How do you feel when you find a home-stay near a mosque with a prayer room, and also a special kitchen for cooking Halal food? Plus you can meet and share experiences with new friends from all countries around the world. Furthermore, it is located in the heart of Tokyo! Super, isn’t it? You can have all those facilities when you stay at Sakura, a Muslim-friendly share house in Yoyogi Uehara.
Furthermore, what is the first thing that comes to your mind when you are planning to go abroad and you have to stay for a long time? The answer is accommodation, right? For Muslim people, to stay in another country for a certain time, it is necessary to consider daily facilities, mostly a facility to pray and enjoy Halal food.
Especially, this becomes important during the holy month of Ramadhan (the ninth month of Islamic calendar) when Muslim people must partake in fasting for a certain period and worship Allah SWT everyday. Such accomadations will be more convenient for Ramadhan activities with Muslim brothers and sisters.
"Sakura House" is one such place. This is a homey place with friendly facilities for Muslims. Located in Shibuya, this share house offers a comfy environment for Muslims or tourists who are willing to stay in Tokyo without having difficulty maintaining their worship activities.
This share house is divided into two floors, first floor for men and second one for women. In order to provide guests the most convenience possible, it has strict rules. One of them is prohibition to bring, to cook or to serve pork and alcohol drinks.
“We have an agreement in the beginning and regardless, we will cancel the agreement for those who are disobeying the rules”, said Lutfi Bakhtiyar as the Public Relations of Sakura House.
I also had the opportunity to visit the Shibuya-Yoyogi Uehara Muslim House and meet several guests. This share house is convenient and satisfies Muslims' needs who are planning to stay in Japan for a month or more. It has a prayer room, convenience room and other facilities with some adequate rules which make you comfortable to live in even from the first day.
"We understand Muslims follow Islamic rules, such as use of cooking tools and the foods with a Halal standard. Therefore, we try our best to fulfill these needs and offer adequate facilities and apply some strict rules", said Masayo Namiki, General Manager Sakura House. It took some time for Muslims and tourists to warm up to this new style of share house.
According to my conversation with the guests, not only do they feel comfortable but also they feel it is easier to engage with others and fit in Japan without neglecting their daily activities.
Ami, who has stayed in Japan since 2009 said that living at the Muslim-friendly share house created a comfy situation to have discussions with other Muslims from other countries, especially on the month of Ramadhan. Another guest, Tari, planned to live short term in order to take a Japanese language course. She chose this share house as the first step to know more about the Muslim community in Japan.
Moreover, Shariff, an Australian who converted to Islam (who is originally from Philippines), also likes the House of Yoyogi Uehara because it is very close to The Mosque of Tokyo Camii, the biggest mosque in Tokyo. Same as with Shariff, a young boy from Manchester, the reason he choose the Sakura House was because he can meet his Muslim brothers and sisters while being able to do worship activities together.
This share house has become one of the favorite choices for Muslims. Besides the Sakura House in Yoyogi Uehara, there are other Muslim-friendly share houses in the area of Tabata and Muslim-friendly apartments in Itabahashi, also hotels and hostels, not only for Muslims but also for general use. It will be exciting and convenient if you start the adventure in a new country while still being able to do daily activities you did back at home.