Where to look for Muslim-Friendly Food in Nara

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Nara is becoming one of the new places to visit for Muslim travellers from Malaysia and the region, due mainly to travellers wanting to explore other places in Japan besides Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto. Known as the ancient capital of old Japan, Nara is home to multiple UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

While Osaka will be your main entry point here, it takes only about one hour by train from Osaka to Nara. Once you reached the location, it is recommended to rent a car to explore as most of the beautiful sights are located all over Nara.  

A Halal Bento Box in Japan.
Image source: halalmedia.jp

For Muslims travelling here, you are in luck as you can find a number of Muslim-friendly restaurants or halal-certified restaurants that offer various cuisines. However, there are no Malaysian or Indonesian restaurants found here.

For Muslims, you should also take note of the different types of Muslim food being offered which are either with the halal logo which means they are certified or just with the word ‘Pork-Free’. There are also vegetarian restaurants that do not serve any meat, which can be an alternative for Muslim travellers.

Nara is well-known for their free-roaming deer.
Image source: https://www.okura-nikko.com/

Below is a list of the halal restaurants found around Nara.

Halal Ramen Naramachi Jinniyah
Type: Japanese Ramen
Address: 33 Minamijodo-cho, Nara-shi
Tel.: (+81) 742 93 8906
Opening Hours: 11.30 AM – 6.00 PM
Website: http://halalramen.jp/

Type: Vegan and Japanese
Address: 18-3 Kitagata-cho, Kawanokami Tsukinuke, Nara-shi
Tel.: (+81) 0742-24-0890
Opening Hours: 12.00 PM – 8.30 PM
Website: not available

The lunch box menu at Halal Deli.
Image source: http://umemori-halal.com/

Halal Deli
Type: Washyoku and Halal Bento, Eat in or Delivery
Address: 221 Hokkeji-cho, Nara-shi
Tel.: (+81) 0120-015-098
Opening Hours: Lunch Only
Website: http://umemori-halal.com/
Prayer Room: Available

Indoryourijai (Jay)
Type: Indian Food
Address: Sanwa Sahogawa Bldg. 1F, 7-2-23 Omiya-cho, Nara-shi
Tel.: (+81) 0742-36-2235
Opening Hours: 11.30 AM – 10.00 PM
Website: not available

Vegan and vegetarian dishes from Kinatei.
Image source: http://m2533129.xaas.jp/

Type: Vegan and Vegetarian
Address: 25-1-107 Surugamachi, Nara-shi
Tel.: (+81) 080-6119-6105
Opening Hours: 11.30 AM – 2.30 PM only
Website: http://m2533129.xaas.jp/

Inside Mellow Cafe in Nara.
Image source: http://www.mellowcafe.jp/

Mellow Cafe
Type: Vegetarian, Pasta and Pizza
Address: 1-8 Konishi-cho, Nara-shi
Tel.: (+81) 0472-27-9099
Opening Hours: 11.00 AM – 11.30 PM
Website: http://www.mellowcafe.jp/

Shanti Restaurant in Nara.
Image source: http://shanti-shanti.jp/

Type: Indian Food
Address: 1604-3 Nakayama-cho, Nara-shi
Tel.: (+81) 0742-45-6877
Opening Hours: 11.30 AM – 11.00 PM
Website: http://shanti-shanti.jp/

Type: Indian and Sri Lankan
Address: 743 Yadawara-cho, Nara-shi
Tel.: (+81) 0742-81-0350
Opening Hours: 11.00 AM – 8.00 PM
Website: http://vanammeal.wixsite.com/home

Traditional Japanese dining at Yoshino.
Image source: https://www.okura-nikko.com/

Yoshino Restaurant Hotel Nikko Nara
Type: Japanese
Address: Hotel Nikko Nara 3F, 8-1 Sanjo-hommachi, Nara-shi
Tel.: (+81) 0742-35-8831
Opening Hours: 11.30 AM – 9.00 PM
Website: https://www.okura-nikko.com/japan/nara/hotel-nikko-nara/

Ryotei Jyusouya
Type: Japanese
Address: 3-27, Shigisannishi, Sango-cho, Ikoma-gun, Nara
Tel.: (+81) 745-32-2231
Opening Hours: 11.00 AM – 10.00 PM
Website: http://www.jyusouya.jp/

The menu at Tenpei Yamatokogen.
Image source: http://www.boscovilla.jp/food.html

Restaurant Tenpei Yamatokogen
Type: Japanese
Address: 1F, Bosco Villa Yamato Kougen, 3918 Harichō, Nara-shi, Nara-ken
Tel.: (+81) 0743-82-5556
Opening Hours: 11.30 AM – 12.00 AM
Website: http://www.boscovilla.jp/

Nara Turkish Ice Cream
Type: Ice Cream
Address: 20, Hashimoto-cho, Nara-shi, Nara
Tel.: not available
Opening Hours: 11.00 AM – 8.00 PM
Website: not available

Naramachi Mitsui
Type: Japanese Udon
Address: 33, Minamijodocho, Nara-shi, Nara
Tel.: (+81) 090-6247-4804
Opening Hours: 6.00 PM – 10.00 PM
Website: not available
Special: Make your own Udon noodles

Nara’s famous Mochi.
Image source: http://www.nakatanidou.jp/

Type: Mochi Dessert
Address: 29, Hashimoto-cho, Nara-shi, Nara
Tel.: (+81) 0742-23-0141
Opening Hours: 10.00 AM – 7.00 PM
Website: http://www.nakatanidou.jp/

Halal Food Grocer and Shop

As for food alternatives, it is recommended that you bring your own snacks to tourist locations as it can be hard to find halal snacks or desserts at these places. Around Nara city, there is a chain of grocers that sell some halal food products.

This grocer is called Gyomu Super or Gyomu Supermarket, and they have about 16 outlets found all over Nara Prefecture. It is quite large, like the Malaysian Jaya Grocer and you need to ask the staff working there for the halal food section.

The Gyomu Supermarket sign is in Japanese, so you need to ask the locals about this place. They have medium to large stores.

Gyomu Super, a supermarket selling halal products.
Image source: Google Maps

Halal-Certified Hotel in Nara

The recommended hotel for Muslim travellers in Nara is also Hotel Nikko Nara, which is Muslim-friendly. You need to inform them that you are a Muslim, and they will prepare the relevant items required, rooms with prayer direction and halal meals.

Prayer Room in Nara

If you need to do your prayers, the JR Nara Station offers a prayer room. Another place is the Nara City Tourism Information Center, which also provides a prayer room. The third place that has a prayer space is at the halal Deli Cafe, which is listed above.

Exploring Nara

Overall, Nara is catered more to culture, history and nature with many parks, temples, shrines and old buildings. One of the most famous attractions here is also the Nara Deer Park, where visitors can feed the deer that wander freely around here.

For temples and shrines, there are more than ten popular ones found around Nara. And for those seeking natural Japanese landscapes, there are a few beautiful parks found in Nara. Many recommend visiting Nara in autumn or spring, while the ultimate time is during the cherry blossom period from late March to early April.

David Hogan Jr
David Hogan Jr
A multiple award-winning travel writer, blogger and social media enthusiast. He has been traveling to Japan since 1990 and all over the world for his work. His work has been featured on CNN Travel, Yahoo Travel, Lonely Planet and many other publications. David writes at: http://malaysia-asia.my and is on social media platforms as @MalaysiaAsia

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