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328 Oxford Rd, Reading RG30 1AF

Language of service

English

Prayers

Five daily prayers, Jumu’ah prayers

  • 10 Meaningful Activities You Can Do At Home During COVID-19

    Looking for activity ideas here while having a self-isolation at home? You have come to the right place. via GIPHY Before we get into it, to Muslim readers all around the world, may Allah protect you and your families from illnesses and harm. Amin. Countries all over the world are facing the same situation up till this day, fighting against the Coronavirus, known as COVID-19. It is indeed a really unfortunate event, but we must keep our lives going and believe that this only comes temporarily and that the situation will eventually be back to normal. Here, we must appreciate our Governments’ effort to do their best to overcome this unfortunate situation. One of their efforts to deal with the global pandemic is their order to “Stay-at-Home”. Furthermore, most schools and universities now have their classes online. Most companies have also implemented the work from home policy, where employees now work online to encourage people to stay at hyome and avoid going out of their homes unless there is an emergency or unavoidable matters to attend to.  This stay-at-home order has divided us into two groups; namely some of us might enjoy it and some of us who might be struggling with it. However, in this crucial time, our cooperation and commitment to stay at home to prevent the spread of the virus further is essential.  For those of you struggling or having a hard time adjusting to spending most of your time at home, believe this, staying at home can be fun and meaningful! We finally have the time to do the things that we have been procrastinating about back then. So, how could we make this “Stay-at-Home” order fun and meaningful? Here are 10 meaningful activity ideas for you to try!  via GIPHY    1. Read the Quran Credit Image: Masjid Pogung Dalangan on Unsplash Reading the Al-Quran is a stress reliever and can ease our anxiety. In this particular time, it is important for us to take care of our mental health and one way to do so is to recite the Al-Quran and put our hopes and trust back to Allah SWT, our source of strength. In this time, let us surrender to His power and draw ourselves closer to God. Perhaps, in the past some of us had little time to Khatam Al-Quran. Well now, we have all the time to do it! InsyaAllah it will be very meaningful for you and also for the world. 2. Salah Sunnah Credit Image: Aamiraimer on Pixabay صَلاَةُ المَرْءِ فِى بَيْتِهِ نُوْرٌ فَنَوِّرُوْا بُيُوْتَكُمْ“A person has a light in his home if he does Salah, so decorate your homes with it.” (Syarh Al-Bukhari, Ibnu Baththal, 5:191, Asy-Syamilah) During this period, we can also perform Salah Sunnah at home and draw ourselves closer to Allah SWT. Performing Wudhu immediately makes us feel more energetic and enlightened, helping us to get through the day better. Let us pray for healing and protection during this tough period. Let there be a light in your homes, Amin. 3. Do a Spring Cleaning Credit Image: CDC on Unsplash  Now that you've got some energy and determination after performing Salah, why not get up and moving and do a spring cleaning? You can always start with your own rooms. By tidying up your rooms, it will look neater and cleaner. Make sure to wipe away all that dust and dirt. Most importantly, remember to wash your hands and take a thorough shower after that! And if you are up for more challenges, go one step further and redecorate your homes. Since you have the time now, there's nothing to lose! You can try redecorating your room for a change and maybe this can be a source of motivation for you! 4. Exercise Credit Image: Jonathan Borba on Unsplash  Let’s get pumped up and work towards that healthy body! Now that you have ample time, you can get that toned abs you've always dreamt of by exercising at home. Just to assure you, you don't exactly need a lot of equipment to do your daily exercise or workout. In fact, there are a tons of online videos and mobile applications available to be downloaded for free that teaches you how to maintain fitness without any equipment. All you need is just an exercise mat. These videos will show you how to do simple workout moves like planks, push-ups, sit-ups and many more. Make sure you choose the most appropriate workout videos for yourself. Let’s get fit and healthy, everybody! 5. Read Books Credit Image: aranprime on Unsplash Remember those books you had bought a couple of months ago but didn't have the time to start reading? Now's the time to look for those books and start on them! Even better, why not challenge yourself and see how many chapters you can reach each day? Or how about making a cup of tea or coffee while diving into the most interesting novel? Such a great idea, right?  For those of you hungry to read even more books, you can place your orders online on websites like Book Depository, Better World Books and many more. They offer free worldwide shipping! Or simply purchase e-books where you can read them from your laptop, smartphone, or on Kindle. Have fun reading fellow bookworms! 6. Reach Out to Your Family and Friends Credit Image: Steinar Engeland on Unsplash This is a tough period for all of us all over the world. While we may have different ways of dealing with this outbreak, be sure to check up on our loved ones and ask them how they're coping with COVID-19 as well as their stay-at-home experience. You can even share your own experiences on how you're dealing with this situation. Remember, sharing is caring; keep your family members and friends updated by sharing your daily experiences and stories. While you're at home, spend more time with your family members, sit down and have a chat about anything under the sun. For those of you living alone, you can always do a group Video Call with your family or friends. Trust me, having a group video call with your friends can just be as exciting as meeting them in person! During this period, you can also connect with those you have not kept in touch for a while. Let's stay connected! 7. Listen to Podcasts Credit Image: Austin Distel on Unsplash Find yourself having a lot of free time? You prefer to take things slow and do activities that are more relaxed and less strenuous? Well, you've come to the right place. Let's start listening to podcasts! There is a wide variety of podcasts that you can listen to; some of the content covered include History, Technology, Religion and Spirituality, TV and Film, to name a few. If you are interested in Islamic or educational podcasts, you can listen to TMV, Salam Girl!, Radiolab, Revolution Health Radio and many more. There are a lot of podcast platforms and mobile applications that you can stream or download podcast content for free. You can listen to any podcasts to get insights, learn some fun facts or discover new knowledge to satisfy your curiosity about the world. Have fun listening to them! 8. Enhance Your Skills and Hobby Credit Image: Mayur on Unsplash  What to not love about all of these free time, because now you can actually start and commit to a hobby, as well as enhance your skills! Do you like singing? Writing? Dancing? Painting? Or maybe cooking? Well now, one of the most meaningful things to do for your well-being at home is to enhance your skills. If you have a skill or hobby that you have neglected for a while because you were busy with school, college or work, now is the perfect time to get on to it and dive in into your creativity realm. If you have always dreamt of becoming a barista, wanting to try out new coffee recipes and mix but never had the time to, why not try making the viral Dalgona Coffee in your kitchen? Snap a picture or two once you're done making it and share your achievement with your family or friends. And if you like writing, maybe you should write a journal or poetry to express yourselves. You can either write it for yourself to see or upload it online! No harm showing off that hidden writing skills right? Time to get those creative juices flowing, peeps! 9. Learn A New Skill Credit Image: Dan Gold on Unsplash Now that you have enhanced your skills and hobby, picking up a new skill can be as interesting and meaningful. Like learning a new language for example! I heard that French is pretty fun to learn, or maybe you could try learning Spanish? Mandarin? Or Arabic? The best part about learning a language is that you are no longer limited to language textbooks or guidebooks as there are many online materials for you to choose from. You can download online applications and learn languages for free or you even watch language lessons online on YouTube. Isn't technology amazing?  Learning something new could keep you productive and challenge your mind. Picking up a new skill isn't only limited to learning a new language - you can also acquire new skills in the Arts, such as handicraft, music or dancing. We assure you that there are a lot of online platforms and mobile applications available to be downloaded for free to help you acquire these new skills. Never stop learning!  10. Plan a Future Trip Credit Image: oxana v on Unsplash  Last but not least, why not plan a future trip while you're at home? Being self-isolated must have made you feel really thirsty for travelling, especially if you are a travel junkie. Now that you have the time, you can arrange and plan a future trip with your family or friends. Planning a perfect trip requires great preparation and research. With the situation right now, it so happened that you have all the time in the world to do proper research and planning for your next destination. If you are planning a trip with your friends after this whole situation gets better, video call them and share travel itinerary. Isn't planning for a trip one of the best part about travelling? Try reading HalalTrip’s Trips-pirations to get insights on travel trends of 2020 and plan your future trip with us!    That’s all from us, the top 10 meaningful activities you can do at home during the COVID-19 situation. Stay safe and stay at home, travelers! via GIPHY We hope that the situation improves soon, and may Allah SWT protect, forgive and guide us to get through this COVID-19 situation. Let us have a moment to perform a dua: “ اللَّهُمَّ إِنِّي أَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنَ الْبَرَصِ وَالْجُنُونِ وَالْجُذَامِ وَمِنْ سَيِّئِ الأَسْقَامِ‏” “ALLAHUMMA INNI AUDHUBIKA MINAL BARSI, WAL JUNOONI, WALJUZAAMI, WA MIN SAYYIL ASQAAM.” Meaning: “Oh Allah, I seek refuge in Thee from leprosy, madness, elephantiasis, and evil diseases.” —Sunan Abu Dawood, Hadith 1554 Amin ya rabbal ‘alamin....

  • Japan's Most Aesthetic Hostels You Need To Check Out

    Tokyo is the capital city of Japan, a bustling cosmopolitan city. With its modernity and well-preserved history, there are so many things you can do and see in Tokyo. Whether you travel solely for nature or to shop, Tokyo offers its visitor vast choices of shopping, entertainment, greenery, and culture. These different sides that you can find while exploring will surprise you and make your trip a memorable one. Japan, in general, is known to be an expensive country if you compare it to any other Asian country. No doubt, I must admit that it is true. But this shouldn't hinder you from visiting the country. With proper planning and sourcing out for the best itinerary that best suits your budget, you can enjoy the best out of what Tokyo has to offer. Booking accommodations in Tokyo might come as a surprise to you as it can be really costly. I am not a hostel person in general. But due to budget, I narrowed down my necessity and happened to stumble across hostels in Tokyo. Here are some of the hostels that you should book if you are visiting Tokyo!Also Read: Tokyo Olympics 2020 | 9 Out-Of-This-World Things You Need To Know 1. Bunka Hostels Tokyo Image Credit: Bunka Hostel; Conveniently located in Asakusa, a district filled with history and shopping streets. Bunka Hostels Tokyo is located in Asakusa, a district filled with history and shopping streets. A 5-minute walk from Asakusa station, this hotel's location makes it easy to navigate to the city center. This hostel is known for its contemporary concept combined with the Japanese element. Image Credit: Bunka Hostel; With an interior of clean and minimalist Japanese concept, Bunka Hostel is easily any backpacker's dream. The clean cuts of its furniture and the strong wood accent simply accentuate Japanese architecture. Image Credit: Bunka Hostel; The female dormitory is equipped with curtains and is kept separated from the male dormitories. This makes the hostel a safe and secure place for female travellers to stay in. You can choose from three different kinds of rooms; mixed dormitory, female dormitory and family room. Daily house-keeping and superb customer service will make your stay a comfortable and pleasant one. With exceptional reviews on most booking sites, there shouldn't be an excuse not to consider this as your accommodation! Plus points: Free Wi-Fi is available in all rooms inclusive of public areas. Laundromat and luggage storage may help in the planning of your itinerary if needed. A shared dining area is available on the top floor. Price per night: From SGD38 Address: 1-13-5, Asakusa, Taito-Ku, Tokyo 111-0032 Website | Facebook | Instagram 2. OakHostel Sakura Image Credit: Hotels of Tokyo; Oakhostels Sakura offers a dormitory room for female only. This is perfect for female travellers to Tokyo. Oakhostels Sakura is one of the hostels established under Oak Hotel. As this hostel is conveniently situated near Oshiage Station, you can easily add Tokyo Skytree as part of your ininerary. Apart from that, there is a direct train access from Narita Airport, making your journey from the airport an easier one. Oakhostels Sakura offers dormitory room; either mixed or female-only. You might want to check out their single room as I feel that it is slightly less expensive as compared to other hostels. Plus points: Free Wi-Fi is available in all rooms inclusive of public areas. Laundromat and luggage storage may also help in the planning of your itinerary if needed. A shared dining area is available and made free for use. Price per night: From SGD28Address: 4-6-9, Narihira, Sumida-Ku, Tokyo 130-0002 Website | Facebook  3. Mustard Hotel Shibuya Image Credit: Mustard Shibuya Hotel on Facebook; Mustard Shibuya Hotel is conveniently located near the city's entertainment street. Shibuya is known for its latest fashion and street culture.  If you are looking to stay in a bustling town area like Shibuya, check out Mustard Hotel Shibuya. Opened in 2018, this hotel is situated in between of Shibuya Station and Ebisu Station. Mustard Shibuya Hotel is known for its collaboration with various artists in a program called "Creators in Mustard" to showcase various artworks and exhibitions. Image Credit: Mustard Shibuya Hotel; Mustard Shibuya Hotel offers rooms with a simple yet eye-catching design.   Mustard Shibuya Hotel has a wide range of rooms to accomodate different needs and preferences of guests. You can choose from dormitory rooms to private rooms. The hotel's design is simple, yet functional; perfect for those who adore minimalist designs. Plus points: Free Wi-Fi is available in all rooms inclusive of public areas. Laundromat and luggage storage may help in the planning of your itinerary, if needed. A shared dining area is available and made free for use. There is also a bicycle rental service. If you're up for some thrill, you can even rent a skateboard, with its designs inspired by the Japanese culture. With all of these activities in store for you, you are sure to enjoy your stay at Mustard Shibuya Hotel.  Price per night: From SGD44 Address: Shibuya Bridge B, 1-29-3 Higashi, Shibuya, Tokyo 150-0011 Website | Facebook | InstagramAlso Read: Check Out This New Muslim-Friendly Youth Hostel In Tokyo 4. Hostel Den Image Credit: Hostel Den on Agoda; Hostel Den gives off a modern feel with a traditional Japanese touch.  Hostel Den is the first Muslim-friendly hostel, providing prayer rooms and also maps for Halal restaurants. The location of this hostel is smacked right in-between 5 different stations. Each of which is being used for different subway lines which makes your alternative mode of transportation vast. This hostel offered dormitory for mixed, male-only and female-only, and also private rooms with shared bathrooms. Plus points: Free Wi-Fi is available in all rooms inclusive of public areas. Laundromat and luggage storage may help in the planning of your itinerary if needed. A shared dining area is available and made free for use. There is also a portable Wi-Fi rental service provided. Price per night: From SGD32Address: 4-13-8, Nihonbashi-honcho, Chuo-Ku, Tokyo, Japan, 103-0023 Website | Facebook | Instagram 5. Sadou Hostel Image Credit: Sadou Hostel on Facebook; Sadou Hostel is a must-stay hostel if you are into Japanese culture. The rooms are modern and spacious, yet furnished with a tint of traditional Japanese elements.  Located in the Ueno district, Sadou Hostel is based on the philosophy "Once in a lifetime opportunity." They offer various Japanese cultural events like tea ceremony, flower arrangement and calligraphy, to name a few. It is a must stay hostel if you want to learn more about Japanese culture as the rates tend to be cheaper as compared to other places. This hostel provides dormitory-style rooms; mixed, male and female.  Plus points: Free Wi-Fi is available in all rooms inclusive of public areas. Laundromat and luggage storage may help in the planning of your itinerary if needed. A shared kitchen is available and made free for use. Price per night: From SGD44Address: 1-11-7, Higashiueno, Taito-Ku, Tokyo, 110-0015 Website | Facebook | Instagram 6. Beagle Tokyo Hostel & Apartments Image Credit: Beagle Tokyo Hostel & Apartments on Agoda; This Hostel has an interesting wooden interior design which is visually pleasing.  This hostel is worth the mention despite being situated further away from the city area (and that is if you don't mind.) Located just 8-minutes away from Haneda airport, Beagle Hostels is suitable for guests with late-night flights as they provide a free airport shuttle. Do note that booking is required for this service. Also, the dormitory rooms are separated between males and females. You might want to check out the family room if you are traveling with your family. Interestingly, they provide a prayer mat for those staying in the family room! What are you waiting for? Check out this Muslim-friendly hostel now! Plus points: Free Wi-Fi is available in all rooms inclusive of public areas. Laundromat and luggage storage may help in the planning of your itinerary if needed. Price per night: From SGD40 Address: 1-15-16 Haneda, Ota-Ku, Tokyo, 144-0043 Website  Also Read: If You're in Japan, Don't Miss Out on Mazulu Halal Beef Noodle Restaurant! With an abundance of hostels available in Tokyo, you will be spoilt for choices. Reading reviews will help you to narrow down the best hostels to stay in. I hope this list can help you to plan for your next trip to Tokyo!...

  • Stay With The Mandela Rhodes Place Suite & Hotel When You're In Cape Town (& It's Muslim-Friendly!)

    If you have made plans to visit South Africa why not book a stay at the unique Mandela Rhodes Place Hotel. via GIPHY Located in the bustling capital of Cape Town, you are sure to enjoy a fun, relaxing, Muslim-friendly stay at the 4-star hotel. A mix of old and the new, incorporating modernity with historic buildings, its charm will make you want to extend your vacation. Keep reading to find out what they have to offer. About the Hotel Image Credit: Mandela Rhodes Place The Mandela Rhodes Place Hotel features contemporary design with elegant interiors and friendly staff. If you are a fan of architecture, you will find certain design elements fascinating, such as the Nelson Mandela statue that greets you in the lobby. Image Credit: Mandela Rhodes Place The hotel is located within the heart of Cape Town’s cultural hub, allowing you to explore the city’s cultural heritage whilst living in luxury. The hotel offers apartments and suites instead of usual hotel rooms, ensuring your stay is personal and luxurious. The hotel is great for family trips; it is also the perfect honeymoon hotel destination in Cape Town. Image Credit: Mandela Rhodes Place Due to the hotel’s location, you will find many places to meet, eat out, shop and relax close to the hotel, you will also be able to visit cultural landmarks quite easily. Since Mandela Rhodes Place is a 5-star hotel, they provide free wireless WiFi, and undercover parking (charges apply). You will find the Hotel’s swimming pool on their rooftop terrace offering an almost classic rooftop view of the street and surrounding city-scape. The Suites Made up of 4 historic buildings that have been fully restored and integrated with one modern highrise, The Suites provide guests with elegant, contemporary one and two-bedroom apartments and suites. The hotel has a total of 40 rooms (suites and apartments). Image Credit: Mandela Rhodes Place Each apartment offers spacious rooms with minimalist but classic interior décor and furnishings, all apartments come with an open-plan lounge and equipped with a fully functional kitchen allowing guests to entertain, eat or simply relax whilst enjoying the urban landscape. The Studio Apartment Image Credit: Mandela Rhodes Place The apartment is the smallest from the range, it measures up to 52m2 and comes with one large double bed. The room is priced at R1550 per night. The Superior Apartments feature a separate lounge and bedroom area, it is 67m2 in size and costs R1750 per night. The Deluxe Apartments are spacious and includes an open-plan kitchen and dining area, it is 78m2 and costs R2050 a night. The Platinum and Superior Apartments Platinum Apartment Image Credit: Mandela Rhodes Place If you are traveling with a large family or group of friends, opt for the two-bedroom Platinum and Superior Apartments. The platinum apartment features an entrance hall, separate lounging and dining areas, 2 bedrooms and bathrooms, as well as a private balcony with amazing views of Cape Town. One bedroom includes 2 single beds and a queen-sized bed, whilst the other has two queen-sized beds. The apartment is 140m2 and costs R3050 a night. Superior Apartment Image Credit: Mandela Rhodes Place The two-bedroom Superior Apartment is similar to the Platinum one but does not feature a hall and balcony. It has the same bedroom setup as the Platinum Apartment. The Superior Apartment is 110m2 and costs R2350 a night. All apartments feature the following amenities: Air conditioning Heating Flat-screen TV Satellite Channels DVD Player Telephone Wake Up Service / Alarm Clock Safety Deposit Box Desk Sofa Seating Area Dining Area Kitchen Refrigerator Microwave Oven Electric Kettle Toast Kitchenware Tea/Coffee Maker Washing Machine Ironing Facilities Hairdryer Linen & Towels Provided Complimentary Amenities (Soap, Body Wash, Conditioning Shampoo) Daily Housekeeping Service Laundry Facilities Room Service Cots Available on Request Also, note that the bathrooms are fitted with a bidet. Halal Services Image Credit: Mandela Rhodes Place The best part about the hotel is that it is Muslim-friendly, and the staff has been trained on Muslim requirements. The Hotel also offers the following prayer facilities: prayer mats can be provided list of nearby mosques can be provided on request male and female prayer rooms can be made available on request prayer timetable available at front desk or room Mosques Cape Town is a multicultural city and you can easily find Mosques close to the hotel. Here’s a list of Mosques you can visit whilst in Cape Town: Noor El Hamdedia Mosque (1 min drive / 3 min walk) Palm Tree Mosque (2 min drive / 4 min walk) Auwal Masjid (3 min drive / 7 min walk) Nurul Islam Mosque (3 min drive / 6 min walk) Masjid Boorhaanol Mosque (4 min drive / 8 min walk) Halal Food Also Read: GOLD Restaurant | Seriously The Ultimate Halal Restaurant In Cape Town Food being an important part of any trip, you must be worried about being able to find Halal food. Cape Town has a variety of Halal restaurants and eateries which you can easily find through a quick Google search or on the Halal Trip app! There are Halal restaurants within walking distance from the hotel, and you will find more scattered around the city. You can even get a list of Halal restaurants from the front desk on request. Some of the restaurants closest to the Hotel are listed below: Mariam's Kitchen (2 min) Saray Restaurant (4 min) Bo-Kaap Kombuis (5 min) Gold Restaurant (6 min) Mesopotamia (5 min) Non-Halal Activities Hotel does not have a discotheque Hotel does not have a bar No adult TV channels in the room Hotel is not part of a gambling resort However, the hotel does serve alcohol. Tips & Bonus! via GIPHY Children under the age of 11 stay for free – check the website for more details. You can get 20% off if you are booking on the same day as your arrival, it excludes breakfast, is non-refundable and full payment is required. Contact the hotel for more details. Hotel rating: 4-Star Address: Cnr Wale & Burg Street, Cape Town, 8001Contact No.: +27 (0) 21 481 4000 (Tel) | +27 (0) 21 481 4001 (Fax) Website | Facebook | Instagram | Email  ...

  • 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! ...

  • Travel Back In Time To A Macabre Past: A Chernobyl Guide

    Are you someone looking for adventure and rare experiences – a travel experience that will leave you thinking for days or maybe even months? Then Chernobyl is a destination not to be missed. It is a must-visit for any adventure junkie and should be on anyone’s list of places to see before they die. With dark tourism being a new trend in the world of travel, Chernobyl has started garnering much attention – especially with the HBO TV show about the nuclear disaster. So what is Chernobyl and why should you visit it today? Keep reading to find out! A Macabre Past Image Credit: Nikola Markelov on Unsplash Chernobyl was an active Nuclear Power Plant located near the city of Pripyat, USSR – now modern-day Ukraine. The nuclear disaster occurred on the 26th of April 1986 when the No. 4 reactor exploded during a failed safety test. The accident occurred due to a large amount of energy being released which resulted in a steam explosion that caused the reactor core to rupture. This lead to an open-air reactor core fire which released nuclear contaminants into the air, this lasted for 9 days till it was finally contained on the 4th of May 1986. The radiation spread into the 500,000 populous towns of Pripyat, leading to the ultimate evacuation of its residents – they never returned. To limit the radiation from contaminating the air and surroundings further, the site of the explosion was covered with a temporary sarcophagus, which was made permanent in 2017, built to prevent further radiation contamination for the next 100 years. The now-abandoned city of Pripyat and the nuclear power plant look like the setting for a post-apocalyptic movie or book. The revival of its dark past in the famed HBO TV series ‘Chernobyl’ has once again caught the attention of people worldwide, garnering many tourists to the destination –,, especially influencers. However, this led to controversy as influencers posed inappropriately in front of different locations in and around Pripyat just so they can get more engagement on their accounts. This goes to show that as travelers it is extremely important to respect the destination you have traveled to, especially if it has a sad and horrifying past. How To Get To Chernobyl Image Credit: Valik Chernetskyi on Unsplash The main city closest to Chernobyl is Kyiv, it is 100km away – it is a 2 hour journey to Chernobyl if you go by car. The closest airport to Kyiv is the Boryspil International Airport which has direct flights from all over Europe – London, Zurich, Paris, and Vienna to name a few. It is advisable to plan a trip to Chernobyl as a part of a Europe tour as this will help you save up on cash. In case you are already in Ukraine, you can opt for a train ride; the best route is the intercity train from Lviv to Kyiv. Also, keep in mind that there are many budget airlines available in Eastern Europe, you can check websites like Skyscanner for info on cheap flights. Also Read: 8 Tips for Booking the Cheapest Flights for Your Next Trip Chernobyl and The Exclusion Zone Image Credit: G Meyer on Unsplash Visiting Chernobyl doesn’t just mean going to the nuclear reactor itself but the surrounding exclusion zone. It is a vast area that covers a few towns and a forested area along with the Chernobyl reactor. The exclusion zone is an area of 2,600 Km2 (1000 sqm) that goes around the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant. The area is off bounds to the general public as it is extremely hazardous. It is required to go through many checkpoints within the exclusion zone; the checkpoint closest to the reactor has the highest levels of radiation. So, is it safe to visit Chernobyl? Yes, to a certain degree. Radiation is known to remain for a very long period, however, in small doses, it cannot harm i.e. x-rays and, long-haul flights. We are exposed to radiation daily however; its effects are almost non-existent. The day tours at Chernobyl are planned in a way that you are exposed to low levels of radiation as you will only be in the area for a few hours and will only be taken to safe spots. People still live within the exclusion zone and a few thousand people work at the power plant decommissioning the old reactors and building the sarcophagus. Everyone who visits the exclusion zone is required to go through an old soviet radiation checkpoint on the way out – this is to make sure that you are not carrying any radioactive contaminants. Important point! Get travel insurance – it is always better to be on the safe side. The Tour Image Credit: Silver Ringvee on Unsplash There are 3 tour options on offer, if you want a quick but informative trip to Chernobyl the one day tour would be a good choice, but if you want to take things slow and, take pictures of the place you can opt for the more longer tours such as the 2-3 days tours or even go for a private tour which will allow you to observe the place at your own pace. The one day tour would be your best bet as it is more convenient and packed with activities. You can get your money’s worth within a span of 10 -12 hours. It is priced between 100USD to 115USD. Also, do some thorough research into the tour companies available; choose a tour that fits you the best. Small groups are always better and, be sure to check if Geiger counter (an instrument that measures radiation levels – mandatory for all tours) are inclusive with the tour package. Are tour guides a must? Yes, definitely. It is better to join a guided tour as you will be safe and the guides will also help make the experience more immersive as they will show and tell you everything you need to know about the place. Other than the famed Nuclear Reactor No. 4, you will be able to see the abandoned city of Pripyat where the staff that used to work at the power plant used to live, abandoned schools, as well as the Pripyat amusement park that was to be opened on the 1st of May 1986 for the May Day celebrations however, it was never to be due to the Nuclear accident that occurred in late April of the same year. You will also be able to witness unique soviet architecture and interior. However, the main showstopper is how nuclear disasters affect humanity and other life, a great example of how important it is to practice ethical science and how the hunger for power can destroy instead of build. Be Prepared Image Credit: Yves Alarie on Unsplash Be prepared for your Chernobyl tour and, remember that weather will play a big role as well – winters can be especially cold but add to the dystopian surroundings of Chernobyl, whilst fall/ Autumn is known to be beautiful. Wear comfortable shoes as you will be walking most of the time and, carry raincoats or umbrellas as it could rain. If visiting during the winter season wear a warm jacket and keep your head covered – especially ears and, wear a scarf – well covered waterproof shoes are also important. Remember that you should always have a Geiger counter with you if the tour doesn’t include free Geiger counters rent them before leaving on the tour. Where To Stay In Kyiv Image Credit: Kyrylo Kholopkin on Unsplash Kyiv is a beautiful city and a tourist destination in its own right, therefore finding accommodation here will not be a problem. There are many hostels and hotels in the area, as well as AirBnBs which are quite affordable. Opt to find lodging close to the tour meeting point; most tours will depart from the Kyiv Central Station so opt for accommodation close by. If you have chosen a private tour, you will be picked from the hotel. Halal food in Kyiv? Image Credit: S'well on Unsplash Finding Halal food will not be difficult as many restaurants serve Halal food. If you want to cook your food, you can easily find Halal groceries and butchers who supply Halal meats. A Google search can quickly direct you to these places without much hassle. A monument of healing and rebuilding for the modern world, Chernobyl is an intriguing travel destination that must be witnessed by all. Hopefully, this guide helps you to plan out a trip to Chernobyl. Always seek adventure fellow travelers!...



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