By Cathy Cawood
Ise-Shima is improving their Muslim-friendly tourism facilities to attract more Muslim tourists coming to this Japanese national park. Muslim-friendly tourism is fairly new in Japan but on the rise.
Answering to the rising number of foreign tourists, Mie Prefecture, especially Ise-Shima, is hoping that tourists coming to Ise-Shima will enjoy the beauty of Ise-Shima's nature, culture, and culinary offerings without worry.
One of the tour operators conducting Muslim-friendly tours in Ise-Shima is the Kaito Yumin Club in Toba City. This eco-tour provider allows tourist to meet Ama-san, the traditional woman divers. Ama-san are well-known for their unique breathing technique while diving to catch seafood. Accompanied with a professional tour guide, tourists can enjoy the fresh seafood grilled by Ama-san in their hut and hear stories of the Ama's traditional lifestyle.
Since Muslims have strict food restrictions according to Islamic law, the seafood lunch for Muslim tourists is prepared without alcohol, such as mirin or sake, which are commonly found in Japanese traditional food.
A prayer space is also provided for tour participants by reservation in advance. During the tour, the guide will also take you for a walk in Osatsu, in a small town known as Ama Village, and visit Ishigami Shrine, a shrine which is dedicated to women's prayer. This course will give tourists a chance to know more about the spiritual side of Japan.
This tour cost 7,000 - 8,500 JPY per person, including the English speaking guide.
Toba 1-4-53, Toba City, Mie Prefecture 517-0011 Tel. 0599-28-0001 http://oz-group.jp/english/index.html (English page)
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