Traveling to Japan can be tricky for our Muslim brethren. Although the number of Muslim tourists to the country has been growing year after year and the Japanese are largely tolerant towards different religions, Japan has yet to pick up its pace in providing Muslim-friendly services, particularly halal food options. If you’re a Muslim traveling to Japan, read this short guide to help you find convenient places to eat and worship while you’re in Japan.
Halal Food Options
Sampling the local Japanese cuisine may be a challenge, some Japanese specialties have alcohol or bits of pork in them that aren’t readily visible. Sushi, for instance, could be made with alcohol mixed with rice. Some Japanese pickled foods could also have alcohol in them. Finding a restaurant to eat at is another challenge you may find yourself facing if you’re a Muslim in Japan.
As mentioned earlier, there are few halal food options in the country. A number of restaurants in major cities like Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, Kobe and Nagoya that claim to be halal or Muslim-friendly. The issue with such restaurants is the food itself may seem halal, but these dishes may have been handled in a kitchen that processed non-halal food. Locating a safe place to eat becomes even more difficult once you leave urbanized cities and explore the countryside. Outside Japan’s giant metropolises are only a few or if any establishment that do serve Muslim-friendly food. You may have to cook your own food in that case. At least in the metropolises, you can find restaurants that serve Malaysian, Indian, Pakistani and other Muslim-friendly food. Just to be on the safe side, you’d better stick to food staples like rice balls, salads and other vegetable dishes, tofu and grilled fish if you want to try Japanese food.
Places of Worship
If finding a good place to eat Muslim-friendly in Tokyo is challenging, finding a place of worship is quite easier. Most major cities in Japan have their own mosque or masjid. Tokyo, Kyoto, Kobe and Osaka have their own mosques and masjids. Kobe, in fact, is home to the oldest mosque in Japan. But if you can’t find a mosque or masjid where you are, you can try heading to shopping malls as most malls in Japan have designated prayer rooms for Muslims.
As a Muslim, you won’t experience the hassle of trying to find a mosque or masjid in the city where you are in Japan, you could book your accommodations at a Muslim-friendly hotel or hostel. There are plenty of these in the more urbanized cities in Japan. These hotels usually provide not just prayer rooms, but also prayer rugs and copies of the Quran for their guest. Traveling through Japan could be tricky if you’re Muslim. But with a little bit of planning and the proper guide, you can practice your faith as a Muslim while enjoying Japan.
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