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  • 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....

  • Making A Pit Stop In Kyoto, Japan? Grab These Beautiful Local Handicrafts For Your Home!

    Kyoto is an enchanting city where much of ancient Japan still exists. The city’s rich history boasts of many arts and crafts, ranging from elegant traditional lacquered homeware to beautiful indigo-dyed textiles. If you are visiting Kyoto, be sure to visit its many handicrafts shops and collect a few souvenirs along the way! Washi (Japanese handmade paper) Picture Credit: Dale Scogings on Unsplash Wagami no Mise in downtown Kyoto offers a variety of washi for reasonable prices. Look for the Morita Japanese Paper Company in particular. They use the inner bark of the gampi tree, mitsumaba shrub, or the paper mulberry to make the paper, and production involves a long intricate process that is undertaken in winter as it requires cold running water which gives the paper its crisp quality. Washi is tougher than the usual paper made out of wood pulp, and is used in many other arts and crafts such as origami. Morita offers a range of paper goods, ranging from rough country style paper to intricately patterned paper that could be used as a frame. Washi can also be used as wrapping paper, so be sure to purchase this versatile paper! Lacquerware Zōhiko is the best spot in downtown Kyoto for traditionally crafted lacquer homeware. They offer a great selection of cups, bowls, trays, and various kinds of boxes that make worthy souvenirs. The sap of the lacquer tree is traditionally used to coat many items ranging from bento boxes to Buddha statues. The substance is poisonous till it dries; therefore the art has only been practised by dedicated and skilled artisans. Traditional Kyoto Lacquerware makes for an impressive souvenir or gift due to their traditional and intricate designs. Kyōyaki-kiyomizuyaki (Kyoto-style pottery) Picture Credit: REMIOJapan Asahi-do, located in the Kiyomizu pottery district, specializes in Kyoto-style pottery and has been around since 1870. The complex (Asahi Touan) houses the widest collection of Kyoto-style pottery in the city. Kyoto-style pottery is famous for its delicate, intricate designs, which uses bright colours. The craft gained popularity in the 17th century due to the rising trend of tea ceremonies in the area. A traditional Japanese tea set would be a worthy purchase and a great souvenir to take back home. You can even have a try at crafting your own Kyō ware at the Biki kōbō which is within the complex. Wagasa (Waxed-paper umbrellas) Picture Credit: Tianshu Liu on Unsplash Every Japan enthusiast must own a wagasa, the beautiful waxed umbrellas with the intricate designs. They can be found at Tsujikura, a small store which houses a collection of umbrellas, which has been practising the craft since 1690. The umbrellas are made from washi which is then waxed or lacquered; the frame is made of bamboo. The structure is glued together by natural glue made from tapioca. The waterproof quality of the umbrellas is given through the application of linseed oil. The intricate designs are drawn on using natural pigments. They offer a variety of traditional designs and modern designs, the umbrella makes a great souvenir and conversation starter. The store also has a small collection of Isamu Noguchi’s famed Akari paper lamps. Aizome (Indigo dyeing) Picture Credit - www.connect-shimane.comIn a beautifully restored Machiya within the heart of the Nishijin textile district, Aizen Kōbō has been producing their indigo-dyed hand-woven textiles for three generations. They use the traditional technique of dyeing known as Aizome, the distinctive indigo dye is famously known as Japan Blue. Products are hand-dyed using natural fermenting indigo and vegetable dye sourced from the Tade plant, which is native to Japan. The shade of blue depends on the level of fermentation. High-quality textiles such as noren (curtains that hang at the entrance of Japanese restaurants), tablecloths, shirts or samu-e (traditional garments are worn by Zen Buddhist priests) can be purchased; better yet you can even get a custom-made product. Be sure to call in advance during weekends to make sure it is open. These crafts are sure to make worthy souvenirs to remind you of your time in Kyoto. So pack your bags with these beautiful crafts and bring some of Kyoto back home with you! Click here for Muslim-friendly restaurants in Japan to try on your next trip Find nearby Halal food places in KyotoFind nearby prayer places and Mosques in Kyoto...

  • Experience Kyoto Like A True Local

    If you are looking for things to do in Japan well you should most certainly pay a visit to the former capital city, Kyoto. Because there are so many attractions in Kyoto you will be spoiled for choice of what to do and where to go, in Kyoto. But if you want to enjoy the best Kyoto tour, you might want to make a note of some of the local spots in Kyoto where you must visit to explore the REAL Kyoto! To help you out, here’s a guide on how to explore Kyoto like a local - everything you need to know. Credit - giphy.com   Pay a visit to Nijo castle As you set off on a day tour in Kyoto one of the best ways to immerse yourself in the rich cultural heritage the city boasts of is with a visit to the famous Nijo castle. Built way back in the 16th century, this was the royal residence of the shoguns. As you approach the premises you will be amazed by the majestic towers and moats that surround the complex. While you wander from building to building, you will also be able to enjoy the beautiful garden spaces that decorate the entire area. Make a note there will certain floors lined with traditional tatami straw mats, so be sure to take off your footwear before walking on them.   Be captivated by the beauty of the Kinkaku-ji: The Golden Pavilion Yet another of the attractions in Kyoto of historical importance is the stunning Kinkaku-ji. The beauty of this magnificent creation casting its reflection upon a still pond will make you want to capture some amazing photos. As this is one of the most calming ‘zen’ spaces it is frequented by tourists and locals who want to enjoy the serene ambience. You might also want to drop by the Sekkatei Tea House serving traditional beverages.   Enjoy a quiet stroll along the river Whether you are travelling alone or with loved ones, this is a perfect way to enjoy the beauty of a scenic city like Kyoto. While the city is known for the many historical wonders it is also a city that enjoys all modern day luxuries. As you take a walk along the Kamo River you will be able to witness the busy city from afar and also enjoy the calming sounds of nature. One of the best walking paths to follow is from the Sanjyo Bridge to the Kamo Shrine.   Rent a bike and cycle around the city In this environmentally conscious city, cycling is one of the most common means of transport. Not only is it one of the fun things to do in Japan but it will also make sure you cover more ground faster, leaving more time for exploration. You can join Cycle Kyoto or Intrepid Urban Adventures and enjoy a city tour to learn about the many wonders of this lovely city. If you are looking for more of an adventure you could take your bike out to the Arashiyama district and cycle through the breathtakingly beautiful bamboo forest.   Shopping in Kyoto Whether you are a local or tourist, shopping in Kyoto will truly be a rewarding experience. There are many places where you can shop till you drop all over the city, but a popular pick is the Higashiyama District full of street-side vendors lining the narrow streets. This is a great place to grab some unique trinkets that make great souvenirs to take back home. The largest shopping district at Shijo Street is also a great place to visit where you can find plenty of glitzy shopping malls and smaller shops offering great deals.   Must-try local restaurants in Kyoto, Japan You simply cannot miss out on enjoying the rich flavour of traditional Japanese cuisine. If you are wondering how to find nearby Halal food places in Kyoto, we have got a few suggestions lined up for you. Some of the must-try local restaurants in Kyoto, Japan for delicious Halal dishes include Ayam­ya, Naritaya, Kiyomizu Junsei Okabeya and Nanzan.   ...