First Muslim friendly hotel opens in Okinawa
Hotel Yugafu Inn Okinawa in Nago became the first NPO Nippon Asia Halal Association certified Muslim friendly hotel in Okinawa. The hotel offers dedicated services of food and guest rooms in order for Muslim visitors to stay comfortably.
Dr. Saeed Akhtar, the director of the NPO Nippon Asia Halal Association, traveled to Okinawa to inspect the hotel. “The nature of Okinawa is wonderful. It’s significant that Muslim people do not need to worry about food during their travel. This chance will mark a first big step towards increasing the appeal of Okinawa to Muslims.”
Up to now, Yugafu Inn Okinawa has taken care of Muslim customers as individuals. The hotel decided to enhance its appeal to Muslim visitors by concentrating on special food services. According to the management, the hotel will pay more attention to dishes it serves than any other new services. Menus, of course, eating utensils, refrigerators and dish soap are all for exclusive use for Muslim people. The kitchen always prepares two or three halal dishes for a buffet, distinguished by a green sign. For dinner, the cooks are actively taking advantage of Okinawan local ingredients like goya and mozuku seaweed. In guest rooms a mat for praying and a timetable for “salat,” the prayer Muslims are required to perform five times a day, are installed An indicator in the room points to Mecca, the direction for praying.
Hiroko Maeda, the president of Maeda Sangyo Hotels, a company that manages Yugafu Inn Okinawa, says, “In order to develop further, Okinawan tourism business will be required to diversity and accept other cultures. We hope other companies start a similar service as we do. We would like More Muslim tourists to stay, relax and enjoy Okinawa.”