As Japan attracts more and more tourists, the number of visitors from Muslim countries is also increasing. As the number of people practicing Islam rises, Japanese restaurants and hotels have worked to provide for the halal needs of their guests. But what is halal and where can it be found in Japan?
Halal is an Arabic word meaning lawful or permitted under Islamic law. It covers all matters of daily life, but most people encounter it when talking about food prepared according to the principles outlined in Islamic law. Generally speaking, all foods are considered halal except for pork, animals that have not been properly killed according to Islamic law, alcoholic drinks, carnivores. blood or blood by-products and any foods contaminated by the other prohibited items.
Although finding halal restaurants in Japan is getting easier, finding accommodations that follow halal food preparation can be somewhat more difficult. One luxury Japanese ryokan has addressed this, gaining halal certification to cater to Islamic guests who want to experience the luxury of a traditional stay in Japan.
Just two hours from Tokyo, the Atami Sekaie ryokan in Shizuoka Prefecture features luxurious ocean-view suites and superior rooms where guests can unwind in a private hot spring bath while overlooking the calm waters of the Pacific. The private baths are sourced from a local hot spring whose water is said to treat a number of ailments, including nerve, muscle and joint pain, as well as provide a general rejuvenation. Working to ensure guests leave the hotel relaxed and rested, visitors are assured of a good night’s sleep. After a luxurious soak in the bath, guests can sleep on comfortable Simmons custom-made beds that ensure that sufficient sleep is achieved, leading to a happier, healthier life.
In addition to luxury accommodations and private baths, Atami Sekaie offers the best of traditional Japanese food. The expert chefs prepare dishes using fresh seafood straight from Sagami Bay and carefully selected local produce. Diners can enjoy halal food from menus that change with the season in the restaurant with an ocean view. The restaurant is happy to work with guests to accommodate any dietary restrictions and can offer vegetarian meals, as well as low-carb options. Atami Sekaie offers a wide variety of accommodation plans with specials including meals, anniversary packages and more.
To help guests relax, the hotel also provides health consultation from a professional trainer and dietary counsellor who has trained many people, including professional athletes. Guests can enjoy a health consultation regarding their lifestyles, a physical check of joints and muscles, flexibility and range of motion exercises, a relaxation massage and advice on posture and diet.
The hotel also boasts a sauna, lounge and open-air terrace where guests can unwind while enjoying beautiful ocean views.
Asakusa Sushiken goes the extra mile in choosing seafood that is always wild, local and from the first catch of the day. High quality blended vinegar helps create the base of its mouth-watering sushi. This dedication to sushi and an uncompromising focus on service has not changed since it opened in 2002. Being the first halal-certified sushi restaurant in Tokyo ensures no one is excluded from trying this Japanese specialty. A modern and casual feel greets customers with counter and table seating on the first floor, while the second is both relaxed and traditionally stylish with tables and private Japanese-style rooms that can hold parties of 10 to 25 people. Also semi-private rooms for 6 to 8 people are available.
Located in the chic Nishi-Azabu district, Sumiyakiya is a rare find, as the pioneer of Halal-certified Yakiniku dishes in Tokyo. Sumiyakiya introduces the concept of Japanese Kaiseki style yakiniku courses with Korean options and serves top-quality halal Kobe and Hida beef. Following renovations in March 2017, Sumiyakiya started serving premium wagyu, in newly designed and sleek setting. Entering the space, guests are welcomed by a warm, chic atmosphere that contrasts with the boldly elegant exterior of the restaurant. All halal products are 100% halal-certified and guaranteed to be safely prepared in accordance with Islamic laws.
269-1 Izusan, Atami, Shizuoka Prefecture
2-4-11 Asakusa, Taito-ku, Tokyo
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KRUNG SIAM Roppongi
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Shinjuku Halal Food
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Nasco Halal Food
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Al-FIah Japan Halal Food
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Jasmine Mini Market
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Story by: James Souilliere
From WINING & DINING in TOKYO #48