Famous souvenirs that you shouldn't buy.
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Is Tokyo Banana haram!? Japanese famous souvenirs that are not halal.

Is what you got really Halal?

All the tourists to Japan are surprised to see how nice our foods are, and they want their loved ones to try the same. This is the reason why they buy so many souvenirs from Japan. Thanks to globalization and SNS, everyone knows great souvenirs, but wait a minute, are they really halal?

We are of course not deciding what is halal and what is not, however, there are some souvenirs that obviously contain restricted ingredients according to Islam. We will try to give you some tips on how you should choose your souvenirs for your Muslim friends.

If you want to know list of Japanese snacks that contain haram ingredients, check the following article.

Butter sand (バターサンド) / Rokkatei

This souvenir is from Hokkaido, and their biscuits and cream filling with raisins are so popular among Japanese. As you may be aware, this sweet contains alcohol. It contains as many as three types of alcohols as flavoring; liquor, rum and brandy! The sweet should be avoided even before driving.

Instead, their Rokkatei potato chips is totally halal, and you can buy them at New Chitose Airport.

Credit: Rokkatei

Kit Kat (キットカット)

This chocolate is originally from Switzerland, and many of them are sold as Halal in other countries. Hence, many of you might misunderstand, that the ones sold in Japan are also Halal, which is not true.

They are made based on a different recipe and contains shortening. There are so many flavors available in Japan and some of them are local limited edition so you may be tempted to buy, however, so far none of them is free from shortening.

Neslet Japan does not disclose the source of the ingredients, so that their shortening can be animal-derived. As we cannot confirm the source, we do not recommend this souvenir to you.

KitKat sold at Don Quijote.

Shiroi Koibito (白い恋人)

This Hokkaido souvenir is as famous as ROYCE chocolate, and everyone likes their texture of delicate biscuit and mild chocolate. However, the item is not very Muslim-friendly.

It has shortening and emulsifier. We have asked the company and it is confirmed that their emulsifier is plant-based, however, their shortening is cow-derived.

shiroikoibito biscuit
Credit: Ishiya Seika

Tokyo Banana (東京ばな奈 見ぃつけた)

Tokyo Banana probably is the most famous souvenir from Tokyo. It has a fluffy sponge cake with banana custard cream inside. It can be eaten as it is or can be frozen to enjoy in a different way.

There are some versions of Tokyo Bananas. Some of them have anime characters printed, or some have different fruit flavors, but unfortunately, all of them contain liquor and gelatin.

credit: tokyobanana.jp

Jaga Pokkuru (じゃがポックル)

Jaga Pokkuru is a famous souvenir from Hokkaido. The product is made from Calbee, one of the biggest snack companies in Japan.

However, we have got an official answer from Calbee saying that there is a risk of contamination for all of their souvenirs, including Jaga Pokkuru. Ingredients itself has no restricted items, however, if you want to know the reason why the company does not want to say they are Muslim-friendly, check our article below.

Article about Calbee products.
Jaga Pokkuru

Choose your souvenirs carefully!

You might have a chance to buy the mentioned products, or one of your friends traveled to Japan may have bought one for you. If you want to make sure you get only Halal items, then it is always the best to have Halal-certified products or at least to check the back of the label.

Although the manufacturer is selling their items in your country, Japan has different standard, and it can be considered as haram because of different process and ingredients. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us with the pictures of the item and the label to have us consult with the manufacturer for you.

Information as of July 2023.  Please be noted that the ingredients may be changed as time goes by. Please check carefully before making a purchase.