Circumstances of Halal in Japan
When a person with Islamic diet considers traveling in Japan, how much can he/she be tolerant of meals to enjoy Japanese foods?
Recently, as the number of Muslim travelers has been increasing, understanding about and preparation for religious-based diet has rapidly advanced. In order to allow them to enjoy sightseeing in Japan, respective hotels and related organizations actively act for example, holding study meetings and disseminating knowledge. However, as there are many differences from what Japanese seek in everyday meals, only few restaurants and cafes can fully respond to them presently, in addition to some Middle Eastern cuisine restaurants.
When foods Muslims have to pay attention are "pork" and "alcohol", it is necessary to be especially careful about meat extracts and seasonings (mirin, miso, soy sauce, and so on). For example, even if pork and liquor can be directly avoided, there are many cases, for example, pig extract is used in soup of cup ramen. Therefore, care must be taken when Muslims eat processed food. In addition, Mirin which is a common seasoning used in Japanese food contains alcohol-like ingredients.
With such explanations, you may think that there are only restrictions. However, for example, "Tempura" and "Yakiniku", which are representatives of Japanese cuisine, are safe food for Muslims if you pay attention to ingredients of soup made from Japanese soup stock and source for meat. For “Ramen” which is getting famous in the world, some restaurants have begun to offer it with only halal foodstuff.
Those who strictly adhere to Islamic laws may also concern about the procurement method of ingredients, cooking utensils, and a place to cook. In that case, "Halal certification mark" which is also getting known in Japan will give you a source of security. In Japan, there are eating and drinking establishments and food stores dealing with halal food. Foods made from only those ingredients have this certification mark. For example, packed lunches in accordance with Halal are sold at the packed lunch shop in Tokyo station.
Please feel free to ask about your concerns. While traveling, you will be able to most enjoy foods in Japan by communicating with restaurants and hotels in advance about what you have to avoid surely and what you can tolerate.