A food tour in Kyoto (Part 1)
A fusion of traditional and modern landscapes, Kyoto has become one of the biggest go-to Muslim-friendly cities in Japan. A hotspot for shrines and gardens, Muslim travellers get to escape to the natural beauty the country has to offer. You can expect to live the full Japanese experience while still being within the city’s reach.
Also, there aren’t many problems manoeuvring around with the language barrier — most locals can understand English, and almost all signs have English translations. It is definitely a city not to leave out of your itinerary to Japan.
1. Tempura Arima
Tempura Arima is a tiny family-run joint with English menus and set meals. This Muslim-friendly restaurant is a must-try for lovers of tempura, a Japanese dish usually consisting of seafood and vegetables. Since it’s not halal-certified as it serves alcohol and non-halal meat, please be advised to dine at your own discretion.
Address: 572 Sannocho, Shimogyo-ku Kyoto-shi, Kyoto 600-8424, Japan
Opening hours: 11.30am – 2pm, 5.30pm – 10.30pm, closed on Thursdays
For a more formal dining experience, head over to Ukihashi located in Hotel Granvia Kyoto. With a fully halal-certified menu, satisfy your Japanese bento and kaiseki (traditional Japanese course meal) cravings at this halal restaurant. The kaiseki meal changes by the season, matching a hot tofu soup for the winter season or seasonal sashimi for the summer season.
Address: M3F, Hotel Granvia Kyoto, 901, Higashishiokoujicho, Shiokojisagaru, Karasumadori, Shimogyoku, Kyotoshi, Kyoto
Opening hours: 7am – 10am, 11.30am – 3pm, 5pm – 10pm
Another restaurant located in a hotel, Rantei offers not only authentic kaiseki (traditional Japanese course meal) but also tempura set meals. With a halal-certified menu available, it is also the place to go to try out authentic halal shabu-shabu. Shabu-shabu is a Japanese dish of pieces of thinly sliced beef cooked quickly with vegetables in boiling water, completed with dipping sauces.
Address: 680 Higashi Shiokoji-cho, Shiokoji Sagaru, Higashinotoindori, Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto, 600-8216 Japan
Opening hours: 7am – 9.30pm
A halal-certified yakiniku (means “grilled meat” in Japanese) restaurant near all the hustles and bustles of Higashiyama is a perfect destination to get your fill of barbecued meat. With a wide range of cuts from sirloin to tenderloin, it’d be sure to satisfy your cravings with its special BBQ sauce to pair.
Address: 422-1 Rinkachō, Higashiyama-ku, Kyōto-shi, Kyōto-fu 605-0062, Japan
Opening hours: 11.30am – 2pm, 4pm – 10pm, closed on Tuesdays
5. Naritaya Gion
A sister eatery to the yakiniku restaurant, Naritaya Gion offers a variety of ramen. Halal-certified as well, it is well-known for its miso-based ramen and their fried chicken karaage. A bowl of hot, soupy ramen is sure to energise you back up to another round of adventure around Kyoto.
Address: Ability Gion Bldg. 1F, 424 Rinkacho, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto 605-0062
Opening hours: 11.30am – 2pm, 4pm – 10pm, closed on Tue