Is Vegetarian dish Halal in japan?
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Is vegetarian meal Halal in Japan? What should Muslims know?

Vegetarian meal in Japan.

The number of Japanese who choose not to consume animal product is on rise recently. Although the percentage of Vegetarian is not as high as in other countries, we can say that this trend is being more recognized among Japanese people, which results in increasing vegetarian restaurants and choices.

This is of course a great news for Muslims coming to Japan, because it has no meat product! However, did you know that these vegetarian meals can not be always considered Halal? Let’s see Japanese vegetarian choices today.

History of vegetarian meal in Japan.

Although the number of vegetarians are not that big as in other countries, Japan has a very long history of having only plant-based products. This is because of Buddhism, a major religion in Japan.

In Buddhism practice, people are required to purify themselves from evil/dirty things. They wash themselves in a clean water from mountain, and study Buddhist tellings in a silent temple. At the same time, it is quite important for them to consume only plant-based food during practice, because “killing” is strictly prohibited in the religion.

These vegetarian in Buddhism actually should not contain any vegetables and seasoning that have strong flavor, such as chives, leek, garlic, ginger and so on. These vegetarian dishes are called as Oriental Vegetarian or Chinese vegetarian.

Even nowadays, when we go to Busshist temple for sightseeing, the temple offers vgetarian dish for tourists. As it requires Buddhist practice, for many of Muslims tourists it will not be that interesting to visit these temples with vegetarian dish, however, it will be a great opportunity to have a look at what they are offering for tourists.

So, is vegetarian dish in Japan Halal?

Many of you should wonder why we come up with this question, “Is vegetarian dish Halal”? . If we answer to this question, unfortunately, we can not say vegetarian dish in Japan is not completely Halal according to Islamic standard.

Why so? This is because many of the vegetarian dishes in Japan contain alcoholic seasonings such as Mirin, Sake, or soy sauce. These are not limited only to normal vegetarian dish but also to Buddist vegetarian dish.

In fact, these tiny portion of alcohol is not strong enough to make someone intoxicated, or even can be burnt off after being heated up.

Japanese seasonings contain tiny portion of alcohol.

Another reason why vegetarian dish cannot be complete Halal is because there is still a risk of contamination. If the kitchen only handles plant-based ingredients, then it is not a problem, however, as there are restaurants that also handle meat, we cannot ignore the risk of contamination in these restaurant.

Of course, this is where many people have different ideas towards “Halal”, so we will leave it up to your own judgement.

What can Muslims do then?

As the dish does not have any meat, vegetarian dish can be a choice for many Muslim tourists. However, it is quite important that the risk of the food not being complete Halal should be known before commencing your journey to Japan.

Also, unless you are a vegetarian, many of you would love to try some meat in your meal. If your aim is to avoid meat product, then choosing seafood option will be better because risk of alcoholic seasoning and contamination is all the same as vegetarian meal.

In short, please be reminded that there is a risk of contamination and small percentage of alcohol in Japanese vegetarian meal. To make it a complete Halal meal, think about checking on the seasonings that the restaurants are using.

Learn more about Japanese seasonings.
Halal Navi