Hokkaido prefecture

Is Kitakaro Halal? Rich Seafood rice cracker from Hokkaido.

Seafood flavored rice cracker from Hokkaido, Kaitaku Okaki.

Kitakaro (北菓楼) is a famous souvenir shop from Sunagawa, Hokkaido.

As the name “Northern Snack Shop” indicates, they produce a lot of souvenirs using ingredients from Hokkaido, but what has made their shop so famous is their rice crackers, using seafood flavors.  Their products are only available in Hokkaido, and it is a popular souvenir for Japanese people who have visited there.

In New Chitose Airport, there is an official Kitakaro shop, which is very easy to be found by tourists, and some in the city as well.

Well, it could be a great souvenir for foreigners, too.  However, what makes it difficult for Muslims is that there are some products contain ingredients from animal.

So far, the only product without alcoholic seasoning and animal-product is Seaweed, but this cannot be complete Halal because of the risk of contamination.

Kitakaro shop in New Chitose Airport.

What’s their specialty?

As mentioned in the introduction, the most famous and bought souvenir from Kitakaro is their rice cracker called Kaitaku Okaki (開拓おかき), which means” development rice cracker”.

It was only after19th century when Hokkaido got developed by Japanese government and a lot of people migrated to this huge land. The rice cracker was named after this historical event.

During the time of development, people who have migrated to Hokkaido made rice cake, and then fried them with oil, which became the base of this rice cracker.

What’s the secret of the famous rice cracker?

There are 7 seafood flavors: Seaweed, Salmons, Scallop, Prawn, Squid, Octopus and Spicy fish roe.

The secret of the nice quality lies in the rice they choose and how they process it. The rice is soaked in the water for more than 24 hours, which then is made into a rice cake which requires a close attention for more than 3 days. Then another 4 days are needed to season and fully dry the product. It takes a week to complete the process when making this rice cracker.

Another secret of this rice cracker is that they have dried seafood itself inside the rice crackers. For example, if you choose Salmon flavor, there are a few pieces of dried salmons along with the rice cracker. Dried seafood itself is also a famous Hokkaido souvenir. This becomes a great essence for the rice cracker and can be enjoyed as a luxurious snack.

Gift box available.

So, are the rice crackers Halal?

Unfortunately, we could not find any Halal rice cracker from Kitakaro. So far, Seaweed is the only flavor that does not contain alcohol nor animal-derived product, but all other flavors contain either animal-derived ingredients or alcohol.

Seaweed is the only product which can be Halal, however, as machinery is all shared in the same factory, it is difficult to assume that they are free from contamination.


Glutinous rice, Plant oil, Rice oil, Soy sauce*, Seaweed, Salt, Seaweed essence, Amino Acid from flour and soybeans
*Small risk of alcoholic seasoning for preservation purpose


170g for 490 yen

Expiry date

About 5 weeks after its production.

Ingredients of Seaweed

Prawns can contain alcoholic seasoning, but no animal-derived ingredients. We put their detail here for your reference.


Glutinous rice, Plant oil, Rice oil, Prawn, Prawn seasoning, Salt, Salmon, Fermented seasoning, Rice Fermented seasoning*, Amino Acid, Sorbitol, Flavor, Trehalose, Calcinated shell calcium, polysaccharide thickener, Smoke solution from flour, prawn, salmon, soybeans and apple

*Rice Fermented seasoning can contain high percentage of alcohol when it is a liquid, just like Mirin seasoning.

Ingredients of Prawn rice cracker

Not recommended for Muslims.

When you visit Hokkaido, you may have so many chances to see their product, but if you would like to only buy Halal or Muslim-friendly products, Kitakaro should be avoided.

Kitakaro is a famous rice cracker company from Hokkaido.
Their Kaitaku Okaki is one of the top souvenirs, their shop is available at New Chitose Airport, too.

However, checking on the ingredients, most of them contain gelatin and alcoholic seasoning.
The only flavor that did not contain gelatin or animal derived-ingredient was Seaweed.

As the risk of contamination is quite high, we cannot recommend Muslims to buy this product as a souvenir.

Information as of June 2023.
The product is not Halal certified so that there could be a risk of contamination.