Ultimate Guide to Halal Japanese Food

By Ari | April 11, 2022 

Apart from its scenic landscapes and cutting-edge technology, Japan is well-known for its amazing cuisine. Many Japanese dishes and restaurant chains are loved by people from all over the world. Of course, you must have heard of popular Japanese dishes such as sushi, sashimi, ramen, tempura, and so many more!

If you’re adhering to a halal diet and interested in Japanese cuisine, you may be wondering if there are halal Japanese food options available. Even though it can be challenging to find halal food in Japan, you will be pleased to know that the selections are extensive! Here is the rundown of some Muslim-friendly Japanese dishes you can enjoy with little or no adjustment, and guide to eating Halal in Japan.

This article is a part of our extensive series on Japanese culture on BFF Learn Japanese.

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    Availability of halal Japanese food (and things to be careful of)

    Because Japan does not have a significant Muslim population or a high number of Muslim travelers, it can be difficult to get halal food in Japan. In recent years, there has been a slight growth in the number of halal restaurants. However, many halal restaurants in Japan provide alcohol since it is difficult for them to exist without it. Some restaurants describe themselves as "halal" or "Muslim-friendly," and provide a halal menu alongside their regular menu; nonetheless, their foods were most likely made in the same kitchen as non-halal dishes. Visitors should use precaution when dining at such establishments because they may not be halal in the real sense. 

    halal japanese food - cuisine

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    For some established restaurants, they might have been equipped with halal certification. Restaurants typically display the certificate near the cashier so that customers may view it. A halal certification, on the other hand, may be costly for some small businesses. As a result, they don’t put any certificates to prove that they serve halal food. One thing that can help ensure that the meal is halal is knowing if the business owner is a Muslim. The simplest approach to find out is to ask the seller directly. Not only can you ensure the quality of the food you eat, but you'll also get the opportunity to interact with the locals and make friends along the way! Also check our Ultimate Guide to Making Japanese Friends if you are looking for ways to make friends in Japan. Even though businesses do not have the official certificate, they frequently display an unauthorized halal logo in a visible spot. 

    Here is the phrase you can use when asking to the seller:

    Does this restaurant serve halal dishes?
    このレストランはハラール料理を提供していますか?
    Kono resutoran wa hararu ryouri wo teikyou shimasuka?

    Some restaurants that serves halal Japanese food, on the other hand, specifically state that they are Muslim-friendly. There are several reasons for this, including the restaurant's lack of accreditation, the fact that it is not owned by Muslims, and the fact that it still sells alcohol. Some restaurants are Muslim-friendly because they offer a different menu, equipment, and utensils from their regular menu. This type of eatery will also typically have a sign in front of the restaurant or food stall.

    You can also consider vegan or vegetarian options, which emphasize eating more plant-based foods. The main distinction is that vegetarians exclusively skip meat, but vegans avoid all animal-derived goods, including eggs, honey, and dairy. Because there is no meat and nearly no animal products in the diet, these two restaurants can be a safe option for Muslims looking for a place to eat. 

    halal japnese food in tokyo

    Are there many halal options around Tokyo?

    It's considerably easier to find halal food and snacks in bigger cities like Tokyo and Osaka. Japan’s major cities are the best places to find halal Japanese food and the selection is constantly expanding. Below, you can see our recommended halal restaurants which serve a wide variety of Japanese foods such as sushi, ramen, yakiniku, and many more. You can definitely enjoy the authentic taste of Japanese food without having to worry about checking all the ingredients in the menu. We also have Guide to Cafes in Tokyo if you are interested in visiting unique coffee shops in Tokyo.

    That’s not to say you should only visit the big cities. There are numerous amazing places in Japan, and halal options are also available in smaller towns. It’s just nice to be able to sample the wider array of muslim-friendly restaurants in the cities.

    Is halal Japanese food more expensive? 

    You might expect dining in halal restaurants to be more expensive. However, despite its low availability, most halal Japanese restaurants don’t charge a premium price. Compared to regular restaurants in Japan, it might be a little bit more expensive by only a few hundred yen. Still, the dishes are very reasonably priced with its cost starting from 100 yen.

    Muslim friendly food in Japan

    There are few Muslim-friendly foods in Japan you can eat without worry. However, look out for the sauces and dippings as many of the ingredients used are not halal. For example, teriyaki sauce, tempura dippings and sushi rice are prepared with a Japanese rice wine that isn’t halal because of its alcohol content.

    halal japanese food - tempura

    1. Tempura

    Tempura is a Japanese dish that consists of battered and deep-fried ingredients. There are many vegetable options available at tempura restaurants, making it an extremely muslim-friendly meal. Popular ingredients include renkon (lotus root), sweet potato, eggplant, kabocha (pumpkin), mushrooms, asparagus, gobo (burdock root), broccoli, green peppers, and shiso (perilla) leaves.

    halal japanese food - tofu

    2. Tofu

    Numerous tofu dishes are available on the menus of Japanese restaurants. Tofu is a staple of Japanese food and can be considered to be Muslim friendly. It is made of soy milk thickened to a curd, somewhat similar to how cheese is made from milk. You can easily find many tofu dishes all over Japan and enjoy it without any worry.

    3. Fish and Seafood

    As an island, Japan has a plenty of fish and seafood, which Muslims can easily enjoy. It's common in Japan for fish to be gently cooked and served with an additional dipping sauce. If you are concerned that the fish may have been seasoned with soy sauce, implying that it is not halal, simply request that it be cooked without it. Even dishes like octopus and eel can be prepared to your liking without any additional sauces. When ordering, you can try to ask the waiter politely:

    Can I request for the food to be made without soy sauce?
    この料理はみりん無しでお願いできますでしょうか?
    kono ryouri wa shouyu nashi de onegai dekimasu deshouka?

    halal japanese food fish seafood

    4. Shojin Ryori

    Shojin ryori originated as a vegetarian diet for Buddhist monks who abstain from meat, fish, root vegetables, and alliums like as leeks, garlic, and onions. However, there is a heavy emphasis on eating beans, fresh fruits, and vegetables, which are all regarded safe for Muslims to ingest. Check out a Buddhist temple while you're in Japan. Restaurants specializing on shojin ryori have been springing up in recent years. This is an excellent restaurant to check out if you're looking for Muslim-friendly food.

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    Non muslim friendly food in Japan

    Common Japanese dishes and prepared convenience foods, while seemingly halal, may contain ingredients that may not be permissible under Islamic law. Popular Japanese foods like sushi, may have contained non-halal ingredients such as soy sauce, miso, various additives and preservatives, rice wine (mirin and/or sake) and animal fat.

    1. Sushi

    Sushi can be deemed halal on the surface, as it is primarily prepared with fish. However, often sushi is created with a rice wine called mirin that is put into the rice as a seasoning, making it non-halal. If you are in a sushi restaurant, the best course of action is to inform the personnel that you cannot eat rice that has been combined with mirin and to see if the restaurant can fulfill your request.

    2. Onigiri

    Sushi can be deemed halal on the surface, as it is primarily prepared with fish. However, often sushi is created with a rice wine called mirin that is put into the rice as a seasoning, making it non-halal. If you are in a sushi restaurant, the best course of action is to inform the personnel that you cannot eat rice that has been combined with mirin and to see if the restaurant can fulfill your request.

    non muslim friendly japanese food sushi
    non muslim friendly japanese food ramen

    3. Ramen

    Noodles can be a good choice if you are trying to eat halal in Japan, although one issue can be associated with ramen, or egg noodles that are often eaten as a nighttime snack. The problem with ramen comes from the broth, as one of the most popular bases for this is called tonkotsu and is made from boiled pork bone meaning that it is not halal. Other types of ramen however include vegetarian options for the broth so it’s best to go for these in order to be safe.

    4. Soy sauce

    In Japan, navigating soy sauce may be challenging. Soy sauce is created of wheat, soybeans, water, and salt, which are all considered to be acceptable for consumption by Muslims. However, when the sugar in the wheat dissolves and turns to alcohol during the fermentation process, the soy sauce is no longer halal. Bring your own bottle of gluten-free soy sauce (which is widely available in many countries since individuals who have celiac disease and can't consume wheat use it) if this worries you. Use this sauce instead, as it has no alcohol.

    non muslim friendly japanese food miso soup

    5. Miso soup

    Miso soup is a popular meal in Japan and is frequently served alongside other foods. There is a possibility that it contains mirin, a preservative that would render it non-halal. To determine whether it is safe to consume, you should check whether mirin has been added.

    non muslim friendly japanese food pudding

    6. Pudding

    Certain Japanese sweets include puddings, many of which are fruit-based, and at first glance, they may appear to be muslim - friendly. However, some of them may include pork gelatin to help them set, which would make them non-halal. When it comes to desserts, other options such as fresh fruit may be a better alternative.

    How to find restaurants that serve halal Japanese food

    1. Halal Gourmet Japan

    Halal Gourmet Japan is a smartphone app released an iOS and Android, which proudly provides with the most information on restaurants for Muslim people in Japan. You can search stores from information on restaurants for Muslim people with the greatest database in Japan including more than 500 stores. Stores are classified by pictograms such as "halal-certified" and "does not provide any food that uses pork,” etc. Additionally, you can also find restaurants for vegetarians.

    2. Halal Navi

    Halal Navi provides you all the information you need to find halal restaurants all over the world, especially in Japan! This can be very handy when looking for restaurant serving halal Japanese food. Now you don’t have to worry if you can’t check the ingredients in the menu. You can still get halal information from our users' restaurant reviews easily. Halal Navi also helps you to navigate to the nearest restaurants, mosques and prayer spaces. Simply search using the nearby feature and within seconds Halal Navi will list out all the halal restaurants and mosques around you. Here's the link to download the app on iOS and Android.

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    Top 5 popular halal Japanese restaurants

    1. Asakusa Sushiken

    When talking about Japanese cuisine, sushi is not a food you want to miss out on. Asakusa Sushi-Ken is Tokyo's first halal-certified sushi restaurant. Every item on the menu is halal, even the soy sauce and rice which is usually added with mirin. Chefs prepare the food directly in front of you using only the freshest ingredients available. Order one of their popular sushi packages or explore their menu, which includes the tendon, a rice bowl (donburi) filled with fried fish and veggies (tempura). Enjoy a diverse selection of sushi at this halal-certified Japanese restaurant!


    Address: 2-11-4 Asakusa, Taito-ku, Tokyo
    Open hours: 11:30am - 3:00pm (Lunch), 5:00pm - 11:30pm (Dinner), closed on Wednesday
    Phone: +81352466547
    Website


    2. Ayam-YA Okachimachi

    Ramen is a staple of Japanese cuisine and a must-try when in Japan. Ayam-YA Okachimachi is a restaurant which serves halal Japanese food and specializes in ramen. The restaurant's name is a pun on the words 'ayam' and 'ya', which combined translate to 'chicken store'.

    As one of the city's few halal restaurants that use a chicken-based broth for all of its ramen, they also offer a few customizing choices. Customers can choose between shoyu (soy sauce) and shio (salt) versions of selected meals. Diners are spoiled with choice here, as they may get dry ramen, cold ramen with dipping soup, or spicy ramen. Additionally, you may get bigger bowls of ramen at no additional charge! Two rice-based options are also available for individuals who enjoy rice bowls.


    Address: 3-10-3 Asakusa, Taito-ku, Tokyo
    Open hours: 11:30am - 2:30pm (Lunch) and 5:00pm - 8:30pm (Dinner)
    Phone: +81343603672
    Website


    3. Gyumon

    Gyumon is ideal for people looking to sample authentic Japanese yakiniku. Here, you may choose from a wide variety of beef and chicken cuts. In this halal restaurant in Tokyo, you may grill your own food. Fear not, those on a budget, since they provide inexpensive lunch packages starting at 12pm! You may get a halal beef bowl with soup and salad for for 1000 yen. Additionally, dinner packages beginning at 2500 yen are offered. Everything here is halal, even their delectable dipping sauces, however please know that this establishment sells alcoholic beverages.


    Address: 3-14-5 Shibuya, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
    Open hours: 5:00pm - 9:00pm
    Phone: +81354692911
    Website


    4. Coco House Ichibanya Curry

    Additionally referred to as Coco Ichi, this is a very popular curry restaurant that has extended worldwide. It is well-known throughout Japan, with over 1,000 locations. However, there are now just two halal-certified locations, one of which being Coco Ichibanya Shinjuku Kabukicho. The other location, Curry Coco Ichibanya Akihabara, is Japan's first halal restaurant. Customers may also personalize their meals by changing the amount of the rice, the toppings, and the level of spiciness. While pork is no longer on the menu, a variety of other alternatives remain, including chicken, beef, and cheese toppings. Vegetarian choices are also available for vegetarians and those who prefer vegetables.


    Address: 1F Uchiomatsunaga Bldg., 16 Kanda-matsunagacho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
    Open hours: 11:00am - 10:30pm


    5. Misono

    Misono, the inventor of Teppanyaki Steak, is now providing a Halal Kobe Beef course meal at their flagship location in Kobe. As a pioneer in the Halal Teppanyaki industry, the restaurant has worked tirelessly to develop a Halal menu that enables Muslim customers to enjoy traditional Japanese food.

    With professional chefs preparing your meal in front of you, you will see as stashes of organic veggies and Halal-certified Kobe beef with a high rarity value are prepared right in front of you. Misono invites customers to a waltz they will never forget.


    Address: 1-1-2 Shimoyamatedori, Chuo-ku, Kobe
    Open hours: 1:30am - 2:30pm (Lunch) and 5:00pm - 9:00pm (Dinner)
    Phone: +81783312890
    Website


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    Useful phrases & words you need to know when ordering

     

    Excuse me / I’m sorry.
    すみません。
    Sumimasen.

    I don’t eat ◯◯ (ex: I don't eat pork)
    ◯◯は 食べません。(ex: 豚肉は 食べません。)
    ◯◯ wa tabemasen. (butaniku wa tabemasen.)

    Without ◯◯, please.
    ◯◯ なしでお願いします。
    ◯◯ nashi de onegaishimasu.

    Can I request for the ◯◯ to be made without mirin?
    ◯◯はみりん無しでお願いできますでしょうか?
    ◯◯ wa mirin nashi de onegai dekimasu deshouka?

    Does this dish contain alcohol such as mirin or sake?
    この料理にはアルコールが含まれてますか?例えばみりんとか酒など
    Kono ryouri ni aruko-ru ga fukumaretemasuka? Tatoeba mirin toka sake nado

    Does the soy sauce contain alcohol or mirin?
    醤油にはアルコールかみりんが 含まれてますか?
    Shouyu ni wa aruko-ru ka mirin ga fukumaretemasuka?

    Is there pork in this (food)?
    豚肉は入っていますか?
    Butaniku wa haittemasuka?

    Does this restaurant serve pork?
    このレストランは豚肉の料理を提供していますか?
    Kono resutoran wa butaniku no ryouri wo teikyou shimasuka?

    Do you have vegetarian or seafood dishes which do not contain alcohol or mirin?
    酒無し・みりん無しのベジタリアン料理か海鮮料理はありますか?
    Sake nashi / mirin nashi no bejitarian ryouri ka kaisen ryouri wa arimasuka?

    Thank you for the meal. It was delicious!
    ご馳走さまでした。美味しかったです!
    Gochisousama deshita. Oishikatta desu!

    If you’re interested in improving your speaking and having conversations in Japanese, check out our articles on the Ultimate Guide to Japanese Speaking and Ultimate Guide to Japanese Conversation.

    Cooking your own halal Japanese food

    While there are many halal and Muslim-friendly restaurants in Japan, they can be a little costly for everyday consumption, so if you are not willing to spend much on restaurants then, head to your nearest supermarkets or convenience stores where you can pick up halal snacks or ingredients to cook your own meals! 

    Staple halal Japanese products and ingredients

    1. Halal Miso

    Miso is a key ingredient in Japanese cooking and forms the base of the staple dish, miso soup. Miso is a paste and can be mixed into sauces, dressings, batters, and soups. If you're planning to have a complete Japanese meal, you should definitely keep at least one tub of halal Japanese Miso! Make sure that you get halal-certified miso paste from brands like Marukome and Hikari.

    2. Halal Mirin

    Mirin is one of the essential seasonings in Japanese food made from glutinous rice, rice koji, and shochu (liquor) that has been aged for 40 to 60 days to bring out a sweet flavor. Mirin is widely used in Japanese dishes like teriyaki, sushi and even chawan mushi. Do you know there's actually Halal Mirin? Nowadays you can find halal-certified mirin-style seasoning made by the brand Hinode. Typically Mirin should be avoided as it is a type of alcohol. It's usually used to enhance the flavor of Japanese dishes, especially teriyaki dishes so stock up on one and use it for your Japanese meal!

    3. Halal Shoyu

    Shoyu is the term broadly given to Japanese style soy sauces that are made from fermented soybeans, wheat, salt and water. Unfortunately, most shoyu contains alcohol that comes naturally from the fermentation process that gives a nice fluffy odor and prevents mold. Nowadays there are various brands such as Kikkoman, Fukumurasaki, Yamasa, and Fundokin, which offer halal-certified shoyu for people adhering to halal diet. Your halal Japanese food will be complete after seasoned with halal shoyu.

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    Where to buy halal Japanese products and ingredients

    1. Halal grocery shop

    There are currently around 130 halal shops all over Japan providing halal Japanese foods and grocery items like halal meat, snacks and ingredients. Most of these shops sell only halal-certified ingredients and seasonings such as halal Japanese soy sauce, and various imported halal goods from countries like Turkey, Pakistan, Indonesia, Malaysia, and India.  Tokyo Camii (Mosque) Halal Mart, Al-Flah Supermarket, and Nasco Halal Food / Green Nasco are definitely go-to grocery shops in Tokyo. Are you also looking for a cheap place to stay in Tokyo? Check out our Ultimate Guide to Sharehouse in Tokyo and Finding Cheap Apartments in Tokyo!

    Nasco Halal Food is one of the famous halal food grocery shops in Shinjuku. They have large varieties of meats and they sell halal-only meats. Nasco Halal Food buys their cow and processes the meats by themselves following the guide of Islam to process it so that they can be guaranteed that the meats they sell are 100% halal. You can buy beef, mutton, chicken, and other halal products including non-meat products. 

    2. Supermarkets with halal corner

    Supermarkets like Gyoumu Super, AEON, and Don Quixote carry local and international brands and its stores can be found all over Japan. They have some imported goods, which are halal-certified. Halal products are clearly labeled on the supermarket’s shelves, so you don’t have to worry about not being able to spot them.

    Where to buy halal Japanese products and ingredients

     

    3. Convenience stores with halal products

    Located on nearly every street corner in Japan, a convenience store or konbini is a one-stop shop for all your late night cravings, cleaning emergencies, and everything in between. Did you know you can find halal Japanese food and products in some 7-Eleven and Lawson stores? Some 7-Eleven stores in Tokyo sell halal ready-to-eat meals or bento sets, which is a very convenient alternative to fulfill your hunger. At Lawson Okachimachi Minami Store you can find halal products such as rice crackers and instant food.

    4. Online halal shops in Japan

    Shopping for halal foods is now easier than ever. You can now order groceries through Al-Flah Supermarket's website and Nasco Halal Food’s website. Just sign up for an account, stock up your cart with groceries, pay and have your groceries delivered directly to your doorstep.

    You can also find various halal food shops on Rakuten Japan. However, some of the online halal stores in Japan, besides selling halal products, are also selling products which are not halal. Always look for the halal mark/logo on the product’s image or the word Halal (ハラール = حلال), in the description before you make your purchase.

    Easiest way to check halal products in Japan

    1. Read the ingredients list

    Packaging in convenience stores is almost entirely written in Japanese so it’s difficult to know the ingredients of a product. You can use Google Translate’s image feature to translate ingredient lists on packaging. Just point your phone’s camera lens at it and press the camera icon in the app. 

    The instant translate view doesn’t always work, so for a more accurate translation take a photo of the packet and highlight with your finger the text you want to be translated. This works for restaurant menus too.

    2. Check the products on the Halal Food in Japan on Facebook

    Before heading out to your nearest supermarket or convenience store, make sure to check Halal Food in Japan. The Facebook page provided various categories for Japanese products such as halal-certified, okay for consumption, doubt, and haram.

    3. Scan the product using Halal Japan mobile app

    Halal Japan App on iOS and Android is a very handy halal food identifier you should have on your phone. You can download the app and search for a product you wish to consume by category, shops’ name, or brands. If you are in a store, simply scan the barcode of the product and within seconds the App will display the product’s detailed status, including the name in English and Japanese languages, the sources of the ingredients (plant, animal, synthetic), and in which shops/supermarkets it can be purchased.

    List of kanji and vocabulary to identify halal Japanese foods and products

    1. Halal food ingredients

    Kanji Hiragana Katakana Reading Meaning
    野菜 やさい   Yasai Vegetables
    果物 くだもの   Kudamono Fruits
    たまご   Tamago Egg
    牛乳 ぎゅうにゅう   Gyuu nyuu Milk
    豆乳 とうにゅう   Tou nyuu Soy milk
        バター Bataa Butter
    乳脂 にゅうし   Nyuu shi Milk fat
    植物油脂 しょくぶつゆし   Shokubutsu yushi Plant fat
    植物油 しょくぶつゆ   Shokubutsu yu Vegetable oil
    ショートニング
    (大豆)
    ショートニング
    (だいず) 
      Shootoningu (daizu) Shortening (from soybeans)

     

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    2. Seafood

    Kanji Hiragana Katakana Reading Meaning
    さかな   Sakana Fish
    しゃけ サーモン Shake, Saamon Salmon
    まぐろ ツナ Maguro / Tsuna Tuna
    海老 えび エビ Ebi Shrimp
    かに カニ Kani Crab

     

    3. Meat products

    Kanji Hiragana Katakana Reading Meaning
    牛肉 ぎゅうにく ビーフ Gyuu niku (Beefu) Beef
    鶏肉 しゃけ サーモン Tori niku Chicken
    羊肉 まぐろ ツナ Youniku (ramu/maton) Lamb / Mutton

    These meats are halal only if slaughtered in the proper Islamic way, and marked with “HALAL” sign.

    4. Food ingredients to avoid

    Kanji Hiragana Katakana Reading Meaning
    ぶた ポーク Buta (Po-ku) Pork
    ぶたにく ポーク Buta niku (Po-ku) Pork
        ハム Be-kon Bacon
        ハム Hamu Ham
        ラード Ra-do Lard
        ゼラチン Zerachin Gelatin
    味醂 みりん   Mirin Mirin
        Sake Sake (Alcohol)

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    Final thoughts

    Looks like you won’t have to worry about finding halal Japanese food. Although Japan can be challenging if you adhere to halal diet, you will be surprised with the many kinds of halal cuisines that Japan has to offer along with its unique experiences and culture. If you are interested in unique Japanese experience and culture, check our Guide to the Japanese Tea Ceremony in Tokyo and Ultimate Guide to Visiting an Escape Room in Tokyo. 

    In the land of the rising sun, more and more restaurants are offering halal options that can satisfy every single, each and one of your cravings. Not to mention, you can easily find halal ingredients in the supermarkets and convenience stores we’ve listed, so you can easily whip up a delicious meal anytime.

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