Diners at a Muslim-friendly restaurant in Japan having Halal food
Tokyo : Halal restaurants and Shariah-complaint hotels in Japan are serving a strong inrush of Muslim travellers.
For Malaysian Halal products, it has become possible to tap this huge market.
Japanese entrepreneurs have set up Shariah-friendly hotels including one at the foot of Mount Fuji, to meet the needs of increased number of Muslim tourists
Following a broader plan, surau (place for offering Salat) has been opened in Japan's international airports and Halal food is available for Muslims now, to make Japanese airports more Muslim friendly.
Dedicated for the convenience of Muslim guests, the direction of the Kiblat in each room is marked in the Halal hotels of Japan.
They are making these hotels alcohol-free and are preparing all the Japanese-style cuisine meals in certified Halal kitchens.
For the first time, Japan held a fashion show for Muslim women in December. It was held in conjunction with the Halal Expo Japan in Tokyo. Around 10 brands, mainly from Singapore, graced the show displaying their work.
Japan's tourism industry has become a notable sector in the global Muslim travel market, wowing a record number of Muslim travellers, thanks to social media and the arrival of low-cost air travel out of Southeast Asia.
In 2017, nearly 360,000 Indonesian tourists visited Japan, up from just 80,000 in 2010.
This boost in overall foreign tourist arrivals hit a record 31 million in 2018, up sharply from just 6.2 million in 2011 due to the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami.
The Japanese government expects it is likely to rise to 40 million in 2020, when the Tokyo Olympics are held.
The Olympics itself is a good opportunity for Malaysian Halal companies and Halal certification bodies to enter into Tokyo's growing Muslim tourism market.
Some 40 to 45 per cent of the food and beverage (F&B) at the Olympic Village and at its scheduled events is aimed to be Halal certified by Tokyo Olympic Council (TOC).
A Malaysian company, MHC Co. Ltd, in Shinjuku, is authorised to issue Japan Halal standard to Japanese restaurants and food manufacturers.
"Our aim is to increase the number of Halal restaurants in the Tokyo area for the Olympics," said Iori Numata, an official of MHC.