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Shop, Travel, Pray - 4 Prayer Spaces in Osaka and Kyoto

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Sarifah Md Safi'ee  •  Jan 18, 2016

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At #HHWT, we know how important it is to perform your daily prayers amidst all the touristy things you wish to do while on holiday. But when you are in a foreign land like Japan where the majority are non-Muslims, it can be a daunting task finding a proper place to pray, especially when the nearest mosque is located in the suburbs. We totally understand if the idea of travelling all the way there with heaving shopping bags and tired muscles causes you to wilt faster than we can count to 3. Fret not! During our recent visit to Osaka and Kyoto, we discovered easily accessible prayer rooms in transport hubs and major shopping districts – now you can shop, travel and pray with peace of mind!
Credit: giphy
1. Osaka Station City
To the uninitiated, the newly renovated, gargantuan Osaka Station City in Umeda is THE place to launch yourself to practically anywhere in the Kansai region. Serviced by JR lines, Hankyu railway, Hanshin railway as well as the local subway lines, we are sure this station will most definitely feature heavily in your travel plans. There are also numerous shopping, dining and entertainment options, making it an ideal location to havea prayer room for the Muslim visitor in transit! [caption id="attachment_4956" align="alignnone" width="900"]
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Osaka Station City Information Centre[/caption] To use the prayer room, make your way to the Osaka Station City Information Centre on the 3rd floor to fill up a brief application form. If it is your first time, an attendant will accompany you to the prayer room. Take note that you will be given about 20 minutes to use the facility. [caption id="attachment_4957" align="alignnone" width="900"]
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Here we are![/caption] [caption id="attachment_4958" align="alignnone" width="900"]
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Prayer Room[/caption] [caption id="attachment_4959" align="alignnone" width="900"]
There are two separate rooms for men and women respectively. Each room measures about 30m2
There are two separate rooms for men and women respectively. Each room measures about 30m2.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_4960" align="alignnone" width="900"]
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Ablution area[/caption] [caption id="attachment_4961" align="alignnone" width="900"]
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Compass on the ceiling for Muslims to find the right direction for prayers.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_4962" align="alignnone" width="900"]
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Some guidelines on usage of the facility.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_4963" align="alignnone" width="900"]
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You can also find really helpful travel leaflets for Muslims here![/caption] Do note that while the facility is mainly geared towards Muslims from Indonesia and Malaysia, those of other religions are free to use it as well! Address: South Gate Plaza on the 1st floor of the South Gate Building (directly connected to JR Osaka Station) Opening Hours:11:00am – 7:00pm (last sign-in 6:45pm);May – Aug till 8:00pmDirections:
2. Shinsaibashi Suji
[caption id="attachment_4964" align="alignnone" width="900"]
Shop till you drop at Shinsaibashi Suji and beyond!
Shop till you drop at Shinsaibashi Suji and beyond![/caption] If you happen to be in the vibrant Namba area, you will surely not miss a visit to Shinsaibashi Suji – a bustling shopping street spanning about 600m in length! This rooftop-covered shopping arcade is punctuated further south by Dotombori, Osaka's famed entertainment and gastronomic district. It then continues on to become Ebisubashi Suji, where a similar shopping experience prevails. So, if you plan to do some major retail therapy here, check out the prayer rooms that have been provided by the kind people of Kansai Tourist Information Centre! [caption id="attachment_4965" align="alignnone" width="900"]
First, locate the Tommy Hilfiger store at Shinsaibashi Suji. Trust us, you won't miss it.
First, locate the Tommy Hilfiger store at Shinsaibashi Suji. Trust us, you won't miss it.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_4966" align="alignnone" width="768"]
You will spot this sign. The prayer rooms are located on the 3rd floor within the Kansai Tourist Information Centre. Go inside the Tommy Hilfiger store and take the elevator up.
You will spot this sign. The prayer rooms are located on the 3rd floor within the Kansai Tourist Information Centre. Go inside the Tommy Hilfiger store and take the elevator up.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_4967" align="alignnone" width="900"]
Sign in at the information counter, and the helpful staff will be happy to guide you to the prayer rooms!
Sign in at the information counter, and the helpful staff will be happy to guide you to the prayer rooms![/caption] [caption id="attachment_4969" align="alignnone" width="900"]
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Separate prayer rooms for males and females.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_4970" align="alignnone" width="900"]
Prayer garment is available for the ladies.
Prayer garment is available forthe ladies.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_4971" align="alignnone" width="900"]
Some rules when using the prayer rooms.
Some rules when using the prayer rooms.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_4972" align="alignnone" width="900"]
You can find the ablution area in the washroom located on the same floor.
You can find the ablution area in the washroom located on the same floor.[/caption] The centre is also a one-stop destination for tourists to fulfil their travel needs. It offers services such as the sales of transportation tickets (e.g. KANSAI THRU PASS, Osaka Amazing Pass, etc), tour reservations, as well as baggage holding and forwarding. There is free wifi, online PCs and a printer available. You can even don a kimono for a unique cultural experience! [caption id="attachment_4973" align="alignnone" width="1024"]
Take your pick from an extensive array of maps and tourist information leaflets.
Take your pick from an extensive array of maps and tourist information leaflets.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_4975" align="alignnone" width="900"]
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Snap selfies of yourself dressed up as a samurai or geisha for the day![/caption] Tel: +81-6-6214-5370 Address: 3F of Tommy Hilfiger Shinsaibashi Store, 2-5-1 Shinsaibashi-suji, Chuo-ku, Osaka Opening Hours: 11:00am – 7:00pm (closed Dec 31 to Jan 3) Directions:
3. Namba City
Namba City, managed by Nankai Electric Railway, is a huge shopping mall located at Nankai Namba Station, spanning from the north to south of the station underpass. Eight railway lines service the Namba area, making it one of the main transportation hubs in western Japan and well-positioned to offer prayer rooms forMuslim visitors. As usual, the room is available to not only Muslims, but those from other religions too!
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[caption id="attachment_4978" align="alignnone" width="900"]
To use the prayer room, make your way to the Information Centre at Basement 1, Namba City Main Building.
To use the prayer room, make your way to the Information Centre at Basement 1, Namba City Main Building.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_4979" align="alignnone" width="900"]
Fill in the application form. Take note that you can use the room for a maximum of 30 minutes.
Fill in the application form. Take note that you can use the room for a maximum of 30 minutes.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_4980" align="alignnone" width="900"]
An attendant will guide you to the prayer room which is located on the same floor.
An attendant will guide you to the prayer room which is located on the same floor.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_4981" align="alignnone" width="900"]
Covering a spacious area of about 51m2, the facility is separated by gender and an ablution area is provided. Here, you can also see the do's and don'ts of using the room.
Covering a spacious area of about 51m2, the facility is separated by gender and an ablution area is provided. Here, you can also see the do's and don'ts of using the room.[/caption] Address: Namba City Main Building, 1st basement (5-1-60 Namba, Chuo-ku, Osaka-shi, 542-0076) Opening Hours: 11:30am - 8:30pm (last admission 8:00pm) Directions:

4. Kyoto Tower

In Kyoto, where modernity clashes head-on with tradition, Kyoto Tower is the tallest building in the city, standing at 100m above-ground with a viewing platform to boot. It was built not without controversy though, with many believing that its garish red-and-white colour scheme and the needle-shaped spire were too modern-looking for the ancient capital. [caption id="attachment_4982" align="alignnone" width="900"]
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The iconicKyoto Tower, located across the central exit of Kyoto Station Building.[/caption]Credit: By Kok Leng Yeo from Singapore, Singapore (Kyoto Tower, Kyoto, Japan) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons A prayer room recently opened here, within the premises of the Kansai Tourist Information Centre on the 3rd floor. We think it's really a cool choice of location especially when the tower is a mere two-minute walk away from Kyoto Station - the city's transportation hub. It is also a convenient location for shoppers as the tower is only two subway stops away from the shopping areas around Shijo street.
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[caption id="attachment_4984" align="alignnone" width="900"]
First, take the elevator to the 3rd floor, where you will find the Kansai Tourist Information Centre.
First, take the elevator to the 3rd floor, where you will find the Kansai Tourist Information Centre.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_4985" align="alignnone" width="832"]
The prayer room can be found next to the Kansai Tourist Information Centre.
The prayer room can be found next to the Kansai Tourist Information Centre.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_4986" align="alignnone" width="900"]
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Provide your name and passport number at the information counter to gain access to the prayer room.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_4987" align="alignnone" width="833"]
Guidelines on using the room.
Guidelines on using the room.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_4988" align="alignnone" width="900"]
The facility is separated into two areas for each gender, each with its own ablution area.
The facility is separated into two areas for each gender, each with its own ablution area.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_4989" align="alignnone" width="900"]
Male ablution area.
Male ablution area.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_4990" align="alignnone" width="900"]
Direction of the kiblat.
Direction of the kiblat.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_4991"align="alignnone" width="900"]
Female prayer area.
Female prayer area.[/caption] We personally like the prayer rooms here as it is decorated with bamboo fixtures, giving it a unique Japanese feel. And of course, the Kansai Tourist Information Centre in Kyoto offers the same comprehensive services as its counterpart in Osaka, so you can pray and make your travel plans at the same time! [caption id="attachment_4992" align="alignnone" width="900"]
Travel information galore!
Travel information galore![/caption] [caption id="attachment_4993" align="alignnone" width="900"]
Tourists can rest their sore feet at the lounge area.
Tourists can rest their sore feet at the lounge area.[/caption] Tel: +81-75-341-0280 Address: 3F Kyoto Tower, 721-1 Higashi-shiokoji-cho, Shichi-jo Sagaru, Karasuma-dori, Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto Opening Hours: 10:00am - 6:00pm (closed Dec 30 - Jan 3) Directions: So there you have it! Whether you're exploring what Kyoto has to offer for free or taking in the sights and sounds of Osaka, with these four prayer rooms in accessible locations within Osaka and Kyoto, you don't have to skimp on your shopping time or make multiple train transfers to reach a far-flung local mosque! Thank God for that!