Another Asian country, Japan is opening its gate to Muslim tourists by opening its first halal hotel near Mount Fuji.
The Muslim tourists from Southeast Asia and Middle East are on the rise as the number of foreign visitors to Japan climbs year by year.
In response, the hotels and other lodgings, particularly in tourist-dense Tokyo, are increasingly offering services like halal meals and prayers spaces that cater to the religious needs of guests. While more establishments these days are advertising themselves as Muslim friendly, in reality it remains impractical for hotels to invest in the facilities and trained staff needed to be fully halal compatible.
Against this backdrop, Japan in July 2016 welcomed what may be its first ever completely halal lodging, the Syariah Hotel Fujisan in the Fuji Five Lakes area of Yamanashi Prefecture.
Located near the shores of Lake Kawaguchi, the cozy two-story accommodation combines Islamic amenities with views of Mount Fuji to the south and easy access to recreational facilities around Lake Kawaguchi.
Yamashita Yūji, president of the hotel’s parent company said that the hotel firm decided to dip its toes into the Muslim market after seeing an uptick in visitors from Southeast Asia.
Yamashita also explained that for years, the Chinese tourists made up the bulk of foreign visitors.
The company renovated a private home and consulted with Islamic organizations, Muslims living in Japan, and halal associations to bring the facilities up to religious standards.
Yamashita says that while the hotel, which is part of the firm’s travel organization Fujisan Family, is still operating on a trial basis, he remains hopeful that business will continue to grow.
He notes that more Muslim visitors from Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore are visiting Lake Kawaguchi after hearing about the Syariah Hotel in the Japanese and overseas press or by word of mouth.