Kyoto, once a major center of Buddhism and Shintoism, the two largest religions in Japan, has been aspiring to become Muslim-friendly as well. It is taking enorumous steps to become more acceptable to the growing number of Muslim visitors from countries such as Malaysia, Indonesia, the Middle East and other Muslim nations.
Places To Visit In Kyoto
Ginkaku-ji or the Temple of the Silver Pavillion is a truly a worldy heaven tucked at the base of the Higashiyama Mountains. The temple embodies every thing a Buddhist temple ought to be. It looks a tranquil pond, and an expansive garden. It is located in Northern Higashiyama area of the city.
Arashiyama Bamboo Grove
Kyoto Imperial Palace Park
Blossoms & Foliage
Importance Of Kyoto
The ancient city is already hosting a growing number of international conferences and cultural events which are being attended by the Muslims from Africa to the Middle East to South and Southeast Asia. Thanks to the waiving of visa restrictions for malaysian, Indonesian and some other South East Asian countries by the Japanese Government last year, an increasing number of Muslims from these and other counrtries have been flocking the historical city of Kyoto for sightseeing, culture and business and what not.
To cater to the needs of these Muslim visitors, the city has been conducting various training programs for hospitality industry officials, restaurant managers and convention bureau officials. Hotels such as Granvia and Tokyo Century Hotel are already serving Muslim-friendly food to their Muslim guests from various countries.
The local Kyoto Muslim Association is helping the local government, travel industry officials and other interested business entities improve their understanding of various Muslim cultures, Muslim dietary habits etc. Some of the hotels in the city have even started offering a proper prayer room reserved for Muslim prayer-goers. Even some universities cafeterias in the city have started offering Halal dishes to their Muslim students.
Recently, I happened to visit the city, and, was pleasantly surprised to see a growing number of businesses prominently displaying Halal signs in their shops. One of them was related to hand-made skin care products for ladies. They have started exporting their products to some of the Muslim countries in the Middle East and South-East Asian countries.
An offical from one of the famous hotels in the city told me they had been serving members of the royal family from Saudi Arabia. However, she also told me that not all the Muslims demanded Halal food only. They drank wine as well as ate other items which may not be compatible with strict Halal standards.