Muslims Entertained with Kyoto CuisinePork and Alcohol Not Used18 March 2016 - Gourmet
As the number of Muslim tourists visiting Kyoto is increasing, people involved in cooking schools and restaurants in Kyoto City established a society called "Kyoto Halal Network Kyokai" so that Muslims can have confidence that the meals adhere to Islamic doctrine. Under the teachings of Islam, some tourists aren't able to enjoy much Kyoto cuisine due to restrictions on food materials. Through providing halal Kyoto cuisine and other services, they are preparing Japanese "Omotenashi" hospitality for Muslims.
Halal means "legal" or "permissible" in Arabic. In relation to cooking, the degree of strictness differs depending on the country or region, but one typical example cited is that neither pork nor alcohol can be used.
The society was established by cooking school lecturers, long-established restaurants' executives, academics and others. In June, they will hold a Japanese cuisine cooking class following halal dietary considerations, developing halal Kyoto cuisine with Muslim cooks, and making efforts to increase restaurants providing halal menus. They will also ask restaurants and souvenir stores in the city to show ingredient labels and request that prayer rooms should be set up in popular tourist sites and shopping centers. Furthermore, they will hold a gathering between local residents and Muslims.
According to the city government, the number of overnight foreign tourists visiting Kyoto City in 2014 was a record-high of 1,830,000. Among those, the number of visitors coming from the Middle East area, Malaysia and Indonesia, both of which have large Muslim populations, was approximately 57,300 in total, an increase of about 21,400 over 2013.
The society's inaugural commemorative general meeting was recently held at its office located in Kyoto Cooking School in Sanjo-dori Yanaginobamba, Higashi-iru, Nakagyo Ward, Kyoto. Halal-compliant Japanese cuisine was served for Muslim residents of Kyoto City and others. In his opening speech, Ryohei Kada, representative director of the society, said, "At the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, many tourists will visit Kyoto as well. We want Muslims to enjoy Kyoto without any worries." For more information, call the society at 075-221-8482.(translated by Galileo, Inc.)