Islam Yokocho : Shin-Okubo is not only a Korean Town, but also a Muslim Town

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Shin-Okubo is famous as a Korean town. There are many Korean restaurants, Korean grocery stores, and Korean idol goods shops. The Korean boom in 2003 – 2012 has subsided, but there are still many female fans walking around Shin-Okubo. In Shin-Okubo, there are many Koreans working and living. But there are not just Koreans in Shin-Okubo. When you visit Shin-Okubo, you may notice there are people from many places. Particularly, Chinese and Muslims gather on the west side of Shin-Okubo Station.

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When you go west of Shin-Okubo Station, there is a street going north just one block from the station. This street’s official name is Hyakunin-cho Bunka dori, but it is called Islam Yokocho (side street). There are many Muslims, Islamic restaurants, Islamic grocery stores, and Mosques.

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You can see a shop with a sign for halal food on the right side. This shop is Barahi Foods & Spice Center which sells halal ingredients.

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This shop is owned by Nepalese people, and there are Nepali national flags in many places.

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In this building, there are Nepali restaurants and Indonesian restaurants.

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On the second floor, at Momo (a Nepali restaurant) you can eat Nepali dumplings called momo and mutton curries.

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Next to this building, there is the Nasco Food Court.

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You can eat halal dishes like biryani or barbecue skewers. Most customers are, of course, Muslims who wear head scarves.

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Next to the Nasco Food Court, there is a grocery store of halal foods called Green Nasco on the corner.

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This store has a street stall which grills kebabs in front of the store.

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The menu includes kebab sandwiches, kebab bowls, and kebab wraps. You can choose your meat: chicken, beef, or both, and four kinds of sauces. The prices are only 350 or 400 yen.

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Shoppers overflow in front of Shinjuku Yaoya (vegetable store), close to Green Nasco. The sign of this store is written in English, Korean, and Chinese, and most shoppers are foreigners. This store is open 24 hours, and there are many ingredients and seasonings for foreigners. This vegetable store supports foreigners living in Shin-Okubo 24 hours every day.

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There is a grocery store called The Jannat Halal Food next to Shinjuku Yaoya. This store is owned by a Bangladeshi, and deal in spices, frozen fish, and international phone cards.

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There is an entrance to the multi-tenant building above Green Nasco when you go down the alley between Green Nasco and Shinjuku Yaoya. This building has four stories.

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On the second floor, there is a Myanmarese halal food shop called Rose Family Store. There are many posters written in many languages. On the third floor, there are Korean beauty salons and a hair salon.

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On the fourth floor, there is a mosque. This seems like just a room of a small apartment, but there are entrances which are divided for men and women separately, and where “Masjid” is written.

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This scenery is like nothing else in Japan. It is rare to see Japanese people there, and Chinese, Korean, English, Arabic, and various other languages are heard. Muslims are still a minority in Japan, but in this area, Muslims are the majority.
[How to go]  Near Shin-Okubo Station (新大久保駅) on the JR Sobu Line (総武線) or Okubo Station (大久保駅) on the JR Yamanote Line (山手線)

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