Efforts to welcome Muslims are in full swing at Narita Airport, the gateway to Tokyo. First, the number of prayer rooms has been increased, second, Halal cuisine is now prepared, third, Halal education is now provided to 150 airport staff members, and fourth, Halal restaurants will be opened by the summer of 2014.
Kansai International Airport, the gateway to Osaka, is a step ahead of Narita Airport in their efforts to welcome Muslims. They have acquired a Halal certification for udon, one of Japan’s soul foods, and serve it in one of the airport shops. There are plans to add two new prayer rooms in addition to the single existing room to increase the prayer space from 30m2 to 270m2. The background to this is the 70% increase in Kansai International Airport passengers from Indonesia between 2011 and 2012.
Foreigners have ranked udon (“udon/soba”) as their third favorite Japanese food. Their favorite food is “sushi / sashimi” and their second favorite food is “ramen”. Sushi and sashimi are originally Halal while ramen has been made Halal as “global ramen”. Udon has also been certified as Halal. The delicious taste and cheap price of soul food is universal. Japanese foods have only just begun to acquire recognition as Halal and this challenge will continue in the future.