As a Muslim, do you ever feel insecure to travel to a place or a country especially if the majority is non-Muslims? Where will I pray? How to find halal food in a place I’ve never been to before? This is just one of the things that needs to be prepared before and included in your itinerary.
In Japan, with its small number of Muslims residents and the lack of understanding in Islam, there is a severe shortage of services and facilities for Muslim travelers. It is also quite difficult to find halal food and prayer spaces in Japan. However, recently the number of Muslim visitors and tourists coming to Japan has increased incredibly since 2014. According to the statistics, many tourist agencies are taking the move to broaden their scope of services to providing services for Muslim tourists.
Halal Gourmet Japan Smartphone App
Luckily, there is a smartphone app called ‘Halal Gourmet Japan’ (HGJ). Available on Google Play and iTunes, this app can be downloaded to your devices and can be accessed just at your fingertips during your travel in Japan as long as you are connected to the internet.
iTunes : https://itunes.apple.com/bg/app/halal-gourmet-japan/id1004830156?mt=8
Google Play : https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=jp.halalgourmet.mobile
Muslims Friendly Restaurants
HGJ provides information on halal and vegetarian restaurants in prefectures of Japan. The HGJ team actively contacts respective restaurants to update about their latest information on this app. Obviously, restaurants with halal certification are listed in the app, but the app also offers information about premises that are Muslim friendly, regardless of their halal certificates. The app also advertises restaurants that serve no pork and alcohol.
To make it easier for users to access this app, HGJ came up with a brilliant idea to use icons instead of lengthy explanations about the listed restaurants. Every icon has its own simple, comprehensive meaning and explanation.
You can also search restaurants according to the name of prefectures, food categories and type of cuisines. For example, you may choose keywords such as ‘sushi’, ‘ramen’, ‘noodles’ or perhaps ‘Italian’, ‘Pakistani’ and ‘Egyptian’. There are 36 categories available for you to choose from.
To aid Muslims with their Salah while touring in Japan, this app also provides information on the availability of prayer spaces. From the app, you can scroll down until you see a green ‘Prayer Space’ button at the bottom of the page. Not only mosques are being listed, but also restaurants or buildings such as airports, hotels, sport centers and shopping complexes that provide a comfortable space for Muslims to pray are listed as well. Besides that, a qibla compass is also available on the app for users to check the Salah direction.
In the Tochigi prefecture, there are several restaurants with different categories of food that welcome Muslims customers. Here are some of the amazing highlights that Sano city offers;
An Indian restaurant located in Aeon Mall Sano New City.
A Japanese food restaurant in Kuzuu district offering various types of genuine Japanese cuisines such as Kaisendon, Unagidon and Kakifurai Teishoku. Some of the menus are season limited menus, so please check or maybe do some reservations before you go. Prayer space with prayer mat is available for Muslim customers.
Teppan Dining SUN
Just 600 m from Sano Station, this restaurant is a must go if you wish to have meat in your meal since this is the only restaurant that feeds your desire in Sano city. Most of the dishes are cooked using hot plate. Prayer space with prayer mat is available for Muslim customers.
A ramen restaurant that is located only a few steps away from Sano station. It serves you halal ramen and gyoza and also other original Japanese cuisines such as Katsudon, Teriyakidon, Omuraisu and many more. Prayer space with prayer mat is available for Muslim customers.
Sano Mosque Al-Ikhlas
Anyone is welcomed here to pray.
The original version of this article was written by Hafizah Khusni San and first published on Halal Media Japan.