The historical city of Kyoto in Japan launched a brand-new website called “Muslim-Friendly Kyoto”. The website is being supervised by the Kyoto Muslim Association (KMA).
This coordinative effort between KMA and Kyoto City is the first example of such a measure being taken in Japan. Shuhei Akahoshi, Managing Director of Tourism Promotion of the city said: “In the past there has not been sufficient information available about Kyoto in Islamic countries, especially in the manner of tips for having an enjoyable time here as a tourist. It is my earnest wish to help Muslim tourists to learn more about Kyoto and attract them to our wonderful city.”
Mr. Akahoshi also added,”We have in Kyoto a variety of Japanese foods including but not limited to tempura, traditional Kyo-Kaiseki, Shojin-ryori, and tofu that we can recommend to Muslim guests, and Turkish and Indian cuisines are also available. This website offers a quick reference for these foods and explains what they are.”
Apart from displaying information on Halal cuisines, Muslim-friendly hotels and restaurants in Kyoto suitable for Muslims, this website also includes qiblah directions for prayers etc.. The website is simultaneously available in English, Arabic, Turkish and Malay.
“Halal” indicates restaurants and coffee houses with halal food only. If no alcoholic beverage is served, the entire place is certified as halal. If not, all food menus are certified as halal, and alcoholic beverages are strictly separated.
“Muslim Friendly” restaurants provide halal menus with halal logos. In their ordinary menus, non-halal chicken and beef, and alcoholic flavoring may be used.
“Muslim Welcome” means no pork or pork-related items and no alcoholic flavoring are used in the entire place. However, this category doesn’t offer separate halal menus.
“Pork-Free” means no pork and no meat. There are no pork and pork-related items, nor is any meat served. Alcoholic flavoring might be used.
Source: Press Release by Kyoto Convention Bureau (26 December 2013).