities across Tokyo, from department stores and embassies to masjids and cultural centres– follow the link for more information. This makes the practical aspect of planning your holiday in-keeping with halal guidelines more simple. Who knew that Tokyo was so Muslim-friendly?

 

What to pack

Only two items I would recommend this time:

  1. Selfie stick: To be honest you can buy one there. Unlike in the UK, it is in no way taboo to use these and, once you do, there’s no going back.
  2. Cereal: Breakfast cereal isn’t really a ‘thing’, so unless you are willing to hunt for it, save yourself time and energy and bring your own.

Ready to visit Tokyo? Check out activities you must experience during your stay! We have also listed where Muslim-friendly prayer facilities are located around the metropolis, so you can plan your activities without worrying about where to find a quiet space.