Search Website for Kyoto Restaurants' IngredientsFood Pictograms and English for Foreigners16 November 2014 - Gourmet
A nonprofit organization has launched a website through which people can search for restaurants which provide ingredients description in Kyoto City in consideration of foreign visitors who limit various foods due to their religious beliefs. After selecting ingredients that they don't eat, areas they wish to visit, and the cooking style, the suitable restaurants are listed. Ingredients are explained with pictorial symbols. Looking towards the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, the government hopes to attract more tourists and spread the scope of Kyoto sightseeing.
The website's title is "Kyoto Omotena City," which was produced by an organization "Internashokunal" based in Kobe City.
First, the website users select foods they do or don't eat from 14 ingredient categories, such as beef, pork, milk and so on. Next, they designate an area they want to visit from among nine areas in the city, such as the Kyoto Imperial Palace environs, Arashiyama, and other places. After that, they select a style of cuisine (Japanese, Chinese, French, or Italian) and price range, and then press the search button. Photos of restaurants or menu items that match the users' criteria are displayed. Item names are written in English and ingredients are displayed using food pictograms.
A total of 19 restaurants are currently registered. From next spring, there will be a roughly quarterly review meeting on behalf of people who have food allergies or are vegetarians. Based on participants' feedback, the organization will improve the website's content and the number of registered restaurants.
"Internashokunal" has promoted public awareness of food pictograms for foreign people and people with food allergies in order to clarify what ingredients are used in the meals at a glance. They have expanded the usage of food pictograms in the menus provided at international conferences, airport restaurants and hotels throughout the country. Furthermore, they chose Kyoto, a city of international tourism, as their first target city in Japan, in order to expand to more general types of restaurants or souvenir shops.
In May, they asked international students from the Islamic world who follow severe dietary restrictions due to religious precepts and Kyoto citizens to gather and walk around stores in central Kyoto City to verify the status quo. Consequently, it was revealed there is poor indication of food ingredients despite explanations written in English, so they established the website which is also accessible via smartphone.
Nobutaka Kikuchi, Internashokunal CEO, said, "We want to increase the display of food pictograms on menus at registered businesses."(translated by Galileo, Inc.)