Japanese hospitality for Muslim people keeps developing, and it becomes easier for Muslim tourists to enjoy their visit to Japan these days. But how many Muslim tourists travel to Japan? what are they looking for in Japan? And what do they need? We are very curious to learn about this.
Muslim Omotenashi Center Co., ltd (MOMOC) is a company with visions to make Japanese society more friendly to Muslim or other people who has different religion or belief and creating the environment where Japanese companies provide more value to Muslim all over the world to build a peaceful and prosperous world. They support hotels and restaurants with simple and easy method of services which we developed by lots of opinions and information from Muslim. They also support promotion for each company.
Kawashima The Japanstore’s staff was given a chance to have an interview with Mr. Keigo Nakagawa (The CEO of Muslim Omotenashi Center) about the current Muslim tourism and halal products in Japan. We are so excited to share our interview with him in this article. So without further ado, this is our Q & A according to our interview with Mr. Keigo Nakagawa.
- What kind of Japanese products are Muslim tourists looking for?
- In 2018, about 3% (around 1,000,000 people / year) of total visitors that came to Japan are Muslims. Therefore, they will look for souvenirs for their loved ones when coming to Japan.
We need to make sure that they will have lots of choices for souvenirs. These products need to be something they can use and consume without any worries (halal or Muslim-friendly products). So we need to make sure that they can access these products easily whenever they need it. Especially in places that Muslim tourist often visits.
- What kind of Japanese souvenirs do Muslim people are looking for in Japan?
- When I talked about some Muslim people about this, they are interested in sweets, and items that can be shared. For example, there are 20 small packages of chocolate in one bag or box of a chocolate product. That way, they can share that products as souvenirs to other people. Other popular souvenirs are key holder, magnet, and small items that has “Japan” written on them, or items that “feel” so Japan, so they can say that they really had been in Japan.
A lot of people, either they are Muslim or not, also pursue original unique stuffs from Japan as souvenirs. There are a lot of authentic items in Japan that just fit as souvenirs, but haven’t been known by many people yet. In Kawashima The Japan Store, we have some product recommendation for you who currently searching for the right souvenirs to buy. Here you can find these original, unique, and highly-valued items from Japan.
- Where are the popular tourism destinations for Muslim tourist in Japan?
- There’s one term called “Golden Route” which is the places, or route, that is very famous for tourists in Japan. People who come to Japan for the first time usually go to these places. This Golden Route lies between Tokyo to Osaka, with Tokyo, Mount Fuji, Kyoto, and Osaka become the main attractions. There are also people who stop by other places too, for example when they went to Kyoto from Tokyo, they also stop by Nagano or Hakone on the way. This road from Tokyo to Osaka is what is called the “Golden Route.”
If we talk about each cities, the main attractions in Tokyo are for example Asakusa, Shibuya, Harajuku, Ginza, Shinjuku, and Disneyland, Disneysea; in Osaka, the famous spots are Dōtonbori, Shinsaibashi, Osaka Castle, and Universal Studio Japan (USJ); and for Kyoto, Arashiyama Bamboo Forest, Kiyomizudera, and Kinkakuji are very famous.
- Muslim need halal food to eat everyday,
How a Halal Certification is made in Japan?
- Currently, there are about 20 kinds of Halal Certification in Japan. It can be issued by Non-Governmental Organization, Private Organization, and Religious Corporation. Each of them have their own estimated time and price, so they have their own merits and demerits.
Unlike many other Muslim country, Japan doesn’t have a Governmental or Public Organization that can issue a Halal Certification. Even so, it is not that difficult to obtain a halal certification in Japan for business who want to obtain a halal certification for their products. By mutual recognition with certification bodies in Indonesia or Malaysia, some Japanese certificate bodies provide Japanese companies their benefits which allow companies' export easier.
Also some bodies got used to business custom in Japan but some are not.
Halal is a dispensable aspect for Muslims. Sometimes, Muslim do have some tendency to put more belief to the halal certification that is issued by fellow Muslims. But due to the limitation of halal product, sometimes they will just buy any product that has the halal certification without considering the company who issued it.
Nevertheless, a business needs to make a proper research about halal before they want to obtain the certification. If a business has a good understanding of halal terms, they will definitely be able to have a good product for Muslims.
That is our interview with Mr. Keigo Nakagawa, the CEO of Muslim Omotenashi Center!
If you want to know more about him or his company, please see MOMOC's website here.
And, if you want to find more of Japanese authentic products and foodstuffs, feel free to check our website here!