Gourmet, Kimono & More. Top 5 Muslim-friendly Japanese Cultural Experiences in the Kansai Region.
Looking for something more than just sightseeing for your long-awaited trip to Japan? The great thing about international travel is that you get to see and experience foreign cultures at their most authentic. Instead of just tasting the local gourmet, why not try to make them on your own afterwards? Instead of only appreciating local culture from afar, why not try immersing yourself in it? Adding cultural activities into your itinerary will give that extra depth to your trip and make it all the more memorable. And if those attractions happen to accommodate the needs of Muslim tourists, then even better! Therefore, we have done the research and gathered 5 Muslim-friendly gourmet and cultural attractions in Kansai for you, so you can plan your future ideal Japan trip with ease.
①Osaka： Halal Japanese Cooking Lessons
HALAL JAPANESE KITCHEN MATSURI is not your ordinary Japanese restaurant, but one that holds cooking lessons catered for Muslim visitors. With their ingredients, condiments, and every aspect of the kitchen halal certified, this restaurant is one of the few places where Muslim tourists can fully enjoy delicious food and learn how to make some of the popular local dishes at the same time. They even have a prayer space and Wudu area, allowing you to take your time and enjoy the experience without worry. Afterwards, you can wrap up your time here with a nice walk on the tree-lined promenade just outside.
Name: Japanese Food Restaurant MATSURI
Address: 3-27-17, Yoshino, Fukushima-ku, Osaka-shi, Osaka
Access: JR Osaka Station→ [Train] approx. 5 mins→ Noda Station→ [Walk] approx. 5 mins
Operational Hours: 11:00-14:00, 17:00-23:00
Japanese Food Restaurant MATSURI
At Umemori Sushi School in Nara, you do not have to be a seasoned chef to make sushi. The Muslim-friendly institute organizes classes for you to have a hands-on experience in making the Japanese national dish from scratch, including preparing shari (sushi rice) by mixing vinegar with white rice for that distinct sushi taste. After all the hard work, participants will get to dig into their own delicious sushi and be rewarded the Sushi Master certification.
Not only the school has a dedicated prayer space, but it is also close to the national treasures of Tōdai-ji Temple and the famous deer sanctuary Nara Park. This makes Umemori Sushi School a great option for people who want to get the most out of Nara in the same day.
Name: Umemori Sushi School Nara Campus
Address: 221 Hokkejicho, Nara, Nara
Access: JR Osaka Station→ [JR] approx. 20 mins→ Tsuruhashi Station→ [Train] approx. 27 mins→ Shin-Omiya Station→ [Walk] approx. 10 mins
JR Nara Station→ [Walk] approx. 5 mins→ JR Nara Station West Exit→ [Bus] approx. 10 mins→ Shin-Omiya Bus Stop→ [Walk] approx. 10 mins
Operational Hours: 9:00-20:00
Umemori Sushi School Nara Campus
③ Kyoto： Muslim-friendly Tea Ceremony at KOTO
Located a mere 1-minute walk from Kinkaku-ji, KOTO is a nice little refuge for tired tourists who may want a break from the crowded streets of one of the most famous temples in Japan. At KOTO, tea ceremonies are held in their beautifully decorated tearoom, with halal certified Japanese traditional sweets served alongside. Guests may also rent Kimonos or join Ikebana (Japanese flower arrangement) workshops to learn more about another one of Japan’s revered traditional cultures. To add to that, KOTO’s in-house prayer space and Wudu area is what rightfully landed it a place in this list as a Muslim-friendly attraction. After several days of sightseeing, feel free to unwind and find your zen here.
Name: Tea Ceremony Koto
Address: 37, Nishi Goshonouchi-cho, Kinugasa Kita-ku, Kyoto
Access: JR Osaka Station→ [JR] approx. 30 mins→ JR Kyoto Station→ [Bus] approx. 45 mins→ Kinkakuji-michi Bus Stop→ [Walk] approx. 1 min→ Kinkakuji→[Walk] approx. 2 mins
Operational Hours: 10:00-17:30
Tea Ceremony Koto
④Kyoto： Kimono・Yukata Experience
Ever wanted to walk down the streets of Kyoto in a traditional Japanese kimono? The rental kimono place Yumeyakata will grant your wish! They even provide rental wagara (traditional Japanese patterns) hijabs to beautifully match your kimono, giving you a uniquely authentic head-to-toe Muslim-friendly kimono makeover. As you prepare to be dressed, worry not for your salah as a prayer space can be found in here as well.
In the surrounding area, there are lots of quaint alleys and traditional wooden houses that are picture-perfect with the elegant kimonos. Also, the hanamachi (geisha district) Gion is just nearby! Donning the traditional kimono as you walk around exploring the old city, you might just get a new perspective and discover something interesting.
Name: Kyoto Kimono Rental Yumeyakata
Address: 353, Shiogama-machi, Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto
Access: JR Osaka Station→ [JR] approx. 30 mins→JR Kyoto Station→ [Metro] approx. 1 min→ Gojo Station (Kyoto Municipal Subway)→ [Walk] approx. 3 mins;
JR Osaka Station→ [JR] approx. 30 mins→ JR Kyoto Station→ [Bus] approx. 11 mins→ Gojo Takakura Bus Stop→ [Walk] approx. 1 min
Operational Hours: 10:00-18:30
Kyoto Kimono Rental Yumeyakata
Ninjas were covert agents of the ancient Japanese ruling class, most prominent circa the 15th century. With exceptional physical and battle skills, they were said to be masters of espionage and remains popular icons to this day. Fancy becoming one and fight with a samurai in the virtual world?
Ninja-Do in Osaka is a tourist spot that offers an all-round ninja experience. You can dress as one and learn the unique way they walk, hold their swords, and use weapons such as fukiya (blowing darts) and shuriken (ninja stars). Their VR experience is highly recommended if you want to put your ninja skills to the test and battle with a virtual samurai, in costume!
The attraction has a prayer space and is at a convenient location near the bustling shopping area of Dotonbori and Osaka’s no.1 landmark, the Tsutenkaku, which has an observatory deck that overlooks the entire city. You are also free to explore the area in the ninja costumes!
Address: 4/F, Wakaba Building, 1-1-18, Taishi, Nishinari-ku, Osaka-shi, Osaka
Access: JR Osaka Station→ [JR] approx. 15 mins→ JR Shin-imamiya station→ [Walk] approx. 1 min
Operational Hours: 10:00-17:00
What do you think? With the attractions we mentioned and many more, Kansai has so much to offer that one trip simply cannot be enough. With its vibrant culture and new attractions constantly sprouting, you will surely have something new to discover each time you visit. Experience Japan in the Kansai way through these attractions for a special trip like no other!