Description

The Shugakuin Imperial Villa was constructed during the mid-seventeenth century in the north-eastern area of Kyoto as a luxury retreat for the Imperial Family. The gardens of the villa are considered to be an example of impeccable Japanese gardening and are thus regarded as one of the country's most valued large-scale cultural treasures. The villa grounds are split into 3 garden areas and stretches across an area of 133 acres, showcasing the magnificence and beauty of its natural splendour, as well as the unique characteristics of early Japanese design and architecture. A special tea pavilion located at the very peak of the garden offers glorious views of the surrounding landscapes and emanates an aura of absolute peace and relaxation. ...more

Kyoto, Japan

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Description

The Shugakuin Imperial Villa was constructed during the mid-seventeenth century in the north-eastern area of Kyoto as a luxury retreat for the Imperial Family. The gardens of the villa are considered to be an example of impeccable Japanese gardening and are thus regarded as one of the country's most valued large-scale cultural treasures. The villa grounds are split into 3 garden areas and stretches across an area of 133 acres, showcasing the magnificence and beauty of its natural splendour, as well as the unique characteristics of early Japanese design and architecture. A special tea pavilion located at the very peak of the garden offers glorious views of the surrounding landscapes and emanates an aura of absolute peace and relaxation.

Ticket Price

Free of charge

Opening Hour

Tours commence daily at 9:00 a.m., 10:00 a.m., 11:00 a.m., 1:30 p.m. and 3:00 p.m.

Recommended Visit Duration

The duration of the tour lasts for about 90 minutes and must be booked in advance.

Suitable For

Adults, Families, Senior Guests, Young Adults

Must See

 The three villas, the garden features and the Yokuryu Pond

Prayer Facilities

Prayer room facilities at the Shugakuin Imperial Villa will be unavailable. Muslim visitors could go to one of the few mosques in Kyoto city during prayer times. The most prominent mosque in Kyoto is the Kyoto Masjid and can be visited by Muslim travellers.

Halal Food

Halal food at the Shugakuin Imperial Villa will be unavailable. A few places that serve halal food in Kyoto are available for Halal food options. Ajanta is a popular place in Kyoto that serves South Asian Halal cuisine.

  • Muslim-Friendly Ryokans You Have to Visit For The Authentic Japanese Experience

    Ryokans and Onsens are a vital part of Japanese culture. It is a tradition of communal bathing that dates back to many years. In the Japanese culture, this is a very rejuvenating experience, and you can find many ryokans around Japan which offer a private experience – and is Muslim friendly! via GIPHY Ryokans are Japanese inns which provides more than just a place to sleep in. It offers the full traditional Japanese experience of relaxation. You will find rooms with tatami floors, futon beds and hot spring baths. Hot springs have a lot of health benefits – from healing skin problems, boosting blood circulation, to relieving pain – there are many! Guests are also required to change into the traditional yukata and enjoy Japanese cuisine. With much of Japan tourism taking an initiative to be more Muslim friendly, you will find that there are some ryokans which offer Halal services. Keep reading to find out which Muslim-friendly ryokan you will want to book a stay in.Also Read: Japan's Most Aesthetic Hostels You Need To Check Out 1. Risshisha Machiya Hotels Image Credit: 立志社 Risshisa Ryokan on Facebook Easily one of the best ryokan chains in Kyoto, the Risshisha Machiya emphasizes on traditional comfort and innovation. The best part is that it has been Crescent rated! Image Credit: 立志社 Risshisa Ryokan on Facebook Their ryokans have elegant wooden furnishings and are designed in the traditional minimalistic Japanese way but with modern sensitivities, which makes these ryokans stand out from the rest. All you have to do is sit back and relax in your yukata, while enjoying some much needed “me time”. Image Credit: 立志社 Risshisa Ryokan on Facebook The hotel chain has introduced Halal friendly services into their list of facilities; every room in the ryokans are equipped with prayer mats, the Qibla mark, Qibla compass, prayer clothes, as well as a special tableware for Muslim guests. They have also introduced a Halal menu that has been approved by the Japan Islamic Trust. They offer Gyudon Rice – which is a rice bowl with seasoned beef. Also up on their menu is the Butter Chicken Curry with Rice, Vegetable Penne, as well as Japanese Mochi stuffed with assorted flavours like matcha, mango and brown sugar. You will find that Risshisha ryokans are situated conveniently close to Kyoto attractions, so that you can easily access the hotel after a day of exploring. The ryokans are also close to the Kyoto train station; if you are travelling by train you will be able to reach the hotel within 5 – 10 minutes. Address: Kyoto Headquarters, 279, Shimochofukuji-cho, Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto, 600-8375, Japan Website | Facebook  | Instagram 2. Sato-Yu Mukashibanashi Yuzanso Image Credit: Yuzanso Yuzanso offers a more traditional ryokan experience. Located near Japan’s largest lake, Lake Biwa, surrounded by nature all around; you will be able to witness stunning vistas. The Shiga prefecture hot spring has a history dating back 1200 years! It doesn’t get more authentic than this. Image Credit: Yuzanso The hotel has 109 rooms with 53 rooms coming with your very own private open-air hot spring bath – privacy and luxury! Yuzanso has an indoor public hot spring bath as well as an open-air public hot spring bath for all guests, with separate bath areas for men and women. The open-air baths are made with Cedarwood and both the men and women’s bath areas are equipped with a jet bath and sauna. Image Credit: Yuzanso Yuzanso is part of the Muslim-friendly travel movement happening in Japan and they have added Halal services to their facilities to accommodate Muslim guests. They have included a Halal menu, and ensured that their food has been prepared without any non-Halal ingredients. They have a big breakfast spread with a wide variety of food, as well as a Japanese style crab cuisine during winter. The hotel is located in the Shiga Prefecture which is 20 minutes away from the Kyoto Prefecture; you can get to the hotel by taking a train to Ogoto-Onsen station. The hotel offers free transport from the Ogoto-Onsen station; you can inform them first before reaching the station, and they will send a shuttle bus to pick you up. There are quite a few sights to see in Shiga – you can head to the Biwako Terrace a resort which offers stunning views of Lake Biwa and its surrounding areas, a great place for a photo op. Don’t forget to pay a visit to the Mangetsuji Temple which is home to the Ukimido or “Floating Temple” on Lake Biwa. Once you are done at Shiga head over to Kyoto for more sightseeing as that is where most of the attractions are. Address: Ogoto 1-9-28, Otsu-shi, Shiga 520-0101, Japan Website | Facebook | Instagram 3. Kyoto Garden Ryokan Yachiyo Image Credit: Kyoto Garden Ryokan Yachiyo on Facebook Image Credit: Kyoto Garden Ryokan Yachiyo on FacebookSituated in Nanzen-ji area of Kyoto, home to stately villas from the Meiji period of Japan, the Kyoto Garden Ryokan Yachiyo will not disappoint. Image Credit: Kyoto Garden Ryokan Yachiyo on FacebookThey have a total of 18 rooms, with 6 of them being private suites equipped with their own hot spring water bath. The rooms located at their main building, Honkan, overlook the beautiful garden with its intricate landscaping in the traditional Japanese way. This hotel does not offer any Halal facilities; however, you can opt for their Washouku Vegetarian course. Just because it's a vegetarian course doesn't mean you can't enjoy the taste of Japanese cuisine as it is delicately prepared in the traditional Japanese style of cooking by balancing both the Ying and Yang, so that guests can enjoy the authentic Japanese taste. Other than chilling in your suite all day, you can pay a visit to some of the attractions in the area which is just a 5-minute walk to Nanzenji Temple, Eikando Temple and, the Heian Jingu Shrine. Address: Kyoto Garden ryokan Yachiyo, 34, Nanzenji Fukuji-cho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto, 606-8435, Japan Website | Facebook | InstagramAlso Read: Forest Bathing: Relax, Rejuvenate & Recharge With Nature When You're In Japan 4. Sumiya Kiho-an Image Credit: Sumiya Kiho-an on FacebookThis ryokan emphasizes stylish and elegant luxury. Nestled within the suburbs of Kyoto away from the hustle and bustle of the city, Sumiya Kiho-an is the perfect place to relax and release all of that stress.Image Credit: Sumiya Kiho-an on FacebookMuch like other ryokans, they are equipped with tatami mats and futons. However, they have included the added luxury of kotatsu – tables with heaters. Their suites come with private onsens, directly sourced from the Yunohana Hot Springs. Image Credit: Sumiya Kiho-anThey also offer a half-day or one-day onsen experience, so if you just want to get a brief glimpse into relaxing the Japanese way, you can go for these packages especially if you aren’t staying in Kyoto for long. You can even opt for a spa day to get rid of weariness from travelling as this Sumiya Kiho-an offers 30-minute packages. Since the ryokan is located in the suburbs of Kyoto, you will not be too far from the main attractions in Kyoto. Address: 25 Miyanooku Hiedanocho Kakihana, Kameoka 621-0036, Kyoto Prefecture, Japan Website | Facebook | Instagram 5. Otaru-Kourakuen Image Credit: Otaru-KourakuenOtaru-Kourakuen is surrounded by a beautiful garden boasting of 100-year-old trees and 200 cherry blossom trees! Definitely a sight not to be missed. Image Credit: Otaru-KourakuenThe hotel consists of 35 rooms, of which only 28 have a private open-air hot-spring bath. However, if you have booked a room without one, you can always opt for the private onsen on the second floor via a reservation from the front desk. Image Credit: Otaru-KourakuenOtaru-Kourakuen offers Muslim-Friendy service – they offer a prayer rug, Kiblah direction, as well as a map of all prayer spaces and Halal shops within Otaru for the ease of their Muslim guests. They also offer Halal breakfast and dinner! You can choose between a Halal Shabu Shabu Hot Pot and 2 Halal course meals of varying prices. Otaru is full of things to see and do – activities vary from season to season. There is a happening arts and crafts scene – especially glassware – as well as activities like skiing, for all the adrenaline junkies. Note that they need at least 3 days advanced booking for Muslim guests to ensure they are provided with the best Halal-friendly service. Address: 18-2, Shinko 5, Otaru, 047-0152, Hokkaido, Japan Website | Facebook | Instagram 6. Kansuiro Ryokan and Onsen Image Credit: Selected Onsen RyokanLocated in the famed resort town of Hakone, Kansuiro Ryokan is only 2 hours away from the bustling city of Tokyo and is a safe haven for those wanting to escape the city.Image Credit: Selected Onsen RyokanThe hotel is a beautiful Taisho era architectural masterpiece – step into the charming resort and get transported back in time! Their baths are in the Kakenagashi style – which means that the water is not recycled, but is fresh and comes straight from the source. They have also taken extra care in giving you an exclusive experience by regulating the quality and temperature of the water. The hotel provides a wide variety of rooms to choose from; each designed to make you feel at home and as relaxed as possible in the traditional Japanese way. They do not offer any specific Muslim friendly services, but you can always opt for their vegetarian meal course. Be sure to inform them when making your reservation. While there you can check out the Hakone Open-air Museum, Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park, and Owakudani Geothermal Valley. Address: 88, Tonosawa, Hakone-machi, Ashigara-Shimogun, Kanagawa, 250-0315, Japan Website 7. Kashiwaya Ryokan Image Credit: Kashiwaya RyokanYou will find this ryokan nestled in the mountain valley of Shima – a picturesque hot spring town just 3 hours outside of Tokyo. A Hot Spring hotspot amongst the locals, but not so much with the tourists – it will offer you the authentic countryside onsen experience you have been looking for. Image Credit: Kashiwaya RyokanThis ryokan has a more casual setting but has all the authentic ryokan elements such as tatami floors and paper screens. They have 15 guestrooms, and you can opt to have a dip in either your own hot spring bath or go for any of their 3 private outdoor onsens. They do not offer any Halal facilities however, but you can choose their vegetarian menu when ordering food. Address: Kashiwaya ryokan, 3829 Shima, Nakanojo Agatuma-gun Gunma 377-0601, Japan Website | Facebook | InstagramAlso Read: Tokyo Olympics 2020 | 9 Out-Of-This-World Things You Need To Know If you are looking for an authentic Japanese experience – then booking a stay at any of the above ryokans will fulfil that for you. So start planning your Japanese ryokan vacation now! ...

  • Looking For Accommodation? Bunk in These 7 Muslim-Friendly Ryokans in Japan!

    Ryokans and Onsens are a vital part of Japanese culture. It is a tradition of communal bathing that dates back many years. As weird as that is, it is still a very rejuvenating experience, and you can find many ryokans around Japan which offer a private experience – and are Muslim-friendly! Ryokans are Japanese inns which are more than just a place to sleep in. It offers the full traditional Japanese experience of relaxation. You will find rooms with tatami floors, futon beds and hot spring baths. Hot springs have a lot of health benefits – from healing skin problems, boosting blood circulation, to relieving pain – the list is endless! Guests are also required to change into the traditional yukata and enjoy Japanese cuisine. With much of Japan tourism taking an initiative to become more Muslim-friendly, you will find that there are some ryokans which offer Halal services. Keep reading to find out which Muslim-friendly ryokan you will want to book a stay at.   1) Risshisha Machiya Hotels Credit: Risshisha Easily one of the best ryokan chains in Kyoto the Risshisha Machiya highlights traditional comfort and innovation. The best part is that it has been Crescent rated! Their ryokans have elegant wooden furnishings and are designed in the traditional minimalistic Japanese way but with modern sensitivities, which makes these ryokans stand out from the rest. All you have to do is kick back and relax in your yukata while enjoying some much needed “me time”. The hotel chain has introduced Muslim-friendly services into their list of facilities, every room in the ryokans are equipped with prayer mats, the Qibla mark, Qibla compass, prayer clothes, as well as special tableware for Muslim guests. They have also introduced a Halal menu that has been approved by the Japan Islamic Trust. They offer Gyudon Rice – which is a rice bowl with seasoned beef, Butter chicken curry with rice, Vegetable Penne, as well as Japanese Mochi stuffed with assorted flavours like matcha, mango and brown sugar. Credit: Risshisha You will find that Risshisha ryokans are situated close to Kyoto attractions, so that you can easily access the hotel after a day of exploring. The ryokans are also close to the Kyoto train station; if you are travelling by train you will be able to reach the hotel within 5 to 10 minutes. Address: Kyoto Headquarters, 279, Shimochofukuji-cho, Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto, 600-8375, Japan Website Facebook   2) Sato-Yu MukashibanashiYuzanso Credit: Sato-Yu MukashibanashiYuzanso Yuzanso offers a more traditional ryokan experience, located near Japan’s largest lake, Lake Biwa, surrounded by nature all around; you will be able to witness stunning vistas. The Shiga prefecture hot spring has a history dating back a 1200 years! It doesn’t get more authentic than this. The hotel has 109 rooms with 53 rooms coming with your very own private open air hot spring bath – privacy and luxury! Yuzanso also has an indoor public hot spring bath as well as an open air public hot spring bath for all guests, with separate bath areas for men and women. The open air baths are made with Cedar wood and both the men’s and women’s bath areas are equipped with a jet bath and sauna. Yuzanso is part of the Muslim-friendly travel movement happening in Japan and have added Halal services to their facilities to accommodate Muslim guests. They have included a Halal menu, and ensure that their food has been prepared without any Non-Halal ingredients. They have a big breakfast spread with many varieties of food, as well as a Japanese style crab cuisine during winter. The hotel is located in the Shiga Prefecture which is 20-minutes away from the Kyoto Prefecture; you can get to the hotel by taking a train to Ogoto-Onsen station. The hotel offers free transport from the Ogoto-Onsen station, you can inform them before reaching the station and they will send a shuttle bus to pick you up. There are quite a few sights to see in Shiga – you can head to the Biwako Terrace a resort which offers stunning views of Lake Biwa and its surrounding areas, a great place for a photo op. Don’t forget to pay a visit to the Mangetsuji Temple which is home to the Ukimido or “Floating Temple” on Lake Biwa. Once you are done at Shiga headover to Kyoto for more sightseeing as that is where most of the attractions are. Address: Ogoto 1-9-28, Otsu-shi, Shiga 520-0101, Japan Website Facebook Instagram   3) Kyoto Garden Ryokan Yachiyo Credit: Kyoto Garden Ryokan Yachiyo Situated in Nanzen-ji area of Kyoto, home to stately villas from the Meiji period of Japan, the Kyoto Garden Ryokan Yachiyo will not disappoint. They have a total of 18 rooms, with 6 of them being private suites equipped with their own hot spring water bath. The rooms located at their main building, Honkan, overlook the beautiful garden with its intricate landscaping in the traditional Japanese way. The hotel does not offer any Halal facilities; however, you can opt for their Washouku Vegetarian course. Just because it is vegetarian does not mean you will not be able to enjoy the taste of Japanese cuisine it is prepared in the traditional Japanese style of cooking by balancing both Ying and Yang, so that guests can enjoy the authentic Japanese taste. Other than chilling in your suite all day you can pay a visit to some of the attractions in the area, it’s just a 5-minute walk to Nanzenji Temple, Eikando Temple and, the Heian Jingu Shrine. Address: Kyoto Garden ryokan Yachiyo, 34, Nanzenji Fukuji-cho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto, 606-8435, Japan Website Facebook Instagram   4) Sumiya Kiho-an Credit: Sumiya Kiho-an This ryokan emphasizes on stylish and elegant luxury, nestled within the suburbs of Kyoto away from the hustle and bustle of the city this is the perfect place to relax and let go of all that stress. Much like other ryokans, they are equipped with tatami mats and futons, however they have included the added luxury of kotatsu – tables with heaters. Their suites come with private onsens, directly sourced from the Yunohana Hot Springs. They also offer a half-day or one-day onsen experience, so if you just want to get a brief glimpse into relaxing the Japanese way you can go for these packages especially if you aren’t staying in Kyoto for long. You can even opt for a spa day to get rid of weariness from travelling, as this Sumiya Kiho-an offers 30 minute packages. Since the ryokan is in the suburbs of Kyoto, you will not be too far from the main attractions in Kyoto. Address: 25 Miyanooku Hiedanocho Kakihana, Kameoka 621-0036, Kyoto Prefecture, Japan Website Facebook   5. Otaru-Kourakuen Credit: Otaru-Kourakuen Otaru-Kourakuen is surrounded by beautiful a garden boasting of 100 year old trees and 200 cherry blossom trees! Definitely a sight not to be missed and deserves a stay at. The hotel consists of 35 rooms of which only 28 have private open-air hot-spring bath, however, if you have booked a room without one, you can always opt for the private onsen on the second floor via a reservation from the front desk. Otaru-Kourakuen offers Muslim Friendy service – they offer a prayer rug, Kiblah direction, as well as a map of all prayer spaces and Halal shops within Otaru for the ease of their Muslim guests. They also offer Halal breakfast and dinner! You can choose between a Halal Shabu Shabu Hot pot, and 2 Halal course meals of varying prices. Otaru is full of things to see and do – activities vary from season to season. There is a happening arts and crafts scene – especially glassware – as well as activities like skiing for the adrenaline junkies. Note that they need at least 3 days advanced booking for Muslim guests to ensure they are provided with the best Halal friendly service. Address: 18-2, Shinko 5, Otaru, 047-0152, Hokkaido, Japan Website Facebook Instagram   6. Kansuiro Ryokan and Onsen Credit: Kansuiro Ryokan and Onsen Located in the famed resort town of Hakone, Kansuiro Ryokan is only 2 hours away from the bustling city of Tokyo, and is a safe haven for those wanting to escape the city. The hotel is a beautiful Taisho era architectural masterpiece – step into the charming resort and get transported back in time! Their baths are in the Kakenagashi style – which means that the water is not recycled, but is fresh and comes straight from the source. They have taken extra care in giving you an exclusive experience by regulating the quality and temperature of the water. They have a wide variety of rooms to choose from; each designed to make you feel at home and as relaxed as possible in the traditional Japanese way. They do not offer any specific Muslim-friendly services, however, you can always opt for their vegetarian meal course. Be sure to inform them when making your reservation. While there you can check out the Hakone Open-air Musuem, Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park and, Owakudani geothermal valley. Address: 88, Tonosawa, Hakone-machi, Ashigara-Shimogun, Kanagawa, 250-0315, Japan Website   7. Kashiwaya Ryokan Credit: Kashiwaya Ryokan You will find this ryokan nestled in the mountain valley of Shima – a picturesque hot spring town just 3 hours outside of Tokyo. A Hot spring hotspot for amongst the locals, but not so much with the tourists – it will offer you the authentic countryside onsen experience you have been looking for. This ryokan has a more casual setting but has all the authentic ryokan elements such as tatami floors and paper screens. They have 15 guestrooms, and you can opt to have a dip in your own hot spring bath or go for any of their 3 private outdoor onsens. They do not offer any Halal facilities, however you can choose their vegetarian menu when ordering food. Address: Kashiwaya ryokan, 3829 Shima, Nakanojo Agatuma-gun Gunma 377-0601, Japan Website  Facebook Instagram If you are looking for an authentic Japanese experience – then booking a stay at any of the above ryokans will fullfil that for you. So start planning your Japanese ryokan vacation now!...

  • Bed Down Like A Local In This Muslim-Friendly Hotel: Risshisha

    Back in the day, Kyoto was known as one of Japan's capitals. Now, it is presently renowned as a prevalent tourist spot that is rich and overflowing with conventional Japanese traditions, food, places of worship, garments, language, culture and so much more! Credit: Risshisha Over the years, the number of outside vacationers streaming into Japan has expanded gradually, and a large part of this segment are Muslim travelers. As such, Japan travel agencies, associations and organizations linked with managing the travel industry and the food & beverage industry, have started to accomodate Muslims in their products and services. One of these organisations is none other than Risshisha, a prevalent ryokan in Kyoto that manages traditional Japanese lodging. From March 2019 onwards, Risshisha began creating stay packages which catered to Muslim tourists and allowed them to enjoy a stress-free stay at Risshisha while performing their religious duties. They have a total of 25 ryokans (hotels) and a majority of them are catered towards the Muslim vacationers, which are recognizably known as Muslim-Friendly Ryokans. A typical ryokan can accommodate up to six individuals in a single room. Depending on the size of the ryokan, the bigger the ryokan, the more people it can accomodate. Credit: Risshisha At Risshisha, they grow their local vitalization and network building exercises with the city of Kyoto through machiya. A machiya is a traditional wooden townhouse that is found all over Japan. They offer a lodging experience that mixes conventional Kyoto machiya culture with present-day innovation and technology. Residing at a machiya is engaging because it is an alternate encounter from an ordinary inn or ryokan, and makes visitors feel as if they are living in Kyoto. Guests can appreciate the primary setting of a customary Japanese house furnished with present-day services and facilities at Risshisha. Risshisha's machiya is in located in Kyoto's Omiya-Cho, which is nearby the Kyoto station and other tourist hot spots. They are currently seeking new undertakings to rejuvenate Kyoto machiya as another type of commitment to society so that they can enhance their guests' experience. Besides the top-notch Muslim-friendly lodging experience, Risshisha also has staff who come from various racial and religious backgrounds, namely Muslim staff from Indonesia and staff from Taiwan. You can be rest assured that all their staff are friendly and produce an amicable and good-natured culture.  Credit: Risshisha At Risshisha Muslim-Friendly Ryokan, they provide a wide range of facilities that help Muslim visitors enjoy an overnight vacation. In stay packages for Muslims, there are a few halal menu alternatives that you can request when you make a reservation. Their Halal menu strictly uses Halal ingredients like Halal meat, which is ensured by the Japan Islamic Trust. Visitors can choose from a variety of Halal Japanese food items in the menu such as Gyudon (rice bowl layered with beef) and Daifuku (delectable Japanese desserts, mochi with cream filling) which is vastly raved about and highly recommended. Other signature dishes include chicken curry and penne vegetables. All of the menu items mentioned have a Halal Certificate that is issued by the Japan Islamic Trust. Their menu is derived from Global Corporation Japan, a distributor of Halal products in Japan.  Credit: Risshisha Besides food, Risshisha ryokans are also known as a conventional Japanese hotel that includes tatami-matted rooms, common showers, and other open territories where guests may wear yukata and chat with the proprietor. Each ryokan is also well-equipped with prayer mats, Qibla markers, prayer garments (for both male and female) and prayer timetables which are available upon request. This way, Muslim tourists can carry out their prayers in a serene and peaceful setting. Credit: Risshisha Below are 6 types of ryokans (rooms) available at Risshisha: Sen/Omiya Gojo which can accommodate up to 4 individuals. Be sure to experience an exquisite excursion in this Kyoto machiya with a conventional Japanese hearth, and experience life in a house in Kyoto.Credit: Risshisha Satoi/Tessen Omiya Gojo which can accommodate up to 4 individuals. This is set in a tranquil corner of a private home, where there is Tessen (folding fans). Tourists can appreciate the class of a machiya that will make you sense that you are living in Kyoto.Credit: Risshisha Sen/Shichijo Mibu which can accommodate up to 6 individuals. Enjoy an elegant vacation in this Kyoto machiya with a traditional Japanese sunken hearth, and experience life in a house in Kyoto.Credit: Risshisha Mibu-juku which can accommodate up to 4 individuals. Credit: Risshisha Shisei-juku which can accommodate up to 4 individuals.Credit: Risshisha Satoi Kosetsu/Shichijo-Mibu which can accommodate up to 5 individuals. These are redesigned old Nagoya houses, accessible for one group per day. They join and portray the great parts of the two hotels and ryokans.Credit: Risshisha Each room has a diverse range of amenities created for their guests to be guranteed that their time spent at Risshisha is worth their money. To name a few, these amenities include a TV, air conditioning, floor warming, refrigerator, utensils, microwave, IH stove, tank pan, electric pot, Yukata set, iron, hairdryer, washing machine and most importantly, Wifi! Upon arriving at Risshisha, you may consider visiting these popular tourist spots: Kyoto Tower (which will take you 7 minutes by taxi from Omiya Gojo reception) Nishi Honganji Temple (which is a 12 minutes stroll from Omiya Gojo front desk) Kyoto Gyoen National Garden (which is 12 minutes by taxi from Omiya Gojo front desk)   Address: 279 Shimochofukuji-cho, Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto, 600-8375 Check in timings: 15:00 - 20:00Contact number: 075-468-1417WebsiteBook Now5 minutes car ride away from Kyoto Station So if you are visiting Kyoto anytime soon, why not experience the lodging and accommodation facilities provided by Risshisha Muslim-friendly Ryokan? It's an experience that'll be worthwhile and unforgettable!*Do note that the crescent-rated ryokans are inclusive of Mibu-Juku, Shisei Juku, Sen/Toji-Uomitsu, Sen/Omiya Gojo, Sen/Schchijo Mibu, Satoi Tessen/Omiya-Gojo, Satoi Kosetsu/Shichijo-Mibu and Satoi Seishi/Omiya-Gojo only....

  • Why are These 10 Travel Destinations Unusual?

    Everyone wants to go to France, Maldives or the US for a vacation but if you would like to experience something slightly different from touristy destinations, we've collated quite a few amazing places that you could explore! Pristine, secluded beaches, historically rich cities, and a diverse range of terrains in one place – this list has got it all! Keep reading to find out what are the 10 most unusual travel destinations off the beaten path.   1. Red Beach, Panjin, China Credit: Wikipedia Yes, you read that right – Red Beach – also referred to as “ Red Carpet Beach” by locals. The Red Beach national corridor is one part of the Liaodong coastline extending for 118kms. It garners more than 2 million tourists annually, so why not be one of that 2 million and enjoy the absolute splendour of this magical landscape. The vibrant red colour is given by the seep weed which grows from summer to autumn. Panjin is a coastal town with a lot to offer to travellers – beautiful countryside, hot springs and ancient towns offer much for sight seeing and leisure. You can get to this scenic coastal town by a long distance bus. You can even take a train from Beijing to Panjin. There are a few halal restaurants within the province such as Ming Mings Dumplings, Yifeng Moslam park and many more. Check the China foreigners guide for more restaurants.   2. Popeye Village, Malta Credit: @popeyemalta on Facebook This fun, quirky town was originally a film set for the famed “Popey” Musical starring the ever wonderful Robin Williams. So, this should be one of the top destinations to visit on your list! Located next to the turquoise sea, this colourful town is for the young at heart, especially for all you Popeye the Sailor-man fans. The town hosts many events throughout the year and has many guided tours. You can find accommodation at Melliha, there are many hotels and getting from there to Popeye village is very easy, you could just walk the 2Km distance or take a bus from there. The bus routes tend to change in Malta so refer the Malta Transport website for all the information you need. There are many Halal restaurants scattered around the islands and it is very easy travel in Malta, since the islands are small and the distances aren’t that long. There are many Turkish restaurants and a few Indian restaurants which are Halal friendly.   3. Pamukkale, Turkey Credit: @Pamukkale.Hierapolis on Facebook Located in the picturesque southwest of Turkey, this pristine white locale is the stuff of dreams. From the white terraces to the crystalline green pools, Pamukkale, Turkeyis a dreamscape worth experiencing. Pamukkale translates to “Cotton Castle” and rightly so, it is also the home of the well preserved ancient Graeco-Roman city of Hieropolis. An all in one location with its travertine limestone formations, hot springs, ancient temples, bathouses and necropolis all rolled in to one, this is a definite once in a lifetime adventure you should take. Bathe in the beautiful warm pools like the Romans once did, and explore the remains of a once great spa city. The easiest way to get there is to board a flight from Istanbul to Denizli Cardak Airport, Turkish Airlines offers flights to Denizli. Denizli is 65km away from Pamukkale, you can opt for an airport shuttle, or you can get a bus from the Denizli bus station – the ride is 40mins. There are many hotels in the city that suit all budgets, as well as many Halal friendly restaurants in the area, so you can easily find food without having to worry about Halal authenticity. Some of the best restaurants are Mhemet’s Heaven, Cadde Grill House and Yildiz restaurant; you can do a quick Google search and find many Halal friendly restaurants easily.   4. Giethoorn, Netherlands Image by Michel van der Vegt from Pixabay Beautiful, serene, quiet, green, these are a few words that describe Giethoorn, a water village also referred to as ‘Dutch Venice’, however minus the crowds and commercialisation. It is an idyllic village setting, with fewer roads and more canals, most areas are not accessible by car – it is either by foot or by boat. The canals are lined with pretty, traditional Dutch thatched roofed houses and almost each house has their own boat, even the mail man uses a boat! It is best explored by joining a canal cruise or by opting for a guided tour with the help of local skippers. You can get to Giethoorn from Amsterdam in one and half hours if you are going by car, you can opt to hire a cab or rent a car and drive by yourself. There is no direct way you could get to the village by public transport, if you really want to however, you could get the train from Amsterdam to Steenwijk, and then catch a bus from Steenwijck to Giethoorn – this trip will take two hours. Accommodation wise, there are a number of hotels within the village, or you could even opt to stay just outside the village. It may be a little difficult to find Halal friendly places in this area, however, there are a few restaurants scattered around the Overjissel province where Giethoorn is located.   5. Socotra, Yemen Image by danielshimmin0 from Pixabay  An island that is a part of an archipelago in the Indian Ocean, a surreal, alien landscape that is sure to leave you mesmerised. It was recognised by UNESCO as a world heriatage site in 2008, and is referred to as “the most alien looking place on Earth”. It is so isolated that it’s wildlife is unique to the island and have evolved to adapt to its dessert environment, it is home to a very distinct species of tree known as the Dragon’s Blood Tree, aptly named as it oozes blood red sap. The Bottle Tree is a quirky tree that looks like the foot of an elephant with pink flowers on the top, referred to as desert rose. The island has its own version of birds, such as the Socotra Sunbird, Socotra starling and Socotra grosbeak. The only native mammal on the island is the bat. It is best to book a tour to better explore the island and get more insight. You can reach the Island via Sanaa, the capital of Yemen; get a flight to the Sanaa Airport and from there a get flight to Socotra. You could even go for a direct flight to the island through the Arab Emirates, Felix Airways has scheduled flights from Sharjah to Socotra and back. Don’t expect luxurious resorts and hotels here, it is mostly eco-friendly and you will find five hotels, one eco lodge and many eco-camp sites. Since the island belongs to Yemen, their cuisine is mainly Halal, so you don’t have to worry about trying to find authentic Halal fare.   6. Taha’a, French Polynesia Credit: Tahaa Whilst Bora Bora garners most of the crowd, Taha’a is almost overlooked, but that doesn’t mean this flower shaped island has nothing to offer. If you are looking for a romantic escape or just a few days of pampering, Taha’a will definitely fulfil your dreams. A true island paradise with rolling hills, and valleys covered with banana, watermelon and coconut groves. It is the home of the world’s most priced Tahitian Vanilla, making up for 80% of the export from French Polynesia. The whole island is intoxicated by the scent of vanilla and will draw you in with its white sandy beaches, coral reefs, and absolute seclusion. The only way to access Taha’a is by boat from her sister island Raiatea. You will have to take a flight which may have stop overs at Paris, Auckland, or Los Angeles, from where you’ll fly to an airport closest to Taha’a depending on the airlines. There are many resorts and hotels to stay at in Taha’a, the more reputed hotels can be on the pricier end of the spectrum. It may be difficult to find Halal food in Taha’a, however, their cuisine mostly comprises of fruits of the sea and fruits of the land, therefore most of the food are Halal friendly.   7. Isle of Skye, Scotland Credit: @IsleofSkyeScotland on Facebook The mystical Isle of Skye which translates to “Cloud Island” from ancient Norse, it is the second largest of Scotland’s islands and the most beautiful! Magical and mysterious, the island boasts deep lochs, towering cliffs and moors, as well as incredible wildlife – a nature lovers dream! Rich in history and culture Skye is a great place to explore, with places like the Mealt Waterfall and Kilt Rock, the Old Man Storr, the Fairy Pools of Glenbrittle, Dinosaur footprints at Staffin Beach, Dunvegan Castle and many more. The closest airports are the Glasgow Airport and the Inverness Airport, from which you can opt to drive to Isle of Skye or take a bus. There is no railway on the island; instead it offers buses and local coaches. The island is full of quaint little cottages that you can rent out; some offer self catering whilst others offer bed and breakfast. The town of Portree is where most tourists stay at; it is the capital of the island and has many hotels, cafes and supermarkets. If you really want to experience Skye, then opt for camping. It is fairly easy to find Halal food in the Island as there is a population of Indians and Pakistanis who live there. They are quite a few good Indian and Pakistani restaurants, as well as some Bangladeshi ones.   8. Bagan, Myanmar Credit: @WonderBaganMyanmar on Facebook This Buddhist temple city was once the capital of an ancient Kingdom, however, now it is an important archaeological zone. Bagan is often compared to Cambodia’s Angkor Wat and may even be a rival to Machu Pichu, however, this ancient city has a charm of its own. Witness the majesty of the golden stupas in the temple plain and catch the sunset over the Irrawaddy River. You can witness the beauty of Bagan by Hot Air ballon, the ancient city is a sight to behold 2000 feet up in the air. You can even get more close and personal by biking it on the ground, exercise and a view! Don’t forget to check a local market as well, and get as many souvenirs as you want, also add local festivals to your itinerary as you will be able to taste the best of Burmese hawker food. Flights arrive at the Nyaung-U Airport and it is a 10min taxi ride to Nyaung-U town centre, whilst it’s a 20 minute ride to Old Bagan or New Bagan. When travelling to Bagan it is advisable to go through a travel agent, as they will make sure you have a safe and enjoyable experience. However, if you do want to travel independently, do a though search on travel requirements and hotels. The more luxurious hotels and resorts are located in Old Bagan, whilst more mid range and budget hotels are found in Nyaung-U and New Bagan. Nyaung-U is Bagan’s largest town, this is where you will find most of the restaurants and hotels, however, it tends to get quite crowded. There are few high end restaurants that serve Halal food, whilst other restaurants will be willing to serve Halal food on request. Most stalls or small restaurants may not have the regular Arabic Halal sign but instead will indicate the availability of Halal food by the number “786” (this is a substitute used within South Asia), therefore look for this sign when looking for Halal eateries.   9. Lake Baikal, Russia Credit: @baikalia on Facebook Known as the “Pearl of Siberia”, Lake Baikal is a crescent shaped lake which is a whopping 1637 metres deep and contains a fifth of the world’s water! It is the world’s deepest lake, and is bigger than Belgium. Due to these properties it has been declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO. Summer is the best time to visit Lake Baikal, you will be able to see its natural beauty in all its glory, with the lake’s clear blue waters, and the mountains. Some areas have remained the same since the ancient times – almost untouched or changed by weather. During the winter the lake turns into an expanse of powder white ice and snow, you can enjoy a fun dog sledge ride over its hard surface. You can get to Lake Baikal by flying to Moscow and then boarding a plane to Irkutsk which is 65km away from Lake Baikal or Ulan-Ude which is 150km away from the lake. If you want to have a more interesting journey, you can use the Trans-Siberian Railway and hop on a train from Moscow to Irkutsk which is 3 days, Beijing to Irkutsk which is 2 days, or the train from Vladivostok which is 2.5 days. After which you will have to board a bus from Irkutsk bus station to Lake Baikal, the journey takes 10mins. The best route to take is Mosco -Slyudyanka, it takes 4 days and you will be dropped off right at the shoreline of Lake Baikal. You can stay at the hotels and hostels located around the shoreline of the lake or even camp out or stay on a boat. Finding Halal food may be difficult especially if you are travelling by train; therefore it is better if you pack your own, like instant noodles and other small snacks. When booking a room make sure they provide a stove or small kitchen as you can prepare your own meals that way. You can get grocery shopping done at nearby cities like Irkutsk, which is just a 10min bus ride away from Lake Baikal.   10. Arashiyama Bamboo Forest, Japan Photo by Satoshi Hirayama from Pexels Located in Kyoto, the Arashiyama Bamboo Forest is a must see place before you die, photographed multiple times, but you have to really be there to experience it’s green mystique. The bamboo grove is a great spot for a quiet walk or bike ride, rows of bamboo swaying in the light breeze is not a sight to be missed. Absolutely beautiful and pure, it should be a must visit when in Kyoto. The best way to get to Kyoto is by Kansai Airport, afterwards you can board a train to Arashiyama. You can use the Japan Railways, Keifuku Railways, or Hankyu Railways. There are many hotels and guest houses in Arashiyama, and they are available for every budget. There are quite a few Halal restaurants scattered around Arashiyama, as well as shops. You can find a full Halal menu at the Yoshiya restaurant just 10mins away from the Japan Railway Saga-Arashiyama train station. They introduced this Halal menu in 2018, and have served Japanese Halal food since.   Book your flight and pack your bags, your unusual adventure awaits you!...

  • Escape Into Nature! Visit These 8 Best Places To Practice Shinrin Yoku!

    Shinrin Yoku is better known to many as forest bathing. It helps you awaken your senses and allows you to appreciate the peacefulness of nature. We are too attached to technology these days so this treatment is definitely what we all need right now. It's time to shut down your devices and escape into nature. You will be surprised when you realise the multiple benefits that you can get from this experience. If you wish to know more about Shinrin Yoku, do check out my previous article where I talked more in-depth on what it is about and what it can do for you. It's now time for you to discover the 8 best places to practice this incredible therapy. Get ready to find your inner peace and unleash the Kung-Fu Panda in you. 1.Grace Mayflower Inn & Spa, Connecticut Picture: AubergeResorts Feeling tired from work and in need a peaceful time away? The Grace Mayflower Inn & Spa will offer you a blissful getaway into its forest full of lush greenery. Located in Connecticut, Grace Mayflower Forest is a quiet spot away from the noisy disturbances of the city. Feel relaxed and rejuvenated while taking a stroll into their wonderful, vibrant forest. Address: 118 Woodbury Rd, Route 47, Washington, CT 06793, United StatesWebsite: AubergeResorts 2. Primland, Virginia Switch your devices off and breath in the fresh air of the mountains and the peacefulness of the forest. Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, the Primland forest is a place where peace prevails. It invites its visitors into a zen world where its all about forgetting the one's daily hustle and bustle. Enjoy beautiful views while inhaling the sweet and soothing scent of lavender. Let your soul get carried away by the force of nature. Address: 2000 Busted Rock Rd, Meadows of Dan, VA 24120, USAWebsite: Primland 3. Arashiyama, Kyoto Picture: Inside Kyoto Get ready to experience a Kung-Fu panda lifestyle in this incredible bamboo forest. Explore your zen attitude while breathing in peace and exhaling anxiety. Let the magnificence of the bamboo trees ensnare you into another dimension. Take a walk through the bamboo forest and bring your senses to life while being far away from the outside world. Address: Ukyō-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture, JapanWebsite: Kyoto 4. Bijin Bayashi, Tokamachi, Niigata Picture: GaijinPot Named the 'Forest of Beauties', Bijin Bayashi is the epitome of true beauty with its ever-changing colors at the rhythm of seasons. Enter into the fairy-tale world and lose yourself in its beautiful greenery and calm environment. These tall silhouetted trees are gracefully colored throughout the year so do visit the forest at least once for each season to have a new forest bathing experience every time. Address: Matsunoyamamatsuguchi, Tokamachi, Niigata Prefecture 942-1411, Japan 5. Longshaw, Derbyshire Picture: NationalTrust Longshaw is a true walk into the past with a magical touch. Enchanting and mesmerizing, the Longshaw forest is complete with ponds, bridges, trees on rocky slopes and entwined branches. Hearing the sound of rushing waters as you take a stroll on the bridge will soothe and make you forget about your biggest worries. Enjoy breath-taking sceneries and end your walk with a cup of tea and a few home-made pastries. Address: Longshaw, Sheffield S11 7TZ, UKWebsite: NationalTrust 6. Sheringham Park, Norfolk Picture: Norfolk Landscape Photography Connect with the nature through history and plants. Sheringham Park is anything but ordinary. With a history that goes way back in time, the park is an entrancing walk that will make you explore the beauty of life at its best. Designed by Humphry Repton from 1752-1818, this estate was bought by the Upcher family in 1811. Since then, successive generations of the family further developed it by adding a hall, a park and even went on to build a school.  Sit under the shade of the ancient beech tree and let the swishing of the leaves take you far away from this world. You can never have a negative feeling with all the vibrant flowers surrounding you from every angle. Address: Visitor Centre, Wood Farm, Upper Sheringham NR26 8TL, UKWebsite: NationalTrust 7. Amazon Rainforest, Brazil Picture: Rainforest Brace yourself to embark into an explosion of sensations. Located in Brazil, the Amazon forest is an energy boost for our minds, unleashing our senses to discover a world full of vibrant nature. Delve into this untamed nature and explore its wonders. Experience colors and sounds like never before. Listen to the rushing streams and the crackling of twigs underneath your feet. Once you're here, you're in for an expedition of a lifetime. 8. Ancient Kauri Forests, New Zealand Picture: NewZealandPhoto The best of cultures and nature is hidden inside this ancient forest, home to thousands of trees and a number of species. The Ancient Kauri Forests are beautified by magnificent tall trees and dense nature. With so much to feel and see all around, the forests will definitely take you on a roller coaster of emotions as you discover what nature has to offer. Forests are captivating and of course, full of magic. Shinrin Yoku can take place in any forest but you now have with you a list of the most wonderful forests that will help you rejuvenate and make you feel alive all over again. Don't be afraid to let go of the world for a moment and explore the the wonders of the forest. It's time to escape! Read more of our Muslim-friendly travel blogs!...



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