As an international port city, Kobe has long welcomed people from all over the world and people of many cultures and religions have made their home in the city. The Muslim community in Kobe is also well-established and Kobe Mosque is the oldest mosque in Japan.
Many restaurants in Kobe have halal food options, but in the area around Kobe mosque there are a number of grocery stores selling halal food and some restaurants that only serve halal food too. In this article we will introduce the mosque, some of the halal food stores and eateries around the mosque and also three restaurants in the Sannomiya district where you can enjoy halal Kobe beef.
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Kobe Mosque, also called Kobe Masjid, was founded in 1935 and was the first mosque to be built in Japan. It was designed by the Czech architect Jan Josef Švagr in an Indo-Islamic style. Švagr designed a number of religious buildings in Japan, but Kobe Mosque is his only Islamic building. The three-story building is somewhat remarkable for having survived an air raid in 1945 that destroyed most of the buildings around it, and the mosque also remained largely undamaged by the Great Hanshin Earthquake in 1995. For this reason some have called it the “Miracle Mosque.” Today, it still serves the spiritual needs of the Muslim community in Kansai and stands as a symbol of Islamic culture and history in Japan.
Kobe Mosque is open from 10.00 till 18.00 most days and from 14.00 to 18.00 on Fridays. Non-Muslim visitors are welcome but should be sure to read the notes for visitors on the mosque’s official website
- Photographs of the interior are permitted but don’t take video or photographs of other people in the mosque or during worship.
- Men should dress appropriately and not wear sleeveless t-shirts or shorts.
- Women should wear a scarf over their head and appropriate clothing with long sleeves and long pants or long skirts that cover the ankles.
- Remove your shoes before entering the prayer hall.
- The upper hall of the prayer hall is reserved for women.
- Please be quiet and don’t talk in the prayer hall.
- Reservations are required for larger groups.
Kobe Mosque is located in a very central area about 15 minutes on foot to the north of JR Sannomiya Station and about 10 minutes to the south of Kitano Ijinkan-Gai with its historic Western-style buildings. Here is a map showing the mosque’s location.
Halal Food Near Kobe Mosque
Kobe Halal Food
Kobe Halal Food is a grocery store selling a range of halal meats (chicken, beef, lamb, etc.) and other foods from all over the world. All products stocked are safe for Muslims to eat but even if you aren’t Muslim, you will probably find some goodies you want to buy here as this store imports foods from countries such as Pakistan, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Tunisia, Lebanon, Turkey, Morocco and Ghana! Here you can find naan bread, couscous, tempeh, falafel, dried fruit and nuts, a variety of curries, an array of spices and all kinds of beans.
Kobe Halal Food also operates an online store which you can find on the official website. The store is a two-minute walk from Kobe Mosque and open from 10.30 to 22.00. Here is a map showing its location.
Kitano Groceries is another grocery store selling halal meats and other imported foods mostly from India and the Middle East. This store is a bit more spacious than Kobe Halal Food and has an assortment of foods, snacks and spices all neatly arranged. It also has the advantage of being directly opposite Kobe Mosque.
Kitano Groceries is open from 10.00 to 21.00. Here is a map showing its location.
Kobe Shawarma is a casual restaurant serving mainly shawarma – a Middle Eastern street food that consists of thin slices of meat served either in a wrap or in pitta bread. At this restaurant you can get chicken shawarma, beef shawarma, a mixture of the two, or a falafel shawarma. There are also lamb and chicken burgers on the menu along with baba ganoush, Turkish baklava and other snacks, sweets and drinks. Kobe Shawarma is a one-minute walk to the west of Kobe Mosque. It is open from 11.00 to 20.00. Here is a map showing its location.
Naan Inn is another halal restaurant serving Pakistani-style curries. Seafood, chicken, mutton and prawn curries are all on the menu, alongside chicken and mutton biriyanis, palak paneer, samosa, vegetable pakoras and of course naan bread. Drinks include lassi, coca cola, mango juice and chai. There is an all-you-can-eat lunch buffet here on Fridays. Naan Inn is a one minute walk to the east of Kobe Mosque and is open from 11.00 to 22.00. Here is a map showing its location.
Ali’s Halal Kitchen
Ali’s Halal Kitchen is another Pakistani restaurant. Like Naan Inn it has a great range of curries on the menu, alongside haleem stews, kofta and paya dishes, shish kebabs, chicken tikka, and Tandoori chicken. This restaurant is popular for its great value lunchtime set meals as well as special set meals on Fridays and Sundays. The drinks menu includes cola, mango juice, lassi, ginger ale, oolong tea as well as hot and cold coffee, chai and tea.
Ali’s Halal Kitchen is a 6-minute walk to the east of Kobe Mosque and open from 11.00 till 22.00. Here is a map showing its location.
Restaurants Serving Halal Kobe Beef in Kobe
Kobe beef is famous for its fine marbling, rich flavor and melting texture, so when in Kobe a visit to a restaurant serving this world-class wagyu beef is a must. Fortunately, there are three restaurants in Kobe serving authentic halal-certified Kobe beef so that everyone can enjoy the taste of this culinary wonder of western Japan. And all three of these restaurants are just a short walk from JR Sannomiya Station – so they are very easy to find.
Kobe Beef Steak Sakura
Kobe Beef Steak Sakura uses the highest grade of Kobe beef for course menus that include grilled shabu shabu and steak. Their Halal Course Menu includes salad, roasted vegetables, steamed rice, miso soup, matcha tea, dessert – and of course the beef steak of your choice. Individual steak orders are also possible. Prices range from around 7,000 to around 34,000 yen depending on the cut of beef that you choose.
The restaurant has a traditional Japanese atmosphere with paper lanterns at the entrance and pink cherry blossoms painted on the walls. Take out and delivery services are also available from this restaurant. To make a booking in English visit the official website. This restaurant is open from 11.30 to 15.00 and from 17.00 to 23.00.
Kobe Beef Steak Sakura is a nine-minute walk from JR Sannomiya Station. Here is a map showing its location.
Tsuki Usagi has three dinner options on its Halal Kobe Beef Course menu. You can have a steak course in which you choose your steak from a wide variety of cuts. Or you can have hoba-yaki, a traditional way of cooking in which the beef is cooked with vegetables and a miso-based sauce while wrapped up in a dried magnolia leaf. Or you can choose the yakiniku barbecue beef course. All these courses include an appetizer, sashimi, tempura, rice, miso soup and a dessert. Prices range from around 11,000 to 35,000 yen depending on the cut of beef you choose.
This is a small, cosy restaurant with a warm and welcoming atmosphere. To enjoy a meal of halal Kobe beef at Tsuki Usagi you should make a reservation in advance. For details in English or to make a booking please visit the official website. This restaurant is open from 17.00 to 24.00.
Tsuki Usagi is a seven-minute walk from JR Sannomiya Station. Here is a map showing its location.
Misono is now a well-known chain of restaurants in Japan, but the main branch in Kobe is where the chain got its start in 1945. This restaurant is famous for inventing the teppanyaki style of cooking, in which steaks and other foods are cooked on a hotplate. In addition to enjoying a halal meal here you can watch your chef prepare the food on the hotplate right in front of you. And as the restaurant is located on the 7th and 8th floors of the Misono Building you can also enjoy a romantic night view over Kobe as you eat.
Misono has a variety of halal course options as well as a halal a la carte menu. The halal courses include options for Kobe beef tenderloin steak, Kobe beef sirloin steak and Wagyu sirloin steak. A Halal seafood course is also available. These courses all include appetizers, grilled vegetables, garlic rice and fruits. Prices range from 20,000 to 38,000 yen depending on the course you choose.
While a standard hotplate will be thoroughly cleaned before it is used, this restaurant also has a halal hotplate which is only used for halal food. However, if you want this halal hotplate for your meal you must request it in advance. Meal reservations should also be made three days in advance. For details in English please visit the official website.
Misono is open from 11.30 to 14.30 and from 17.00 to 22.00. It is a six-minute walk from JR Sannomiya Station. Here is a map showing its location.
Article and original photos by Michael Lambe. Restaurant photos courtesy of Kobe Beef Steak Sakura (11), Tsuki Usagi (12), Misono (13) All rights reserved.