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Travel & Leisure

Japan's almost-halal restaurants woo Muslims without certification

Word-of-mouth seen as more effective in attracting travelers than official labels

Ichiran, a Fukuoka-based noodle-soup diner, opened a pork-free ramen restaurant in Tokyo this year to entice more Muslim customers but has not obtained halal certification.(Source photos by Kyodo)

TOKYO -- More restaurants in Japan are serving an increasing number of Muslim tourists without obtaining halal certification, having found that these travelers tend to follow word-of-mouth recommendations than insist on halal certification.

Restaurant chain Chibo Holdings in January opened the Chibo Diversity Dotonbori Building Store, in Osaka's Dotonbori district. The restaurant serves okonomiyaki -- a pancakelike concoction that piles on vegetables, meat and seafood. It uses beef instead of pork in an effort to bring in Muslims, who are not allowed to eat pork or drink alcohol. The restaurant also does not use seasonings that contain alcohol.

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