Japan Launches Mobile Mosques

The Yasu Project, a Tokyo sports and cultural events company created a Mosque on wheels that it hopes will make Muslim visitors to Japan during the 2020 summer Olympics feel at home in line with the Japanese hospitality concept of Omotenashi.

The Mobile Mosque is a truck designed to transform into a place of worship with capacity for up to 50 Muslim worshippers and a washing area for Muslim worshippers to perform ablution before praying.

According to the press statement released by the company:

"This mobile mosque was developed over the last four years. It is basically the modification of an already existing 25-ton heavy duty truck, with a widened trunk bed to establish a 48㎡ room where up to 50 people can worship at the same time. It is equipped with facilities such as a water basin for purifying and cleansing before worship and indicates Qibla (the direction of Kaaba at Mecca)."

On the Mobile Mosque Project website, the Executive Committee Chairman of the Mobile Mosque Project, Yasuharu Inoue shared the following message:

"As Japan looks forward to a major international occasion, we present a symbol of the country’s blossoming inclusive society that transcends religious divides

Almost two years from now, Tokyo will host the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games, a major sports event that will draw the eyes of the world. As the event draws ever closer, excitement is growing in Tokyo and indeed the whole country. As the date approaches, we can also expect increasing numbers of visitors from around the world. One of our urgent tasks is to provide sightseeing infrastructure during the event that will provide a positive and fulfilling experience to diverse visitors from many different countries, cultures, and faiths. As we work to build core facilities in Tokyo and its surroundings, from the New National Stadium main venue to event arenas, hotels, and more, one issue I would like to raise is that of providing hospitality (omotenashi in Japanese) to those who follow Islam, one of the world's major religions.

Now more than ever, the spirit of traditional Japanese hospitality, in which visitors are welcomed with warmth, thoughtfulness, and consideration, and thorough service based on these values, are pillars of Japan's tourism policies. However, perhaps we have not sufficiently considered visitors who practice Islam. To give one example, we have a shortage of places of worship in the forms of mosques. The possibility that there will be not enough mosques for the large number of Muslims from around the world who will visit Japan in 2020 is an alarming situation for a country that counts itself part of an international community that is building diversity.

Thus we introduce the Mobile Mosque, a mosque on wheels with capacity for up to 50 adherents to worship inside at one time. At the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games, multiple events will take place at multiple venues at the same time. The number of mosques required will vary according to the size of each event, but mobile mosques give us the flexibility to provide the necessary number at the necessary location. The first of their kind in the world, these vehicular mosques are an embodiment of Japan's world-renowned omotenashi. It is our hope that the Mobile Mosque will contribute to the creation of a happy atmosphere that visitors of all religions will enjoy."


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